Can B.C. climb back to the education mountaintop?

For almost 20 years, the government has been at war with the teaching profession. New contract talks can change that

Can B.C. climb back to the education mountaintop?British Columbia’s educational system is one of the best in the world, according to documents published by the Conference Board of Canada and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). A BBC article referred to Canada as “An Educational Superpower” and British Columbia even ranks ahead of all other Canadian provinces. Yet B.C. schools are…

Overcoming mental health issues – and the stigma surrounding them

We have a long way to go in improving the understanding of mental health issues and in serving those who have them, but people like DeMar DeRozan are helping

Overcoming mental health issues – and the stigma surrounding themIt’s becoming more clear than ever that mental health issues are very real and very prevalent in our society. There are few of us who aren’t impacted, either by living or working with people who struggle, or dealing with our own mental well-being. Mental health issues are nothing new. Soldiers returned from war 100 years…

Painting a masterpiece: the art of dissent in search of truth

Freedom of expression in the arts is as fragile as freedom of the press, and it’s just as vital to human rights as freedom of thought

Painting a masterpiece: the art of dissent in search of truthUkrainian businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk said, “Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” Art has been a part of the human experience as long as there have been people. It’s served many purposes, from the practical to the philosophical. Great pieces of art offer an expression of beauty and human creativity.…

Do you have the grit it takes to achieve success?

Research is slowly helping us understand the qualities we need in order to overcome obstacles on the way to our goals

Do you have the grit it takes to achieve success?American author and motivational speaker Albert E.N. Gray said, “All successful people have the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinate to the strength of their purpose.” In other words, the difference between people who achieve what they set out…

Abstain to satisfy your hunger for peace and understanding

Fasting makes me feel purified in body, mind and spirit, and links me in solidarity with good people all around the world

Abstain to satisfy your hunger for peace and understandingFormer American secretary of agriculture Ezra Taft Benson said, “Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit.” Fasting is largely misunderstood. Food is so necessary to our existence. Why would we want to punish ourselves by not eating? How can abstaining in any way be beneficial? Yet fasting…

Moving forward together to be a light for a broken world

We gain strength when we decide that we won’t allow the crimes of others to hold us back. We gain true freedom when we forgive our oppressors

Moving forward together to be a light for a broken worldCanada is on a journey of healing. But in many ways, we’re travelling through uncharted territory. Few of us understand what needs to happen or where it will lead. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published a report and a call to action in 2015. It’s consistent with United Nations documents on human rights and it…

The Beatles just might have been right

Love may not be all we need, but it's a key ingredient to leading a well-lived, meaningful existence

Life is filled with challenges and we’re always looking for answers. The Beatles told us, “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.” The difficulty with this credo is that love has many meanings and interpretations. It can be directed at one person or at all of humanity. Love can be selfless…

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongs

The key is to focus on acceptable and unacceptable actions, not the ethnicity or gender of the actor

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongsPsychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, “There are two races of men in the world, but only these two – the ‘race’ of decent men and the ‘race’ of indecent men. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society.” This is a powerful conclusion from a man who witnessed the very…

Broad social change must first be an inside job

None of us can be an agent of positive change unless we’re at peace within their own being

Broad social change must first be an inside jobAs we look at the world, it’s very easy to give up hope. We see a lack of integrity in politicians and obscene wages for business leaders, and we fear for the future of our planet. Some try to tell us that the path to progress is to change the system. If we can overthrow…

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”

History is full of policies established to determine which human lives were valuable and which were not. Are we comfortable going down that path again?

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”By observing history without judgment, we can learn from our mistakes. By examining primary documents – artifacts from a particular era – we can begin to understand the thinking of the people of that time. In an effort to create a more objective perspective, I tell my students to imagine that they’re living in the…