Generation Why: April 12
This week's issue of Generation Why features several stories that pose the question: who should be held accountable?
Flip through the interactive magazine to see stories you may have missed.
April 12 2013
MUST-READS FOR YOUNG CANADIANS
ABOUT THIS WEEK'S COVER
Jillian Hermansen is a freelance illustrator from Toronto who works in the non profit sector doing communications and marketing work.
"I’m interested in how our generation will contribute to Canada’s landscape and how our country is going to evolve over the next 20 to 30 years," she said, explaining the meaning behind her piece.
"Whether our contribution is going to be more traditional or something new and visionary - we can decide, and that’s exciting."
Want to submit a photo or illustration for a future cover?
note from the editors
Just a few more days until our Open Editorial Meeting on Monday April 15 at 7 p.m. ET
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Fabiola Carletti and Lauren O'Neil
CBC Community writers/producers
Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support last Sunday after a suicide attempt earlier last week.
The young Nova Scotia teen had been continuously tormented online for the past two years, following an incident back in 2011 when four boys allegedly raped her at a party.
Pictures from that night then began to circulate online, at school, and in the community. The online tormenting and bullying continued over the next year, while the RCMP stated that it didn’t have enough hard evidence to follow through and press charges.
As Rehtaeh’s story was made public after her death, there has been a huge public outcry and demands that justice be brought to this tragic case.
Online hacktivists, Anonymous, have now become involved in this public campaign and they claim to have found the names of two of the alleged perpetrators.
As Canadians stand in shock over what happened, the Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry has given his department the rare go-ahead to reopen this case.
I believe that this story demonstrates a huge failure of the justice system, as they neglected to properly deal with serious evidence embedded in the online world of social media, evidence that could have saved her life.
To learn more about this story, visit CBC Nova Scotia's special report: Justice for Rehtaeh.
cbc nova scotia
I’m only six years older than Rehtaeh Parsons. I can't shake that.
As part of CBC Nova Scotia's online time, I’ve watched a heartbreaking Facebook message from a grieving mother turn into an international story.
Her story rocked me, but I’m troubled as I follow the online reaction.
I have not seen the photo. I do not know what happened on the night. But I know what I don’t know and that’s how I write my stories.
We’re not in Kansas anymore. In this world of social media vigilantism the word "alleged" seems to have been lost in the quest for punitive action.
A group reported to be the infamous hackers Anonymous says it has the suspects’ names but nobody has been formally charged.
I’m not defending the justice department or the police. There are still unanswered questions.
Still, we must remember that rape is a serious accusation with an unforgiving stigma attached to it.
That’s for a reason.
A conviction is best left up to the authorities, not an unnamed man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask in a YouTube video.
We can’t put revenge before due process or we risk an injustice in the name of justice.
Listen here to learn more.
Furthermore, Canada ranked only 24th on children’s self-reported feelings of well-being. This startling result raises complex questions -- not just about our kids’ objective reality, but also their expectations, perceptions, and feelings.
Whether or not you have children of your own, kids are members of our communities who have little power or opportunity to voice their needs.
We must speak on their behalf, and push for answers and change.
As a young adult with no dependents, I don’t give much thought to Canada’s children in my daily life.
I figure they’re cute (if not a little noisy), and, growing up in our wealthy country, they’re fortunate compared to many kids around the world. I assume that, as the song goes, the kids are alright.
But maybe not. The CBC recently reported that Canada ranked 17th out of 29 developed countries in a UNICEF report on children’s overall well-being. The details behind the shocking headline were perplexing and troubling to read.
The report ranked Canada 22nd on infant mortality, which is particularly an issue in Aboriginal communities with limited access to health care — just another painful reminder of the gap in living conditions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
On Saturday, CBC News shone a light on the Royal Bank of Canada and their attempts to outsource Canadian jobs to foreign workers. In most cases this would be enough to incense Canadians, but to add insult to injury, the banking giant wanted the laid-off workers to train their foreign replacements.
As the bank tried to explain itself, the PR nightmare became more and more of a Gordian knot -- much to the delight of the social media audience.
The barrage of Facebook posts, website comments, and tweets were laden with threats to pull personal finances out from the bank and move patronage elsewhere.
But, in reality, this resulted in a little more than a virtual shaking of the fist toward RBC.
We’ve seen this in many forms, most notably in the ‘Kony 2012 campain’, where people promise big things over the internet, and ‘like’ boycott pages, while no action ever materializes
This ‘slacktivism’ - a portmanteau meaning all bark and no bite - is rampant on social media.
Perhaps Young Canadians who feel strongly about injustices in the world should take action on a bigger scale, and not just ‘poke’ the issue on Facebook.
If, as Alice Walker said "activism is my rent for living on the planet," then ‘slacktivism’ must be rent for living on the internet.
cbc news online
is your money where your mouth is?
By now you’ve likely heard that RBC is in hot water for laying off a group of Canadian IT workers -- but not before asking them to train their foreign replacements.
The question now is if the controversy will lead to broader changes, and what those changes should be.
Outsourcing may not be going anywhere, but we don’t need to make it easier to freeze Canadians out of jobs that require physical presence in the country.
We also don’t need a xenophobic backlash against either immigration or labour mobility more generally.
As an Albertan doing her PhD in New York, I am grateful for the ability work and study abroad.
Through the student organization AIESEC I got to teach at a university in Colombia for eight months, and we brought about ten interns a year from around the world to companies in Edmonton. Some stayed; many went home.
Young Canadians benefit from being able to work abroad, and it is easy to see that coming to Canada is an opportunity for many people.
Coming through a program that legally sanctions their exploitation and undermines Canadian workers, however, is a lose-lose situation.
How would you grade Your Hospital?
Heading to the hospital is an emotional experience.
Sometimes it’s the middle of the night, other times you know you’ll be admitted for a longer stay.
Either way you’re going to have a lot of scenarios swimming around in your brain about what it’s going to be like.
You’re hoping your hospital is staffed with conscientious nurses and doctors and they’re going to take care of you quickly and efficiently.
But what is the care really like in your hospital?
What’s your hospital’s track record with complicated procedures?
Will you understand what the staff are saying to you about your treatment? What are the chances you’re going to pick up an infection when you’re there?
The fifth estate’s Rate My Hospital project aims to help people get some answers to those kinds of questions.
As more people ask questions, hospitals may feel compelled to become more transparent and accountable for the level of care they provide. Other countries around the world already have something similar in place.
It’s a first step yes, but it helps us all to open the door to even more information, and that’s incredibly important.
Find your hospital at the fifth estate's Rate my Hospital microsite.
While Bitcoin has been known to attract a certain type of user -- one who values privacy and untraceability -- it seems to be gaining traction with the everyday consumer.
Three weeks ago, I dismissed the story of the house for sale for bitcoins as filler news -- but it would seem this growing currency is gaining relevance in our ever uncertain global economy.
It harkens back to a day where simple spices and herbs were traded at much higher values than gold. It mirrors the much less complicated market of long ago, based on simple supply and demand.
Bitcoin is, of course a much more sophisticated currency than black peppercorns; it is a digital peer-to-peer encryption based currency. The future of the Bitcoin is uncertain, and it is currently viewed as an unstable investment.
Is it really secure? Could it theoretically be hacked or stolen, and will someone eventually shut it down?
In mid-March, an Albertan man announced he would be selling his home in the Crowsnest Pass area for $405,000; but for a buyer willing to pay in Bitcoin, the price could be negotiated lower.
That was the first time I had ever heard of bitcoins, so I was surprised to read about them again in the news this week.
Following the recent financial fiasco in Cyprus, bitcoins have been spiking and fluctuating wildly in value.
There are a limited number of bitcoins on the market, and eventually the currency will top out at an available amount of 21 million bitcoins worldwide.
In 2010, a developer named Gavin Andresen created "The Bitcoin Faucet". Having never heard of Bitcoins at the time, I happily received 5, free, from a patron called 15VjRaDX9zpbA8LVnbrCA-FzrVzN7ixHNsC and hoarded them onto a thumbdrive.
Alas, some weeks later I lost my digital negotiables. "What odds," I figured. It was only worth thirty cents on the exchanges and Hortons wasn’t on the block chain with Timbits yet.
Fast forward to this Tuesday, when my friend Dave and I introduced ourselves at Hacklab Toronto’s weekly open house.
Dave makes real money by mining bitcoins, but was eager to avoid "yet another discussion".
As eager again as some members were to show off their many creations, a set of young hackers debated Bitcoin’s elements of economic anarchy, anonymity, algorithms and prime number mathematics. Hats were tipped to viable alternatives such as Litecoin, and reservations were made known about the Royal Canadian Mint’s MintChip.
Wednesday morning, an unprecedented rally drove my lost bitcoins to a value of $1,000 at CAVirtEx, followed by a crash that halved it by the end of the day. Despite the bubble, the Bitcoin market is still worth over ten billion dollars and hosts over 65,000 transactions per day.
IN A CAN
In the past few months, scandals over contaminated meat have been all the rage. With worldwide attention being placed on beef and horsemeat, something very fishy has escaped the notice of Canadians: mislabelled seafood.
I try to stay on top of food-related issues, but even I was surprised to find this article stating that Canadians aren’t eating what they think they are. According to a study by the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) at the University of Guelph, a whopping 41 per cent of fish sold in Canadian seafood outlets is labelled incorrectly.
As the article notes, these mislabelling mishaps are concerning. It’s not fair to those who pay more for higher quality fish -- like wild salmon -- but actually take home an inferior species.
And if Canadians can’t even be sure of the kind of fish they are buying, then it’s
next to impossible to knowif it
was raised or caught
Plus, some types of fish
might carry more potential
health risks than others.
It seems most Canadians
haven’t noticed that they’ve
been deceived in the fish
department. But now it’s
clear that the fish you buy
might not be what it seems.
Read more here or watch
the 2010 seafood fraud
Fishy" by CBC-TV's Marketplace.
Last week a retired federal researcher went public to share her concerns that Ottawa is muzzling scientists -- a claim that is seemingly more common these days.
In 2011, Marley Waiser wrote and published two scientific papers for Environment Canada that focused on chemical pollutants (such as phosphorus and ammonia) and pharmaceuticals (such as trace antibiotics) in Wascana Creek, Regina; both forms of pollution were found downstream of the Regina sewage treatment plant.
When CBC contacted Waiser to talk about her research, Environment Canada intervened, telling her that she needed media training before she could talk to reporters. That training was requested, but never provided.
Canadians benefit from hearing first-hand scientific data, and given all the recent cuts to environmental science and research, such as the Experimental Lakes Area and the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, stories like these show that our government might not be telling us everything.
Democracies run best when citizens are informed. If we are uninformed or unaware of what is happening to our environment and the resources we depend on, how will we know when to speak up?
This story is from CBC Saskatchewan online. There is also a video interview with Marley Waiser found on the same link.
Take a minute to remember
the winter march
They marched in a single-file line, with the leading man rotating every five minutes so as to prevent fatigue and frostbite.
These men, many of whom were English- or French-speaking Canadians, overcame the Canadian winter in what is often described as one of the greatest military marches in British history.
Our film, the The Winter March, won the Historica-Dominion Institute’s 'Got a Minute?' contest. You can read our behind-the-scenes blog post for CBC News here.
We are the high school co-producers of a one-minute film that dramatizes a forgotten episode in Canadian History: the 1,100 kilometre trek of the 104th New Brunswick Regiment from Fredericton, N.B. to Kingston, Ont. during the War of 1812.
The first elements of the regiment embarked on February 16th, 1813 and the last soldiers reached Kingston nearly two months later on April 12th, 1813 - two centuries ago today.
Why is it essential that Canadians remember this long-ago journey?
Most famous moments in the War of 1812 involved direct resistance to an American invasion. Yet the march of the 104th Regiment was fought against a different enemy: the Canadian winter.
These 600 men battled extreme cold and heavy snowdrifts to reinforce the outnumbered defenders of Upper Canada.
Patrick Y. Lee
With the upcoming Liberal Leadership vote, the Liberals are not as "irresistible" as Justin Trudeau would have you believe.
The party is in disarray at all levels of politics and, it seems to me, unable to connect with any audience.
Although Justin Trudeau is cute and a fresh face, I don't think he has done anything to justify his frontrunner status.
My generation and others seem to forget everything that the Conservatives, Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty have accomplished over the last few years.
They saved us from a worldwide economic recession and adjusted their policies. Flaherty is confident that we will have the budget balanced by 2015.
The alternative is confused Liberals who are using nostalgia to capture our nation.
A name means nothing.
Trudeau is not the returning Prime Minister with a good track record. He is a dreamer and would simply be voted in on nepotism.
Read more about the leadership vote here.
nothing but a name
cbc arts online
two different stars
Two stories from the Arts universe caught my attention this week.
First: The Beatles might be my go-to music, but I also can’t resist an infectious dance-pop earworm, which is why I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Gangnam Style follow-up from reigning viral video king Psy.
He dropped his new track Gentleman early Thursday morning ET and the song feels somewhat familiar, totally ridiculous and undeniably fun – all at once. Alas, there’s no music video yet. We need to see that accompanying dance!
And in other news, Raja Moussaoui, an architect and journalism fellow at U of T’s Munk School, shed light on a great campaign this week in her article about the bid to have the Pritzker Prize - considered one of architecture’s highest honours - retroactively awarded to Denise Scott Brown.
The noted U.S. architect long shared creative duties with her husband and business partner Robert Venturi, but he alone was awarded the Pritzker in 1991.
Now, thanks to a campaign started by two graduate students, top "starchitects" like Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are joining thousands of others to support the petition.
Patrick and Eamonn