Amnesty International Canada - Action for Aleppo

Amnesty International Canada
Update(December 16, 2016): Thousands of people are now trapped in freezing temperatures as evacuations have stopped.

Right now, people in East Aleppo are posting their final goodbyes online as government forces gain full control of the city. Instead of being given a safe path out, they face being trapped, tortured or executed.

In a matter of hours at least 82 civilians, including children, were shot on the spot by government and allied forces who entered their homes, or at gunpoint in the streets. A tentative ceasefire has now fallen apart again.

The lives of tens of thousands of people are in the hands of the Russian and Syrian governments.

Join our urgent call for the safe evacuation of the people trapped in Aleppo and the deployment of UN monitors to protect people from harm.



Tuesday, December 6, 2016
11:45 am – 2:00 pm
Main Activity Hall, Multi-Faith Centre (569 Spadina Avenue)
NEW LOCATION: Hart House (7 Hart House Circle)
Staff, students and faculty are invited to join us for the December 6th National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women. We will hear from various speakers and work on an interactive activity together to commemorate this day and to look ahead to the important work that we can all do to take action on violence against women.


Tweet for Write for Rights on Human Rights Day! | Amnesty International Canada

Tweet for Write for Rights on Human Rights Day! | Amnesty International Canada
This Human Rights Day, December 10th, people around the world will be joining Amnesty to write for rights. In this blog post, we are going to share with you how to engage the world and your country in celebrating the power of letter writing and defending human rights. If you have not yet registered with Write for Rights, visit our website and be sure to sign up. You’ll find our featured 2016 cases, and ideas on how to host your own letter-writing parties.
This year, Amnesty International will be using Twitter to create an online wave of speaking out for human rights through YOUR tweets about Write for Rights. Let’s show the world that human rights matter, by making the 2016 Write for Rights hashtag #W4R16 and #Write4Rights appear in conversations online throughout the entire day.


World Aids Day at UC Dec 1

Today  University College will be lit up red. This has become an annual tradition for UC during World AIDS Day every December 1st. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show support to and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV and AIDS. Historically, HIV/AIDS has had a huge impact on LGBTQ+ communities and it continues to affect our communities. Today is an opportunity to talk about HIV and to continue raising awareness, fighting stigma and improving education. World AIDS Day serves as a great opportunity to bring attention to these issues, and it serves as a reminder of why it is important to continue this work all year round.

There are many organizations in Toronto and the GTA that focus specifically on providing support to and raising awareness within LGBTQ+ communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Here are just a few that we have had the pleasure to work with.

-          ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto)


Vigils for Orlando

In light of the tragic deaths in Orlando on Sunday, two vigils are being planning on campus:

U of T Orlando Memorial: An Act of Solidarity
Wednesday June 15, 2016
Wednesday June 15, 12:00-12:30pm
Memorial Benches in front of Hart House

Vigil for Pulse Nightclub Tragedy (organized by LGBTOUT and APUS)
Tuesday June 14 at 9pm
King’s College Circle


Science for Peace: Drones and Robots, Canada's Policy. Free, UC, June 15

Drones and Killer Robots: Canada's Policy

Military operations have increasingly included precision guided munitions and unmanned aircraft known as drones. Under development are unmanned fully autonomous armaments, or ”killer robots’’ that destroy or kill without a human in the decision loop. Now is the time to debate what Canada plans to do about this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 7 pm
Room 261, University College, 15 Kings College Circle, University of Toronto.
All are welcome. No charge.


  • Michel Duguay, Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Laval University and chair, Science for Peace Working Group on Drones
  • Walter Dorn, Professor of Defence Studies, Royal Military College and Canadian Forces College
  • Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshare

Noam Chomsky Defines What It Means to Be a Truly Educated Person

Noam Chomsky Defines What It Means to Be a Truly Educated Person | Open Culture

Chomsky, whose thoughts on education we’ve featured before, tells us in the short video interview at the top of the post how hedefines what it means to be truly educated. And to do so, he reaches  back to a philosopher whose views you won’t hear referenced often, Wilhelm von Humboldt, German humanist, friend of Goethe and Schiller, and “founder of the modern higher education system.” 

Humboldt, Chomsky  says, “argued, I think, very plausibly, that the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and  create constructively, independently, without external controls.” A true education, Chomsky suggests, opens a door to human intellectual freedom and creative autonomy.

To clarify, Chomsky paraphrases a “leading physicist” and former MIT colleague, who would tell his students, “it’s not important what we cover in the class; it’s important what you discover.” On this point of view, to be truly educated means to be resourceful, to be able to “formulate serious questions” and “question standard doctrine, if that’s appropriate”…. It means to “find your own way.” This definition sounds similar to Nietzsche’s views on the subject, though Nietzsche had little hope in very many people attaining a true education. Chomsky, as you might expect, proceeds in a much more democratic spirit.


Paid Internships at the MFC centre for 2016/7. Deadline April 27.

Paid Internships: Sept 1, 2016 to March 15, 2017
Multi-Faith Centre
Application Deadline: 11:59 pm, Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

Application requirements:
The application is comprised of two parts: (1) cover letter and (2) resume.

Your cover letter should outline the following:
• Your interest in working at the Centre, and how your academic background, experience and skills would allow you to make a unique contribution to the work of the Centre and through the particular internship you are applying for
• Confirmation that you will be a full-time student in 2016 – 2017. The internships are only open to full-time students.

Your resume should outline experience that is current and related to the position description.

Submit your complete application by email to Richard Chambers at In the subject field, enter whether you are applying for a:

General Internships (6 positions)
Environmental Internship (1 position)
Queering Religion Internship (1 position)
Communications Internship (1 position)

Applicants will be contacted regarding an interview the 1st week of May. All applicants will be contacted regarding the status of their application as soon as possible.

About the Multi-Faith Centre
The Multi-Faith Centre offers educational opportunities for students, staff and faculty to engage in personal and collective processes of discerning life purpose and meaning, as well as opportunities to engage in inter-faith cooperation for social justice. The Multi-Faith Centre serves all students, staff and faculty, including those who identify as “agnostic,” “atheist” or “secularist.” In addition the Centre offers guidance on religious accommodation, religious pluralism and spiritual life on campus as well as a physical space where students, staff and faculty can gather for worship, meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices.

About the Multi-Faith Centre Internship Program
The Multi-Faith Centre Internship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students structured learning opportunities to examine the role of religion and religious actors in society; explore questions of identity, culture and community; and engage in personal and collective processes of discerning life purpose and meaning through sustained study of the interconnections between spirituality and social justice. Interns will have an opportunity to develop a related project under the guidance of Multi-Faith Centre staff.

The Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice is offering 6 general programming internships, 1 environmental internship, 1 internship exploring sexual orientation, identity and faith, and 1 communications internship consisting of 10 hours a week at $12.73 an hour from Sept 1, 2016 to Mar 15, 2017 to full-time students (during that academic year) on the St George campus.


Multi-Faith Centre interns are responsible for the following:

• Supporting Multi-Faith Centre staff- and intern-led programming
• Planning, developing, promoting, implementing and leading a minimum of 3 projects
• Supporting student clubs with joint programming engaged in questions of religion, faith, spirituality and social justice
• Attending weekly meetings with Multi-Faith Centre staff and interns
• Holding weekly office hours at the Multi-Faith Centre

• Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in any discipline at St. George Campus
• Excellent organizational and time management skills
• Excellent project development skills
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking skills
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Ability to work independently and collaboratively
• Understanding of equity and social justice theory and practice

Additional requirements for Eco-Spirituality Internship applicants
• Knowledge of ecological justice theory and practice. Knowledge of Indigenous land-based pedagogy is an asset.
• Demonstrated experience planning and implementing ecology-focused events and projects
• Experience with participating in environment and sustainability-focused clubs on campus, and environment focused organizations and movements

Additional requirements for Queering Religion Internship
• Understanding of LGBTTQQ2SIAA issues
• Understanding of issues of sexism, racism, homophobia, bi-phobia transphobia and other forms of oppressions
• Experience with participating in and/or creating supportive spaces for LGBTTQQ2SIAA identified peoples
• Interest in examining intersections of gender, sexuality, race, faiths, religions, theologies and spiritual practices

Additional requirements for Communication Internship applicants
• Demonstrated experience with HTML, CMS, MS Office
• Demonstrated experience with social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
• Courses taken or skills acquired in graphic design, web 2.0 and social media are an asset
• Short-listed candidates will be required to provide work samples

April 6, UC: Science for Peace: Windows of Opportunity: How Women Seize Peace Negotiations for Political Change

Science for Peace: Windows of Opportunity: How Women Seize Peace Negotiations for Political Change
Please join us for a free public lecture on Wednesday April 6th from 7-9pm in Room UC 144 of University College ( 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7 ) at the University of Toronto’s St George campus:
Dr. Miriam Anderson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge (2010) in Politics and International Studies, an MA in Political Science (2004) from the University of British Columbia, and a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Anderson researches peace processes, post-conflict reconstruction, and transnationalism in war and peace. She currently holds (as the principal investigator) a SSHRC Insight Development Grant entitled “Sustaining Women’s Gains Made During Peace Negotiations” (2014-2016) and a SSHRC Connection Grant (2014-2015), “Transnational Actors in War and Peace.
Miriam Anderson teaches courses on women, war and peace; global governance; and women and politics.

From 1999-2002, Anderson served as a human rights monitor for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Croatia. During this period she also monitored elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Croatia for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Anderson has also volunteered with grassroots organizations in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
This event is part of a weekly series of talks entitled: “Vital Discussions of Human Security”. Please see for details on all of our upcoming events. Please see our YouTube channel for videos from past events.


URGENT: Email Minister of Immigration McCallum to stop next week's litigation

URGENT: Email Minister of Immigration McCallum to stop next week's litigation 

Despite our best efforts, the Canadian government is going ahead with  litigation that was initiated by the Harper government against U.S. Iraq War resisters. The Federal Court hearings are scheduled for April 5 and 6.
  • We are asking every supporter to immediately email Minister of Immigration John McCallum,  at and (model message below)
  • Under your name, please include city and province
  • Please cc Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
  • Please also bcc the War Resisters Support Campaign at
Here is a model email message you can copy and paste into your message (or feel free to personalize it)

SUBJECT: U.S. Iraq War resisters – Stop litigation initiated by Harper government
Honourable John McCallum
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Dear Minister McCallum,
I am writing to ask that you immediately cease the litigation initiated  by the former Conservative government against U.S. Iraq War resisters. Our new government should not defend decisions made under the previous  government and re-litigate matters the Court has already found on in  favour of these conscientious objectors. As you know, Canadians  overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq War and the Liberal government under Jean Chrétien made a decision not to participate in it.

The cases to be heard by the Federal Court on April 5 and 6 should be settled, and the matters sent back to be re-determined by new  immigration officers.

I thank you for your consideration and look forward to your response.

cc: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


The Human Library Project | Hart House Thurs April 7, 11-3

The Human Library Project | Hart House

Details: Have you ever lost yourself in a good book? Explored new ideas or experienced far-off places through the written word?  Now is your opportunity to come face to face with a human book and hear, first-hand, from people who have lived to tell unforgettable stories.

Despite living in one of the most diverse cities in the world, we continue to face challenges to social cohesion such as discrimination, intolerance and prejudice. With the recent release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report, growing momentum with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as well as increasing occurrences of anti-Islamic rhetoric and actions, the 2016 Human Library is more timely than ever, primarily focusing on Indigenous, Black and Muslim perspectives.

Engage and ask questions about being First Nations in the city of Toronto, a Black Muslim in the post-9/11 world, or a woman of colour running for Federal Office. Each participant in our human library can be checked out, like a book, for 25 minutes of one-on-one time. You will get a chance to hear a story, share an insight and gain perspective.

Successfully staged in over 27 countries, this is the fourth time Hart House will be running this popular program, and students, staff and community members are welcome to attend.

Drop in or register on-line. Books are checked out on a first come, first serve basis.


Science for Peace Campus Group open screening of Dr Strangelove, Monday Marh 15, 6pm UC

You are invited to an open meeting of the Science for Peace Campus Group
to be followed by a screening of’
Stanley Kubrick’s 1965 dark comedy
Dr. Strangelove
on Monday, March 14 in the Croft Chapter House,
the SW corner of University College
15 Kings College Circle
University of Toronto
6:00 Campus group meeting and social hour
7:00 We’ll watch the film together. 
Everyone is welcome.  No charge.  Bring a friend. 
Students, alumni, and employees and faculty (both current and previous) of University of Toronto are eligible to belong to U of T campus groups.


International Women's Day - Canadian Nurses, MSF, and Gender Violence

Today is International Women's Day, and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is using this opportunity to highlight sexual violence as an urgent health and medical issue. Here, two Canadian MSF nurses discuss how we can make a difference in the lives of women affected by sexual and gender-based violence. Learn more about their work, and how MSF helps the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in more than 90 projects in nearly 30 countries around the world.
International Women's Day


A conversation about assisted death UC, Feb 4, 2016 4:30-6pm

A Conversation About Assisted Death

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 16:30 to 18:00

"It was the first time that we had sort of articulated our major problem. She wanted to die and I wanted her to live and we were enemies who loved each other" - All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews
Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies, University College
Author, All My Puny Sorrows, A Complicated Kindness
Winner, Governor General's Award for Fiction, Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award
Dr. James Downar
Critical Care and Palliative Care Physician
University Health Network
Dr. Rose Geist
Director of Collaborative Care, Medical Psychiatry Alliance
Medical Psychiatrist, Hospital for Sick Children,
University of Toronto
Trudo Lemmens
Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law Policy
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Thursday February 4, 2016
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
University College, 15 King's College Circle, Room 140
Reception to follow


UTSA PANEL Jan 26: A Clash of Medical Systems? A Critical Discussion on the Art of Healing

UTSSA presents:
A Clash of Medical Systems? A Critical Discussion on the Art of Healing

Tuesday, January 26th, 6-8pm
East Common Room, Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle, Toronto
Tickets at
($4 student, $12 non-student)
Dr. Timothy Cook M.D., Dr. Alistar Dias Ph.D., and Dr. Michael Richards, M.D.

Health is one of the key attributes of a good life. Core to any healing art is a strong ethical system, but agreeing to a standard of practice leaves considerable room for disagreement. The best care requires and open mind and unbiased consideration of all treatments, yet ethics of do no harm restricts practices to those of proven efficacy. What does this evidence look like? What modalities do we embrace? What is the role of tradition? Are complementary and alternative medicine what they claim to be? Has science become restrictive, focusing on the wrong stuff and becoming a roadblock to a healthy lifestyle?

Meet our expert panel of medical professionals from across the spectrum of medical approaches.
Q&A to follow.

Dr. Michael Richards, MD, is an eye physician and surgeon at Sick Kids Hospital, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, and a PhD student at the University of Toronto in the department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
Dr. Alistar Dias, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Biology at the University of Toronto, and teaches an upper year course whose overall goal is to give students a better understanding of complementary and integrative medicine from a scientific perspective.
Dr. Timothy Cook, MD, is the Medical Director & Specialist of Internal Medicine & Integrative health at P3 Integrative Health Services, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. He holds a Masters in public health, as well as a University of Toronto teaching appointment. He is a retired Lieutenant-colonel of the Canadian Forces Medical Services and has served as the personal physician to two Governor Generals of Canada.


Humanist Refugee Resettlement Project

Letter from Moses Klein, Humanist Association of Toronto

Dear HAT members and supporters,
I am writing this as we are all coming to grips with the horror, the tragedy and the senselessness of the Paris attacks. Beyond the shock of November 13th, I have been struck with the vast range of responses, from the inspiring example of the Parisians who opened their doors to strangers, to the disturbing hate crimes committed in many countries around the world, including at least one instance in Toronto.  Many of the victims of these hate crimes are themselves refugees fleeing ISIS. As humanists, I hope you agree it is the hospitable Parisians who ought to be emulated.
With that in mind, I am inviting you to support the Humanist Association of Toronto in its latest project. We are working in partnership with Oraynu (the Jewish secular humanist organization) and possibly other allied organizations seeking to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come to Canada. This was a plan we were already discussing before this month’s attacks, but it seems ever more important now to demonstrate that our society is a generous and welcoming one. The success of this project depends on your help, in two important ways.
Financial assistance: Sponsoring organizations need to raise the equivalent of one year of welfare before the sponsorship can proceed. At our October 2015 steering committee meeting, HAT committed to raise $9000, which would be 1/3 of the required amount for a family of four.
Settlement assistance: After our refugee family has arrived, they may still need assistance in other forms. Can you volunteer to help find an apartment, take them on errands, translate for them (if their English is inadequate), etc.? Would you have old clothes or furniture to donate? This is in the future, but we would like to compile a list of people to call on.
If you would like to help this effort in any way, please fill out the form on the next page and mail it to
Humanist Association of Toronto
PO Box 68559
360A Bloor St. W.
Toronto, ON   M5S 1X1
You can also reply through email.
Thanks for your support,
Moses Klein (for the HAT steering committee

I want to help HAT settle a refugee family in Toronto
[  ]          I am helping out financially. Here is my tax-deductible cheque for ____________ payable to Humanist Association of Toronto. (Please write “refugee” on the memo line.) You can also send an Interac transfer to, or by Paypal at .
[  ]          I can help with settlement by ______________________________________________________.
(Please describe what you can offer.) You can also reply by email to
[  ]          I would like to help with the committee coordinating the refugee project. You can also reply by email to
Name: ________________________________
Address: ___________________________________________
Phone: _____________________
Email: ______________________


Humanists for Social and Environmental Action: Turkey Detains Academics as Chomsky Takes Aim at Erdoğan's Brutality

Humanists for Social and Environmental Action: Turkey Detains Academics as Chomsky Takes Aim at Erdoğan's Brutality

Global outcry over academic freedom and human rights has erupted following news on Friday that the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has arrested at least 18 academics and scholars for signing an open letter last week calling for the end of Turkey's brutal treatment of the country's Kurdish people.

The controversy has been elevated internationally by the involvement of Noam Chomsky and other
high-profile academics who have also expressed public contempt for Turkey's policies towards the Kurds as well as Erdoğan's double-standards on fighting "terrorism" both inside his own country and
in neighboring Syria.

(see full article in the Guardian. Links above)

Canada's high court gives green light to assisted suicide | Reuters

Canada's high court gives green light to assisted suicide | Canada | Reuters
OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Supreme Court of Canada decided on Friday to allow doctor-assisted suicide across the country under certain circumstances, while giving the government more time to pass a law governing the practice.
The decision came as officials confirmed that a patient had already been helped to die in the French-speaking province of Quebec. The court had overturned a ban on physician-assisted suicide  last February, putting Canada in the company of a handful of Western  countries to make it legal.
But it had said the decision would not take effect for a year, giving the government time to produce legislation.


Freedom of Research, Science for Peace meeting Jan 14, open to public

January 14th: Combating Distortions of Scientific Research
S4P has Several ongoing projects concern combating distortions of scientific research.  This is an attempt to get those active in these efforts tog ather to discuss future plans. It is formally a meeting of the Working Group on Freedom of Research of Science for Peace, but it is open to the public.

Time: 4:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon 14 January.
Place: WI2007D, University of Toronto.   go in the 40 Willcocks Street entrance of New College and go up to the second floor.)

Some of us have been working against restrictions on federally funded research, for example, on the
Some have been working on defence of research in the health sciences against distortion by pharmaceutical industry funders.
Some have acted to expose unsupported claims of harmlessness of genetically modified organisms and products derived from them.
The need for watchdogs on government and industry in such matters is as great as ever.  Let us try to contribute.

Chandler Davis