Social Architecture

  • Indigenous Women Ascending

    Peter Stockland sees the appointment of Mary Simon as GG, the election of RoseAnne Archibald as AFN National Chief, and Jody Wilson-Raybould’s political courage as hope for Canada.

    Thursday’s fifth ballot win that made RoseAnne Archibald the first ever female National Chief of the Assembly of First...

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  • Yes, We Can Understand Each Other

    Restoring trust in language goes beyond improving the sad state of our political debates. It’s vital to our common humanity, Daniel Dorman writes.

    Our political discourse is a demoralizing spectacle. In most public forums, and particularly in the House of Commons, we generally listen to what can’t (in any serious sense) be called ‘debate.’ Most of it is mere partisan verbiage.

    Character assault...

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  • Grave Men Facing A Grave Faith

    Jonathon Van Maren reports on a series of leading serious intellectuals who recognize the need for Christianity’s resurrection but can’t quite bring the faith to life in themselves.

    Earlier this month, I spent some time on the phone with Niall Ferguson, the Scottish historian and Milbank Family Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, for a ...

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  • The Cat Fight Over State-Controlled Internet

    Experts pushed back this week on government efforts to legislate control of Canadians’ Internet use. Peter Stockland reports on what’s at stake.

    Despite the almost spiritual significance Internet cat videos apparently have for Canadians, fears that legislation known as Bill C-10 might snuff out Fluffy’s chance for viral stardom seem seriously misdirected.

    As Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeaul...

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  • COVID’s Media Monologue

    Bad news sells but Peter Menzies wonders why journalists eager to echo alarms about pandemic case numbers ignore the social devastation of lockdown policies.

    It has long been accepted both within and without the world of journalism that negative news trumps developments of a positive nature pretty much every time. Much may have changed in how news is delivered to people but the old cliches - “if it blee...

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  • Progress Against MAiD

    Catherine Frazee, a long-time disability Rights activist and Ontario’s former Chief Commissioner of Human Rights, talked to MPs about pending MAiD expansion recently. It wasn’t enough to make her give up hope, Peter Stockland reports.

    A powerful impetus behind the Liberal government’s push to jam expanded medical aid in dying through Parliament has been the force of proponents arguing it is progressive legislation.

    Yet Catherine Frazee, who testified last week before the Commons c...

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  • The Necessary and Essential Difference Between Essential and Necessary

    Of all the things the COVID-19 crisis has meant, Travis Smith argues, its means to distinguish between what we necessarily need and what makes us essentially human.

    Like many families across Canada this year, my family celebrated Easter alone at home, the three of us gathered together around the table. Attempts to compensate for the current situation were made via email, telephone, FaceTime, and Zoom, but those convers...

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  • Figuring Out Social Isolation

    Twenty-three per cent of Canadians suffer from extreme social isolation and loneliness, according to a recent Angus Reid Institute survey in partnership with Cardus. Convivium sits down with executive director Ray Pennings to discuss this and other results from the survey.

    Convivium: The main findings come as no surprise to Cardus, but I assume will come as a surprise to an awful lot of people – the role that faith and active participation in religious communities have in ...

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  • Pluralism and the Blue Plate Special

    Weekly media teeth-gnashing over deepening political polarization is finally turning up good news, writes Josh Nadeau. A path back to true pluralism leads through small local institutions such as places called Judy's Diner.  

    Polarization, despite having become a major buzzword in recent years, can be a tricky thing to study. This isn’t due to a lack of attention: concerned essays appear almost weekly in major journals, sites and magazines. 

    Analyzing, decrying or justify...

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  • Tools of Science: Trusted or Busted?

    Putting algorithms to an accountability test doesn’t require junking them entirely, but it can help us catch out powerful interests more intent on abusing than using our data, argues Cardus Social Cities Director Milton Friesen.

    The big success stories of our time have scaled at exponential rates -  Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and the other ‘super bigs’ that relentlessly enlarge themselves. When something scales, however, the mix of characteristics, benefits, and costs of a business o...

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  • Face Value

    Gillette has tried to make profits from selling social good. But where marketing and politics mingle, there lies danger, warns Peter Stockland.

    It’s tempting to take the week’s “controversy” over the Gillette shaving company’s new advertising campaign at something less than face value.

    For starters, controversy itself is no longer the conversational cutting edge it once was. In this era of f...

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  • Blessed Are the Peacemakers

    In the lull after Christmas and New Year’s, Josh Nadeau finds the pursuit of peace ever-elusive but never more imperative.

    We’ve come through Advent, got past Christmas season, and launched into January overweight with get-togethers, eggnog, nostalgia, spiritual practices and cultural traditions that would probably seem downright weird if they weren’t already so familiar. Stock...

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  • Salvation By The Young

    Drawing on Angus Reid polling, Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings tells Convivium’s Peter Stockland why young Canadians are far more faith driven than the current secular narrative leads us to believe.

    Convivium: In a recent symposium hosted by the Centre for Research on Religion at McGill University in Montreal, you made the argument that Angus Reid polling data shows young people are much more engaged in faith than we think. What does t...

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  • 100 Years of Fortitude

    Convivium's editor in chief Father Raymond J. de Souza marks the anniversary of both the Sacred Heart of Mary parish and Queen's University's "Newman Club." 

    The Year of Our Lord 2017 has been rather full of notable anniversaries. Five hundred years since the Reformation, something that reminds us that our work across confessional lines at Cardus, Catholics and Protestants together in a common mission, is a bles...

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  • Peak Season

    Convivium author Peter Stockland reflects on the mysterious collapse of motels and the spiritual significance that these places of refuge possess. 

    I learned on my summer vacation something I should have known long ago: that the word “motel” is a compound of “motor” and “hotel.”

    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it dates from 1925 when a publication called Hotel Monthly reported that...

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  • Dear Canada

    Today Convivium publishes an open letter, authored and affirmed at the Faith in Canada 150 Millennial Summit at the Ottawa Offices of Cardus, Canada’s faith based think tank, June 30, 2017. 

    Dear Canada,

    We write to you on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Confederation to affirm the role of faith in the formation of Canada in its past, today, and in future generations to come.

    We, delegates of the Faith in Canada 150 Millennial...

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  • Anniversary Afterthoughts

    Convivium Editor in Chief Father Raymond J. de Souza reflects on the Canada Day celebrations that unfolded in early July. 

    I had the blessing of spending Canada’s 150th anniversary in Ottawa with my Cardus colleagues for various events that were most inspiring.

    It capped off six weeks in which I found myself for unrelated – but Providential? – reasons on Canad...

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  • Believing in Cities

    In this final text from the Cardus’ What Makes a Good City forum, Andrew Bennett for reviving the spirit of urbi et orbi – the city and the world – by which religious traditions have made beauty and comfort integral to our urban lives.

    June 1, on certain Church calendars, is the commemoration of St. Justin Martyr, also known as Justin the Philosopher.

    St. Justin Martyr lived at the beginning of the second century. He was a Roman citizen, a patrician, well schooled in rhetoric, in p...

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  • Avenues of Absent Children

    In the second of our series from Cardus’ What Makes A Good City forum, Andrea Mrozek ponders the intersection of the hotel-style condo and the empty playground in her own neighbourhood.

    There's a condo development down the street from me in my urban Ottawa community. It’s about four kilometers from Parliament Hill. When they were selling those units, they advertised them as hotel style living. For those of you who may travel quite a bit fo...

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  • Harmony Of A Thousand Differences

    As Canadians get set to revel in urban summer life, Convivium showcases remarks from the What Makes A Good City forum held last Thursday at Cardus Ottawa. Today, Milton Friesen examines the complexities that give the city the aura of a living organism. 

    There is no city building for dummies. If you see that title, don't buy it. There's nothing simple or reducible if we are serious about cities. If it's simplified, packaged, essentialized, walk on by. As Hilary Putnam famously said, any theory that fits in ...

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  • Building the Social City

    The networks of relationships needed to make a community not only liveable but also sociable can be vast and complex. But as Milton Friesen writes, they can also be entered into, appreciated and drawn upon by something as simple and convivial as shared conversation over grits and fried catfish. 

    Chief among the privileges of leading the Cardus Social Cities program are the many opportunities to meet people who are doing significant work in communities and cities across Canada, the United States and around the world. These conversations, email excha...

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

    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.

    In the throne speech this month, Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell announced the Notley government’s intention to “protect Albertans who are experiencing economic d...

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  • Changing Politics for a Changed Country

    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.

    Co-authored by Michael Van Pelt (President), and Ray Pennings (Executive Vice-President) of Cardus, a Canadian think ta...

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