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This week’s editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

In defense of free speech

The “No-platforming” of speakers with whom we fundamentally disagree can suggest that force ought to prevail over speech that is itself regarded as “violent.” This suggestion is deeply corrosive.

Method in Trump’s madness?

A look at Donald Trump’s 'travel bans' with an eye to the harvesting of personal data, and the EU-US Privacy Shield, now on life support.

Time for the west to fight for the exiled

Today’s autocrats are displaying a growing audacity in their willingness to pursuing dissenters everywhere, blatantly disregarding national boundaries in the process.

Questions of interests: Canada and the puzzle of Fiduciary Obligation

Canada is seeking to move towards a new kind of reconciliation with its First Nations. But what does it mean to speak of the “best interests” of the vulnerable?

Penal populism and the BDS movement after Security Council Res. 2334

Despite a backdrop of symbolic mislabelling, campaigns such as BDS seem to have formulated new horizons of civil and political practice (in opposition to the mere declamation) of human rights.

The crime, the time, and the politics of ICTY justice

Radovan Karadzic is my relative, on my mother’s side. For years, I felt uneasy about that and my vehement public opposition to the war put me at odds with many of my relatives.

"The corollary of the derivative is the border": visions for the democratic control of movement

Democracy is created in the seizing of it: those who are democratizing movement are those who, in their actions, are implicitly or explicitly demanding the abolition of borders.

Canada's back

The situation called for someone to champion Canada. Justin Trudeau did just that -- he took the highroad and Canadian voters followed. 

Paris as a test case for the west

One effective way for western governments to keep their people safe is to press for fundamental reforms in countries where armed extremists thrive, rather than subverting democracy at home.

Sea change for gender equity in Canada: great smoke, how much fire?

Justin Trudeau has pledged to open a national inquiry into the staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls. What are the prospects for broader gender equity in Canadian society?  

Canadians, go vote to get your money's worth

As Canada prepares to vote in the longest and possibly costliest election of its modern history, high voter turnout is key to bring the focus back on the role of citizens in Canadian electoral politics.

Energy democracy: building a solar dream in a tar sands nightmare

Refusing to be victims in this game of fossil fuel roulette, communities like Little Buffalo in Alberta are leading the way towards energy independence. They are turning their gaze to the sun.

May 2015, aka “The month I realized dissent was illegal in Canada”

Bill C-51 and this revision to Canada’s hate laws make it possible for reasonable dissent, formerly protected under free speech laws, to be labeled terrorist, racist, or both, and prosecuted as such. 

Awaiting justice: Indigenous resistance in the tar sands of Canada

The Nation of the Lubicon Cree is on the frontlines of environmental destruction, as it challenges the forces behind resource extraction and environmental and cultural genocide, and seeks justice for all.

"It starts with us": Breaking one of Canada's best kept secrets

A coalition of women human rights defenders in Canada is demanding an end to state complicity, and a culture of impunity in the genocidal violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people.

Defending the global knowledge commons

Members are encouraged to use creative commons licensing and to join others in a pledge to be open by agreeing to review for and publish in mainly if not solely open access journals.

Terror arrives in Canada – but whose?

New anti-terror legislation will, according to its proponents, show terrorists that Canada will “never be intimidated.” But many Canadians themselves are more than a little intimidated by Bill C-51.

Subsidising climate change

We need to raise awareness about how the rich oil nations keep subsidising oil extraction whilst agreeing that the world needs to cut emissions. Taxpayers cannot passively let their governments do this.

An inversion of democracy: the case of Alabama and Israel

Democracy does not end at the ballot box. All humans are equally deserving of respect. The legislators of Alabama and Israel have undermined the trust placed in them by the public and so we must question their commitment to their duty to serve.

Letter from a petro-state

In the wake of the US Senate narrowly failing to pass the Keystone XL pipeline bill, we must return to the central question: is Canada becoming a petro-state?

Missing and murdered: Am I next?

Canada offers its Indigenous women a quality of life degraded by disproportionate danger, fear, and aggression. As a country we must hold ourselves accountable for this caustic legacy of colonialism.

9/11: what we can do

Daniel Gallant’s unique experience as an activist, counselor, scholar, writer and former violent right wing extremist offers a unique insight into what we can all contribute to decreasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

Diagnosed in the dock? Gun control and mental health in Canada

Canada's tendency to frame its national conversations in comparison to the US evades its own problems, including inadequate mental health care.

Five light pieces on a serious subject: why we want the university president's job

We argued that four eminently qualified scholars could contribute much more to a university than any single person could. Split four ways, the minimum base salary for the president of $400,000 CAN would constitute a raise for each of the applicants.

Civil rights: playing the territorial card

Sub-state institutions may claim that they need self-government in order to maintain their distinct progressive tradition while, in reality, the distinct progressive tradition is often created in order to justify claims to self-government. 

Corporate hegemony and the Keystone Pipeline

Environmental management consistently projects an image that the risks of climate change can be managed and the extraction of dirty energy resources should continue. 

Sex workers in democratic societies

While there are certainly gendered imbalances in the actual structures of current sex markets, these imbalances are created, reinforced and strengthened not by sex work itself but by laws criminalizing sex work and by treating sex workers as second-class citizens without rights.

Truth is the legacy we want

An op-ed from six youth activists in countries where official truth seeking initiatives are underway or being demanded reveals commonalities in the search for dignity, truth and acknowledgment of crimes. 

Harper’s discordant notes

Unlike the US, Canada has always had a positive reputation in the strife-tone Middle East as an impartial broker and peacemaker. Until now.

A year of living generously

Genuine happiness involves sharing time and money, but beware of thinking that the poor belong to some other tribe. Do not judge, presume or patronize. There are no unimportant acts of kindness.

The Arctic disconnect

If long-term climate disruption is a reality, so is the prospect of short-term benefit for states such as Canada and Russia. But their governments' denial of climate change looks back not forward. 

In defense of Quebec

Many Quebecers have advocated for interculturalism as opposed to multiculturalism, and Quebec espouses a distinctly French model of secularism.

Quebec’s Charter of Values: citizenship, patriarchy and paranoia

Since the charter was announced, a group of Francophone academics released a manifesto for a “Quebec Inclusif” (Inclusive Quebec) opposing the PQ’s project and its two million dollar campaign, signed by more than twenty-one thousand people in the span of a week. 

No more sources

Revelations by Edward Snowden, National Security Agency dissident, have grave implications for the role of journalists in the ‘Fourth Estate’ and the primary duty of source protection in the era of mass-surveillance.

Human compassion in a foreign lingo

Mexico officially recognises 68 native languages, although some of these are spoken by fewer than 100 people and seem destined to disappear along with the culture and customs to which they gave expression. From openDemocracy.

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