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Covid-19 Cannot Be Eradicated

This summer, covid-19 cases rapidly declined across the country (even in the absence of lockdowns) and it appeared that Canadians had finally won the "war" against the virus. Unfortunately, winter had other plans. By now there's no denying that covid-19, like other coronaviruses, is seasonal and here to stay.  It has always been impossible to vaccinate 100% of the Canadian population, because there will always be people with contraindications (allergies and other medical conditions) and people with moral/religious objections. Booster shots make full coverage even more implausible, as many Canadians don't want to get a new vaccine every 6 months. Even if every single Canadian was vaccinated, the virus would continue to circulate among other countries that lack the resources, infrastructure, and personnel necessary to vaccinate everyone. Furthermore, even if every human being on the planet was vaccinated, the virus would continue to circulate and mutate in animals. Covi
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Lest We Forget the Civilian Casualties of Our Wars

How we study and remember history affects our world in the present. In other words, remembering and commemorating military history is a political act. For that reason, as Remembrance Day approaches, I think it's healthy to question how we remember our country's wars. Remembrance Day in Canada focusses on Canadian and allied soldiers, especially those who were killed and injured in combat. Because all of Canada's wars in the 20th and 21st centuries have been fought overseas, far from the eyes of the Canadian public, we haven't witnessed first-hand the horrific toll war takes on civilians. Modern wars usually kill more civilians than combatants, and many of those who survive lose their homes, their jobs, their families and friends, even their limbs. Civilians don't sign up to live in a war zone, unlike soldiers paid to kill. They are left without choice, caught in the middle of state-sponsored violence. In World War II civilian casualties far outnumbered military cas

The Politicization of Vaccines

Before this year, vaccines were mostly apolitical objects. The vast majority of people viewed getting vaccinated as a morally right thing to do, to protect both yourself and those around you. There has always been a small anti-vaxxer minority, but before 2021 they were inconsequential in both public health and politics. Then in early 2021 murmurs began in the political world, mostly from the left, proposing vaccine mandates, including so-called "vaccine passports." The concept was roundly rejected by leaders as discriminatory, unnecessary, divisive, and counter-productive. In January Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued against vaccine passports, calling them "extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country." In April the Biden administration also argued against vaccine passports.  The World Health Organization, which has consistently opposed travel restrictions throughout the pandemic , also voiced their opposition to vaccine passp

The Legacy of 9/11 – a Zeitgeist of Fear

On September 11th, 2001 the Twin Towers fell and the world changed. In the United States, Canada, and much of the Western world a culture of fear set in and came to dominate the next 2 decades.  This was primarily a fear of Islamic terrorism, but 9/11 also brought about a general sense of uncertainty and fear that continues to this day. For the next 20 years  our politics, media, culture, and Zeitgeist as a whole would be characterized by a strong sense of fear, often bordering on paranoia. 9/11 triggered a wave of xenophobia in both the US and Canada. Islam, immigrants, and anything seen as foreign were treated with suspicion and fear. Unfortunately this attitude never really went away. Even now Islamophobia is still a major problem . Over the last 20 years apocalyptic media has become increasingly popular, with dozens of movies depicting apocalypses and post-apocalyptic worlds. In 2005 Steven Spielberg included imagery reminiscent of 9/11 in his film adaptation of  War of the Worlds