Harper’s Muzzle on Scientist

I miss the days when news segments had real solid news worthy stories about local, national and international issues and that lasted longer than 10 minutes. I miss the days when journalism was about getting to the hard truth, finding evidence and bring those stories to the viewers at home. But lately I’ve found that news stations and journalism has become about stories that are trending on social media and will get the most buzz worth attention. The warrant for Justin Biebers arrest gained more air time than real current events that were affecting the lives of many Canadians and global citizens. The lack of coverage on prevailing issues affecting climate change and the Canadian environment is largely at fault by Prime Minister Harper’s communication directive that prevents scientist from speaking to the media without permission.

The Harper government has redownload (3)stricted the ability of Canadian scientist to speak to the public, media, and other scientist regarding climate change and other environmental issues. Scientist have been asked to exclude or alter technical information in government documents for non-specific reasons and have been prevented from responding to the media or the public.  As a result, media coverage on these issues have significantly drop by 80% since 2007.Scientists are required to get permission from their political superiors before answering any media request. This hindrance has further reduced the number of request for climate change coverage and detail of accurate information within governmental reports. It is clear that the Canadian government is doing all that they can to monitor and restrict the flow of information especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries, and anything to do the Alberta Tar Sand.

Which leads us to question if Harper’s regime has begun to follow a Big Brother system, regulating and controlling the information that is readily available for the public. Without this information present it will guarantee an increase in public ignorance regarding these issues. It is obvious that the Harper government is more concerned with keep professionals from talking about these issues rather than fixing them.image

Mr. Harper couldn’t care less about the environment and this form of censorship compromises the health and safety of Canadians.  Scientists lose their ability to develop effective and sufficient policy laws and programs that are based on scientific evidence and facts that will ensure a better/safer environment for further generation.

Society has lobbied against many different international regulatory bodies for their form of censorship but it is time that Canadians stand up to the Harper government and gain back our freedom and the freedom of our scientist to do the duty to share and inform the public about their research and findings. The Canadian government must be held accountable for their actions, especially at the stake of the future generations.  Canadians must raise up and force our federal government to be more transparent about their action.

Feel free to voice your comments, concerns, questions and opinions. And with that I leave with Rick Mercers views on muzzle on scientist.

“Like A girl”?

“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes’. They will say, ‘women don’t have what it takes.” – Clare Boothe Luce


 

For as long as I could remember, being a girl came with double standards. I was urged to reach for the stars, push for greatness and be the best that I could be. Yet, being ‘like a girl’ was one of the biggest insults that you could say to any kid on the playground.

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The fact that little girls believe that “like a girl” is an insult is disheartening.  The phrase has lowered the confidence of many girls and continues to humiliate them.

Always and director Lauren Greenfield have teamed up to create an inspiring campaign that show how a simple phase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. They have created a movement that will redefine the phase “like a girl” into a positive affirmation.

As Always says, “We’re kicking off an epic battle to make sure that girls everywhere keep their confidence throughout puberty and beyond, and making a start by showing them that doing it #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing.”

Every single girl has the ability to push the standards and boundaries that society has placed around them. Education needs to start now to remove the double standards and the negative cogitation around the phrase ‘Like a girl”.

I urge you all to take a stand and show young girls everywhere that #LikeAGirl should never be used as an insult. I urge you to let young girls know that they are special, strong, talented and amazing. And that they should never be ashamed of being themselves.

I am a student, a blogger, a development practitioner, an activists, an explorer. And I do all of this #LikeAGirl #Always

 

The man who claimed to save a city billions

As the Toronto Mayoral election comes up, it is important to understand the facts and claims that candidates have made during the 2014 election campaign.Rob Ford vehicle registration tax

Canada’s latest international celebrity and butt of all jokes, Rob Ford has launched his election campaign with the main argument for his re-election as:

 “I might be a mess in my private life, but look how much money I’ve shoveled into your pocket. I saved you a billion dollars, folks. That must make me the greatest mayor in the history of the city, if not the world. Guaranteed”.

However, a recent article published by Royson James for the Toronto Star stated that “Budget confusion lets Ford get away with ‘$1B savings’ claim” – a point lost on people who take the mayor’s oft-repeated untruth at face value.

I have gotten into a few arguments with peers regarding Mr. Ford and all of the super great things that he has done and contributed to the city, but I do agree that the one good thing that he has done was save the city millions of dollars. Upon election 4 years ago, Ford promised to cut $2 billion in spending without cutting a single service. It is true that Ford has eliminated the city’s dependence of $350 million in all kinds of surplus and reserve funds but that figure is no way near the billion dollar tax savings mark.

Toronto’s city manager, Joe Pennachetti,  stated that there is a difference between budget savings and tax savings. In response to Ford’s tax saving arugments, Pennachetti argued:

“You can’t say, ‘I saved taxpayers a billion dollars’… That’s not a correct statement. Council reduced expenditure levels with a combination of cuts and revenues increase to minimize the tax increases… every mayor has done that”.

As the election campaign continues to unfold, the city manager and city’s chief financial officer have been caught up with just how much money Ford has saved for taxpayers during his time in office. Josh and his colleague, Daniel Dale, broke down and deconstructed Ford’s tax saving claims and accomplishments as stated in the article:

  • Fuel prices ended up lower than projected, so Ford claims the $23 million saved as part of mopping up the gravy. Interest rates dropped, saving another $36 million, and Ford portrays this as a tax saving.
  • User fees jumped $30 million under Ford; the mayor claims this as a tax saving because if he didn’t increase the fees — like transit fares — then taxes would go up on everyone. At the same time he stopped another user fee, the vehicle registration tax, but claimed that as a tax saving — even though it meant all taxpayers had to fill the revenue gap created.
  • The provincial government exempted the TTC from $54 million in “fringe benefits liabilities.” Ford takes credit for saving taxpayers $54 million

Through understanding these claims, it is evident to see that Ford has seriously stretched his claims. Ford had no power over fuel prices and interest rates. There needs to be another reason why people should re-elect Ford back into office. Over the past 4 years, what else has he done other than made a joke of Toronto?

I urge GTA voters to do some research and look through news articles, and mayoral candidates’ platform. Support a candidate whom you believe will benefit the city and the future generations. Not someone who is funny and “bad ass”. Toronto is a highly internationally recognized city that deserves the opportunity to have a mayor to lead them to future success.

 

 

What is Development?

  • To my distant relatives: Development is saving Africa
  • To my mother: Development is soliciting without pay
  • To my friends: Development is travelling and saving the world

But to me, development is complicated. There isn’t a clear definition that explains what development is other than is the process of change. However,  that definition varies between individuals, groups, towns, and nations. Everyone has their own viewpoint of what is important to them and their regions.

So with that I ask you:

  How do you decide what is important in development? To invest your time, effort, money and resources? To advocate and fight for? What serves more attention over the other?

To be honest, if someone came up to me and asked me those questions I wouldn’t be able to give them a simple answer. My perspectives of the key to development has shifted far to many times to count. When I came into the International Development program, I thought restructuring political systems were key, yet by the end of first year I became passionate towards the importance of water security. By the end of my second year I believed that development must incorporate economic structures and urban planning. But now with the help of a few of my friends, I have become more engaged with issues among women and minority groups.

I find myself in a limbo of what issues stands to be more precedent. Development is complicated. Everything is connected but there are many faults that lie within the political, economic and social systems. Within political, economic and social system, I think that longevity would be key to development. Therefore, I believe that the direction of development lies within sustainability.

The concept of sustainable development entered the minds of global citizens in the early 1970s as a concept that looked achieving an equilibrium between the economy and environment.  However, sustainable development is more notably defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

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Sustainable development does not only apply to the environmental and economic issues but it looks at the social implications as well.  Worldly problems and issues are interconnected. For example,  water scarcity and inequalities  can impact community health with water contaminations, dehydration, access and further illnesses. As a result, this can impact the surrounding natural environment, habitats and animals and the local economy. Resources are becoming finite and populations are growing at a exponential rate. Problems link together and political regulatory bodies need to address these concerns through understanding the future implications.  Through achieving sustainable development we will be able to achieve a global society that will become more inclusive, environmental conscience and economically feasible.

What is development to you? Feel free to comment and add your opinion on what the key is development.