Sunday, November 30, 2008

Big brother's listening, eh?

NDP considers legal action after Tories listen in and tape private meeting

"The NDP says it may pursue criminal charges after the Conservatives covertly listened in, taped and distributed audio of a closed-door NDP strategy session."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sign your donor cards

This is the website of a family friend who is participating in a live liver donation to another family friend:

And here is a breakdown of religious attitudes to donation.

And here are some FAQs from the Trillium Gift of Life website (which is here:

Why should I donate my organs and tissue?

Your decision to donate could save a life. There is a chronic shortage of organs and tissue in Ontario and the need for organs and tissue continues to outweigh their availability. More than 1,700 Ontarians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and many others are waiting for a tissue transplant.

If I have indicated my decision for organ donation, will everything be done to save my life?

The first and foremost concern for healthcare professionals caring for critically ill patients is to do everything possible to save lives. The possibility of donation is only considered when all lifesaving efforts have failed. The health care professional teams responsible for supporting donation are separate and independent from the health care professional teams responsible for transplantation.

When does organ and tissue donation become an option?

Living organ donation may be an option for a healthy adult who has a family member or close friend in need of a kidney, liver, lung or small bowel transplant. With living donation, a kidney or portion of the liver, lung or small bowel is removed from the donor and transplanted into the patient in need of a new organ.

Deceased organ donation can take place when someone has been declared brain dead, a doctor has determined the organs can be used for transplant, and loved ones opt to artificially maintain vital organs by ventilator to keep them suitable for transplant. This type of donation is referred to as donation after neurological determination of death.

Another option for donation is organ donation after cardiac death (DCD). DCD offers families the option of donation in cases where neurological criteria for death have not been met, and the decision to withdraw life-sustaining treatment has been made. A DCD patient has no hope of survival or meaningful functional status, but does not meet brain death criteria. In Europe and the United States, DCD has been an option for families for over thirty years. In Ontario, the option of organ donation after cardiac death will be piloted in select hospitals over the next year.

Tissue donation can take place in most cases when someone has died, as long as the tissue is determined suitable for transplant by a doctor. With tissue donation, there is no need for blood flow to be maintained by artificial ventilation after death.

Monday, November 10, 2008

In Defence of Asqa Parvez, Part II

Hat-tip to Facebook, care of KB

Don’t Believe the Hype!!! Call to Action against Toronto Life’s Misrepresentation of Aqsa’s Parvez’s Murder

Join Us in Calling Toronto Life on their Misrepresentation of Aqsa Parvez’s Murder

The December 2008 edition of Toronto Life features the story of Aqsa Parvez, a young Muslim girl who was killed in her home in Mississauga last winter (

While featuring Aqsa’s story is recognition of a young woman’s life cut tragically short, the Toronto Life article perpetuates common stereotypes about Muslim and immigrant communities, diverting attention from the urgent issue of violence against women across Canada.
On Tuesday November 11th, join us in a “Don’t’ Believe the Hype” Campaign! We are asking you to raise your voice on the important issue of violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia.

Get Involved in Three Ways!!

1) EMAIL or PHONE Toronto Life Editor in Chief, Sarah Fulford.

Once you do that, call up five of your friends and get them to do the same. You can reach Ms. Fulford at 416-364-3333 ext 3063, or

WHEN? Between 9am – 9pm on Tuesday November 11th (If that doesn't work for you, anytime is better than never!)

WHY? Violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia are issues that affect all of us in diverse and important ways. Join us in voicing your concerns and helping to call attention to misrepresentations that are all too common in our media

WHAT TO EXPECT? This number 416-364-3333 ext 3063 will take you directly to Sarah Fulford’s office, where her assistant will either pick up, or you will be put through to her assistant's voicemail. You can leave a personal message or voicemail recording for her assistant to pass on to Ms. Fulford.

WHAT TO SAY? Identify who you are and where you are from. State that you are leaving a message for the Sarah Fulford, Editor In Chief and express your dismay with the article on Aqsa Parvez. Bonus Points: Talk about a personal experience that proves to you why addressing this issue is so important and urgent.

Here are a couple of talking points about the article that may help. Feel free to use them directly or make up your own:

1) Aqsa’s murder must be looked at through the larger context of violence against women in Canada. The problem is not limited to any one community or religious faith.

2) The article calls Aqsa’s murder “Toronto’s first honour killing”. Approximately 25 women a year are murdered in incidents of domestic violence. The use of the term "honour killing" is an attempt to sensationalize the situation by invoking common stereotypes about the prevalence of "honour killings" among South Asian Muslim families, thereby suggesting that domestic violence is not occurring at alarming rates across Canada. Instead, we should be working to end violence against all women.

3) The article associates Muslim religiousity with a tendency towards violence. In other words, the more religious a Muslim is, the more likely s/he is to engage in this type of violence. This is false and based on Islamophobic stereotyping.

4) The question, “Has multiculturalism gone too far?” suggests that Muslims and immigrants are threats to Canadian society, rather than contributing members to Canadian society. The idea that “our” tolerance or respect for cultural diversity has let “them” continue their oppressive and dangerous behaviours is not only based on racist and Islamophobic stereotyping of diverse Muslim and immigrant communities, but also ignores the ongoing racism that exists in Canada despite our public commitment to multiculturalism.

5) The focus should be on violence against women, not hijab. The article sets up a false dichotomy between Muslim women who wear the hijab as oppressed and Muslim women who do not wear the hijab as liberated. Furthermore, it reinforces the idea that all young girls want the same things, completely ignoring the diversity and richness of Muslim women's voices and lived experiences.


On Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM at YWCA located at 80 Woodlawn Avenue East, Main Lounge. Panelists include representatives of: Muslim Young Women, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence against Women and Children, Urban Alliance on Race Relations. For more information contact
416-703-6607 x 3


It is a grassroots zine that is open to all 13-35 year old young women who self-identify as Muslim. This issue’s theme is self-defense and resistance. It is a creative avenue for us to express ourselves, share our own experiences, and connect with others. Submissions deadline is December 1, 2008. Blog:

In Defence of Aqsa Parvez, Part I

This month's issue of Toronto Life is dedicated to immigration issues. Obviously, this is something that caught my eye, and I was excited to see what the magazine had to offer on the subject.

"Minority Report" is the name of the feature, and it covers a number of immigration-related issues, including an article on the growth of unusual tropical diseases in Toronto due to the immigrant population ("Sickness and the City") and a profile of the rapper K'naan ("The Prince of Little Mogadishu").

But what I read first--and what prompts me to raise my head up out of the fog of articling to post this--is the first article I read, "Girl, Interrupted" by Mary Rogan. The article is about Aqsa Parvez, a Grade-11 student in Mississauga who was killed by her father in December 2007. Her murder seems to have been due to her rebellion against her family, including her refusal to wear hijab.

Now, full disclosure: I am firmly W.A.S.P. in background, so this is definitely an outsider's perspective. But personally, I found the article disturbing, deeply so, in that gets-under-your-skin-and-bothers-you-but-you're-not-immediately-sure-why way. At the end of the day, my conclusions are that the article both legitimizes the Islamophobia that makes the hijab such a hot-button issue, and supports the patriarchal authoritarianism that is the source of so much genuine harm in many faith- or culturally-based communities, of whatever type.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Another E-Mail Forward

A Letter to the Editor (excellent letter),

So many letter writers have explained how this land is made up of immigrants. May be we should turn to our history books and point out to people why today's Canadian is not willing to accept the new kind of immigrant any longer. 

Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to  Canada, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in Halifax and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new Canadian households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home. They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. 

Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labour laws to protect them. All they had were the skills, craftsmanship and desire they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity. 

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. Canadians fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany , Italy, France, Japan , Czechoslovakia , Russia,  Sweden, Poland and so many other places. None of these first generation Canadians ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Canadians fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of  Japan. They were defending the Freedom as one people. When we liberated  France, no-one in those villages was looking for the Ukrainian-Canadian or the German-Canadian or the Irish-Canadian.

The people of  France saw only Canadians. 

And we carried one flag that represented our country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be a Canadian. They stirred the melting pot into one red and white bowl. 

And here we are in 2008 with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes a Canadian passport and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's not what being a Canadian is all about. Canadians have been very open-hearted and open- minded regarding immigrants, whether they were fleeing poverty, dictatorship, persecution, or whatever else makes us think of those aforementioned immigrants who truly did ADOPT our country, and our flag and our morals and our customs. And left their wars, hatred, and divisions behind. I believe that the immigrants who landed in Canada in the early 1900s deserve better than that for the toil, hard work and sacrifice those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags, fighting foreign battles on our soil, making Canadians change to suit their religions and cultures, and wanting to change our countries fabric by claiming discrimination when we do not give in to their demands. 

Its about time we get real and stand up for our forefathers rights, we are CANADIAN Lest we forget it!!! I am a Native of this Country & proud of it!

NO MORE not saying CHRISTMAS in stores and our schools, Seasonal  Holiday be dammed!!!   

I Want my  Canada of birth BACK !!!                


Hope this letter is read by millions of people all across  Canada!!

Okay, first problem:

Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to  Canada, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in Halifax and be documented.

Immigration in Canada had a peak in the early 1900s, but it's nothing compared to the rates now.

As for the language thing, I would like to respond with this xkcd:

It's a constant flaw in anti-immigration (and frankly, pro-immigration) debates to cast the yesteryear of immigration as some sort of paradise of perfect integration and people giving up their national identities to buy in to some great ideology of Canada.

THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED, PEOPLE. The Anglophones and the Francophones have never gotten along together. The English, Irish, and Scottish have never gotten along. The Catholics and Protestants haven't. The various types of Protestants haven't. See, e.g.:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Oh sure, you can trust the government

Corrections minister apologizes to inmate jailed too long

Kyle Dufresne, 19, who's from the Joseph Bighead First Nation, was sentenced to serve a month and a half in jail for breaching his probation.

Instead, Dufresne spent an extra 4½ months in jail in Meadow Lake, Prince Albert and Regina.