News

Friday April 6, 2018, The Globe and Mail

Although ordinarily somnolent, the black dog of unaddressed history will sometimes warn about obscured misdeeds. U.S. President Donald Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency has triggered just such a wake-up – for Ms. Haspel’s history with the CIA includes practising torture – a war crime – during George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

There was sporadic outrage when Ms. Haspel’s nomination was announced: Republican John McCain demanded that she explain the nature of her involvement in the interrogation program. Democrat Ron Wyden said her past makes her “unsuitable to serve as CIA director.” The American Civil Liberties Union called for her CIA records to be declassified. But when the moment of her Senate confirmation arrives this month, only one thing will matter: the decibel rate and the resonance of their dissenting voices. [more]

Friday January 4, 2018, The Globe and Mail

Eugene Ionesco’s comic play, Amédée, featuring a “corpse” in a closet that extends grotesque members during an urbane dinner party, was almost certainly intended to spoof the blindness of the French to their wartime collaboration with the Nazis; but the playwright’s metaphor can be extended to other willful hidings, including one now facing the government of Canada.

Canada’s unexamined role in transferring captured Afghans to notorious prisons where they were certain to be tortured is another stubborn entity that keeps popping out of the cupboard. Both former prime minister Stephen Harper and current PM Justin Trudeau have tried to ignore the unwelcome visitor, but it will not be snubbed. [more]

Tuesday November 7, 2017, The Globe and Mail

Will Trumpism come to Canada? When asked over the past year, I’ve said no. Canadian respect for diversity, an economy that has stayed afloat and our reputed politeness have made such an evolution improbable – at least in the near term.

That’s still true, but we’re seeing ground-level challenges.

Yes, Ezra Levant’s hateful website, The Rebel, fell into disrepute after its coverage of the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last August. Yes, the federal NDP has elected a Sikh man as its leader. And yes, the recent outing of men with a history of predation may actually kick-start change to the oldest status quo in history: the demeaning of uppity women who think they’re equal. [more]

Wednesday September 13, 2017,
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

The Faculty Club
Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St, Toronto, ON M5S 1C7

Contact: Senior College
416-978-7553
senior.college@utoronto.ca

Multiculturalism is Canada’s greatest strength in these early years of the 21st century. It is the reason we have not fallen prey (so far) to the populist movements afflicting other pluralist nations. But we cannot take social peace for granted. Erna Paris will be speaking about the reasons for Canada’s success to date and also about the success and failure of an earlier multiethnic society, from which we have much to learn.

Programs are free for Fellows of Senior College, but RSVP is required. Members of Senior College who are not Fellows and visitors are asked to donate $10.00 to help defray costs.

Please complete the registration form for the talk on September 13, 2017

Monday July 31, 2017, The Globe and Mail

Last month, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, presented the tribunal’s 25th report on Darfur to the United Nations Security Council. Goodbye to the tea and crumpets of diplomatic niceties. Ms. Bensouda was angry. The council had referred the situation in Darfur to her office in March, 2005. Subsequent investigations had led to arrest warrants, most notably for Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, in 2009 and 2010 for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. To date, not one of the suspects had been arrested.

The prosecutor charged the Security Council with conspicuous silence over Sudan’s non-compliance with the council’s resolutions and for its failure to confront the growing number of countries refusing to arrest indicted war criminals. [more]