Canada's Premier Hub For Faith In Common Life


  • Mapping the Progressives Progress

    Ray Pennings

    Redefining Responsible Government. Open Government was the theme of the Canada2020 conference, and constitutes a base of the new progressive agenda. Few can dispute the good of measured transparency, data sharing, and advanced use of technology to engage citizens in public processes. But as one participant insightfully noted near the end of the conference, it is one thing to value openness as part of transparency and providing modern quality service to the citizenry.

  • Which NDP will introduce the "Act to End Predatory Lending"?

    Brian Dijkema

    The idea is sound. As noted in a recent report by Cardus, Banking on the Margins, payday lenders and the loans themselves are structured in such a way as to encourage their customers to become dependent. The loans, while quick and easy, do not build credit, and they require customers to pay back the original amount borrowed plus substantial interest in one lump sum. Too often this results in adding a significant deluge of spending for people who are already struggling to maintain a responsible cash-flow. An unemployed construction worker from Fort McMurray who has trouble making ends meet one week can be crippled by the automatic withdrawal of his previous week’s shortage plus interest rates that, in Alberta at an annual rate of 839% on a ten-day term, are the second highest in the country. And, as our research suggests, the struggle doesn’t stay with the individual. The lack of funds and the increase in debt are linked to mounting costs to families, significant physical and mental health problems, increased criminal activity, and a host of other problems which ultimately strain society – and often the government.

  • Changing Politics for a Changed Country

    Michael Van Pelt

    Saying “government should not” is as simplistic as saying “government should” if there is nothing else that follows. Yes, conservatives believe in limited government. But this requires more than arithmetic requiring the size of government. What government should do, it should do well and enough resources need to be dedicated to those tasks.

  • A Deadly Form of Normal

    Peter Stockland

    Or there soon might be, the executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association told a joint Senate-Commons committee this week. The committee is studying legislative responses to replace the Criminal Code prohibition on helping someone end his or her life. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association led in the battle to have the old law struck down. Not surprisingly, BCCLA representatives argued in front of the joint committee that any new law should be as minimalist as possible. By no means, executive director Josh Patterson contended, should there even be a requirement for a second medical opinion when a patient asks a doctor to end life prematurely.

  • Misreading Carter

    John Sikkema

    In its report released in December, the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group On Physician-Assisted Dying recommends that assisted suicide and euthanasia be publicly funded and available for the non-terminally ill, the mentally ill, and for minors. The “declaration” the Report is referring to is the Court’s declaration that certain Criminal Code provisions “are of no force or effect to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease, or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” .

  • Giving is a Group Project

    Milton Friesen

    There are many angles to consider in the report. In reading between the lines of the report and its summary data, it appears that the lone personal charitable impulse may be as rare an entity as the lone genius or heroic figure is increasingly proving to be. The report is about individual giving but even passing reflection shows that individual does not equal solitary.

  • Taking Care of Our Own

    Doug Sikkema

    Why? One narrative—the dominant one—is that we don’t get what we want because our universal healthcare system has failed to properly provide for the influx of greying baby-boomers. The system has failed to create new and better programs and to financially prop up natural caregivers with better Compassionate Care benefits—though the recent federal budget’s allowance is a step in the right direction. And there is truth to this narrative: Better end-of-life care will likely mean we need to have more robust institutions and better systemic strategies.

  • Stories of Subsidiarity

    Ray Pennings

    For more on subsidiarity, consider my colleague Milton Friesen's excellent work on the subject over at our Social Cities page. There are ways to form a thriving society that don't necessarily rely on traditional political labels.

  • Give Hospitals Grassroots Treatment

    Peter Stockland

    But the president of the Canadian Medical Association broke with saw-bones tradition last week by letting us in on two words that, he said, should get the attention of everyone who uses our health care system. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Lost in a Fog of Denial

    Peter Stockland

    What is so on a personal level is even worse on an institutional level as we discovered this week when two Liberal MPs were summarily suspended from their caucus following allegations they each harassed female MPs from the NDP in different times, places and, presumably, ways. After that, everything becomes double indemnity doubt about what is true and what to do.

  • The First Freedom of the Human Soul

    Ray Pennings

    "I think our literacy may be fairly high ... but our understanding of religion has diminished quite a bit," says Farr. "What we've lost is the anthropology, if you will; the notion that human beings are by their nature religious." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Canada: Back to Normal

    Peter Stockland

    The consensus was that CBC did a brilliant job, which seems true but signaled something more. When our village solipsists feel free to turn the public conversation back to themselves again, you sense the world returning to its established order. There were signs that ordinary citizens who never ride the airwaves of the public broadcaster were also coming back to life as usually lived.

  • New Cardus Education Survey to be released

    Naomi Biesheuvel

    The release will take place at the CUNY Institute for Education Policy at Roosevelt House, New York, New York, from 5:30-7:45pm on September 10, 2014. The event will feature Cardus's Ray Pennings, along with Sean Corcoran of New York University; Kathy Jamil, founder of Islamic School's League of America; and Ashley Berner of the CUNY Institute for Education Policy.

  • Protests and the Police Force

    Ray Pennings

    That's not to say it isn't important or can't be effective. Washington, 1963. Gdansk, 1981. Tiananmen Square, 1989. Arab Spring, 2011. Mass people presence with chants and placards can make a difference and change history. But this needs to be kept in perspective. The fact that some protests are effective doesn't make every protest effective.

  • The Secular Democracy and its Victims

    Ray Pennings

    Surely it is possible, within a liberal democracy, that we can, without bloodshed, lay bare some deep rifts between value systems. But we're only fooling ourselves—playing with house money—if we don't constantly scrutinize and re-evaluate the "why" questions beneath our differences. The preoccupation with "what" questions in the ongoing Trinity Western University (TWU) community covenant debate has left the "why" questions unanswered.

  • Social Licence and Democratic Institutions

    Ray Pennings

    My point here is not to argue the merits or demerits of the pipeline, nor to suggest that the process has been without its flaws. But a two-year review process by the National Energy Board, a federal agency that has subject matter expertise, which heard 1450 submissions in 21 affected communities over a two-year period cannot be dismissed as an undemocratic process.

  • What the Government Should Do

    Brian Dijkema

    The two leading campaigns are a case study in how politics in Ontario have developed. The choice offered is one side which suggests that government is the key player for "good" in Ontario, while the other side suggest that the markets are the key to making Ontario a better place to live. In many ways, the Ontario election debate is a case study in Cardus's assertion that "the coinage of our contemporary debate is the left or the right—what governments should do and what they shouldn't do." This debate will show very clearly how "we naturally default to fewer and fewer institutions to solve the problems of the day.