The Spiritual Spectrum: Religion, Law and Limits



Imagine one of your friends or colleagues starts to act out regularly. Just acting obnoxious in general, really rude, really abrasive. So much so that you have a public falling out, your entire circle no longer wants to be around this person. And just when you think  they're out of your life, they take you to court for excluding them.

Something very similar happened to a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses when they made the decision to excommunicate Randy Wall. In April 2017, Randy Wall requested a review of this decision by the Alberta court.  By November, Wall’s former congregation appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada on the grounds that the Alberta courts did not have the jurisdiction to hear Wall’s initial case back in April.

These two cases by the Alberta and Supreme Court of Canada have raised a bit of controversy over the involvement of the court in day to day life.  Some are calling for a proper separation of church and state within Canada. When the Supreme Court made the decision to review the Alberta case hearings, an opinion piece was published in the National Post by one Barry Bussey, titled ‘Courts have no business reviewing religious decisions’.

Bussey ended his article with a clear statement against such actions. That quote reads “the law need not apply to every nook and cranny of our lives, especially religious affairs.”

So how involved is the canadian government with religious affairs? What would it look like if the law and courts never touched anything remotely religious? Is there a need for more separation of church and state in Canada?

It’s worth mentioning that Canadian Law does have some advantages for religious organizations, like tax exemption through charitable status, protection from discrimination, and the need for schools and workplaces to accommodate religious needs.

The discussion around this could go in many directions, considering how personal a topic religion is and how intense political values are as well.


ABCA. Wall v Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. 8 Sept.2016,

This is the citation for the court case of Wall v Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Alberta. The opinion piece that the episode will respond to draws on this court case, as well as an upcoming Supreme Court of Canada hearing. This is a popular source, and it documents the major events of the case in the order that they occurred. 


Allen, Marry. “Police-Reported Hate Crime in Canada, 2013.” Government of Canada, Statistics Canada, Statistics Canada, 30 Nov. 2015,

This is a statistics report on hate crimes in Canada. It is a popular government source. The episode will discuss the way in which the Canadian government regulates religious practices, and begins with the notion that “the government is too involved”. This statistic, as well as other information on how discrimination laws are used, will serve as evidence for another view point, in that the Canadian government is only involved when it is necessary. For example, in a situation where a citizen must prove in court that they were being discriminated against based on their religion.


Berger, Benjamin L. “Religious Diversity, Education, and the ‘Crisis’ in State Neutrality.”Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne , vol. 29, no. 01, 2013, pp. 103–122., doi:10.1017/cls.2013.56.

This is a scholarly, peer reviewed source that discusses religion and education in Canada through several specific cases. The relation to the episode is that is contains an in-depth and easy to understand explanation of why catholic schools are still funded by the government while other religious minority schools are not. Or at least, the argument that was used.


Ewing , Heidi and Rachel Grady, directors. One of Us. Netflix , Netflix , 20 Oct. 2017.

This is the citation for a documentary on the Hasidic community in New York. It is a popular source. The documentary highlights a situation where the Hasidic community has its own niche judicial system within the legal system of New York, allowing them to hold hearings in a way that emphasizes their religious beliefs. Because the episode is about the law and religion, this is a perfect example of what the separation of church and state does not look like, despite the fact that generally speaking the US government is separate from any religious body.


Landau, Richard M. “Toward a Definition of Legitimate Religions.” Ontario Human Rights Commission,

This article is from the summer 2012  issue of the magazine Diversity, which I was only about to cite from the Ontario Human Rights Commission website. It outline the hallmarks of genuine religions, as best as the government can discern. It also sheds some light on how a group that claims to be a religion might not be recognized by the Canadian government and granted certain rights that most mainstream religions have in Canada. It also mentions two famous cults, which hints at the violent impact of some radical belief systems on the way governments have to operate in such a sensitive area as faith. This episode is about the limits of religious freedoms, or what they should be (subject to opinion), so it is imperative that safety and legitimacy of any organization is easy to discern for the discussion. This source is secondary as it draws on the authors experience with religions, government regulations of faiths and general knowledge of universal human rights. It is also a popular source.


“Policy on Preventing Discrimination Based on Creed.” Ontario Human Rights Commission,

This web article outlines the religious rights of people living in Ontario which are provided by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code. It contains practical information for understanding how public spaces must accommodate certain practices, how to identify discrimination from a legal standpoint and exceptions to the rule. It is a secondary source of applicable Canadian and Ontario law on a governmental website. This source is relevant because this episode will center on the limitations of religious freedoms, and this website outlines the current state of religious freedoms as well as how society is expected to use them. It is a popular government source. 


Galanter, Marc. Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion. Oxford University Press, 1999.

This is an academic book on cults and techniques used within them. Because there is no universally agreed upon definition of a cult, the author uses the term charismatic group to discuss the typical, pseudo religious organizations that he wishes to investigate. Early on in the book the author demonstrates that even an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting can take on certain aspects of a charismatic group or cult. This is relevant to the episode because it illustrates the dynamics within religious or cultish communities and how the customs of such a group dictate the lives of its members. The book does focus on more outlandish ideologies and concepts, so it also provides a good look into why some governments seek to regulate or intervene with specific situations. This is a scholarly source. 


Stolzenberg, N. M. “Righting the Relationship Between Race and Religion in Law.” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 31, no. 3, Oct. 2011, pp. 583–602., doi:10.1093/ojls/gqr014.

This article is a peer reviewed, scholarly source. The main topic is about the overlap of race and religion and the instances in which they must be examined together. It also compares the differences in American and European legal viewpoints on discrimination cases, where the author mentions that Americans tend to focus on the race and neglect religion and culture, and that Europeans focus on religion more than race and culture. Some examples are provided to illustrate this. In relation to this episode, it provides insight into multiple court cases centering around religious discrimination, and how they had to be differentiated from racial discrimination in the eyes of the court.


Friedson, Meredith L. “Psychotherapy and the Fundamentalist Client: The Aims and Challenges of Treating Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Journal of Religion and Health, vol. 54, no. 2, 2014, pp. 693–712., doi:10.1007/s10943-014-9946-8.

This is a peer reviewed, scholarly article meant for those who wish to gain understanding on therapy for Jehovah’s witnesses. The relevance to the episode is that it deals with two controversial practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses, isolation and shunning. In Wall’s case he mentions that distress from the shunning of his daughter caused the incidents which led to his disfellowship. The article gives an in depth look into experience with such distress.


Dirksen, Annegret. “Children of Jehovah's Witnesses under Two Dictatorships*.” Religion, State and Society, vol. 34, no. 2, 2006, pp. 191–210., doi:10.1080/09637490600624857.

This article discusses the persecution of Witnesses in Germany under Nazi rule and German Democratic Republic (GDR). It is a peer reviewed, scholarly source. This is relevant to the episode because it is a clear representation of  deeply negative government involvement with Witness children, on a much larger scale than the Wall case.  


Knox, Zoe. “Writing Witness History: The Historiography of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.” Journal of Religious History, vol. 35, no. 2, 2011, pp. 157–180., doi:10.1111/j.1467-9809.2010.01030.x.

This is a peer reviewed, scholarly article which outlines the founding of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group, their influence on the acceptance of societies, and notorious controversies. It provides a general information on the history and literature of the group, as well as examples of how people come to be disfellowshiped.


Bodnaruk, Zenon M, et al. “Meeting the Clinical Challenge of Care for Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Transfusion Medicine Reviews, vol. 18, no. 2, 2004, pp. 105–116., doi:10.1016/j.tmrv.2003.12.004.

This article discusses one of the most controversial legal debates in relation to Witnesses; blood transfusion refusal. It provides some detail as to the legal process of refusal, which can include trials and hearings for families who must decide for a child in a life threatening situation. It is relevant because of the legal scenarios that can arise when religious beliefs prevent a person from certain actions. It is a peer reviewed, scholarly article.


Why we need resources for mental health.

“Margaret Wente.” The Globe and Mail, February 25, 2018.


This is a short profile on Margaret Wente that tells the history of her career.  It states that she is an award-winning columnist who has a history in editing.  She also has an MA in English and has won many journalism awards.  I think that this information is important because having more context on who the author for the opinion piece is.  When presenting the opinion piece in my podcast I think that it is essential to have a short description on the author because some listeners might not know who Margaret Wente is.


Pardy, Bruce. “Head Starts and Extra Time: Academic Accomodation on Post-secondary Exams and Assignments for Students with Cognitive and Mental Disabilities.” 25 Education and Law Journal 191. 2016. February 25, 2018.


This article, which was hyperlinked in Wente’s opinion piece, supports her opinion.  It states that exams and assignments are actually competitions where students battle to determine who is the best among them.  Author Bruce Pardy believes that giving accommodations to some students and not others is actually very unfair.  I wanted to include this piece in my research because I wanted to see where Wente got her information from for her opinion.  I think that having this context helps me to understand her perspective more.  Also, it will be good information for listeners to have so that they can form their own well educated opinions.

Why we need resources for mental health.

Dalton, Ashleigh, et al. Suicide Prevention in Toronto. Toronto Public Health, 2014. February 18, 2018.

This piece reports on suicide and suicide prevention in Toronto.  The purpose of the report is to highlight the importance of recognizing suicide as a legitimate health issue, as suicide is a leading cause of death.  From there the piece also emphasizes the importance of educating society on prevention of suicide to those who struggle with their mental health.  I chose this article because not only does it give statistics on suicide in Toronto, but it also gives information on different intervention strategies from universal, to selective, to indicated.  I think that it is important when discussing topics like suicide and mental health to offer potential solutions, so that the listeners have a better understanding of how to improve society’s perspective.


Canadian Electronic Library, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. Student mental health: breaking down silos and busting stigmas. Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, 2013. February 18, 2018

This article puts an emphasis on the importance of improving mental health for all Canadians, but students in particular.  This is because more and more students are accessing mental health resources on campus.  This paper reports on the plan that The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has for a pan-Canadian approach to tackle the improvement on mental health resources.  For my podcast I wanted to have a source that emphasizes the importance of having proper resources in place for those who struggle with mental health.  Especially for university students, because that was the initial target in Wente’s opinion piece.  

Episode Pitch: Striking Innocents (formerly the affects of corporal punishement) By: Darrian Langer TUTR01

Corporal Punishment

Podcast Pitch

By: Darrian Langer


     The use of corporal punishment as a tool for disciplining children is an issue that touches us all, and is a topic more sensitive than a well whipped bottom.   More than a quarter century ago the American Academy of Pediatrics linked corporal punishment to increased aggressive and destructive behavior, decreased self esteem, anxiety, depression, and even suicide.  The vast majority of experts and researchers within the scientific community agree that spanking does not work, and yet two thirds of American Parents who completed the General Social Survey in 2016, agreed with the statement “ Sometimes a child just needs a good hard spanking.”  Family psychologist and syndicated columnist John Rosemond disagrees with many of his peers in the scientific community.  In a 2018 article entitled “To spank or not to…here we go again.”  Rosemond attacks a recent wall street journal article by Susan Pinker that highlights the links between spanking and a host of future behavioural issues, eventually arriving at the conclusion that the conveyance of authority is paramount when parenting and that the occasional spanking has little affect on a child’s development.  To support his argument, Rosemund points to research claiming that occasional, moderate spankings by loving parents, is associated with not only better behavior, but also improved psychological well being.  How is it that 2 different sets of researchers can arrive at completely opposite conclusions about the affects of corporal punishment?  What is the line between moderate spanking and abuse?  And if hitting a child does indeed have negative affects on their behavior and psyche, why are so many parents still doing it and why do our laws allow it?  These are just some the questions we will consider ahead on Striking Innocents.

Why Racism is still very much alive

The Recent H&M Marketing Scandal


Hosie, Rachel. "The Parents Of The Boy At The Centre Of The 'Racist' H&M Hoodie Storm Have Spoken Out". The Independent, 2018, Accessed 3 Feb 2018.


Due to the recent spur that went viral with H&M marketing mistake that has been viewed as an act of Racial profiling. The parents of the child who was viewed modeling in a "Coolest monkey in the jungle" hoodie have spoken out. After the photo of the child went viral, the company faced a lot of backlash from negative trends on social media, endorsement deals with various celebrities bringing their partnership to an end because of the effect this could have on their own self as a brand and the days followed by with many protests within their stores from within the United States to as far as South Africa. The parents of the child, names Liam Mango have come out to say "I wouldn’t see such a connection to anything other than my son modeling a shirt" in a recent interview with ITV. These remarks by the parents have been viewed differently by the people of color community. Right now the community stands divided between seeing this situation as "not a big deal/mistake" and rather condemning the behavior of various people who acted profoundly in H&M stores which forced many of them to close down and people who see the situation as a reason for H&M to be racist and hurt their own brand. Racism remarks have been viewed everywhere from department stores to politics and sports and until the black community can stand together and continue this fight rather than being divided then racism would continue to win on.


The King: How far have we come?

"Martin Luther King, Jr., Model Of An American Patriot". The White House, 2018, Accessed 3 Feb 2018.

Photo from Pixabay. Search tag "Racism"

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’" are words by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. almost every grade school child can recite, hopefully. Today I take you on a journey 55 years back to 1963 when the war on Racism was deep into battle, that day was a win for the people of color, although that win was just a fight. How far have we come in the world today? As a black journalist, I can tell you that as the world takes a step forward in the war to defeat racism, the world, particularly as what we depict as the "Western world" takes 3 steps back. Kings greatest legacy as a civil right activist was making the world see that all man is equal no matter the amount of pigment in our skin. Fast forward to 2018 and there are still people, going Scott free even after the murders of Trayvon Martin down to Sandra Bland have still not received their justice. The world is cruel is what my parents keep telling me, a black person from a fairly good background, who loves to have a voice in social opinion is the oppressors biggest enemy. It's another and there would be more fatalities and organizations forcing us to keep quiet but every year we rise stronger together because black is beautiful, white is beautiful, hate is unnecessary and together is the only way we can be stronger.  



White Supremacy still casts a shadow over the trump presidency

Shugerman, Emily. "White Supremacy Still Casts A Shadow Over The Trump Presidency After A Year Of Controversy". The Independent, 2018, Accessed 10 Feb 2018.

Lesa Webb of Los Angeles, California, holds up a sign before marching in the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr march and parade in Denver, Colorado JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Image

With the reference to Mexican as "Rapists", preventing Muslims from entering the United States to abandoned promises. The 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump has certainly had a roller coaster 12 months. It has been said Trump won his presidency with the crying of white supremacists and this could not be any truer especially after he blamed a white supremacist rally on "Both Sides". A misogynic liar, Trump clearly states he is "the least racist person you'll ever meet" but his actions are clearly perpendicular to his words. When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he would condemn Duke and say he didn’t want a vote from him or any other white supremacists, Trump claimed that he didn’t know anything about white supremacists or about Duke himself. David Duke is a former KKK Leader who has built their cult on the stepping and stomping of people of color. Chris Barker, an Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, said he had never seen applications for his chapter grow at the rate they did that summer.






"We will not shut up and dribble"

Cole, Devan. "Lebron James: 'I Am More Than An Athlete'". CNN, 2018, Accessed 3 Mar 2018.

In a recent UNINTERRUPTED video that features Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and his fellow basketball star and good friend Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors. The podcast's host, Cari Champion, asked the two players how they would describe the current climate for politically-engaged athletes. Last year, James called the president a "bum" on Twitter, said the climate "is hot." During the podcast he goes further and he said Trump is "someone who doesn't understand the people—and really don't give a [expletive] about the people." James comments did not go well with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who took to her show to tell James that he should "shut up and dribble." Laura went on to say "This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school early to join the NBA," Ingraham said. "It's always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball." In a statement released later that week, she said there was "no racial intent in my remarks" and dismissed such claims as "an attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism." Durant, though, doesn't agree.
In an interview with USA TODAY, he agreed with the declaration that her comments had racial undertones. "To me, it was racist," he said. At an NBA news conference, James reiterated his stance, telling reporters that he and fellow players "will definitely not shut up and dribble." The #wewillnotshutupanddribble has gone on to have over 2000 posts on instagram and involved in over 1000 tweets. Lebron James instagram post about the issue has been repeated across several news sites and accumulated over 40000 interactions.


Is racism on the decline in America?

"Spotlight On Research: Is Racism On The Decline In America?". Association For Psychological Science, 2018, Accessed 1 Mar 2018.

Has racism declined as much as surveys indicate? Research psychologists have long studied race relations in America. The thrust of this work largely has been to understand the nature of Whites’ prejudice toward people of color (mainly toward Blacks) and to explore how interracial contact situations can be structured to reduce this prejudice. Over the past three decades, nationwide surveys show significant declines in expressions of prejudice, negative stereotyping, and resistance to equality by Whites. Although, considerable gaps in social, economic, and physical well-being between Blacks and Whites still exist(an example being less than 5 companies in the Fortune 500 have black CEOs), and in some cases are growing. Blacks continue to report greater distrust of our social system and of other people than do Whites. For example, in one nationwide survey, only 16% of Blacks (compared to 44% of Whites) felt that “most people can be trusted.” These data challenge the assumption that race is no longer a critical issue for our society. The fact that negative attitudes may exist and be expressed automatically does not mean that racial bias is inevitable or immutable. However, America seems to think it has disappeared entirely. This point of view is identified as Modern Symbolic Racism. Americans believe racial equality is good, but it should be achieved. Americans still show negative attitudes towards blacks and minorities. Basically, Americans endorse equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome.


KKK slows down but hate crimes increase

"KKK Chapters Are Dwindling — But Other Hate Groups Are On The Rise". New York Post, 2018, Accessed 2 Mar 2018.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said its count of Klan groups fell from 130 in 2016 to 72 last year, despite an increase of activity in the broader white supremacist movement. The Alabama-based law center reported a sharp increase in neo-Nazi groups, from 99 in 2016 to 121 last year. And it counted a total of 954 active “hate groups” in 2017, an increase of 4 percent over the previous year. The Anti-Defamation League said in a report last year that 42 Klan groups were active in 22 states between January 2016 and June 2017. But more than half of them had formed in the previous three years, and their recruiting efforts couldn’t compete with other white supremacist groups, the report said. The law center counted more than 600 groups that “adhere to some form of white supremacist ideology.” It also reported an increase in what it calls “black nationalist hate groups,” from 193 chapters in 2016 to 233 last year.


Harvard’s discrimination against Asian Americans must end

Blum, Edward. "Opinion | Harvard’S Discrimination Against Asian Americans Must End". Washington Post, 2018, Accessed 2 Mar 2018.

The Justice Department confirmed that it is examining claims of racial discrimination against Asian Americans in university admissions. There is a chance that this will result in investigations and lawsuits targeting the United States most competitive schools. This is a significant and welcome development. If the Justice Department follows through — as it should — what its lawyers will find at Harvard University and other Ivy League schools is an unfair and unconstitutional process that restricts the number of Asians admitted. That should alarm all Americans. Sadly, Harvard has a long and ugly history of using “holistic” admissions to discriminate against high-achieving minorities. As many historians have detailed, nearly 100 years ago, Harvard’s leadership believed it had too many Jews because almost a quarter of all Harvard freshmen were Jewish. 


Beginning to end Racial profiling

"Beginning To End Racial Profiling: Definitive Solutions To An Elusive Problem". Scholarlycommons.Law.Wlu.Edu, 2011, Accessed 1 Mar 2018.

Many Americans have had interactions with police officers and other law-enforcement agents, and the majority of these police-citizen encounters occur in  traffic stops. Although, traffic stops are necessary not only for enforcing traffic rules and deterring traffic violations, but they are generally beneficial for broader public safety concerns. For many people, traffic stops are simply part of life. For many racial minorities, however, especially African-American and Latino men, even a routine traffic stop takes on an entirely different meaning. There is strong evidence that racial minorities believe law enforcement officers engage in racial profiling. African-Americans have long argued that police officers investigate their behaviour with a higher depth, and many report that they are fearful of arrest even if they have done nothing illegal. The majority of African-Americans believe that racial profiling is wrong, yet is prevalent within their communities. The almost insuperable legal standards and the difficulty in sustaining Equal Protection claims, shows that reliance on judicial remedies is unwise. Alternatively, legislative efforts, may offer a more promising strategy to address racial profiling. For many years, Representative John Conyers and others in Congress have been working to pass federal legislation that would address racial profiling. The End Racial Profiling Act would prohibit and attempt to eliminate racial profiling by federal, state, local, and tribal law-enforcement agencies and would allow the federal government or private plaintiffs to sue for declaratory or injunctive relief. More than half of the nation’s states have enacted legislation either prohibiting racial profiling and/or requiring jurisdictions within the state to collect data on law enforcement stops and searches. Racial profiling is not only common at traffic stops but also at other public places such as airports, malls and even hospitals. These profiling have led to the deaths of many people(children included) who have not once gone against the law but have died because of the colour of their skin or the way they look.


Robots and Racism

C, Bartneck et al. "Robots And Racism". Ir.Canterbury.Ac.Nz, 2013, Accessed 1 Mar 2018.

When we meet people for the first time, often we notice their gender and race most especially. Previous research has shown that people use these social categories even in impression formation about nonhuman entities for example the look and manipulation of a Robot's body, shape, and perception of gender in robots. The question thus arises whether they might also be perceived to have race if presented with cues stereotypic of various racial identities. That is, do people automatically identify robots as being racialized, such that we might say that some robots are “White” while others are “Asian” or “Black”. In particular, an abundance of social psychological research shows that people have implicit racial biases which significantly aspect their behaviour.  Determining whether people perceive robots to have race, and if so, whether the same race-related prejudices extend to robots, is thus an important matter. To investigate these questions, we adapted the shooter bias paradigm a well established method for investigating the automaticity of race-based categorization and of biased behavioral responding. In this paradigm, participants are asked to play the role of a police o cer whose job it is to shoot individuals carrying a gun, while refraining from shooting people carrying harmless objects such as a soda can, wallet, or a cell phone. The task is carried out using image- based stimuli on a computer, with multiple trials depicting the full manipulation of the individuals’ race (Black versus White) crossed with the objects in hand. These trials occur on the screen in rapid succession to mirror the rapid context in which police officers are expected to make decisions. This experiment revealed that participants were quicker to shoot an armed Black agent than an armed White agent, and simultaneously faster to refrain from shooting an unarmed White agent than an unarmed Black agent regardless of whether it was a human or robot. Also the viewing of Robots as a particular colour can also act as a distraction within growing youth which aim to build these objects as to how they see them online or on the television rather than chase their own imagination.


The Shock of Charlottesville: Unmasking Racism in Healthcare

Dossey, Larry. "The Shock Of Charlottesville: Unmasking Racism In Healthcare". Explore Journal.Com, 2018, Accessed 22 Feb 2018.

Larry Dossey begins this article with a timeline of how several events witnessed have selectively been tied to Racism in Healthcare. As he begins, America is on edge following a violent confrontation in Charlottes- ville, Virginia on 12 August between white supremacists and Nazi supporters on one side and counter-protestors on the other. The importance of Charlottesville goes beyond public statues of Confederate leaders.  Just as many white citizens cannot recognize the presence of racism in the lives of minorities in our country or think white supremacy and neo-Naz- ism are acceptable, many Americans are also blind to how racism has influenced and continues to influence American medical care. This includes many health- care professionals. In some ways these problems have become worse, evidenced by the President's and the Republicans’ war on Planned Parenthood, which provides medical services for millions of minorities and the poor of all races; the refusal of 16 states to expand Medicaid coverage to needy populations, including people of color, condemning thousands to early death; and the recent attempts to strip health insurance from around 24 million Americans—mainly people of color, the poor, the elderly, and the disabled—in order to finance a tax cut for rich Americans and diminish the legacy of President Barack Obama.


Racism in the United States is viewed by black and whites very differently

Cdn.Cnn.Com, 2017, Accessed 4 Apr 2018.

Struyk, Ryan. "Blacks And Whites See Racism In The United States Very, Very Differently". CNN, 2017, Accessed 4 Apr 2018.


How you see race in the United States can depend a lot on your own background. An avalanche of polling over the last three years, much of it prompted by police killings of African-Americans that grabbed headlines in 2014 and 2015, show how people of different racial backgrounds have wildly different American experiences. Public opinion polling paints a stark picture of wide disparities between African-Americans and other minorities compared to whites. Black Americans perceive -- and experience -- racial discrimination more than white Americans. The photo above is a visual representation of the data and statistics I'm about to explain. An enormous 87% of black Americans say black people face huge amounts of discrimination in the United States, but only 49% of white Americans say the same thing, according to a February poll from the Public Religion Research Institute. This problem arises with the huge prejudice against minorities in the United States. Six in 10 Americans (61%) said racism against blacks is widespread in the United States in a Gallup poll last August -- up from just 51% at the beginning of President Barack Obama's first term in 2009. But that includes a broad racial split: 82% of blacks vs. just 56% of whites. And nonwhites take the topic a lot more seriously. A Quinnipiac University poll in March found 66% of nonwhites labeled prejudice a "very serious" problem, while only 39% of whites felt the same way. Meanwhile, one in four whites (25%) said it was not a serious problem and only one in 10 nonwhites (11%) felt the same way. Moving ahead, 8% of blacks say the country needs to keep making changes for blacks to have equal rights with whites. A small majority (53%) of whites agree with them, according to a Pew Research survey from last June. And blacks seem to be less optimistic about that is happening. About half of that group (43%) is skeptical that these changes will ever happen in the United States, while only one in 10 whites (11%) say they're doubtful the country will eventually change.


Refugees and Racism in Canada

Richmond, Anthony. "Refugees And Racism In Canada". Refuge.Journals.Yorku.Ca, 2005, Accessed 4 Apr 2018.

The definition of Refugee is "owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a par- ticular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” Racism is an example of prejudice, discrimination, or disadvantage experienced by individuals, or groups, who can be distinguished by physical or cultural characteristics. There are a number of different levels at which racism and other forms of ethnic prejudice and discrimination, however, may express themselves toward refugees and other immigrants. There is a hierarchy of “social distance,” which places British, French, and other Western European peoples high, and Jews, blacks, Asians, and other “visible minorities” low on a preference scale. Canadians appear to reject explicit racism, although physical differences are important in the perception of groups. In 1971 to 1980, Canada admitted approximately 100000 refugees including over 7000 Ugandan Asians, 0ver 70000 Vietnamese, Indonesian and Cambodians and has become a sort of safe haven for immigrants even till today. Canada’s immigration policies and its treatment of refugees cannot be considered in isolation from the global context and actions of other countries and agencies. The fact that a large majority of the estimated 12 million refugees in the world today are of non-European ethnic origin and are still located in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, raises the question of racism, when compared with the more sympathetic response to refugee crises in Yugoslavia. A “non-exodus” approach to global migration from developing countries, and the use of deterrents by Canada and other wealthy countries, to protect their borders, are forms of institutional racism, despite the numbers of refugees actually admitted from the Third World.


Racism effects on Mental and Physical health

Young, Leslie. "‘It’S A Traumatic Moment’: How Everyday Racism Can Impact Mental, Physical Health". Global News, 2018, Accessed 4 Apr 2018.

Being called a racial slur isn’t just hurtful when it happens – it can also have long-lasting health effects over time, say doctors. People who experience a moment of racism “put it away in a box,” she said. The next time they experience something similar, they might not just react to that single comment, but to all the other ones they have already experienced throughout their lifetime. Repeated traumatic interactions can result in reduced self-esteem and internalized hatred, according to a blog post by the American Psychiatric Association. In the case of PTSD, “That’s because these events tend to be unpredictable so you never know when they’re going to happen so that makes people anxious and hypervigilant.” And some people get depressed because they feel like they can’t keep trying to fight the system and just give up, she said. Some people might also deal with stress by resorting to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, said Chandrasekera( Uppala Chandrasekera, director of public policy at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario.) “As an individual who has experienced racism, it’s really important for us as racialized people to unpack what’s happened and talk about it,” said Chandrasekera. so to help, if you see a racist act, even if you feel unsafe intervening in the moment, she suggests offering your support to the victim, saying that you saw what happened and asking if they’re alright. This way, the person doesn’t feel so isolated and alone, she said. And what’s more, it can help to change the system.


Gun controls Racist past and present

Newton, Creede. "Gun Control's Racist Past And Present". Aljazeera.Com, 2017, Accessed 4 Apr 2018.

Gun control is again at the forefront of US public discourse following the mass shooting in Las Vegas. The mass shooting was the deadliest of its kind in the last seven decades. "Saying gun laws are always racist is just false. Saying that gun laws have never been racist is also just wrong. Gun ownership activists have taken to "open carry" demonstrations, during which the mostly white activists march in public spaces while carrying assault rifles, in recent years. "few black people would survive very long" if they conducted similar protests in situations where they were likely to be confronted by police. The silence of the NRA following the 2016 Murder of 32-year-old Philando Castile after he clearly disclosed that he had a licensed firearm to Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a routine traffic stop, hammered the point home for many African American gun owners. NRATV commentator Bill Whittle said black people are intellectually inferior to people of other races. But systemic biases in the US must be dealt with. Until then, there would be continued violence. The system is rotten with bias towards people of colour as many situations arise that shun the people of colour but arise for white people. Celebrity Selena Gomez states in a tweet (during the #blacklivesmatter campaign protest) that Hashtags don't save people, But willingly came out during the recent #Marchforourlives campaign that followed the recent killings in Florida. These double standards are the reason why the system would never favour people of colour.



Why we need resources for mental health.

Abdelmahmoud, Elamin. “I Sure As Hell Wouldn’t Want To Be A Student Now: An Open Letter To Margaret Wente.”Chatelaine, 2017. February 10, 2018.


This article written by Elamin Abdelmahmoud comes from the perspective of a university instructor responding to Wente’s opinion.  She emphasizes that the students actually have much resiliency and that universities aren’t doing enough fo those struggling.  Abdelmahmoud also says “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be a student now.”  She says this as she brings up the point that university students these days have an extremely competitive job market to look forward to when the graduate, and that contributes very much to their stress.  This is significant particularly about this point as it offers another perspective as to why university students are struggling.  It is especially helpful that I get a perspective from a university instructor who is dealing with these students and they can give their own personal accounts of the situation.



Findlay, Leanne. “Depression and suicidal ideation among Canadians aged 15-24.” Statistics Canada. 2017. February 10, 2018


This article gives statistics on the mental health of youth in Canada.  It states that youth aged 15-24 had the poorest mental health of all age groups.  The article also states that school is a major source of stress for students.  Having this information in my podcast will help give some context on the subject.  It emphasizes that youth in Canada are indeed struggling and that there needs to be action to take place to make improvements for the youth.  Even though Wente would argue otherwise this information is important to have because it enforces the perspective that Wente’s argument might not be correct.

Episode Pitch (reposted)

Remember how we were brought up as kids, the birthday gifts we received and common phrases our parents or guardians would say to us. Do you remember being told as a male child to “look after your sister or sisters”, “be the man of the house”, or to say “ladies first”. The young girls were usually told, “Act like a lady”, “be kind” and so on. We have faced expectations, norms and standards that have been tailored into the society. Males and females always experienced double standards for the most part of their everyday life. And this has created expectations and social standards for adults. These expectations have led to double standards and gender inequality today.

Imagine the feeling that comes with being treated differently because of your gender, not given the same freedom or opportunities as the opposite sex. Have you ever felt cheated because of your gender? Have you ever faced gendered criticism? Or have you ever faced any type of criticism and just assumed that it was because of your gender and then used that gender as a weapon to play the victim?

Donna Kennedy-Glans highlights the double standards that exists in politics today and how some female politicians use their gender as a weapon to play victim whenever they face criticism for their style. She says, “it is nearly impossible to criticize a female politician’s style today”. Donna acknowledges that women have faced a lot of gendered criticism but she believes that the male counterparts have it worse.

We have seen many politicians have their style criticized because of their gender. I agree with Donna because, so often we hear things like “of course he would not understand since he does not have children” or “what does a single man know about raising a family anyway?”. These are common but think about the backlash a man would face if he says a female politician is “too emotional” or “barren”. Just thinking about what that man would go through from the moment he says those words sends chills down my spine.

You are about to learn how it got to this point and what was the driving catalyst?. Does history show that it is just mere karma? Stay tuned to find out the surprising way this has shaped modern politics.

Episode Pitch - Legalization of Marijuana: Safer for Society?

By: Niamh Cosgrove

Episode Pitch


Is the legalization of recreational marijuana use safer for society? That is a question that is greatly discussed amongst countries and provinces around the world. In my podcast, I will be discussing all the reasons why this is indeed a positive thing rather than a negative one in any society. There are places such as the UK whose officials will not even discuss the legalization of this substance and places like the Netherlands who are very lenient when it comes to possessing it. Although I will be keeping most of my focus on the government and society of Canada, I will also be addressing the laws and views of other countries here and there since this is a widely controversial topic. As many are aware, this is completely relevant at the moment especially because the legislation to legalize and regulate recreational use of marijuana is set to take place in July of 2018 here in Canada. However, although this is being passed, there are still many people who are against it. The fears that are held by these people include: employees coming into work impaired, the dangers around children and youth accessing it and the safety of the public in general. With constant reference to an opinion piece by Jeffrey Miron in the CNN, I will be tackling all of these fears and giving my opinion as to why this legislation will be a beneficial turn instead of critical one. Miron's article strongly states his beliefs as to why the legalization of pot is a good thing rather than a bad one. Within this argument, he also backs up his ideas with factual evidence and statistics. He begins by outlining the fact that marijuana is not more nor less harmful than other legal substances such as; alcohol and tobacco, as well as, excessive eating or even something as simple as just driving a car. However, the difference is; those four things are legal whereas marijuana still is not in many places. Miron then goes onto discuss the result of marijuana use, crime, traffic accidents, education and health outcomes in places that have already legalized the drug.  Furthermore, the article also lays out the positive effects the legalization will have on taxes, medical resources and the decrease of repercussions as a result of the ban. Alongside this article, I will also reference many other articles and government documents as well as facts and statistics taken from other countries who have already legalized it. Also, I will be carefully highlighting all the plans that the government has in order to keep our society as safe as possible. These plans include:  minimizing harms of use, establishing a safe and responsible production system, designing an appropriate distribution system, enforcing public safety and protection and finally, accessing marijuana for medical purposes. Moreover, I would also like to address that this change is going to affect many people, not just the population of those who use this drug. This is going to help erase unnecessary criminal records, keep youth from accessing it, advance the economy and tax revenue and build more opportunities through jobs in marijuana nurseries and dispensaries. Therefore, it can and will affect many different people of different ages. I hope you will tune into my podcast on this controversial topic to hear my full argument as to why this is going to benefit our Canadian society and why it could also potentially benefit other countries around the world.



Political Correctness Idea Pitch


Political Correctness is shaping the world, but how is it shaping North America. Some would say it’s ruining the country, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say “ruining,” it’s definitely something we should be thinking about. There’s a question I will ask at the end that addresses this, and hopefully, as the audience, you’ll think about it yourself. So, before I go any further, political correctness, or P.C for short, is basically doing or saying things that are perceived to exclude, insult or marginalize people. This sounds like a good idea, and in essence it is, but it’s being taken to an extreme. People are completely avoiding controversial topics altogether because they’re afraid of offending others. This behaviour is keeping people from engaging in critical thinking and also keeping them from having the conversations they would like to have. It also makes people think that offending a person’s feelings is the worst thing you can ever do to a person, which is not the case at all. It’s important to be mindful of course, but offending someone, especially if it was an accident, isn’t the end of the world.

There was a study done that concluded that 71% of Americans think that political correctness has silenced conversations that people must have. I actually have never had a lot of experience with this until a few months into my first year of college, before university. My friends and I would talk about anything and would have meaningful discussions together. But in college, I noticed that people tried to avoid certain topics. There were things online that told me what I should and shouldn’t say. Even comedians who I loved like Chris Rock and Russel Peters, were being told off because of this thing called “political correctness.” This was going too far because people were getting angry at people for simply making jokes.

So, saying all of this, my question to you is: Why do we get so offended so easily? Why do we take everything so personal even when its not directed towards us? I guess those are two questions, but they’re tied together so they act as one. And please, ask as many questions as you might need. Also keep listening if you agree with the idea of political correctness, hate it, or are anywhere else in the middle. I’m sure that whatever your view is, I’ll look at it and we can have meaningful discussions together.


Political Correctness is shaping the world, but how is it shaping North America. Some would say it’s ruining the country, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say “ruining,” it’s definitely something we should be thinking about. There’s a question I will ask at the end that addresses this, and hopefully, as the audience, you’ll think about it yourself. So, before I go any further, political correctness, or P.C for short, is basically doing or saying things that are perceived to exclude, insult or marginalize people. This sounds like a good idea, and in essence it is, but it’s being taken to an extreme. People are completely avoiding controversial topics altogether because they’re afraid of offending others. This behaviour is keeping people from engaging in critical thinking and also keeping them from having the conversations they would like to have. It also makes people think that offending a person’s feelings is the worst thing you can do to a person, which is not the case at all. It’s important to be mindful of course, but offending someone, especially if it was an accident, isn’t the end of the world.

There was a study done that concluded that 71% of Americans think that political correctness has silenced conversations that people must have. I actually have never had a lot of experience with this until a few months into my first year of college, before university. My friends and I would talk about anything and would have meaningful discussions together. But in college, I noticed that people tried to avoid certain topics. There were things online that told me what I should and shouldn’t say. Even comedians who I loved, like Chris Rock and Russel Peters, were being told off because of this thing called “political correctness.” I thought that this was going too far because people were getting angry at people for simply making jokes.

So, saying all of this, my question to you is: Why do we get so offended so easily? Why do we take everything so personal even when its not directed towards us? I guess those are two questions, but they’re tied together so they act as one. And please, ask as many questions as you might need. Also keep listening if you agree with the idea of political correctness, hate it, or are anywhere else in the middle. I’m sure that whatever your view is, I’ll look at it and we can have meaningful discussions together.



Why we need resources for mental health.

Wilson, Michael and Santa Ono. “Students are not fragile flowers – we must care about their  mental health.”  The Globe and Mail, 2017. January 28 2018.

This article is a rebuttal of Margaret Wente’s opinion piece “Why treat university students like fragile flowers?”  It focuses on the importance of mental health and how there is such a huge stigma behind it.  It also compares how different physical and mental diseases are treated, and that often mental illnesses are swept under the rug.  Having an opinion that is centred around my initial opinion piece will help me to craft another perspective.  Especially considering that this source is on the other side of the spectrum.  Meaning that it is emphasizing the importance of mental health resources, and that university students in particular, need them.


Martineau, Sheila. “Rewriting Resilience: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Childhood      Resilience and the Politics of Teaching Resilience to “Kids At Risk.”” University of British Columbia. 1999.      February 4 2018

This study is a critical analysis and focuses on children and resiliency.  It discusses how resiliency used to be something that happened irregularly in times of trauma, but now it is considered something of a social norm.  Author Sheila Martineau also argues that teaching resiliency is forcing children to conform to societal norms.  This article is important because Wente argues that resiliency should be taught in schools, so I wanted to offer a perspective that counteracts that opinion.  Having a another perspective supported by scholarly evidence will help the listener to form their own informed opinion.


Alberta Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and Canadian Electronic Library. The case for change : children and youth with complex needs & access to the mental health system. Edmonton, Alberta : Office of the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta, 2014         =/ebooks/ebooks0/gibson_cppc-chrc/2014-11-25/1/10943031#tabview=tab1. February 4, 2018

    This government document reports the challenges that youths have when navigating the mental health system.  With the Office and the Child and Youth Advocate, Alberta Mental Health Patient Advocate, and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research hosted A Policy-Practice Conversation Focusing on Children and Youth With Complex Needs and Access to the Mental Health System.  There one-hundred provincial leaders attended to brainstorm actions to take in order to improve the mental health system.  This is necessary for my project to offer the perspective that the need for mental health resources is essential for youth.  This can apply to Wente’s opinion piece as she offers a perspective that contrasts this belief.  Once again having information that supports this perspective offers validity.


 Johnston, Charlotte. “Hey Margaret Wente: We University Students Aren’t “Fragile      Flowers.”” The Huffington Post, 2017. February 4, 2018.

    This article, written by university student Charlotte Johnston, is an open letter to Margaret Wente articulating their displeasure at being called a “fragile flower.”  However, it goes much deeper than that, she expresses how university accommodations actually help them to succeed rather than coddle them.  She also expresses how important it is to not treat mental illness as sensitivity but rather treat it as a real issue that could lead to death.  I wanted to add another opinion to my research because it gives the perspective of someone who is actually a university student who has used accommodations.  That way we can see how they have helped students to succeed.

The Face of the Anthem Protests

Witz, Billy. “This Time, Colin Kaepernick Takes a Stand by Kneeling.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Sept. 2016,

     In this article from the New York Times (secondary source), Witz shows us two contrasting reactions that have arisen from the National Anthem protests. The protests were started by Colin Kaepernick in August of 2016, and because he is the starter of the protests, Kaepernick is looked at as the face of the protests. Now one of the reactions that we have seen has been a very positive one. As Witz says in the article, one fan went as far as to say "you're the voice for us". On the other hand, there have been fans of the NFL that have been outraged over Kaepernick's protests. For example, Les and Jackie Cohen felt passionate about it enough to drive two hours to see Kaepernick's game and "tell him he's fired".

     I'm using this source to look into both sides of this topic. It is relevant because it's important to consider both points of view when discussing controversial topics such as this. I will also discuss the following questions; Is Kaepernick really the voice for the people? Should he be fired for disrespecting the U.S. flag?


Chalabi, Mona. “Three Leagues, 92 Teams And One Black Principal Owner.” FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, 28 Apr. 2014,

     I am using this article from FiveThirtyEight which is owned by ESPN, to show statistics that could lead to racial bias in sports. This is a secondary source as they acquired their data from The Institute For Diversity And Ethics In Sport. This article breaks down the race of the players, head coaches, majority owners and office staff in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. For my episode purposes, I will only be discussing the data compiled for the NFL. As of October 2013, 30% of players, 88% of head coaches, and 97% of majority owners in the NFL are white. To contrast, 66% of players, 9% of coaches, and 0% of majority owners are black.

     To relate this to my episode, I'll be discussing how racial bias could be one of the reasons why Kaepernick is still left un-employed. This is very relevant as Kaepernick was standing up for the oppression of people of colour in America, something that none of the NFL owners have ever had to deal with.

Episode Pitch - transcript

My episode will be responding to the article Colin Kaepernick in Unemployed. Is it because of his arm or his knee? Written by Victor Martinez. This article dives into the real reasons behind why Kaepernick remains unemployed. Kaepernick made national news when he decided to sit for the National Anthem during the 2016 season. In the first press conference he did after the story broke, Kaepernick said “When the flag represents what its supposed to represent for everyone in this country, I’ll stand”.

Now, it’s over a year later, Kaepernick has stated multiple times that he is looking for a team to sign him, but nobody’s come knocking. One can only wonder why. Kaepernick has had an amazing 6-year career and is only 30 years old. He’s been to a super bowl, recently, has an above average adjusted yards per pass at 7.2, along with the fifth best touchdown to interception ratio of all time. Super Bowl quarterbacks don’t just come out of nowhere, and if players were signed based on pure football ability and nothing else, Kaepernick would have been signed the day he left San Francisco.

Now Kaepernick is obviously impacted here, but he isn’t the only one. By keeping Kaepernick out of the NFL it sends a message to other players, across all other leagues. Now athletes will think twice before standing up for something they believe in. Now, the worst part about this is that Kaepernick wasn’t even doing anything wrong. He was exercising his first amendment right to show support for people of colour in America, also there aren’t any rules in place in the NFL that states players must stand for the Anthem.

This topic pertains to the NFL, professional sports leagues in general and the US. Many powerful people in the US have spoken out and sided with or against Kaepernick, most notably being Trump, the current president, who believes Kaepernick deserves to be fired for using his first amendment rights.

Now there are around 1700 players in the NFL, countless criminals, domestic abusers and drug addicts still have spots on NFL rosters. However, someone who legally took a stand for a cause he believes in, finds himself excluded.



Elder, Larry. “No, Colin Kaepernick Is No Muhammad Ali.” RealClearPolitics,

This article from RealClearPolitics begins by Elder discussing Kaepernick's award from GQ, being named 2017's Citizen of the Year. Elder infers that Kaepernick did not deserve that award, and that he doesn't deserve to be compared to the likes of Muhammad Ali. Then Elder goes on to describe the actions taken by Kaepernick and by Ali, during their separate protests. Then the article goes on to say that Kaepernick can not be compared to Ali, because he didn't sacrifice anything with his protest. The article then ends with saying that Kaepernick's protest was 'bogus" and only helped create unnecessary tension between the black community and the police.

I will be using this article among others, to represent the other side of my argument. As I will be listing my reasons for why Kaepernick is being blackballed, and still deserves to be in the NFL. This source will be very relevant for my podcast, as there are many people out there who believe that Kaepernick's protest is not significant. I will be looking for more articles like this one, that I can use as the other side to my argument.



Gender Inequality and Double Standards

By Michael Udom

Kennedy-Glans, D. (2017). The sexist language of politics: Both men and women need to change. CBC News.

How can female politicians hold power without weaponizing sex or collapsing into victimhood?  Donna Kennedy-Glans, for CBC News

Donna Kennedy-Glans, a former Progressive Conservative MLA talks about the politics of language and how female politicians use every opportunity to play the victim when their style is being criticized. She believes that since there is zero tolerance for gendered criticism against women, there should be no tolerance for gendered criticism against men as well. Although men and women (including herself) face criticism in politics a lot especially based on gender. The criticism was usually structured in a way that undermines their ability to function as a leader. She uses multiple examples to illustrate this, including various examples from the male side while comparing both.

Although she believes women in politics weaponize their sex, feeding off of every critique while calling out men by using sexist language. This creates a double standard. She uses an example that a man would not get away with calling a woman barren, but Jason Kenney was told by a woman that he can't speak on an issue because he doesn't have children and got away with it. The #MeToo movement has made it nearly impossible to criticize a female politician on any ground that relates to emotions, gender, style of leadership, but it seems okay to use that for men.


Bindel, J. (2017). Salma Hayek is right: compared with women, men are lazy and entitled. The Guardian.

Despite decades of feminism, the sexes are still profoundly unequal, in everything from appearance to pay, housework to childcare. - Julie Bindel

Julie Bindel, founder of 'Justice for Women' is a political activist and freelance journalist who talks the feeling of entitlement men have and how she agrees with the actor, Salma Hayek that men do less and get more in return. She argues that in addition to the facts that women already feel pressure to do well, they have to worry about their male counterparts who tend to be more relaxed about things and get away with less effort. When it comes to household chores, women are not given praise for doing it because it is seen as a norm and is expected. Males who choose to be stay-home dads are idolized for their "selflessness". She explains that males are more likely to get promotions in the workplace and receive more pay than women in equal positions and with an equal workload. In conclusion, she believes that even after decades of feminism, feminists still have a lot of work to do in closing the gap. This piece is important to my topic as it gives an example of how profound inequality is in the society.



Amphlett, J. (2017). Sexism, harassment & double standards in 2017. The Sentinel.

Why are men portrayed as predators and women as victims, asks Jenny Amphlett

Jenny Amphlett, talks about the double standards in the society when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment cases. In a similar scenario, women can openly make sexual remarks targetted at men and it will be overlooked, but if a man did that, it will become a big issue. The idea of a man even being sexually harassed by a woman is not one that people often consider. The slightest sexual joke made publically by a man about a woman would not be condoned but sexual and risque jokes about males have become commonplace. She makes sure to distinguish between what is criminal behavior and what is not (but people just get offended by). She believes that a lot of these incidences depend on the context in which it is interpreted. 

We live in a world where people are easily offended and actions are often misread. People deal with issues emotionally rather than logically in most cases and this always creates bias.




Remember how we were brought up as kids, the birthday gifts we received and common phrases our parents or guardians would say to us. Do you remember being told as a male child to “look after your sister or sisters”, “be the man of the house”, or to say “ladies first”. The young girls were usually told, “Act like a lady”, “be kind” and so on. We have faced expectations, norms and standards that have been tailored into the society. Males and females always experienced double standards for the most part of their everyday life. And this has created expectations and social standards for adults. These expectations have led to double standards and gender inequality today.

Imagine the feeling that comes with being treated differently because of your gender, not given the same freedom or opportunities as the opposite sex. Have you ever felt cheated because of your gender? Have you ever faced gendered criticism? Or have you ever faced any type of criticism and just assumed that it was because of your gender and then used that gender as a weapon to play the victim?

Donna Kennedy-Glans highlights the double standards that exists in politics today and how some female politicians use their gender as a weapon to play victim whenever they face criticism for their style. She says, “it is nearly impossible to criticize a female politician’s style today”. Donna acknowledges that women have faced a lot of gendered criticism but she believes that the male counterparts have it worse.

We have seen many politicians have their style criticized because of their gender. I agree with Donna because, so often we hear things like “of course he would not understand since he does not have children” or “what does a single man know about raising a family anyway?”. These are common but think about the backlash a man would face if he says a female politician is “too emotional” or “barren”. Just thinking about what that man would go through from the moment he says those words sends chills down my spine.

You are about to learn how it got to this point and what was the driving catalyst?. Does history show that it is just mere karma? Stay tuned to find out the surprising way this has shaped modern politics.


Simon, L. (2017). 'I'm just a mom': Mothers suffer lack of pride as their work remains undervalued. CBC News.

In this article, Libby Simon looks at the extent of progress made in the fight for gender equality since the December 18, 1979, United Nations treaty. This treaty called for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Using various statistical data, Libby Simon argues that women spend a significantly larger amount of time than men in unpaid jobs and are still undervalued in the society. She points to the economic double standards for men and women and how women are expected to handle "Mothering", which is viewed as a secondary role. This article is important to my topic because it shows yet another section of the society where inequality among genders exists.

Strong W. (2017). Calling more women: Nunavut's 1st woman premier says equal representation a work in progress. CBC News.

In this opinion piece, Walter Strong talks about Eva Aariak's call for women to play more active roles in politics. Eva Aariak is Nunavut's 1st woman premier and was the only woman elected by her colleagues that year. The argument made in this piece was that women need to start stepping forward in politics even though it is an attempt just to raise the number of female representatives/candidates. Young women would need people to look up to as role model to gain that will and confidence that they can take part in politics and this would be a step in the right direction to balance gender in politics. This piece is important to my topic because it proposes a solution to inequality.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, P. (2015). It’s Time to Step It Up for Gender Equality. Our World.

In this piece, Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director reflects on the last twenty years from March 8, 2017 (International Women's day). Twenty years ago, there was a historic Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing that looked at ways to improve the state of gender inequality. She uses numerous statistical data to make an argument that although there has been a slight improvement to the state of things, it is moving at a very slow pace and would take a very long time to achieve the expected goal. This is an important article to my topic because it shows that although steps are being taken to achieve equality, there are very slow steps and need to be faster.

Kittilson, M. (2016). Gender and Political Behavior. Oxford Research Encyclopedia Of Politics.

In this article, Mikki Caul Kittilson from the department of Political Science in Arixona State University, explores the different political behaviours of Men and women especially in the party they support and the degree of involvement and how it has changed over the years. Today, it has been observed that although there is a significant inequality in political involvement between men and women, it has greatly improved in recent decades. She believes that gender inequality is most pevalent in cases where active electorial participation is required and if this is improved and equality is achieved, the scope of politics would widen and the nature of the process would also the affected. This is an important and interesting article for my topic because is looks at the interactions within and between both genders and how their behaviours affect the inequality problem.

Facts and figures: Leadership and political participation. (2018). UN Women.

In this article, the UNwomen website looks at the statistics of the participation of women in leadership and political roles. It shows the statistical difference in participation between men and women and analyses the degree of this gap in different political positions and in different parts of the world. The website shows that the Nordic countries have the highest female participation with 41.7%  while Arab and Pacific countries both have the lowest with 17.4%. This is important to my topic because it backs up all the statement about inequality with numbers and statistics which paints a clearer picture.

Eltagouri, M. (2017). The history of transgender candidates in U.S. political electionsWashington Post.

Marwa Eltagouri, a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post looks at the new freedom transgender people have openly participate actively in politics. Before now, although transgender people have been elected into public office, they never used to be transparent enough to reveal it to their voters before or during elections as they were most likely to get blacklisted by the public. She argues that this new positive reception of transgender people in to public offices (which started getting better when Obama was elected as President in 2008) is a step in the right direction to improve political inclusiveness and allow a wider range of people to be represented. This article is very important to my topic because it goes beyond the two general genders being male and female and shows that there are more than two sides to gender.

Stockemer, D. (2017). The Proportion of Women in Legislatures and Cabinets: What is the Empirical Link?. Polity49(3), 434-460.

Stockemer writes about the participation and representation of women in the Legislature and Cabinets (which he claims is usually ignored). The representation of women in politics have usually been focused on the Legislative arm of the government whereas the improving the women's representation in the Cabinet is equally as important if not more important. Stockemer argues that the system of government has an effect on the degree to which women are represented. He also claims that women's representation in both Legislature and Cabinet are connected. This article is important to my topic points to a usually neglected side of government where we need more women representation.

Ghosh, S. (2017). Women in National Parliaments: An Overview. Journal Of Politics And Governance6(1), 5.

This article looks at the progress made in the amount of women that are members of the parliament between 1995 and 2015. there has been a significant increase in the participation of women in the parliament although this varies greatly depending on the region. Ghosh focusing on India believes that women are greatly excluded from political participation, especially at the national and state level. He thinks that improving the level of women participation to a set target of 30 percent would be a great step in the right direction and would benefit the country as a whole. This article is important to my topic because it looks into another country (India and compares it to the rest of the world showing that different regions have made different progress in the race for equality.

Ashe, J. (2017). Women's Legislative Underrepresentation: Enough Come Forward, (Still) Too Few Chosen. Canadian Journal Of Political Science50(02), 597-613.

This article by Ashe looks at the extent to which women are selected for elections and elected to win. Although there are a lot of female political aspirants out there, we only a few of them run for elections and participate actively in politics. Ashe argues that it is not because women do not make the effort to become active, she believes that the fault is with the political parties and their bias in selecting candidates for elections. She believes that there is a very low demand for female candidates in parties and this is the root cause as voters end up not having enough female choices to begin with so the results will always be skewed. This article looks are the problem from a very different perspective that although women try to take part in politics, there are not given equal opportunities as men to do so.

Erikson, J., & Josefsson, C. (2018). The legislature as a gendered workplace: Exploring members of parliament’s experiences of working in the Swedish parliament. International Political Science Review, 019251211773595.

In this article, the amount of freedom given to both men and women  members of the parliament were compared. The Swedish parliament where women have held over 40 percent of the seats in the nation's parliament. Erikson and Josefsson argue that althogh this a good country to use as men and women have participate to a similar extent, women are face with much greater pressure, worse treatment and pay a greater cost when engaging in politics. This article is important because it shows that even in a case where men and women participate to a similar degree, women tend to face more pressure.

Devroe, R. & Wauters, B. (2017). Political gender stereotypes in Flanders (Belgium): competent men versus leftist women? Ghent University, Belgium.

This article looks to examine the reason why women are underrepresented in politics as a whole. The voters are seen as the main culprit in this stereotypical pattern and Belgium used as the country of interest. They argue that if voters were better informed or took more time to get to know all the candidates, the results would be different. They believe that although voters tend  see women to be more leftist and suitable for like roles, that assumption does not hold and is not backed up with proof. Voters typically adopt political stereotypes and run with it thereby making it persistent. This article is also very important because it provides yet another perspective from which to look at the issue of gender inequality in politics.

Why we need resources for mental health.

Wente, Margaret. “Why treat univeristy students like fragile flowers?” The Globe and Mail, 2017.


            In The Globe and Mail opinion piece by Margaret Wente she discusses the use of mental health resources in universities and how frivolous they are.  Margaret Wente goes on to discuss how students back in the day used to just “deal with it” when they were having issues with their mental health.  Instead she says that students are being coddled by their universities when they should be taught resilience.  I wanted to discuss in my podcast the importance of having a variety of mental health resources and how society needs to consistently strive to have those resources more accessible.  I want to pick apart this article and explain why Wente’s perspective is out-dated and unreasonable.  We are living in a society where most people suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives and the resources for mental health are often expensive and difficult to find.  In order to improve as a society those aspects must change.


Davydov, Dmitry. “Resilience and mental health.” Clinical Psychology Review. vol. 30.   Pergamon. 2010.   ol_Rev_30_479.pdf. January 24 2018.


I wanted to add focus on the topic of resiliency.  Not only is resiliency an ability to cope through adversity, but it is also “a theoretical construct of mental health protection, promotion and recovery process (Davydov 5).  It is important to remember this when discussing the Wente article because she is assuming that because someone struggles with their mental health they lack resiliency.  In reality that is not the case.  I use the article by Dmitry Davydov because it explains the concept of resiliency and how to use it to improve mental health.  I want to use these definitions to explain how everyone has the ability to cope, it’s just a matter of making these coping mechanisms accessible to everyone.

Legalization of Marijuana: Safer for Society?

By: Niamh Cosgrove

Week 2: 

News opinion piece article

Miron, Jeffrey. “Why Congress should legalize pot.” CNN, Cable News Network, 19 Nov. 2014, 

In a brief CNN article, Jeffrey Miron, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies in the economics department at Harvard University, strongly states his beliefs as to why the legalization of pot is a good thing rather than a bad one. Within this argument, he also backs up his ideas with factual evidence and statistics. He begins by outlining the fact that marijuana is not more nor less harmful than other legal substances such as; alcohol, tobacco, excessive eating or even something as simple as just driving a car. However, the difference is; those four things are legal whereas marijuana still is not in many places. Miron then goes onto say that in places such as Colorado, which have already legalized the drug; marijuana use, crime, traffic accidents, education and health outcomes did not increase nor decrease after the legalization. Therefore, that assists with the idea that marijuana does not heavily influence things such as crime or the well-being of many individuals. Furthermore, the article also lays out the positive effects the legalization will have on taxes, medical resources and the decrease of repercussions as a result of the ban. This article will help support my podcast as it gives me many ideas and facts to support my argument as to why the legalization of pot is a good thing.  

News opinion piece article

Bassi, Taran. “Can we just get on with it and legalize cannabis in the UK please?” Metro, 17 Jan. 2018, 

Within this distinct article, Taran Bassi, a British/Asian feminist blogger clearly highlights the potential benefits surrounding the legalization of marijuana. In order to defend her argument, she provides proof and reasons as to why the legalization could be a valuable thing, particularly in the UK. Bassi revolves her defense around the drug by addressing the fact that trading/selling it illegally is way more dangerous than having legit organizations sell it legally. When making a purchase with some unofficial group or person, there are many potential dangers someone could face. Two possibilities are; laced drugs and assault. Moreover, Bassi then moves onto compare the UK to places like Amsterdam which have already legalized the drug. Bassi states that since the drug has been legalized, crime rates have initially decreased rather than increased. This is because of the fact that people do not buy from local street dealers anymore. With this in mind, Bassi strongly believes that legalizing marijuana could help the economy, not dismantle it.  


Week 3:  

Scholarly article

Reuter, Peter H. “Marijuana Legalization What Can Be Learned from Other Countries? .” RAND Working Paper Series. Google Scholar,

In this scholarly article, the author Peter H. Reuter compares the legalization of marijuana between different countries. Reuter keeps a particular focus on places such as: the Netherlands and other countries around Europe. He begins by highlighting the philosophy of the Netherlands which basically implies that everyone should be responsible for their own health and safety. With this in mind, the Netherlands have legalized the drug and therefore do not focus on searching to criminalize people who possess the drug. Instead, they spend their time focused on those who illegally sell or trade the substance or abuse their use of it. For example, driving under the influence of marijuana. This has allowed crime rate to go down in the Netherlands and has given officials more time to focus on greater issues. He compares this idea to the statistics regarding the high number of arrests for possession of marijuana in places like Switzerland, France and the US. By the look of the high numbers of arrests in these places, one would be able to see that too much time and money is spent on such a minor issue. Further on, Reuter discusses how some countries such as Australia and Germany are more lenient when it comes to the controversy of the drug. For example, these places will only press charges for the possession of the drug if an individual is carrying a certain number of grams. Also, if they have more than a certain amount of plants in their household. However, the only outcomes for these penalties are more issues. Most people do not pay their fines which then results in officials having to escalate the charges. This will be an effective source for my podcast as it highlights all the issues and unnecessary amount of time wasted on these so-called criminals for possession of marijuana.  

Government document

Canada, Government of Canada Statistics. “Study: Experimental Estimates of Cannabis Consumption in Canada, 1960 to 2015.” Government of Canada, Statistics Canada, 18 Dec. 2017,

This government document lays out the statistics of people in different age groups who smoke marijuana in Canada. It also states the total amount of marijuana consumed by Canadians, as well as the total earnings of the substance. Canada is only one of many countries to analyze, however, this document will assist in my podcast because it is a reliable source to refer to in order to back up one of my arguments. My argument will suggest that people are going to smoke marijuana no matter what, as seen in the statistics. Therefore, legalizing it will make it safer for those who do make the decision to use the substance. It's better to have people smoking it safely and responsibly rather than dangerously.  

Week 4:  

Government PDF document

Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana. Government of Canada, Aug. 2016,

In this government issued PDF document, the Canadian Medical Association breaks down the government's plan behind the legalization of marijuana. The document closely discusses the governments ideas to keep citizens safe when the drug is legal. Following their brief introduction, the CMA begins their breakdown of this plan by addressing the idea of minimizing harms of use. This idea basically states the measures and objectives that the government is going to take in order to keep children and youth safe and out of reach of the drug. Moreover, the document also highlights topics such as: establishing a safe and responsible production system, designing an appropriate distribution system, enforcing public safety and protection and finally, accessing marijuana for medical purposes. This document will help me with my podcast greatly because, it provides me with proper regulations regarding the safety behind marijuana usage. I could use these safety precautions to help defend my argument as to why the legalization of marijuana will be a good thing. Also, when speaking of other countries, I could apply some of the Canadian governments ideas to argue why they should legalize the drug as well.  

News article

Cain, Patrick. “As legal pot nears, employers in dangerous fields lack clear standards, rules on testing.” Global News, 12 Jan. 2018, 

In this article by Patrick Cain on Global News, he addresses all the concerns that employers have for when marijuana is legalized in Canada. From issues such as: employees coming to work in an impaired state to TTC drivers being assaulted, Cain breaks it all down. With no doubt, there will be concerns when the drug is legal. However, Cain suggests that many are assuming the worst. Although marijuana is technically not currently legal in Canada at the moment, many are still able to access it. Our society is already very much accustomed to have marijuana around, therefore the legalization is most likely not going to have an effect on people like that. This legalization is not meant for people to start coming into work impaired. This piece will help me with my argument when I speak of the concerns of employers. I strongly agree that workplaces have no need to worry about something as drastic as this.  

Week 5:  

Scholarly article

Collier, Roger. "How Will Pot Legalization Affect Medical Marijuana?" Canadian Medical Association.Journal, vol. 188, no. 11, 2016, pp. 792-793, Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database; CBCA Reference & Current Events; Nursing & Allied Health Database,

In this brief 2-page scholarly article by Roger Collier, the topic of medical marijuana versus recreational marijuana is plainly analyzed. Collier introduces us to his topic by quickly stating the fact that there will be two markets for marijuana; recreational and medical, once the government passes legislation. Followed by that, Collier explains that although this is a great opportunity to tap into a new market, many are worried that there will be confusion for consumers of the two markets. However, Collier argues that there should be no confusion upon this legislation and it may actually benefit everyone rather than cause chaos. The benefits that will arise from having two separate markets include: people will no longer burden doctors by posing as medical buyers, medical marijuana will be sold cheaper to patients than recreational and it will be easier to locate medical producers who can education you on how to take recreationally sold marijuana and use it to fulfill medical needs. However, in contrast to Colliers ideas that this will benefit our society and marijuana buyers, there is a clear problem with accessibility to a physician's office for those with disabilities. This idea of proper accessibility is something I will have to look further into in my research. Still, nonetheless, Colliers explanation of how having these two markets will benefit me in my potential conclusion that this legislation is for the best.  

Scholarly article

Schwartz, Robert, PhD. "Legalize Marijuana without the Smoke." Canadian Medical Association.Journal, vol. 189, no. 4, 2017, pp. E137-E138, Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database; CBCA Reference & Current Events; Nursing & Allied Health Database,, doi:

In a scholarly article posted by the Canadian Medical Association, Robert Schwartz compares and contrasts the long-term health risks behind smoking cigarettes and smoking marijuana. Although there is no conclusive evidence, doctors and researchers have stated that they were able to identify real health issues in those who have smoked marijuana for a long period of time. Also, it is important to state that Schwartz feels that with the legalization of this drug, people will become more socially accepting of public smoking again. However, in the end of his article, Schwartz still suggests that this does not mean we should not legalize the drug. He states that prohibiting the drug only fails in reducing the number of people who smoke it. Instead of just banning it, safer uses of consumption should be encouraged and taught to people of all ages. This will allow us to truly have a safer society with marijuana being smoked. Both of these ideas; the health risks behind marijuana and the idea that it should still be legal will assist me in my podcast. I will be able to use the section about health risks to form questions in my interview and the benefits of the legalization to back up my own argument.   


Week 6:

Scholarly article

Fischer, Benedikt, PhD., and Jü Rehm. "Cannabis use, Legalization and Youth Health." Canadian Medical Association.Journal, vol. 189, no. 29, 2017, pp. E971-E972, Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database; CBCA Reference & Current Events; Nursing & Allied Health Database,

In response to an editorial in CMAJ by Dr. Kelsall; Benedikt Fischer and Jürgen Rehm explain reasons why it is safer and better to legalize marijuana, specifically in Canada in a scholarly article. They start off by addressing the fact that it is very likely that marijuana may cause serious health issues, especially to the brain. However, they then compare that to things such as hockey and alcohol, stating that both those things are also very dangerous when it comes to health problems. Playing hockey can lead to many head injuries such as; concussions. Also, alcohol may cause other bodily harms such as; a stroke and other heart related problems. However, both of those things are legal and socially accepted in our society. Benedikt and Rehm then move on to talk about how it is safer for consumers to purchase it from legit organizations rather than black markets/street dealers. When purchasing from a black market, you cannot fully trust the substance you are receiving nor the sellers which you are purchasing from. That is because you do not have a lot of information on them. They conclude by stating that legalizing this substance under strict regulations is indeed safer for society, especially for the youth. These comparisons and facts will support me in my argument as to why this legalization will be good for us.  

Scholarly article

Collier, Roger. "The Future of Legal Pot." Canadian Medical Association.Journal, vol. 189, no. 22, 2017, pp. E790-E791, Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database; CBCA Reference & Current Events; Nursing & Allied Health Database,, doi: 

In part 2 of a scholarly article by Roger Collier, he briefly goes over what the future is going to look like for legalized pot. More specifically, he goes over what it's going to look like for medicinal pot. In the first part of his article, Collier went over different concerns of different people, such as; physicians and health researchers. In this part, he talks about marijuana producers and advocates for the legalization. Since marijuana is going to be legalized in Canada in the summer of 2018, this means a lot for medicinal buyers. One thing that is significant about this is producers and consumers are hoping that medicinal marijuana will be treated the same as pharmaceutical products. That would make the medical cannabis system a more safe and secure place for buyers to get their substances. However, there is still a lot of work to do in order to achieve that since there are many different strains of the drug, as well as many different ways to intake it. Moving forward, Collier later talks about the fact that this will increase employment throughout the country and throughout the supply chain. Many think that this will help our industry establish a global leadership position with a new wave of Canadian scientific breakthroughs and entrepreneurs. This article also contains opinions of people who have opposing feelings such as; Mark Stupak who suffers from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. He is concerned about some of the restrictions that will be present once marijuana is legalized. His concerns mainly revolve around new impaired-driving offences. However, in my podcast I will speak about why these laws and restrictions are important with the coming legalization. Colliers points and facts regarding purchases of medicinal marijuana and new job opportunities will add to the positive points in my podcast when defending the legalization.


Week 7: 

Journal article

Elrod, Matthew M. "Cannabis Prohibition Harms Canada's Youth." Canadian Medical Association.Journal, vol. 189, no. 29, 2017, pp. 1, Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database; CBCA Reference & Current Events; Nursing & Allied Health Database,, doi: 

In a short journal article by Matthew M. Elrod, the harms of Cannabis prohibition on Canadian youth is closely examined. Although this article is only a page long, I chose to work with it since it contained a few valid points that could be effectively used in my podcast. Elrod begins his article by briefly mentioning that Canadian teens consume the most marijuana in the industrialized world despite the prohibition. (The fact that people are going to smoke the drug no matter what is a point that is made far too often. Our people, especially our youth are at risk when purchasing from illegal street dealers and black markets). Elrod also mentions that cannabis is easier to obtain than alcohol or tobacco and people are about twice as likely to try cannabis over tobacco. Although Elrod is clearly for the legalization of this substance, he brings in an opposing point by Dr.Kelsall which can be used in my podcast when introducing the other side to this argument. In a recent article, Dr.Kelsall stated that this legislation is only going to decide who will purchase from the legal markets and who will continue to go to street dealers and black markets because of the age restriction. This means, part of the youth in our society could still be in harm's way. However, I want to argue that this legislation will make it harder for illegal sales of the drug, just like tobacco and alcohol.  


Scholarly article

Kelsal, Diane,M.D.M.Ed. "Cannabis Legislation Fails to Protect Canada's Youth."Canadian Medical Association.Journal, vol. 189, no. 21, 2017, pp. E737-E738, Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database; CBCA Reference & Current Events; Nursing & Allied Health Database,, doi: 

This is a scholarly article that I have been waiting to use for some time. It has been mentioned and cited in so many other articles that discuss the legalization of marijuana in Canada, however, it is clear that Dr.Kelsall is opposed to the new legislation. Although this will not assist me in persuading my audience that the legislation is a good thing, it will provide me with points I can use and potentially argue against for the opposing side. This entire article revolves around an idea that Dr.Kelsall has which is youth should not be consuming marijuana. Dr.Kelsall worries that although most adults do not see an issue with the drug, it is in fact harmful to the developing brain. It can cause long and/or short-term problems, including, mental health issues such as; depression, anxiety and psychosis. As well, it can poorly affect their progress in school. Since the brain does not stop fully developing until the age 25, Dr.Kelsall argues that the legislation should only allow people from ages 21 and up to legally purchase the drug. As I will mention in my podcast, I strongly disagree with all of these points. It may be correct that youth should not be consuming this at all. However, the point is they are going to smoke it no matter what. Canadian youth consume the most in the industrialized world, as stated by Matthew M. Elrod in another article. Therefore, it is our governments job to make it as safe as possible for them.  


Week 8:  

Scholarly Article

Hodgins, David C., Hyoun S. Kim, and Jonathan N. Stea. "Increase and Decrease of Other Substance use during Recovery from Cannabis use Disorders."Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, vol. 31, no. 6, 2017, pp. 727-734, ProQuest,, doi: 

This scholarly article by David C. Hodgins, Hyoun S. Kim and Jonathan N. Stea focuses on the idea of addictions. More specifically, they look deep into whether or not one gains more addictions after recovering from one.  In the introduction of the article, the authors state that an increase and decrease in the use of other substances is very common when someone is recovering from cannabis use. However, a study showed that other substance addictions decreased more than it increased. 39% of individuals had reported a decrease in other substance use and only 21% reported both increases and decreases in the use of other substances. 26% reported just an increase and 14% reported no change at all. These statistics may assist me in the argument of both sides (for and against marijuana legalization) because more people reported a decrease in addictions, however, there was still a fair percentage that experienced an increase. The remaining sections of the article just speaks upon the causes, effects and solutions for these issues


News Article

News, CBC. “Ontario police chiefs warning about dangers of contaminated pot.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 13 Mar. 2018, 

This brief but informative news article focuses on the dangers of contaminated pot. Recently, Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin took a trip to Toronto, to inform consumers about the dangers of purchasing pot from illegal sellers. With the new legalization coming up this 2018 summer, Larkin emphasizes that it's important to know your cannabis is coming from a "legitimate, inspected and appropriate location." Alongside that, Larkin also expresses how important it is to keep away from any fraud companies/sellers. More specifically, cyber scams. This type of crime effects/targets people of all ages, from youth to adults. Especially, those who are "too comfortable" with the use of technology. This will assist me in the creation of my podcast as it will help me give tips to the audience on how to stay safe whether the drug is legalized or not. Also, it shows in a way that the legalization makes it more safe for consumers because there will be more legit organizations to deal with and less illegal/fraud companies/sellers to be hurt by. 








Responsible Communitication

By Le-Var Rowe

Editorial: Learning from the hijab hoax, January 16,2018.

This article acknowledges that everyone was taken in by the events surrounding an 11-year old girl having been "attacked" by an "Asian man" who tried to cut her hijab, "twice".  The article sets out to point that everyone believed our victim and upon discovering the incident was false, why was our government not at the forefront to "stress the dangers of anyone falsely claiming to be the victim of a hate crime".  The idea of condemning, it would seem, should flow both ways. Support the victim and condemn the perpetrator, real or imagine.  If it turns out the victim is not a victim, then condemn their actions, especially since it affects yet another set of victims: real hate crime victims. It would seem, from the article, the implied notion that Public leaders are not human, they do not suffer embarrassments. Plus, we are supposed to accuse our victims of lying first by being cautious and postpone judgements and avoid sweeping conclusions, regardless of our outrage.  Politicians are people, I think, and if they violate their responsibility, they most be bold enough and own up to their mistakes--Yes.  But the are in their right to exercise caution, especially when they occupy a position of great public presence, to keep their mouths shut. 

The ideas of the article are not simple and the issues are real, and difficult.  It seems easy to assign responsibility and discount certain actions and inactions.  But it is not easy to unravel who is to be blamed.  

Another example of Responsible Communication: A Teacher's Responsibility

Zwaagstra, Michael.  "Teachers must expose students to more than one perspective." The Vancouver Sun. January 15th, 2018.

The article addresses how the biases of teachers can affect the instructions of their students.  This oversight can lead to one sided lesson plans and a failure to introduce breath and perspective to students.  As teachers, their first responsibility is to developing thinkers and not mindless drones (my emphasis). 

The article, "A teacher's responsibility" caught my attention along with learning from "the hijab hoax."  At first, I thought the two articles I choose were two ideas and separate.  As I read both and thought about the message, it became clear, my Podcast should be about Responsible Communication.  Instructions of any type is the only way to develop into a responsible communicator; when we communicate responsible, we can be proud we did not mislead any of our listeners, and no matter the arena in which we express our opinions, we know we are true to ourselves and confident in our message and need to, and we can, own them and be open to the responsibility we have addressed.  

FOCUSING: Responsible Communication--Ethics

Arneson, Pat.  "Introduction".  Exploring Communication Ethics. 2007.  Article.  

An except:  "Ethics are an integral dimension of human communication. Richard L. Johannesen explains that ethical issues may arise in communication whenever one’s behavior (i) could have “significant impact on other persons,” (ii) “involves conscious choice of means and ends,” and/or (iii) “can be judged by standards of right and wrong” (2002, 1). Engaging in thoughtful communication that positively contributes to interactions and relationships requires the exercise of critical thinking. Thinking before one speaks enables a person to consider the place of ethics in one’s communication. Ethical communication concerns itself beyond one’s right to free speech to consider the responsibility one holds toward others in communication." (Xiii)

Zeroing on the message, It is a matter of my opinion that we are now noticing that Communication Ethics are being violated often.  In a world of information overload, we need to fact check and investigate any ideas, accusations, messages that are brought forward into the public's discourse.  When we talk about not addressing concerns or, for the lack of a better word-- telling Lies, especially in the public media, we are being irresponsible and unethical because these messages affect the lives of those it addresses.  Leaders are not necessarily allowed to either remain silent, or they are not allowed to speak as well.  This is to say they do not get to simple express their feelings.  




February 4th 2018


Responsible Communication begins from a young age.  The Editorial: Learning from the hijab hoax can attest to this fact.  It says that, "the problem with the Toronto's now infamous hoax is that it will make Muslims and others who are actual victims of hate crimes more afraid to come forward for fear of not being believed". It goes on to say, it will make the public more cynical about the reporting of hate crimes.  Once it was released {that it was an hoax),  why did Trudeau, Wynne, Tory not stress the dangers of anyone falsely claiming to be the victim of a hate crime or for that matter any crime? {Question is stressed, editorial stated this as a fact}. Instead, according to the editorial, "They were glad that no attack had occurred but that it was important to continue to be vigilant about fighting hatred and racism.  There is much surrounding this story, and the details from which the story was actually told that fueled the emotions of every individual who heard it, to the point where everyone was willing believe and willing to participate in the story.  It is important that we remember how important this was! Because it goes towards our public discourse and "in fact" fuel the idea that ethics is important, and we can "in fact" train, and should train our children in proper and responsible communication.  This is were it begins--and parents are "in fact" going to find themselves in situations more often than not--but in this situation, it is not only a political one, it is a home base one.  And that cannot be forgotten, or looked, or overlooked. So come with me has we find out how is it that households impart these lessons to their younger generation---IN A Matter of My Opinion, There is a story here...

Rinaldi, Christina M and Spencer A. Rathus. Voyages in Development. 2nd Canadian edition. Nelson Education Ltd, 2015.

This is the development of childhood and Adolescence from the physiology to cognitive.  I wanted to understand the science behind the brain and the various perspectives that child's development can be viewed.  Just to gain a handle on it complexity.  In particular,  I wanted to focus on Moral Development.

Leonard, Eugenie Andruss. Concerning our girls and what they tell us. AMS Press, Inc., 1972.

This text discusses adolescence and its complexities from a specific gender: the female.  This is an area I am vested within and I believed it would be relevant to explore what has been written by the expert to form some idea as to why it may not have been Khawlah Noman's intention to create such a detailed hoax, at least not on her own.  Social pressures can be difficult to navigate, and given her culture's expectations on the female, I wanted some gender specifics.

Harris, Collete. Muslim youth: tensions and transitions in Tajikistan. Westview Press, 2006.

In this text, a case study was done in another country exploring the Muslim youth and the struggle they experience from many of the social conventions we struggle with these days.  I was particularly interested in the family relations, education, tensions and transitions, to see if their beliefs had any systemic notions that cause potential cycles that seems difficult to gain freedom from. I figured an historical, geological perspective to build on would expand or complicate my idea.

Banerjee, Bani. Modernization of Muslim Youth. Sarup and Sons, 1997.

In this text, very outdated in its ideas, but scientifically relevant.  It suggest a systematic breakdown of the struggles that would be overcome should the Muslim society be studied at the micro level and it inhabitants be given the opportunity to speak for themselves so maybe a real definitive solution to whether assimilation is possible or maybe it should never have been proposed. I hope to further my understanding so as to not necessarily over look my opinion piece but incorporate my concern with it and further my agenda as well. 

Levesque, Roger J.R. Adolescents, Media, and the Law. Oxford University Press, 2007.

This text explores the idea of how saturated we have become by information that due to this exposure, adolescents live in this state that their connection will never be as the children of old.  In the case of my opinion piece it is difficult to know exactly Khawlah has any idea of the damage she may have done. So gone are the days when reporters only report stories, no stories are coming to them from activists, bloggers and fake news, creating a new type of advocacy and redefining the idea and concept of free speech.  So what happens to the psyche and information thought processes of a person with limited cognitive function to reason in the manner necessary to understand their actions; brought up in an informational culture of this type, she may have thought it was only fun and games.

Eppel, E.M. and M. Adolescents and Morality. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966.

I was caught up in the idea that morality was only a philosophical idea, the psychology and criminology and sociology and anthropological ideas became clear.  Developmental psychology especial expands on this idea to inform its forensic branch.  I wanted to explore this concept and this text allowed me to gain a broad but specific look.  I especially enjoy the its perspective of the adult of authority take of the subject.  I do not have any authority in this podcast, put I was hoping to take an expert approach.  I believe this will help. 

Livingstone, Sonia, and Julian Sefton-Green. The Class Living and Learning in the Digital Age. New York University Press, 2016.

This was a more targeted text with a class room at it forefront. A study of 13 year olds studied from 2011 to 2012.  The main interest I had was its perspective to give "parents, teachers, and others responsible for young people's learning." It sets out to help but highlights the difficulty of the age, and how challenging it is to determine their wants.  I wanted to see if they were successful in countering the notion in England that "today's youth... are so immersed in the online world that they cannot concentrate on learning". I for one hoped not, because the ability to learn is how they will combated manipulation.  And these are the greatest challenges to our youths: because for some parents easier to manipulate when you are controlling, but harder to help when you are libertarian. 

Political Correctness: Taking it too far?

Sarah Van Heuverswyn

Wednesday January 24

Sherlock, Ruth. The Telegraph. How Political Correctness rules America's student's safe spaces Nov. 28, 2015

Ruth says that campuses are becoming too closed off with the need for "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces." There are even students asking professors not to put some content on an exam because they feel like it might "trigger distress" on an exam. Sometimes, the content is being taken out entirely out of the syllabus. Safe spaces used to mean refuge for people to get away from sexism or prejudice, but now it's a place one can be that avoids discussions that might make one feel uncomfortable. If people want to have a well rounded education, they need to have discussions about things that will make them uncomfortable so that they can be exposed to different points of view.

Maloney, Ryan. Huffington Post. Most Canadians say political correctness has gone 'too far': Angus Reid Institute Poll

A pole was done in 2016 that shows how many Canadians who  that political correctness has gone too far. From the people who have been asked, "82% of Canadians over 55" thought that is had gone too far. "78%" were between "35-54" thought this, and "67%" were "18-34." Also,  "80%" of people are self censoring themselves and saying that they can't express their opinions to people they don't know because someone will be offended by it. Many are offended by the language of others and "too easily insulted."

Sunday January 28

Josh Purtell.  "Trump "Shithole" Countries and political correctness: a response"  January 27, 2018

Josh was reporting Trump's "shithole countries" statement. He says in a tweet that he doses not want immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti. The majority of people were not surprised with his statement, as he is known to say offensive statements. Many right- wingers agree wholeheartedly and are siding even closer with him. I am not a right- winger myself, however, it is true that Haiti is not the greatest of countries. Most of the people are impoverished, the politics are volatile and the infrastructure is very poorly maintained. Those are facts that are easily accessible. Although, this statement of Haiti being a "shithole" should not be coming from a president under any circumstances. There is a line from not being politically correct, to being completely disrespectful.  He is not afraid to go against political correctness and it is very well known. People with power and status should think about what they say because they have a lot of influence about how people think and react to a certain topic. This is different than average people expressing their opinions because they don't have any power. Being politically correct is not something that people should be forced to do, but if a person has power and status they should rethink their approach on how to address certain topics.

O' Neil, Ben. Indipendant Institute. A Critique of Politically Correct Language

Many words that have been used in the past are not used anymore. Some for very good reason. Some words have been changed to sound more pleasant, but in reality it doesn't matter if the word was changed or not. The reason why some words don't matter if they're not used anymore is because even though people make up new words to use that is more "politically correct" or pleasant sounding, the meaning is still the same. For example, the term "retarded" means that one's mental ability is impaired or slowed down. At first it was never used as an offensive word, but over time it was made offensive. Language is constantly evolving, and the intent is equally as importent as the words. Many people look at the actual terms and deem them more important than the intent. Therefore, people who hear the words they find offensive automatically assume that the other person is using it in a condescending way, rather than looking at the context and judging whether or not they should be offended. This is a very superficial way of looking at things because instead of listening to the message, people are too focused on one specific word that they don't like.


Sunday February 4

Green, Roy. Global News. Roy Green: Political correctness is gagging freedom of expression January 31, 2018

This article shows lots of statistics in America, while last week it was only in Canada. Liberals and conservatives have extremely different views, as predicted. 83% of liberals say its hate speech to say transgender people hate a mental disorder and only 36% of conservatives agree with that statement.  I wanted to include two separate polls of Canada and America to show how different, but also how similar the numbers were. 

Liu, Tina. The Gateway. Censorship, victimization and political correctness January 27, 2017

This article is saying that words such as "trigger" are regularly used and this desensitizes it to us and this is one of the reasons why we don't take political correctness as seriously. We use words like "triggered" and "anxiety" usually in the wrong way. Someone who is "triggered" means that something brought them back to the time of the trauma. It shouldn't be used in place of "offended," but sadly, it has. With this being said, its not a bad thing to use it incorrectly, as long as people are being corrected and being told why it's not proper. It's the same with offensive terms. It's okay to use them, as long as people are telling them why it's hurtful. If we toss these words and saying under the rug, no one will know what they mean or they won't know why it's harmful, and it will do more harm than good. The saying "that's gay" used to be common when doing something bad or uncool, but educating people so that they learn why it's hurtful has made the saying less popular. People still say it, but it's not as common as it used to be (as far as I know).

Sunday February 11

Malcolm, Candice. Toronto Sun. "Why I wont be singing the gender neutral anthem." Toronto Sun February 2, 2018

In this article, Candice tells us that the Liberals in the senate passed a bill to change the lyrics in O' Canada from "all thy sons command" to "all of us command." However, in this context, "sons" refers to all children, not just boys. This is a misunderstanding of the use of certain words in English at the time when O' Canada was written. Not only this, but they were also paying respects to the ones who went to war, who were men. This is an unnecessary change because as most people agree, there was nothing wrong with the previous lyrics, and it was not sexist or bigoted. I find it interesting because its unclear whether it's a genuine concern, or if it was because they want to appeal to many.

Neumann, Anne W.  Australian Institute of Policy and Science. "Excuse me, your political slip is showing."  Aug. 1998.

This is a journal article and it first asks us if political correctness does limit speech, should we accept it. There would be no point in limiting our speech if there was no benefit from it, but hopefully changing the way we speak can affect our culture, how we feel or how we act towards each other. We aren't completely free because we can't shout anything we want, whenever we want. It also goes on to say that words are actions and we can change the way we act by the way we speak. While I agree that we aren't completely free in the sense that we can't shout anything we want whenever we want, it's naive to think that we can change the way we think and act by merely changing our words. Words are not actions by any means and the way we change actions and thoughts are by presenting facts. But political correctness shuts down facts and puts feelings on a pedestal. Being politically correct is very different than being polite.

Sunday February 18

Robinson, Joanna. "Matt Damon Apologizes for Controversial Project Greenlight Diversity comments" Sep. 27, 2015.

This story was from a while ago, but I think that this is important to mention. Matt Damon was having a conversation about Effie Brown about diversity. He interrupted her and said "in the casting of the film, not the casting of the show." However, a crucial part was cut. In the original, it cut to him saying that it's good to have more diversity in film and such, but people should be chosen based on skill and merit, rather than choosing someone based on race in the name of diversity. That seems to be counter productive because it's telling us that skill doesn't matter, only skin color. Matt Damon got a lot of hate for his statement and was forced to apologize. I don't see anything wrong with what he said; its completely reasonable. Many people are supporting him and also hating him. With this reasonable statement, why are so many people becoming defensive and offended?

O'Connor Roisin. "Matt Damon slammed for 'tone -deaf' comments on sexual assault" Saturday December 16, 2017

Another story from Matt Damon serves a purpose. This article is telling what happened in an interview. He said, There’s a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn't be conflated.” Again, he got a lot of hate for this interview and since apologized for this. I don't necessarily have an issue with this either because it's a true statement. In the media the words have been taken out of context and put him in a bad light. But seeing the full interview online, there's nothing wrong with his comments, and the majority of people in the comment section on YouTube agree.

The reason why I wanted to but two articles on Matt Damon was because when I first saw theses stories, I wondered why the media took both of them extremely out of context. The media does this so often its almost their job (it kind of is, but that's a different topic). However, it caught my attention that he was the only one going against the crowd, or bringing up things that people refuse to. In both instances he was made out to look like a horrible person instead of someone who could start a new conversation.

February 25  - all articles were made later- the February dates passed this point are just to keep it in order

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview with Georgiana Uhlyarik May 22

This is an article that explains the reason behind the Emily Carr painting "Indian Church" to "Church at Yuquot Village." The reason for this change was because the original was culturally insensitive. To change a painting title that was representative of the time into something that is representative of our time is ill-advised. It erases some of the history behind the painting because changing the name will show future generations that the 1920's was a time where people were tolerant of other cultures, which wasn't the case at all. People are trying to "erase" history and if history is erased, it might repeat itself because we don't know what happened. Judging things from the past by present day standards is a an inaccurate way to view history.

Whitney Ellenby June 13

The author of Autism Uncensored: Pulling Back the Curtain is saying that when people use the term "differently abled" rather than "disabled" it glosses over the disability aspect. If someone has autism or another mental disability, some are differently abled in the fact that they might be fantastic at drawing or math. However, it glosses over the fact that speech is limited and impulse control is an issue. This makes it sound like having any disability is shameful, and it takes away the impact of what people with disabilities have to go through. Instead of using "differently abled" and leaving it at that, people should be able to use "disabled" and have discussions about it.


March 3

Criminal Code Section 319

This is a document of the criminal code that's about the promotion of hatred and the public incitement of hatred. It's a very good idea to have this document because it has stopped people from publicly spreading hate and violence against a specific group. There was a case where Kevin J. Johnston was publicly encouraging people to attack Muslims, and he was charged for this. Speech isn't entirely free, but in this case its a good thing.

When you think of being politically correct, many people have different views about what it is. It comes from a good place with the best intentions, but it makes people bend over backwards to make a good impression. However, it also makes people more tolerant because it helps to include everyone. From the dictionary definition, it sounds very positive and many people should be on board with it. It's not the dictionary definition of it that people don't like, it's how extreme it has become and how constricting it can feel. When people are "colour blind" or go out of their way to appeal to this ideology, it puts more strain on society, or even on interracial encounters.



Attack on Big Tech - The War Against Facebook, Amazon, and Google

Stuart Evans


Article 14

Spangler, Todd. "Facebook Under Fire: How Privacy Crisis Could Change Big Data Forever." Variety, 3 Apr. 2018,

In this Variety article (a secondary, popular source) the recent Facebook data crisis is analyzed in depth, with particular attention being paid to its potentially far-reaching effects. To quickly sum up the controversy, Cambridge Analytica obtained information on up to 50 million unwitting Facebook users, which it then used to better "inform voter-targeting strategies for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign." In the aftermath of this discovery, both the offending parties have been playing dumb. Though Facebook did not sell this data, it was accrued as a result of the company's negligence, the result of people taking a 2013 personality quiz, one not so innocent as it looked. The article deals primarily with the aftermath of this scandal, and what it means going forwards. As it relates to my podcast, I think this is the most compelling revelation to come about in recent months. Though there is no sign of a mass defection from Facebook looming on the horizon, the #deletefacebook movement is gaining steam. Discussions about how accountable these data-amassing companies need to be are dominating news feeds, and steadily coming to forefront of public discourse. Again, I'm amazed by how much the mood is changing in so little time. The tech titans are like the frog in the pot, the water just beginning to boil. It remains to be seen whether they'll prepare accordingly for the coming onslaught, jump ship, or perish.

Article 13

Gold, Howard. "Using antitrust laws to break up Amazon, Facebook and Google is just political fantasy." MarketWatch, 3 Apr. 2018,

This opinion piece (a secondary, popular source) delves into U.S. President Donald Trump's tweets pertaining to Amazon, in which he deemed the site a "post office scam," one that takes full advantage of the U.S. Postal Service to rake in massive profits. Purportedly, Trump has become obsessed with this titan in particular, clearly viewing it as a threat to the economy. The article's writer, Howard Gold, does not share this increasingly popular sentiment, suggesting instead that breaking up the tech giants is a bad idea, as it will only lead to higher prices. It is the company's sheer size that allows it to provide such low costs for consumers, but this in turn squeezes out the retailers who simply can't compete. This has resulted in what Gold refers to as the 'Retail Apocalypse,' in which a bevy of businesses are having to cut the ballast, essentially, dropping what stores they can in order to keep afloat. This is truly an interesting time with respect to the titans. Hysteria is plainly mounting in the political circles, and now it seems to have even infected the White House. Even in the short time I've been conducting my research there have been some major developments, and it seems only a matter of time before it all comes to a head.


Article 12

Birnbaum, Micheal. "E.U. proposes tax on tech giants such as Facebook and Google that could raise $6.2 billion." The Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2018,

E.U. policymakers are in talks to place a new leash on the tech titans, "a 3 percent tax on revenue generated from activities where users’ information helps firms make money." In this article, (a secondary, popular source) Birnbaum describes some of the conflicting opinions surrounding this bold move, and whether it's feasible that such a bill could be passed. The idea, generally, is to make it an even playing field, but also to hit these giants where it hurts. Though some suggest such a measure would be misguided, others seek to knot the supposed tax loophole that allows sites like Facebook and Google to avoid higher fees due to the nature of their revenue streams. This ties in to the global perspective, in which Europe is taking the forefront in the war on big tech, all while America seems content to sit back and let time plays its course. Is the E.U. being rash? It's hard to tell. I will say that it seems unlikely such a drastic change will be implemented, but the fact that it's even being discussed is at the very least indicative of progress.

Article 11

Competition Bureau of Canada. "Competition Bureau statement regarding its inquiry into Amazon’s price advertising in Canada." Competition Bureau, 11 Jan. 2017,

This government document from last year, a primary source, details the results of an inquiry by the Competition Bureau of Canada into Amazon's business practices, specifically how it was advertising its prices. By comparing the selling price of a product to its list price on its site, Amazon was highlighting the difference it, supposedly, could offer as compared to the average market place. The idea of the inquiry was to ascertain whether these price differences were indeed correct. If not, it would mean Amazon was essentially swindling customers by submitting them to erroneous deals, and undermining other retailers offering similar prices in the process. Though the Bureau deemed the prices on 12 specific items "did not accurately reflect the savings available to consumers," the issue was resolved tidily enough, and a consent agreement was reached with the apparently highly co-operative Amazon such that it might better conform to the Competition Act guidelines. I think it interesting how these subtle tactics, which really work best online, can be employed to divert customer attention from the competition, as well as the favourable attitude the document seemed to display towards Amazon. I wonder if, were a similar query embarked upon today, it would yield the same results.

Sunday, February 18th, 2018 - WEEK 6 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Article 10

Lee, Timothy B. "Yelp's CEO makes the case against Google's search monopoly." Vox, 3 Jul. 2017,

This article (a primary, popular source) consists largely of the edited transcript of journalist Timothy B. Lee's interview with Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. At the centre of their discussion is Google, the bane of Yelp's existence. Stoppelman elaborates upon how Google essentially buries "organic" search results under a wall of ads, conducting the internet traffic away from its competitors, and making it hard for companies such as Yelp to get much a foothold in countries outside of North America. Stoppelman offers a unique perspective in that he witnessed Google's ascension first-hand, and has directly suffered as a result of the US antitrust enforcement's indifference to Google's shadier practices. I thought he offered some interesting points and made a compelling argument against Google's unchecked power.

Article 9

Heskett, James. "Is it time to break up Amazon, Apple, Facebook, or Google?" Harvard Business School, 6, Dec. 2017.

In this article (a secondary, popular source), James Heskett asks what the title suggests, namely, should any of the big tech companies be broken up, and if not, how ought they be reined in, if at all? The piece references Scott Galloway, who has voiced in favour of breaking up Google and co. due to how they, the companies, have "benefitted from (and perhaps caused) market failure." Heskett put the query of how best to combat the behemoths to some of his readers, and the responses were diverse. Though most commenters seemed opposed to taking the scalpel to these companies, they offered different reasons for not wanting to do so. Sifting through a variety of viewpoints was enlightening and gave me more of an idea of how people who have less of a stake in the issue (or at least perceive that they have less of a stake) consider it, and their bases for doing so.

Sunday, February 11th, 2018 - WEEK 5 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Article 7

Dolata, Ulrich. "Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft: Market Concentration – competition – innovation strategies." Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Organisations- und Innovationsforschung, Jan. 2017,

This scholarly paper (a secondary source) analyzes the "economic, infrastructural, and rule-setting power" that the leading internet companies have obtained over the past decade, arguing that they are poised to do more harm than good. The German author contrasts the vast sums these monopolies are working with to that of their runner-ups, and the difference is huge. The article goes on to argue that pinnacles are precarious; that due to fads and largely fickle users, a certain adaptability has been adopted by these 'survivors' (Yahoo and Nokia are prime examples of companies that, in being unable to predict the changing tide, have lost their footholds). It becomes a matter of how far these companies will go to maintain their positions of power, and whether this is really in the common interest. It's not. I found this paper particularly insightful and interesting. Whereas many of the popular sources I've stumbled across lately pertaining to my topic seem mainly to regurgitate the same old information, this more analytical approach was frankly refreshing, and offers a plethora of new tangents for me to explore.

Article 8

Daly, Angela. "Beyond 'Hipster Antitrust': A Critical Perspective on the European Commission's Google Decision." European Competition and Regulation Law Review, vol. 1, no. 3, 2017, pp. 188-192.

This scholarly article (a secondary source) weighs in on the European Commission's decision to charge Google for unfairly promoting its own shopping service above its competitors'. Daly criticizes the EU for not addressing the "various issues which have been raised during the last seven years as related to the case," namely, the extent of data Google has amassed on its users and how it uses it, and the secretiveness surrounding the site's search algorithm. Ultimately, the 2.4 billion dollar fine is a drop in the bucket for Google, and though it may serve as a deterrent, hardly impairs the company. Daly questions whether the EU is merely flexing, or afraid to seriously exercise its power. The tech industry would make a powerful enemy, surely. This article provided me with some compelling questions as to how, exactly, a governmental body is meant to combat big tech, and when, or whether, they will truly take a swipe at all. If charging $2 billion is hardly a half measure, it's scary to consider what constitutes a full.

Sunday, February 4th, 2018 - EPISODE PITCH



Three iron giants, 100 times the size of the tallest skyscraper. Framed against a blood-red sky, they dawdle about a city like it's a grocery store. Branded to their chests, each bears the logo of a tech platform you're doubtlessly familiar with.

Amazon takes up the rear, uprooting a building and making to put it in a basket. Facebook, having just bitten the head off of a smaller robot, presumably Instagram, opens its mouth to start on the body. Google, leading the pack, outstretches its arm. It is reaching for you.

Thankfully, this is just a picture - a cover, to be precise. The January 18th, 2018 issue of The Economist, a magazine that purports to offer "authoritative insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science and technology." 'The New Titans, and how to tame them,' the caption reads.

This startling image immediately caught my eye. What could merit such a frightening depiction of these popular brands?

Not so long ago Facebook and friends were held up as the pinnacle of innovativeness, heaped with praise, lauded for their accomplishments, and greatly admired all around. But the tide has changed. The integrity of these companies is being called into question. How good are they, really, for the rest of us? Articles aplenty are surfacing citing the addictiveness of these platforms, the negative effect they're having on democracy, and their dominance over the internet at large.

In the featured opinion piece, entitled, 'Competition in the Digital Age – How to Tame the Tech Titans', the Economist argues that much of this tech-lash is misguided, exaggerated to a degree, but agrees that we should be wary of these platforms for one simple reason. They are just too big. And they're getting bigger, to the point that taming these virtual monopolies, so long unregulated, will be no easy feat.

The Economist offers two broad changes of thinking. The first is to make better use of existing competition law. Say Facebook stands to gain too much from buying up another firm, a committee could step in and prevent the acquisition from taking place. On top of this, said committee could look into complaints and make sure the big firms play fair. The second would be a new set of laws that give you some semblance of control over your own data, and how companies are allowed to use it. The idea, essentially, is to tame the titans without disassembling them.

So are these suggestions a credible solution? Or is this a more complicated issue than The Economist wants to admit? Moreover, is this political tech-lash even warranted? Do these firms need to be reined in – more closely governed? To what extent should Facebook and co. be held accountable for acting like, well, businesses? Are lawmakers the world over merely over-reacting? It's no secret these firms hog a lot of ad fare, that they're consuming the most interesting startups, that they regularly sell your data to the highest bidder...but so what? Why should YOU care?

Over the course of this episode I'll be analyzing the threat of big tech; how this affects us all socially, economically, and politically going forward, as well as some of the ideas for how, and why, this needs to change - why, most importantly, whether you know it or not, this affects you too.

You're listening to A Matter of Opinions.


Sunday, February 4th, 2018 - WEEK 4 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Article 5

Galloway, Scott. Interview by Dan Loney. "Are Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon Unstoppable?" Knowledge@Wharton, 9, Jan. 2018,

This is the audio file and edited transcript of a conversation between Knowledge@Wharton and Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University and author of The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Galloway offers a number of interesting facts and insights pertaining to the tech titans, stating "I believe the worm has turned against Big Tech. He briefly expounds on each of the four companies in turn, providing his thoughts on as to where things are, and where they might be headed. This popular, secondary source helped me to contextualize some of my own scattered thoughts on the issue. I'll admit some of Galloway's theories and figures made my eyebrows raise, and not in incredulity. The notion that one of these tech companies could purchase the Super Bowl in the near future is kind of frightening, but a very real possibility. Galloway points to Amazon's consumption of Whole Foods, how, even though the American grocer Kroger is 11 times the size, the company swiftly lost a third of its value because of "the expectation that Amazon is going to destroy industry after industry." To think, both Apple and Amazon started out of garages and are now on their way to becoming the first trillion-dollar companies. To put that in perspective, a public American company has never reached that much in stocks, and America's GDP is currently 18.57 trillion. These are frankly mind-boggling sums. As for Google and Facebook, Galloway mentions the "weaponization" of social media, and how the lack of safeguards have recently garnered criticism. On the whole, this was a very informative interview, and I'm strongly considering checking out Galloway's book.

Article 6

Smith, Ben. "There's Blood In The Water In Silicon Valley." BuzzfeedNews, 12 Sept. 2017,

This secondary, popular source, an opinion piece by Buzzfeed's editor-in-chief Ben Smith delves into the recent turn against big tech. Smith alludes to some of the factors that have contributed to the current political climate surrounding the titans, and illustrates some of the hazards they're encountering. He likens Google to an oil industry of yore, one who's "smooth image has grown tentacles," and criticizes Facebook's move into politics and it's role in the election. "The golden age (for big tech) is over," he says. Throughout the article there are a number of useful links and references to events from last year that have further aided my understanding of the subject at hand. I was surprised to learn, for instance, that last summer European regulators had saddled Google with a 2.7 billion dollar fine for allegedly abusing its dominance. Smith mentions at the start of the article how, due to the media heyday surrounding Trump, the changing stance towards the tech titans has kind of passed under the radar, and I concur. It's interesting how much harsher Smith feels in this piece than The Economist does in theirs. He doesn't provide any potential solutions, suggesting instead that "the political class can smell blood;" that these companies have become vulnerable; that it's only a matter of time until they're disassembled. Smith's is a widely different take than The Economist's, one that suggests swift and brutal consequences are in store for big tech, and that one might as well sit back and enjoy the show.


Sunday, January 28th, 2018 - WEEK 3 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Article 3

"Competition in the Digital Age - How to Tame the Tech Titans." The Economist, 18 Jan. 2018,

Hostility towards the Internet's three superpowers, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, is growing. These once revered tech platforms are fast becoming a source of unease for politicians around the globe. So what happened? The truth is, these companies outgrew and proceeded to shed their britches years ago, and while they reaped the profits, the public received the benefits. To stop and consider the far-reaching effects of this growth would have been to impede the rate at which the industry was progressing, so it's easy to see how the policymakers might have gotten caught up in the momentum, but that was then, this is now. The tides have changed. For one thing, these platforms are virtually monopolies, and though there is the potential for an up-and-coming website to seize a throne, it seems unlikely when the big boys are gobbling up every interesting startup in sight. This isn't good for anyone. It discourages innovators, and it allows the giants to rest on their laurels, getting fatter and fatter whilst producing nothing new.

The Economist's article (a popular, secondary source), cited above, suggests "two broad changes of thinking," means of reining in the colossi. The first involves essentially setting up committees to govern the technological sphere, ones that might, among other things, bar acquisitions where the receiving party stands to gain too much. The second is a "new set of laws to govern the ownership and exchange of data, with the aim of giving solid rights to individuals." Personally, though I don't think these are bad ideas, I believe them way too optimistic. Given Google and its pals are American companies, any board appointed to govern them would undoubtedly be American itself. So soon as a foreign rival steps up to the plate, what would happen? With so many elements at play, and so much money to be made, establishing and firmly enforcing a new set of rules is no easy feat.

Article 4

John Mcduling. "The 'tech-lash' against Google, Facebook and Amazon is finally upon us." The Sydney Morning Herald, 15, Sept. 2017,

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into how Google, Facebook, and other such digital platforms are affecting the country's advertising market. As a nation, what does Australia stand to benefit from this sizeable chunk of ad revenue departing overseas? Should the government force national businesses to find other ultimately less effective means of publicizing? Moreover, as this article's writer, John McDuling, says, "we are only beginning to see the green shoots of an Australian tech industry, something we desperately need to flourish if we want to remain a wealthy country. " Atlassian, what McDuling calls the country's "biggest success story," tech-wise, is a software company I had never even heard of. It's interesting to see how this issue is playing out elsewhere. The article (a popular, secondary source) goes on to mention how politicians on both the left and the right are beginning to lambast the giant digital platforms. It makes me wonder if the threat isn't somewhat overstated. Surely there need to be more rules in place to govern them, especially where it pertains to buying out startups, but are they not also being scapegoated? Isn't it only natural that a company should want to expand and act towards self-preservation? Facebook, Amazon, and Google aren't behaving much differently that they were two years ago, but the lawmakers certainly are.


Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 - WEEK 2 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Article 1

Ferguson, Niall. "Social networks are creating a global crisis of democracy." The Globe and Mail, The Globe and Mail, 19 Jan. 2018,

In this opinion piece (a popular, secondary source), Niall Ferguson considers the extent to which social networks are influencing politics and opinions, calling into question the supposed impartiality of the internet. Authoritative regimes, for instance, are able to utilize social media as a means of purveying their ideals whilst effectively 'drowning out' would-be dissenters. Moreover, in the wake of Trump's rise, it was discovered that fake, widely spread, Russia-linked Facebook pages had actively promoted the soon-to-be President, and likely tipped the scales in his favour. It begs the question: is social media killing democracy?

Article 2

Parker, Emily. "Silicon Valley Can't Destroy Democracy Without Our Help." The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Nov. 2017,

In this opinion piece (a popular, secondary source), Emily Parker suggests that we can't reasonably expect Silicon Valley to weed out misinformation for us. Although social media definitely encourages polarization, it does not force us to think a certain way. Whether or not a given person is susceptible to 'fake news' depends largely on how neatly the falsehoods coincide with their already established beliefs. A conservative bot isn't going to trick any life-long liberals, but a joke tweet about Trump's gorilla channel just might. Given how readily we accept what we are inclined to, perhaps it isn't the internet at the root of the problem. Perhaps it's us.

In the end, it is up to the individual to be open-minded when exploring an issue.