Last 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
As 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
True 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
We 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
“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
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
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
I think St. Albert’s aggressive tree removal campaign is excessive and disproportionate to the problem. Removing entire streets of trees creates scenes reminiscent of a clear-cut forest. However, I understand the arguments for replacing the unpopular poplars, so I’ve chosen to grit my teeth and turn the other way when I hear chainsaws screaming in my neighbourhood. Continue reading
Building a new social blueprint for St. Albert plan requires citizen participation.
Since late 2011, the City of St. Albert has been developing a Social Master Plan, a strategic guiding document that will frame and determine decisions about social matters in the city. Continue reading
The following Editorial gives a summary of the bizarre response to my July column. The online Gazette page can be found here.
Our View – Comforting message emerges despite online bilge
Posted: Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 06:00 am
A week ago Saturday, the Gazette ran an opinion piece by regular contributor Dee-Ann Schwanke in which she lamented the relative scarcity of visible minorities in this city. In comparison to most parts of the country, she wrote, St. Albert is “rather pale.”
Schwanke’s piece also appeared in the electronic version of the Gazette, which allows readers to submit electronic comments from their home computers or portable devices. Yet all through Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the piece sat unnoticed. Continue reading