Glass ceiling remains unbroken

ceilingLast week Statistics Canada released data regarding Canadian households that indicated that women continue to take post-secondary education at a higher rate than men. As of this most recent report, there are now more women than men between the ages of 25 and 64 who have post-secondary education.

The success of Canadian women in post-secondary education is old news. StatsCan shows that way back in 1992 women had already surpassed men in achieving university degrees. Continue reading

Let’s get jacked up for the election

jackAs municipal elections approach for this fall, I’ve found the perfect solution to the decision for whom to elect as fearless leader. The answer, discovered by screenwriters across North America, may be key to meeting political and economic challenges: we need a mayor named Jack.

Jack shows up everywhere. He’s courageous, motivated, smooth, funny – everything a suburb like St. Albert needs in these changing times. There are just so many Jacks to choose from, and each could bring his own contribution to our municipal legacy. Continue reading

Downtown walk to end human trafficking May 18

free2walk st. albertTrue heroes use what they have to make the world around them a better place. As we are waiting for the trees to bud after a very long winter, a group of students in our city have devoted their efforts to a global issue, using time, energy and passion to do something about it.

Human trafficking, modern-day slavery, forces men, women and children to work for little or no money. It spans trades such as chocolate, clothing and most commonly the sex trade. Continue reading

Free2Walk St. Albert

On behalf of the Social Justice League at St. Albert Paul Kane High School, please read the following for information on an exciting event in May.

More than 30 million people live in slavery today. Men, women, and children around the world are trafficked and subjected to exploitation. The modern-day slave trade is a $32 billion-dollar-a-year business and one of the fastest growing industries.

May 18, 2013, City Event!

The Social Justice League at Paul Kane High School in St. Albert believes that the city of St.Albert as a community has the power to take action. Together we can join with others to end modern-day slavery. Get your family and friends involved on the May long weekend to take a stand against human trafficking.
Come take part in the 2 kilometer Free2Walk St.Albert on May 18, 2013, as we walk through down town St.Albert to raise pledges and awareness towards abolishing modern day slavery.
Registration will begin at 9:30 am in Lions Park St.Albert, and the walk will begin after a speech from speakers including Continue reading

Interesting times in the Catholic Church

benedictWe are well into lent and it appears the leader of the Roman Catholic Church has given up work. Pope Benedict XVI, 265th pontiff of the Catholic Church, announced his retirement on Feb. 11. He will be leaving his role on Feb. 28 and his successor is intended to take over by the end of March, just in time for Easter.

Although many support Benedict, others have responded to his decision with disappointment, suspicion and claims that he has betrayed or failed the church. Continue reading

Ending the cycle of lies

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

Oprah Winfrey didn’t ask this of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong during her recent interviews, but in light of suggestions that he lied to her about when he stopped his use of performance enhancing drugs, maybe she should have. She definitely should have asked it of the hotel employee who said her Edmonton lodging carried her Oprah Winfrey Network, which turned out not to be the case. In fact, asking if someone is telling the truth can be one of the best questions we can ask.

Swearing to tell the truth in a court of law comes as a result of the recognized need to have a place where deception is denied in the pursuit of justice. But even the courtroom itself, unfortunately, does not guarantee that justice is served. Despite promises under oath, lies still happen. They’re just too easy to escape detection. Even the truth, at times, can lead to unjust decisions. Yet without the truth, everything falls apart. Continue reading

Good intentions aren’t enough

When I was a young adult, I had a dad who reminded me that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” His scare tactic wasn’t particularly motivating – a little removed from my reality actually. I was young, just starting out, with a bright future. I just wanted to begin the journey and have fun. My 20-year-old mind knew what he was saying, but thought it was an overreaction.

The meaning of the phrase is obvious. While we don’t intend for things to go awry, many times the end result is bizarrely different than what we anticipate. We are surprised that things might possibly go badly. After all, in the beloved words of Jiminy Cricket, “When you wish upon a star, your dream comes true!” Or does it?

New year’s resolutions are being drafted by the millions right now, many of which are being recorded by highly motivated people. But while putting resolutions down on paper increases the rate of success, it is not the initial motive that sees those resolutions through. In fact, we can easily sabotage ourselves when setting goals, despite our genuine desire to make them happen. As the weeks progress we can even ensure they don’t take place. How is this possible? Why would a sane person find ways to fail? Continue reading

Walmart bargains raise ethical issues

I remember a news clip decades ago announcing a new retailer was moving into Canada. I hadn’t heard of it until then, but I remember a sound bite of a woman exclaiming that “this is excellent news for Canada, and will change the way we shop.” She was right.

The Walmart business model is astoundingly successful. After 50 years, it has become a global Wal-Street. It is the third largest employer in the world, with a staff count of 2.1 million (topped only by the People’s Liberation Army of China and the U.S. Department of Defense.) Last year, it clocked in at $447B in sales, with an astounding net income of $15.7B. The six members of the Walton family own almost 50 per cent of the company and are worth more than $102B. If Walmart were a country, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world. But, unfortunately, its success is generated by the mistreatment of its human resources and it’s all fuelled by blind consumerism.

Walmart employees consistently speak about unjust labour practices. Black Friday protests were held yesterday in an attempt to raise awareness to difficult working conditions. Workers continually describe ruthless managers, abuse, short hours and threats of retaliation should they complain. A class action lawsuit by 1.6 million female workers, dismissed last year because it was too large, is currently regrouping in multiple regions. It claims constant, calculated discrimination against women employees. Continue reading

Celebrating girls for their intelligence and courage

October 11, 2012 was the first UN International Day of the Girl. It was a worldwide commemoration of girls’ leadership, potential and capacity in recognition of challenges they face, including violence, oppression and poverty. While I perused the images of celebration, however, I was sadly reminded of other tragic, disturbing and disappointing pictures of girls. Continue reading