Generation Why: April 26
This week's must-read news for young Canadians
must-read news for young Canadians
April 26 2013
Want to submit an illustration or photograph for a future cover? Email email@example.com
Joana Patrasc is a graphic designer and artist from Toronto, Ontario.
The image on the cover is titled "For You" and was created using flowers and a scanner. It belongs to a book called Daydreams which was completed in 2012.
The book combines writing and images to tell the story of a woman who slips in and out the present moment to memories of the past and thoughts about the future.
Joana is currently studying graphic design at OCAD University.
You can visit her blog here.
note from the editors
In this week's issue of Generation Why, your peers are sharing their news-infused views on what defines us as Canadians, both on the whole and as individuals within this vast and diverse nation.
Author Mohsin Hamid told CBC's Jian Ghomeshi this week that single identities are a myth -- an idea that Shahzi Yasmin Bokhari explores further in her piece addressing heightened levels of islamophobia following the RCMP's terror plot takedown announcement
Laura Adams highlights citizenship application issues affecting people who long to become Canadian, and in his reflection on our country's film industry, Ainar Monaghan looks at the importance of consuming and supporting Canada's stories here at home.
How do you define yourself within Canada? Share your stories of identity with us in the comment section of this post on CBCNews.ca.
Fabiola Carletti and Lauren O'Neil
CBC Community writers/producers
welcome to canada
(Please take a number.)
Canadians are proud to be part of what is considered a welcoming country that not only accepts newcomers, but celebrates our diverse immigrant population.
When travelling overseas, I love to hear people extol my country’s inclusive reputation (of course, as a Canadian, I only modestly accept their praise and still manage to say “sorry” too many times.)
Yet, there’s growing evidence that this national trait is becoming more myth than reality.
A CBC Ottawa investigation revealed that the waiting list for permanent residents to become citizens has nearly doubled since 2007, to 350,000. The wait time is now nearly two years.
Critics blame the backlog on new screening measures meant to fight fraud, which they say are ineffective. Instead, these measures put an excessive burden on applicants, many with straightforward applications, who are left waiting amidst uncertainty and sometimes fear.
With a declining birthrate and aging population, our country’s survival will increasingly depend upon attracting bright immigrants and welcoming them into our communities and workplaces.
After seeing this report, I’m concerned.
Are we letting our suspicions and inefficient processes sabotage our future economic well being?
What’s equally troubling for me is that we also risk undermining core national values like inclusion and respect for others — people who are eager, and even desperate, to become Canadian.
Veil or no veil? This controversial issue has made headlines in recent weeks . At the centre of it is a Muslim woman referred to as "N.S." and her upcoming case in Toronto.
N.S. has accused two family members of abusing her in the 1980s, when she was only a child. Her case is set to begin April 29th.
Six years after her initial case, the question lingered: should a Muslim woman be able to wear her niqab (veil) while testifying?
Now Justice Norris Weisman, the Ontario judge for the case, has announced his decision: the woman cannot wear her niqab during the testimony.
After plenty of internal arguing, I can't help but agree with Judge Weisman's decision.
We aren't all subject to a specific religion, but aren't we all subject to the law?
Still, this case still has left me confused and wondering: are her beliefs obstructing justice? Or is the law violating her beliefs?
What do you think? You can read more here.
The latest wave of heightened Islamophobia comes after the bombings in Boston. Visible Muslims and those who are mistaken for Muslims prepare themselves for the expected social scrutiny.
In the wake of terrorism, Islam becomes a person’s main identity. Many Muslims have to come out to defend the religion and the culture and make statements condemning terrorism and dissociating themselves from radicals and extremists. This is exhausting, but it seems necessary.
A silver lining to Islamophobia is that many Muslims reaffirm their faith as the result of constantly trying to defend it. But Islamophobia and terrorism force boundaries and categories around identities.
One of the results of living in a global context is an inner and outer pressure to choose an identity.
But as author Mohsin Hamid told CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi, single identities are a myth. Instead, we are “hybridized” -- we simultaneously have multiple identities.
So this notion that people have to be one or the other, is fundamentally wrong. We live in a global society where multiple identities are a part of our social structure.
We move around the country and globe for work, for school, for family. We are no longer bound or influenced by one identifier; we are global citizens.
This is a
An app alone is not enough
Amanda Todd, Rehtaeh Parsons, Jane Doe from Steubenville, Ohio – these girls have become household names after unveiling a troubling high school peer culture that tormented them with constant, viral harassment.
As a former high-school teacher, their stories troubled me and I wanted to explore whether you can empower kids who are victims and bystanders to use the technology that aids cyberbullying to curb it.
I found some innovative schools and technology companies that promote anti-bullying apps, and wanted to see whether these projects can be successful, long-term solutions or if they miss the mark.
Most of us are not in high-school anymore. But we have siblings, nieces, nephews, children or even future children who are or one day will be a part of that world.
For their sakes, and for girls like Todd, Parsons and Doe, it’s important to try and understand the complex world that the first generation of digital natives live in, and how to help them navigate it in a socially responsible way.
You can read more here.
cbc online writer
But while her passion for politics makes for a feel-good story, it also highlights an unfortunate reality.
Voter turnout among young Canadians is on the decline and Generation Y seems to be less engaged in politics than any other.
As one expert points out, this lack of youth participation is a problem because when election time rolls around, politicians pay more attention to the issues that matter to older Canadians while our own concerns fall by the wayside.
If we want our elected officials to tackle issues that affect us most, like youth employment or education, we need to show them that we have power in our votes -- and that we're going to use it.
Read more about Jennifer Johnson and get inspired by her story here.
As B.C. ramps up for its election next month, one Vancouver-area girl is getting attention for her political enthusiasm.
Twelve-year-old Jennifer Johnson, still six years away from being allowed to vote, has been spending much of her free time campaigning for her local Liberal candidate.
But while her passion for politics makes for a feel-good story, it also highlights an unfortunate reality.
Being deeply involved in the labour movement at the grassroots and political levels, I was encouraged to see the CBC publish an article about the relationship between young people and unions.
I find it surprising that so many young people are hostile, ambivalent or ignorant about the role unions play in Canadian society.
At a time when unions are under siege from Canadian governments, union density is in decline across the country, and young people are disproportionately dependent on precarious employment, I find it strange that my fellow GenYers don’t appreciate the improvements in quality of life that unions have won, not only for their members, but for society at large.
If our generation is going to have any chance of addressing the complex problems passed down to us, then jobs that are safe, secure and decent-paying will provide us the stability we need to do so.
Unions are the organizations that enable and protect these jobs.
Read a feature article exploring whether unions matter to young people here.
The government released environment data on the Athabasca oilsands on Earth day. This is great news for scientists and the public who are interested in the effects of oilsands development in northern Alberta.
The portal, which includes data collected by the oilsands environmental monitoring program, Is a step towards giving the public access to federally funded science.
The government is hoping to gain public approval for the oilsands by showing how responsibly they are being developed.
The problem, I think, lies in the bigger picture.
There are many potential issues with the oilsands including bitumen (oilsands crude) spills which aren't readily degraded naturally, contaminated water with potential health hazards and even the trouble of finding a pipeline route which can gain environmental approval.
The one certainty that comes with the oilsands and an accompanying pipeline, be it the XL or one of many others being proposed, is the use of the oil for energy
I've read a study that suggests just one of the pipelines, if completed, will move enough oil annually to more than equal the emissions of all the vehicles running in Canada. That's more than 29 million cars, trucks and heavy vehicles! (That particulas study, unfortunately, was not covered by CBC News.)
In a time when we are trying to curb our impact on the planet and cut or emissions, maybe we should start seriously looking into other energy options.
Read about 6 recent changes to federal environment programs here.
Documentaries aren’t the typical kind of films you’ll find playing in big-name theatres. But this month, Canadian filmmaker and environmental activist Rob Stewart released his new film, Revolution.
You might remember him from his previous film, Sharkwater. In a recent interview with CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos, Stewart says he's realized it’s not just about saving sharks anymore – it’s about saving ourselves.
He talks to Strombo about how he himself struggles with making low-impact everyday choices, and how he got lost in the middle of the ocean for eight hours while filming.
After watching Revolution this week, I left the theatre with a renewed sense of awe at the natural world, and a feeling of hope for the future.
Stewart is aiming to get one billion people across the world to see the film and hear his message.
Will you be one of them?
Watch Strombo's interview with Stewart here.
Good news for scientists and environmentalists alike this week -- yep, that’s right: I said good news!
Last month the CBC reported that the Federal Government announced it was closing the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in northern Ontario.
The ELA consists of more than 50 lakes that are so clean and so pure that they have been used as life sized test tubes for important research on issues ranging from acid rain to the effects of phosphates in detergents on fresh water.
News of the closure caused an international outcry -- one that was heard by three potential partners who have decided to step up and fill the gap in funding left by Federal Government’s budget cuts.
On Wednesday night, The National informed us that Ontario, in partnership with the Manitoba Government and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), have decided to share cost of the 2 million dollars a year needed to keep the ELA open.
The three partners have yet to negotiate the details, but this announcement gives hope to the future of the Experimental Lakes Area and to research that informs the development of effective public policy.
In the face of Federal budget cuts, it’s all quite refreshing.
A refreshing change
Reader Pick: Experimental lakes research site to remain open
Law enforcement did a phenomenal job in capturing the surviving Boston Marathon suspect soon after the terrorist attack that left three people dead.
The police that captured the suspect sent a message to any future terrorists that they will be caught and, if found guilty, held accountable for their actions.
Law enforcement is willing to lock down cities to find those responsible and reduce safety hazards for the general population. I believe they are sending the right message.
As someone from Generation Y, I have grown up with terrorism since 9/11, when I was in Junior High. I don’t think my generation takes our safety for granted. Instead of spreading terror, we continue to live our lives and seize the moment.
Bostonians celebrated following the arrests, and the notable tweets included those of CBC’s John Rieti and freelance photographer Brian D’Amico.
On April 15th, two men -- brothers who were presumably deranged -- detonated a series of bombs at the Boston Marathon, and sparked a manhunt.
The American media reacted with its typical fear mongering xenophobia and the tear jerking stories of heroes that could make The Triumph of the Will seem like balanced journalism in comparison.
Meanwhile, both habeas corpus and the fourth amendment were suspended without judicial precedent, while soldiers and mercenaries -- private defence contractors in newspeak -- roamed the streets in what I would call the biggest infringement of civil liberties in that town since probably the last Boston Massacre.
Yet, people were elated, glad to be locked in their homes whilst those entrusted with protecting them hunted down the surviving suspect. The response afterwards was also one of elation, but elation over what?
Perhaps you will say I am a radical, a rogue, card carrying and resplendently happy to attack those brave heroes who did their job, but ask yourself this one question: is it really two Russian kids with a few screws loose who are the greatest danger to civil liberties and due process of law in our time?
You can read more about what experts think will happen next here.
It’s called Starlight, and they are pushing for its inclusion in all basic cable packages.
The price of basic cable will increase, but the executives are vowing to put 70 per cent of Starlight’s revenue back into producing Canadian films.
This would be amazing news for our filmmakers, who are currently forced to beg and borrow funding from multiple sources to get their films made.
We don’t have much regard for our homegrown flicks, but I would argue that exposure and appreciation are directly related.
Quick! Name five Canadian films you’ve watched in the past year.
You couldn’t, and now you’re sad, right? Well, Canada’s filmmakers and producers are with you.
Back in January, an application for a Canadian movie channel was submitted to CRTC, backed by heavyweights like Paul Gross and David Cronenberg.
On Thursday, Canadian movie execs met with the CRTC to pitch their solution to our cinematic self-loathing.
a place for eh-listers only
I have often wondered what everyone else thinks of our dynamic country.
On Wednesday, we were given a glimpse of one comic book writer’s impression when The Avengers No. 10 comic book was released.
In this issue, an all-Canadian superhero team, Omega Flight, tries to save Regina from an alien attack but fails.
The Canadian government is forced to call in the help of the Avengers. That’s fine with me -- I love seeing Canadian cities highlighted in entertainment.
The Avengers is one of Marvel’s most popular comic books, and this will put Saskatchewan on the map for some kids.
Reader's pick: Regina wiped out in Avengers story
It’s important we don’t set all of our stories in Hollywood, New York, Paris and abroad.
I say bring the stories home, even if it means levelling Canadian cities, and turning our citizens into bug-eyed mutants. It makes me proud to be Canadian!
Unfortunately, it seems the Avengers fared no better against the aliens than the Canadian heroes -- but I suppose there’s more to come in the Avengers No. 11.
Read more here.