Archive | June, 2012


25 Jun


Does the word “vagina” make you feel uncomfortable? Does it feel weirder to say than “penis”? Should the word be banned in the State House of Representatives? What other word should representatives use when discussing female reproductive issues? Are there any negative connotations associated with the word? Why?

Raise your hand if you understand the omnibus bill (Bill C-38)

23 Jun

Okay, so until this morning, I would only be able to half raise my hand. Tentatively. With apprehension.  But this has been a hot topic in Canadian politics that affects all of us and I think it is important for voters to understand it.

Wikipedia defines an omnibus bill as a “proposed law that covers a number of diverse or unrelated topics.” (Side note: before you comment on my use of Wikipedia, let’s just remember Michael Scott’s quote – “Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know that you are getting the best possible information.”) Basically, an omnibus bill packages all these diverse topics into one single proposal that gets voted on as one piece of legislature. Oftentimes, they are used by a government to get controversial amendments passed without proper scrutiny or notice. And they are perfectly legal and used within the Canadian political system.

So what is Omnibus Bill C-38? It is a huge budget bill proposed by the Conservatives called the “Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act” that tries to disguise a whole host of controversial measures. The bill is more than 400 pages long and seeks to amend nearly 70 different laws ranging from unemployment to Indigenous rights to food security to the environment.

Just a few of the laws proposed in Bill C-38:

– The bill changes the environmental assessment review process:

  • The bill gives way for rapid approval of huge industrial projects like the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline
  • The bill will violate the obligation to consult with aboriginal communities on future projects

– Bill C-38 proposes changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, Old Age Security and repeals the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act

  • The eligibility age for old age security will be raised
  • This will affect the most vulnerable and underpaid workers in Canada

– The bill amends the Seeds Act and Plant Breeder Rights

  • It eliminates the enforcement of the” Product of Canada” label
  • It favours multinational corporations instead of local farmers

– The bill officially withdraws Canada from the Kyoto Protocol

  • There will be no separate debate or vote on withdrawing Canada from this International agreement

– Bill C-38 amends the Employment Equity Act:

  • It eliminates requirements that protect groups from discrimination
  • This will affect women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities

– The bill enacts changes to the Fisheries Act:

  • It limits federal protection of fish habitats

Pros of the omnibus:

  • If the bill was broken up then the political process would be prolonged.
  • The government’s future priorities are moving forward more quickly.

Cons of the omnibus:

  • Since so many laws are being passed in one bill, less attention is paid to the details and the controversial measures. Proposed bills would be better if they were separate and received more consideration.
  • The government’s future priorities are moving forward more quickly.

The Conservatives want to pass Bill C-38 before Parliament breaks for the summer. The bill passed a final vote in the House of Commons, and is set to be voted on in the Senate. It looks like it will pass next week.

What do you think about the concept of omnibus bills? Do they have a legitimate place in Canadian politics? Is the Harper government utilizing the omnibus bill in an intelligent way, or is it sneaky and underhanded? Can you pass Elizabeth May’s quiz about the bill?

Versatile Blogger Award

20 Jun

Thank you to Steph of Finding Development for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! This is a great way to spread the word on some excellent blogs!

The rules are simple:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you (this one’s for you Steph :P)
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Nominate 15 blogs and let them know you have nominated them.

Seven things you always wanted to know about Kyla:

  1. I want to travel and explore as much as I possibly can.
  2. I am happiest by the lake at my cottage, surrounded by friends and family.
  3. Pants are over-rated. So are shoes. I would rather wear a dress and be barefoot.
  4. I have weird food issues – I am a sectional eater and definitely get teased about it.
  5. I was baptized on my 16th birthday.
  6. I’m probably the worst dinner guest because I LOVE discussing both politics and religion.
  7. I am the co-founder of a new not-for-profit (more details to come!)

My nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award:

Where Hope takes Root

Out of My Ordinary 

I’m on My Way 

Gina Takes on the World

Barefoot Wanderer

Where the F@#K am I? 

Heather in Hanoi

Souls of my Feet

Venturing Vietnam


The K Movement

Kevin in Burkina Faso 


The Power of Hope

Black Island Bakery

I urge you all to check out these awesome blogs and to participate in the VBA!

“You ate 50 wings?!” A new alternative to vegetarianism

20 Jun

I was vegetarian for 6 years, and I started eating meat again last summer in preparation for my placement in Botswana. This is something I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about. So, thank you to Lucy for showing me this video (Check out her post on Guilty Eating). Nafis also wrote about The Meat-Lovers Dilemma awhile back too.

This talk gives some interesting statistics on meat-eating:

  • Meat causes more emissions than all transportation combined
  • The processes of beef use 100x more water than vegetables

 So, why does our society eat so much meat? Because it tastes good and it’s easy! It is absolutely disgusting that someone can go to a bar and be proud of the fact that they inhaled 50 wings. Think of the physical and environmental health a habit like that can take. Umm, ew!

In this video, Graham Hill suggests a new solution to being just a “meat-eater” or just a “vegetarian” : a weekday vegetarian. The concept is simple – vegetarian on weekdays, whatever you want on weekends. I am now committing myself to this idea (with a slight alteration: 2 days a week for meat, not necessarily weekends). I ate fish for lunch, so there’s one.

What are your meat-eating habits? What are your reasons for being a vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, meatitarian, or any other “arian”? 

Rio+20 – Is it a good thing that it won’t accomplish anything?

19 Jun

This article(click here) is a brief commentary on Rio+20. I start out agreeing with the author: “It [Rio+20] will accomplish nothing.” Then she goes on to say that it is a good thing that the conference will accomplish nothing, because what the conference is calling for would hurt the world’s poor. She says that “the poor people of the world do not need more organic farming and electric cars. They need more technology and human ingenuity.” Oh, she also mentions that GM foods are more environmentally friendly.

After reading this article, we are left with the question: do the world’s poorest need more and better access to technology, or do they need more sustainable practices? Is it a good thing that Rio+20 will not accomplish anything? Or will the summit surprise us all and actually do something?


“Leading with Lollipops”

19 Jun

We all love TED, so check out this TEDxToronto video!

I really like this video, and I am intrigued by the idea of thinking as leadership as influencing one person. When I first saw this video, I thought about how this concept can be applied to development. Initially, I thought that it is just a way for people in the field to feel better about themselves and their work. But then I thought about my work with Zikomo Bags, and I realized that I can completely apply this idea. Zikomo Bags currently works with 11 women. But these 11 women have learned valuable sewing skills, and 2 of them are now teaching a course on sewing and tailoring. What can their students accomplish? These 11 women can now more easily afford to send their children to school. What can their children accomplish? The lollipops just keep getting passed along.

Leading with Lollipops really can work. It is also a great way to maintain hope and optimism in the often discouraging field of development.

Do you like the idea of leading with lollipops? Is it more effective for people working in the field of development, or for the people receiving development aid? Or is it just a “hokey” idea that is best left to Orientation Leaders?