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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
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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

Trudeau Campaigning on Authoritarian New Laws

In June the Trudeau government pushed Bill C-10 through the House of Commons. The bill  aimed to classify online content as "broadcasting," thereby  granting the government sweeping new powers to regulate and censor the internet. Fortunately Bill C-10  died in the Senate as they didn't have enough time to pass the bill before Parliament's summer recess. Later this summer Justin Trudeau announced plans to further restrict free speech by expanding the legal definition of hate speech and creating a new bureaucracy in charge of "digital safety." The new Digital Safety Commissioner of Canada would have the power to regulate, spy on, and censor social media. On August 13th, only 2 days before calling a federal election, the Trudeau government made another divisive announcement. Vaccine passports would soon be required for everyone travelling by air and train within Canada, everyone working for the federal government, and everyone working in federally regulated in