Category Archives: Politics

From Me to You: Be Skeptical of News Outlet Credibility


Back in high school, our English classes gave particular attention to credibility: how to be a credible writer and how to find credible sources. I never really thought much of it. It’s a lesson, it’s homework, it’s an assignment. Once done, it’s over. I probably won’t look back on it again. But here I am, with the sudden ringing of my high school teacher’s voice telling me to be skeptical of what I hear, see, and read.

Friday night was when word on Paris being attacked was plastered all over news outlets and social media. I immediately felt sorrow for Paris, and even shared a couple of grieving photos and statuses myself. The next morning, Facebook installed that new “Paris Profile Picture” update. I didn’t do it. Not because I had anything against Paris, but because I forgot about the other countries in the world experiencing the same hardships that were in many ways worse than Paris. A couple days later, there were some posts on my newsfeed about #PrayForTheWorld. It included Japan and their earthquake, Beirut and their suicide bombings. But what about Syria? What about Palestine?

I’m not one to delve myself into politics and world issues, but the pressing matter is the credibility of our journalists and news outlets. We’re clearly missing half the story, maybe even three quarters of it. What about the rest of the world? And even if they do report on it, chances are, what they say is skewered. I’ve seen the comments and even the petitions going on in an attempt to stop Syrian refugees from coming to Canada. Why haven’t they reported a positive light on Syrian Refugees? Does the world truly believe Syria is full of terrorists? What about Palestine? What about Palestine?

Many people (I’ll narrow it down to North Americans for the time being) are unaware of the real situation in Palestine. That has to do with our search engines, with Google. When I tried to Google what was going on in Palestine, I got a whole load of propaganda videos. It took me awhile to actually find the real stuff, with big help to my very educated peers of course. But the entire Google fiasco made me think to myself, why is the truth hidden in a bed of lies? Google isn’t as free as we think it is (we actually had a discussion about this in ENG287). It’s an American company you should be skeptical of. Extremely skeptical of, if I may reiterate. Unless you try really hard, you won’t be able to find the credible sources you’re looking for. Below is a video Banksy filmed on the situation in Palestine:

It’s crazy if you think about it. Banksy’s creation and video of Dismaland was covered by a variety of news outlets and social medias, so why hasn’t this video received the views it should be?

When I was riding on the subway this morning, I felt a surge of fear. I wondered, “what if this subway blows up? what if this subway gets hijacked? I’m underground. I can’t send any text messages. No one will know what happened to me.” And it was at that precise moment that I realized, I was succumbing to the war on terror. I let the news instill a fear in me that I was going to die by the hands of a terrorist. How could I let the news do this to me?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post now. All I can do is ask you to be skeptical for the right reasons. Read the news, but be skeptical. We only see, hear and read what they want us to see, hear and read. Use the intelligence and knowledge you were given to make the right conclusions. Don’t let others make a conclusion for you. Don’t be a follower of social trends.

Federal Election Sustainability Primer – Oct. 14

After 11 weeks of promises and accusations, where exactly to the federal parties stand on important issues like climate change, clean energy and the environment?

Join Jim Harris, former leader of the Green Party of Canada and the Hart House Debate Team on Oct. 14 at the Revival Bar for an insightful look at these important issues, including whether or not Canada should support a national carbon tax policy. Continue reading Federal Election Sustainability Primer – Oct. 14

Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Policy Recommendations to Repair Relations between Aboriginals and Canadian Government

Below is a summary of key policy recommendations made recently by the truth and Reconciliation Commission:

  • HEALTH: An acknowledgement that the current state of aboriginal health is a direct result of previous government policies and the implementation of health-care rights for aboriginal people.
  • EDUCATION: The creation and funding for new aboriginal education legislation, which protects languages and cultures and closes the education gap for aboriginal people.
  • JUSTICE: A commitment to eliminate the overrepresentation of aboriginal people in custody and in trouble with the law, along with the collection and publication of data on criminal victimization of aboriginal people.
  • PUBLIC INQUIRY: The creation of a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.
  • MONITORING: The creation of a national council for reconciliation, which would monitor and report on reconciliation progress, as well as the introduction of an annual State of Aboriginal Peoples report delivered by the prime minister.
  • LANGUAGE: The government is asked to implement an Aboriginal Languages Act and appoint a language commissioner in order to preserve and promote it.
  • FUNDING: The report calls for $10 million over seven years from the federal government for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
  • COMMEMORATION: The creation of a statutory holiday to honour survivors, their families and communities – and to ensure “public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
  • MEMORIALS: The report asks for funding for memorials, community events and museums, including a museum reconciliation commemoration program, to be launched in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

With files from the CBC.

Your Need-To-Know for Students Voting in the Upcoming Election

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U of T students, did you know that you can vote on campus in the upcoming federal election regardless of your home address? No need to travel home to vote!

(First off, check if you are registered to vote. If not, find more information on registering here.)

As the Elections Canada website states,

  • Advanced polling offices will be open Monday, October 5 to Thursday, October 8.
  • Anyone can use these offices, even if they are temporarily away from their riding (for example, an eligible voter who has moved to a new city to attend university or a student from a different campus).
  • Voting will be by special ballot. Votes will count in the riding where the voter’s home address is located.

At the St. George Campus, here are your poll locations:

University of Toronto Graduate Student Union
Gym and Records Room
16 Bancroft Avenue
Toronto, ON  M5S 1C1
10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
University of Toronto University—Rosedale Returning Office
316 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON  M5S 1W5
10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.

To vote, you must provide identification showing your home address. Find the full list of accepted documentation here.

As for students living on residence:

  • You can prove your identity with your student ID card.
  • You can prove your address with any document issued by your school that shows your home address.
  • Ask the residence administrator for a Letter of Confirmation of Residence that says you live there. You can use it to prove your address.
  • Happy voting!

#UofTfeministstrong: Feminists March in Solidarity Against Anonymous Threats


 is now trending on Twitter. This follows a march in solidarity against graphic anonymous  threats made in comments on blogTO against the lives of feminist students and teachers at U of T. A Women’s Studies class at UTM will be cancelled this week following Professor Hae Yeon Choo’s decision to take this time instead for a “moment of serious reflection” surrounding the nature of the threats in relation to past and present discrimination against feminists. Yet as the National Post reported, one student commented on her professor’s decision by saying  “My personal way of protesting (against the violent threats) would be to go to class. I don’t think we should stand down or miss our education for something like this.”

This seems to be the line of thought students at UTSG took to heart today as they rallied along Bloor, Spadina and St. George streets this afternoon. As one spokesperson for the demonstration put it, “Violence that seeks to silence feminist voices cannot and will not succeed in its goals.”

With files from the National Post and CBC.

Hilary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders: A Policy Guide

Your one-stop-shop article comparing the politics and policies of American Presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

With files from

Hilary Clinton

  • Iraq War authorization– supported
  • Wall Street Bailout (TARP)– supported
  • Breaking Up Big Banks-n/a
  • Patriot Act 2001– supported
  • Patriot Act Re authorization 2006– supported
  • Foreign US Military Intervention– supports
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership– supports
  • Death penalty– supports
  • Keystone XL Pipeline– supports
  • 2006 Border Fence Legislation– supported
  • Offshore Oil Drilling– supports

Bernie Sanders

  • Iraq War authorization– opposed
  • Wall Street Bailout (TARP)– opposed
  • Breaking Up Big Banks-supports
  • Patriot Act 2001– opposed
  • Patriot Act Re authorization 2006– opposed
  • Foreign US Military Intervention– opposes
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership– opposes
  • Death penalty– opposes
  • Keystone XL Pipeline– opposes
  • 2006 Border Fence Legislation– opposed
  • Offshore Oil Drilling– opposes