Governing Board of the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF). 2009-06. “An Ethical Perspective on Today’s Economic Crisis: A statement from the European Baha’i Business Forum.”
“The world is passing through an economic and financial crisis unprecedented in modern times. Its global scope transcends the cyclical adjustments of national economies and the corrective instruments usually used by business and national governments. The general malaise and loss of confidence point to deeper issues and more fundamental flaws in the economic system, extending to a crisis of leadership and values. This unprecedented crisis, together with its accompanying social breakdown, reflects a profound error of conception about human nature itself. We are being shown that, unless the development of society finds a purpose beyond the mere amelioration of material conditions, it will fail to attain even this goal. That purpose must be sought in spiritual dimensions of life and motivation that transcend a constantly changing economic landscape and an artificially imposed division of human societies into “developed” and “developing”. The European Baha’i Business Forum recognizes in this situation an opportunity to reshape the fundamental concepts and structures that will not only lift us from this crisis but set us on a road towards a new set of institutions and behaviours which will enable humankind to prosper. As the present crisis is fundamentally one of trust and integrity, and therefore ethical in its foundation, its solution cannot be a mere institutional reorganization or some additional regulatory measures. It needs an ethical response at all levels: the individual, the corporation and the government and regulatory entities. There is no quick fix to this situation. Several principles must be considered while reshaping our thinking on institutions and the individuals that compose them. We need to replace the concept of self-centred materialism with that of service to humanity, competition with cooperation, corruption with ethical behaviour, sexism with gender balance, more authoritarian legislation with personal ethics, national regulation with international supervision, protectionism with world unity, and injustice with justice. EBBF promotes and welcomes engagement with the widest possible community to develop together the new framework. Given the importance of the business community in the world, we should draw on its special capabilities and resources, in collaboration with governments, international organizations and NGOs, to design the institutional framework and the guiding principles of the new economic system. We call on peoples from all businesses, countries, and walks of life to work together to build a new economic system based upon equity and justice (EBBF 2009-06).”
“EBBF is a network of over 400 women and men, a community of people passionate about bringing ethical values, personal virtues and moral leadership into their workplaces. Its membership is diverse and crosses generations, borders, sectors and beliefs. It began in 1990 and is now present in over 60 countries. EBBF’s vision is to enhance the well-being and prosperity of humankind. It believes that positively influencing the world of business, starting from the inspiration of action by each of its members, is an important step in this direction (EBBF 2009-06).”
“EBBF promotes seven core values that it feels are of strategic importance in enhancing business performance: Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainable Development, Partnership of Women and Men, A New Paradigm of Work, Consultation in Decision-Making, Values-Based Leadership (EBBF 2009-06).”
Governing Board of the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF). 2009-06. “An Ethical Perspective on Today’s Economic Crisis: A statement from the European Baha’i Business Forum.” Chambery, France.
Filed in Business, Economics, moral mathematics, Political Philosophy, Risk Management, Risk Society, social exclusion, Social Justice, UHNW, wealth disparities in OECD
Tags: Business Ethics, concentration to convergence, Consultation in Decision-Making, Corporate Social Responsibility, credit crisis, credit crisis, CSR, doing ethics, economic crisis, economic efficiency model, Economics, Ethical turn, ethics, finance, financial fraud, Measuring Money, meta-ethics, moral hazard, mortgage meltdown, Policy Development, Risk Management, social exclusion, Sustainable Development, Values-Based Leadership
December 11, 2007
In accepting the Nobel Prize Al Gore urgently called for the mobilization of civilization in defense of our common future faced with a planetary emergency – the imminent and universal threat of a climate crisis. Instead of offering false assurances that this can be done without effort, change or cost, responsible leaders must set aside short-term political goals and mobilize citizens with an uncomfortable message that to face this challenge, there will be sacrifices. Our leaders must acknowledge that they are accountable before history and they must speak with moral courage to inspire entire peoples, global citizens of every class and condition, entrepreneurs and innovators from every part of the globe to work couragously for our mutual survival. He rejects the belief that some hold that God will intercede on behalf of humanity to save the planet inspite of the actions or inaction of the the human species. Instead, Gore predicts that as humans unite around this moral purpose, we will collectively unleash a transformative spiritual energy.
Nobel Peace Prize, moral compass, purpose, God, serve, civilization, planetary emergency, CO2
Armchair science: Montreal philosophy prof Laberge (2007) calls Al Gore, the high priest of the missionary ecological movement and claims Gore has turned the issue of climate change into a moral imperative. He uses 18th c. Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Hume’s is-ought problem to prove that the statement “global warming is bad” is erroneous.
See also Speechless:
In the socio-historical context in which Hume was writing he was concerned with distinguishing vulgar reasoning from true philosophy. He argued that there were four sciences: logic, morals, criticism, and politics. He claimed that morals do not result from logical reason and judgment but from tastes, sentiments, feelings and passions.
Hume distinguishes also between a vulgar [thinker who uses only common language] who proposes a system of morality and a true philosopher, between the thinking of a peasant and a true artisan. Vulgar reasoning shifts from ‘is’ to ‘ought’ imperceptibly without giving a proper explanation or producing evidence.
Is Laberge suggesting that Gore is a vulgar thinker who has not provided enough evidence for his case? In the case of climate change the science is overwhelmingly clear.
And humans do have the moral sensitivities which are the basis for making ethical decisions. We also have reason and scientific tools that provide us with experience-based evidence that informs our moral choices. Even Hume describes a political will, a social covenant in which citizens consult and agree upon a common ‘moral’ action. We are not conscious of most of our mundane, everyday moral choices. Failing to protect forests or watersheds is a moral choice. A couple of decades ago most of us were insensitive to the moral nature of our actions that were destructive to ecosystems. In complex ecological issues where so many political, economics, geography, social and cultural interests converge, we consider ethical dimensions. Science can provide tools for measuring forest regeneration and efficient technologies for implementation. But science itself is not invested with moral sensitivity. It is only through human moral sensitivities that value judgments can be made in regards to unintended risks or side effects. Once science has provided evidence of shared, heightened risks we move from mere truth claims to moral justification for action or inaction.
Keywords: Hume, philosophy, epistemology, ecology, is-ought, meta-ethics,
Markie, Peter. 2004. “Rationalism vs. Empiricism.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Hume, David. 1739-40. “Footnote 13.”Treatise of Human Nature.
Laberge, Jean. 2007. “Le devoir de philo: le scepticisme de Hume contre les écolos.” Le Devoir. 19 mai.
Filed in climate change, del.icio.us, moral mathematics, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, politics and science, Public Policy, Risk Management, Risk Society, Social Justice
Tags: cyber citizens, del.icio.us, digg, ethical topography of self and the Other, Ethical turn, ethics and science, human nature, is-ought, Le Devoir, meta-ethics, Risk Management
The International Environment Forum shared ethical concerns of economic, social, and humanitarian burdens resulting from climate change. International law and norms, political and economic obligations are being rethought in anticipation of millions of climate change refugees. Panel members argued that moderate, civil religions (Etzioni 2007) can provide the motivation to ethical behaviour that is urgently needed.
Etzioni, Amitai. 2007a.”The West Needs a Spiritual Surge” >> Amitai Etzioni Notes. March 6, 2007.
Etzioni, Amitai. 2007b. “L’Occident aussi a besoin d’un renouveau spirituel.” Le Monde. 7 avril.
Filed in climate change, del.icio.us, human rights, politics and science, Risk Management, Risk Society, social exclusion, Social Justice, vulnerability to social exclusion
Tags: cyber citizens, del.icio.us, digg, economic efficiency model, ethical topography of self and the Other, Ethical turn, ethics and science, moderate civil religions, Policy Development, policy research, refugees, Risk Management, social exclusion
February 2, 2007 in Paris 10th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed on a succinct, accurate report from an enormous body of observations of all parts of the climate system by 2,500 scientists. What are we going to do about it? Will politicians and policy makers be able to face up to unconcerned uber wealthy CEOs?
The 10th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a succinct, accurate report gleaned by 2 500 scientists from more than 130 nations from an enormous body of observations of all parts of the climate system for over a decade based on hard science. Based on their combined authority, we can now say with 90% certitude that climate change is man-made. Extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, hurricanes, heat waves and ice storms will increase, the earth’s temperature will rise, glacieirs will continue to melt. Before February 2, 2007 the debate was public, “Is climate change linked to human activity?” While individuals still have a major role to play, the question can no longer be avoided by politicians and public policy makers, “What are we going to do about climate change?”
- 10th Session of IPCC Working Group I
- Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
- U.S bosses out of step on climate change
- UN climate report paints bleak picture
- Final Report: Humans Caused Global Warming
- New Warnings on Climate Change
See also Nobel Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier on “The Right to be Cold”
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Final Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
http://docs.google.com/View?docid=ddp3qxmz_89rqp57p . Google Docs. First uploaded February 2, 2007 to Digg and Papergirls Speechless. Last updated February 3, 2007. Creative Commons Copyright License 2.5 BY-NC-SA February 2, 2007.
January 19, 2007
The Baroque, Neoclassical and Romantic periods in Europe coincide with the period of colonization in what was called the New World. When we admire artistic creations from these periods how can be also remember colonial activities and their implications for everyday life in 2007.
Freeman (2000a 127) describes one of the distant relatives of the 17th century as a fur trader, interpreter and man of public affairs whose influence increased in 1643 with the formation of the United Colonies of New England (Plymouth, Connecticut, Massechusetts and New Haven). His name was connected with almost every Indian transaction on record.
Selected webliography and bibliography
Freeman, Victoria. 2000. Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.
Freeman, Victoria. 2000a. “Ambassador to the Indians.”Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. pp.127-147.
Filed in anthropology, Creative Commons, critical ethnography, CulturalAnthropology, del.icio.us, First Nations, how to be poor in a rich country, OECD, Political Philosophy, politics and science, social exclusion, Social Justice, Timelines, urban ethnography, vulnerability to social exclusion
Tags: benign colonialism, British Columbia, Canada's nasty secrets, Creative Commons, del.icio.us, economic efficiency model, Ethical Topology of Self and the Other, Ethical Topology of Self and the Other-I, Ethical turn, ethics and science, ethnoclassification, everyday life, Faulty Ivory Towers, First Nations, First Nations social history, hospitality, how to be poor in a rich country, land claims, Make Poverty History, OECD, Policy Development, policy research, postcolonial, postnational, relocations, romanticism, social exclusion
Moratorium on what some call Canadian ‘Blood Diamonds’? De Beers Canada benefit from government stalling tactics on land claims to extract valuable raw resources leaving behind environmental devastation. Many of the 45,000 Cree and Ojibwa in NAN region live in fourth world conditions in post-RCAP Canada. How many more NAN youth will choose suicide? Let’s not forget Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Kash’s still unsolved water problem.
read more | digg story
For more reading check out my Customized Search Engine on Nishnawbe Aski Nation on Swicki
Filed in Aboriginal Women in Canada, child poverty, CulturalAnthropology, First Nations, how to be poor in a rich country, human rights, OECD, Public Policy, social exclusion, Social Justice, vulnerability to social exclusion
Tags: Aboriginal Women in Canada, benign colonialism, Canada's nasty secrets, Canadian Policy Research Network, child poverty, CHRC, CPRN, digg, economic efficiency model, ethical topography of self and the Other, Ethical turn, First Nations, First Nations social history, forgetting, how to be poor in a rich country, Make Poverty History, OECD, Policy Development, policy research, postcolonial, RCAP, relocations, social exclusion, Statistics Canada, Status of Women Canada, SWC
Benign colonialism for dummies: how to impress OECD while Canada’s First People live in Brazil-like favela. Canadian Public Policy research has been usefully challenged by seasoned journalist Atkinson Fellow Marie Wadden’s recent series which continues her research begun in 1978 in response to the hidden horrors of Canada’s Innu town, Davis Inlet. The True North strong and free has been limping for a long time.
Neither Left nor Right, just wrong
Decades later, Wadden concerned about the elusive solutions for problems of addiction in Canadian Aboriginal continues her research by visiting remote communities to find stories that will unsettle Canadian complacent apathy, compassion fatigue and worldly-wise jaded perspectives. We just do not want to give up the adventure stories that inspired our youth of Arctic explorers in frozen, isolated, hinterland Hudson Bay posts. Perhaps her shocking series will shake our stubborn pryde in our grandfathers’ mythologies while shamefully neglecting tragic tales from our Other grandparents.
Her passion for the subject earned her the 2005 Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and led her to a year-long, cross-country trek to look at the causes, effects and potential solutions to the addiction crisis among Aboriginals. Her series of stories — Tragedy or Triumph; Canadian Public Policy and Aboriginal Addictions — is appearing in the Star and online at thestar.com/atkinson. Wadden began her career at CBC television in Newfoundland 27 years ago and has won numerous journalism awards. The St. John’s resident is the 17th winner of the Atkinson Fellowship and the first from east of Montreal. The fellowship, sponsored by The Atkinson Charitable Foundation, the Toronto Star and the Beland Honderich family, aims to further liberal journalism in the tradition of Joseph E. Atkinson, the Star’s founder. The Atkinson Series, Tragedy or Triumph, Canadian Public Policy and Aboriginal Addictions
Seven years in a Third World military dictatorship did not prepare me for the harsh reality of the everyday lives of Canadian Inuit and First Nations. I felt shame, powerlessness and confusion stemming from years of work as insider in cultural institutions devoted to Inuit studies. It took me ten years to build heightened levels of trust so all the stories pored out. The more I learned and accepted without offering bandaid solutions, patent excuses, weak explanations or high-haded social theories, the more stories seemed to come to me. It was as if I had a pair of antennas, an open channel to a stream of unending stories each one corraborating the other. The more I learned the more I questioned so I paralleled the kitchen table accounts with deep research into footnotes of published materials, Hansards, and cross-disciplinary work. I asked more specific questions of Inuit elders and the knowers in communities. (The knowers were often Inuit women of any age who had been chosen to learn more because of their superior abilities to learn languages. Their emotional maturity, discretion and wisdom was daunting. Often stories were shared in whispers. I would never get permission to share them. Potent stories of individual personal strength, survival could not be shared because the surviving members of the perpetrators of violence and injustice were still alive. In small isolated hamlets there are systems of power in everyday life that are as imposing as those on parliament hill. This explains why a convicted sex offender can be chosen to represent a community (where family violence is extremely high — off the charts in terms of the Canadian average) in the political arena. In Third World countries there is always the hope that education and maturity, in civil society and democracy, might provide improved access to human rights for citizens. My despair, my overwhelming sense of hopelessness, became consuming as I realized that this tragedy was taking place in one of the more advanced democracies with a relatively informed civil society. I began to meticulously develop a detailed timeline of the social histories of First Nations, Inuit (and African-Canadians). I would take the stories shared by friends and students and cross-reference them with dates provided by classical ethnographers, anthropologists, art historians, museologists, geographers, geologists, administrators and Hudson Bay Company reports. I reread the entire series of Inuit Studies, Inuit Art Quarterly and realized that it was not bad research on my part that made me so shamefully unaware. The very cultural institutions on whom we depend for insight into our shared communal memories, these institutions have failed us miserably. They continue to perpetrate distorted histories insisting covertly on presenting a benign colonialism. Examine the brilliant RCAP, the most in-depth (and expensive) report, undertaken using a progressive research methodology called Participatory Action Research (PAR). It’s on-line and available for anyone! Read the section on how our institutions of public curricula were specifically called upon to reexamine distorted histories in collaboration with Inuit and First Nations communties. The do as I did and examine what these institutions have done since then. A tourist visiting Canada’s cultural institutions, either virtually or in glass, steel and stone buildings, such as the National Gallery of Canada or the Museum of Civilization, or exploring Cybermuse, will not learn of the depth of despair of First Nations and Inuit communties. They will leave perhaps learning something of the heroic status of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Inuit art cooperatives, the benefits to Inuit of entering the international art market, the exquisite aesthetics of Inuit clothing from the pre-1950s, Inuit legends shortened and deformed for consumer tastes. They will learn about the dynamic Inuit culture as if the best of the culture sank with the Nascopie. Explorers and Hudson Bay Company employees are heroized when their work should now be reviewed through the lens of the informed, intelligent generation born in the 1930s and 1940s. Remove the overt desire to portray colonialism in Canada’s north as benign, to continue to cherish histories of post WWII heroism of southerners who conquered the hinterland to benefit all Canadians. Challenge the assumptions that learning English, the market system and the northern form of Canadian democracy was beneficial in the long-run. Unsettle the assumption that the errors were in the past and we should all move on. The litany of mistakes outlined in this brilliant, moving, informed series can be complemented by a thorough reading of one of Canads’ most-difficult-to-read stories, Mistakes. Let’s ask the communal archives of memory for the answers to the questions about what really happened to Inuit-Scottish, Inuit-Danish and Inuit-Icelandic children abandoned in the 1930s, 1940, 1950s, 1960s by their fathers who returned south and built profitable careers on their heroism, adventures in Canada’s north while ignoring pleas from their former partners, and even own children abandoned to the care of small vulnerable hamlets. We no longer accept that the genetic pool of the Scottish, British, American, Danish and Icelandic improved Inuit and First Nations do we? How can we continue in 2006 to lionize those who felt pryde in their improvement of the gene pool? Is there no way that we can honour our blue eyed grandfathers without simply forgetting. We need serious, committed memory work on the level of what has been done in Post WWII Europe. The situations are in no way the same. But the revamping of our institutions of communal memory is just taking too long. In Post WWII Europe it became evident over the decades that it could not be ignored by national cultural institutions. In Canada it has been politically shrewd to use delaying tactics in our museums just as we have in land claims issues, and the dozens of other recommendations of the RCAP. Read the most recent articles by Canada’s anthropologist and you will find apologies for these institions arguing that great progress has been made. After al we do have an Algonquin canoe floating silently in the Group of Seven section of the National Gallery of Canada. Silently is the word. Speak to renowned Algonquin elder William Commanda and put his voice through a loud speaker in those galleries. Listen to him describe the starvation when tourism trade grew as southerners flocked north to enjoy the Canadian Shield. Hear his gentle, firm voice as he describes in elaborate detail how he built canoes to stave off starvation as the First Nations communities were denied access to their fishing camps which had become the land of the tourists. He speaks without rage. His voice is still powerfully spiritual. He calls for a freeing of the rivers from the damage of the dams. In the room devoted to Canadian art of the 1950s install a Stan Douglas type piece where the voices of Inuit and First Nations whose lives were irrevocably changed by the one of the worst incidence of TB on the planet speak of their grandfathers, camp leaders, fathers, the hunters, trappers and fishers buried in unmarked graves near Moose Factory’s sanitorium.
In the National Gallery of Canada’s Inuit Art section (in the basement) remind visitors that the artists whose works continue to be revered, have suffered starvation in Canada in the 1940s and 1950s, have succumbed to alcoholism, and drugs, that they have met violent deaths through suicides, murders, or in preventable house fires. How many Canadians know the other stories connected to Inuit women artists who made history when they were honoured with the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest award or the Royal Canadian Academy? One died alone in a hospital near Montreal in the 1980s, so depressed because of her linguistic isolation (she could only speak Inuktitut) that she gave away her ulu, the woman’s knife so affectionately mentioned in articles about Inuit art. Another was confused at one time when nortern officials refused food to her family during the peoriod of starvation in the 1950s. What about Canada’s most widely admired Inuit artist whose works are honoured internationally who was now ill, forced to live on city streets and was so badly beaten by police he carried a lump on his forehead for weeks. They and/or their families still live in houses where the entire contents of their fridges are a plastic bottle of ketchup and mustard. The have developed diabetes. A few have become violent and abusive. So many Inuit artists are in the Baffin Correction Centre at any given time that local people suggest a visit as part of the itinerary for Iqaluit, Nunavut’s art scene. Then let’s see some footage of the renowned Inuit elder and activist, as he describes through his son, artist and interpretor, his trip to New York or his interpretation of one of his carvings. Let’s hear him sing with tears in his eyes, the song he wrote for the homeless man on the streets of New York. Where is the strong articulate voice of Sheila Watt-Cloutier in any contemporary site claiming to represent to Inuit culture? If you do not know this name you should. She has made history. What about Paul Okalik, Peter Erniq. These are names all Canadians should know. Let’s begin with something simple: honest, inclusive timelines. Let’s contextualize stories about Inuit culture. Stop funding Inuit studies unless there is a critical component that examines issues, not as tidy sanitized disciplines that claim to be protecting Inuit art and culture from the sordid truths of everyday life. Inuit art and culture are dynamic, alive, robust. The Inuit art and culture market will survive but perhaps not by continuing to enrich southerers or those who live decades in the north, return to the south and continue to become enriched on their insider knowledge. If Inuit benefited fully from their own art production in a sustainable, equitable fashion there would be far less need of so much government intervention. There is more percapita talent in the tiny hamlet of Clyde River waiting for a venue than there is many southern cities. There is also far more youth suicide, violence against women and despair.
The private Atkinson Foundation, founded in 1942 by former publisher of The Toronto Star, promotes social and economic justice in the tradition Joseph E. Atkinson. This includes the work of Armine Yalnizyan, (2000), “Inequality Rises As More Families Slide To The Bottom Of The Income Scale: Tax cuts don’t address economic reality says new report,” Centre of Social Justice, January 27, 2000 http://www.atkinsonfoundation.ca/publications/The_Great_Divide_Armine_
Filed in Aboriginal Women in Canada, anthropology, child poverty, Chronologies, critical ethnography, CulturalAnthropology, del.icio.us, First Nations, human rights, Memory Work, Nunavut, OECD, Political Philosophy, Public Policy, Risk Society, social exclusion, Social Justice, Timelines, urban ethnography, virtual, visual anthropology, vulnerability to social exclusion, webliographies
Tags: Aboriginal Women in Canada, Arctic exiles, Atkinson Foundation, benign colonialism, Canada's nasty secrets, Canadian Policy Research Network, child poverty, CHRC, cyber citizens, Davis Inlet, del.icio.us, digg, economic efficiency model, ethical topography of self and the Other, Ethical turn, everyday life, First Nations, First Nations social history, forgetting, homelessness, Inuit, Inuit Art Quarterly, Inuit social history, land claims, Make Poverty History, Marie Wadden, mass media, Nunavut, OECD, Other-I, Policy Development, policy research, postcolonial, RCAP, refugees, relocations, romanticism, social exclusion, Statistics Canada, Status of Women Canada, SWC
November 28, 2006
Students sue for more Teaching Assistants (TAs). Professor-as-stars-on-stage perform to ‘classes’ of 1200 students who pay c.$400 to 650 each a term per course! Not enough Teaching Assistants since PhD students (TA stable) are now forced into subsidizing universities as their sessional lecturers. No wonder PhD students have high rates of attrition.
At any rate, universities have the best lawyers and their backs are covered. It is ill-advised for a solitary student to take on a huge administration. These undergrad students however are unsettling something else. They are using their status as clients which was conferred upon them by the business model that our cultural and educational institutions have adopted since the 1990s deficit-panic. These are not just irate PhDs. These are a broad-based clientele pool. Bad images carried in the media have an economic impact. Wait until Macleans add this variable in their analysis of universities. “How many times have students submitted law suits against your institution in the last academic year?” How many times was in carried in mass media? Whose lawyers won?” In the end, does it matter? Once the legal question is raised in cyberspace, bright student lawyers fresh out of a frustrating BA experience might enjoy the challenge and find an original legal angle to protect students from their own universities. These are the new generation of students brought up feeling entitled. They are students-as-clients. Maybe they can fare better than previous generations whose education suffered, student debts soared during the 1990s. Maybe this generation will find legal ways to assert their rights so they can sustainably survive their university studies and even manage to have a life after university where their debt load does not get in the way of relationships, marriage, decisions to have children, own their own homes, etc. Any one born in the 1940s or 1950s who went to university in the late 1960s and 1970s in Canada got their BAs if not MAs with the government of Canada’s generous student loan program. These are the people now administering, teaching in our cultural and educational institutions. They are also in policy research, public policy decision-makers.
My own PhD became unsustainable as there was never enough time to at the same time fulfill the overwhelming obligations that come with sessional lecturing, my own PhD research, writing, conference presentations, publications while learning to navigate through the unexpected twists and turns in the politics of academia. I had enrolled as part-time student who intended to remain part-time. For two years I benefited from an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. But after following the ill-pondered advice of my Department’s Graduate Student Advisor, I took on a huge challenge, an exciting opportunity in Iqaluit, Nunavut which ended up stretching out over 18 months. I lived there in Canada’s coldest climate for weeks on end, sometimes for up to four months at a time. It was a huge sacrifice in terms of my family in the south, but it was fulfilling as well. The advisor had convinced me that I should remain enrolled as a full-time student so I would not lose my scholarship.
Within weeks of returning from Nunavut my laptop with 18 months of images files, audio files, research, teaching materials and data was confiscated. I had to plead to be given a week to purchase a new PC and transfer files carefully to make sure nothing was lost. I tried to burn CDs of everything I had done but I know some really valuable email correspondence with students was gone.
The real shock came later when I was informed that I had lost my Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Apparently while I was in the North working on Carleton University’s pilot project, I had not kept up with my Comprehensive exams in the time frame they anticipated for a scholarship student. At my meeting with the new Graduate Studies Coordinator I was informed that I was no longer a desirable candidate for funding.
A month later I completed my second Comprehensive Exam with distinction. Nothing changed in terms of funding so I was obligated to take on yet another new course to design, teach, present, administer, evaluate and mark. I had 65 students and was promised a qualified TA. Three weeks into the course the TA I was assigned returned from her European trip to announce she would rather take on a TA contract with a 1st year course instead of working with my course which was student-centred, media-intense, technology-intense, theory-intense. By the end of September it was clear that there were no TAs available for my class. I had to work late into the night to keep up with the work as this was my first time teaching this course. I loved the material, the students, the class discussions, the creativity. But it takes work to succeed in engaging students especially when the content is complex.
Through all of the sessional teaching work I was still paying the university $6000 a year as full-time student! As a sessional lecturer I was being paid $1000-$1200 a month per course. From that they took back $500-$600 a month for tuition fees. The ddpartment administrator failed to sign our contracts on time that year so none of the PhD student/ sessional lecturers were paid at the end of September. I did not have enough money to buy the textbooks I had assigned for the students! I later found out that this particular university had a $50,000 a year fund devoted to providing teaching materials for PhD/sessional lecturers which the Department Adminstrator knew nothing about! Months later when I was struggling to save my flailing PhD, I met with the Human Resources lawyer who explained to me (with a digital recorder in operation visibly in the middle of the table) that they did not widely publicize the existence of the fund since there wouldn’t be enough money if everyone applied. This blue-eyed, handsome young lawyer listened with such sympathy to my story I thought he would be part of some solution. Instead when I contacted him six weeks later, he said (in not exactly in these words), “Sorry, this is not my problem. There is nothing I can do.”
Years later I am on leave from my PhD. I am using Web 2.0 to share more of the research which I know is useful. In the process of struggle to save my PhD I worked with a graduate student in conflict resolution, I consulted with Deans and Assistant Deans, with the ombudsman, with former professors, with Union representatives both in the university and in the public service, student unions. I wrote to the President of the University. Former students wrote to the President of the University. I was given several small considerations including hardship scholarships of several thousand dollars over a couple of years. But it was too late and never enough. The administrative work involved in each request was humiliating and time-consuming. I had been working to support myself while completing courses graduate studies in high standing since 1992. I completed an MA part-time in less time than some of my full-time classmates. Yet after ten years of this, my PhD was in jeopardy because I had accepted advice to remain registered as a full-time student while successfully completing a presigious challenging pilot project in a difficult post. Effectively the university has turned me into a ghost. My emails are not returned. I think they are afraid of a law suit. Perhaps not. It is quite possible that they have simply forgotten me. I no longer exist.
One of the students from that course ended up getting his MA from Harvard because that one course in Sociology with a focus on human rights, allowed him to finish the one missing course from his BA. He was able to stay in Nunavut thereby keeping his high profile Nunavut government position. The Inuit and Northern students, friends and aquaintances, the entire Nunavut experience, completely unsettled everything I had learned at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, the National Gallery of Canada, reading decades of the Inuit Studies magazine, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, National Archives of Canada.
Filed in academic capital, anthropology, critical ethnography, OECD, Public Policy, social exclusion, Social Justice, vulnerability to social exclusion
Tags: .rss, academic capital, Canadian Policy Research Network, cyber citizens, digg, economic efficiency model, Ethical turn, OECD, policy research, social exclusion, Statistics Canada
November 25, 2006
Child poverty in Canada is almost six time that of Denmark. Overall poverty rates are also high. 10 % of Canadians live in poverty – a stark contrast to Denmark’s 4.3 % and Sweden’s 5.3. (Rothman, Laurel. 2006. “Report of a Standing Committee on Finance,” www.campaign2000.ca) Recommendations: minimum wage $10 per hour; Employment Insurance reform.
CBC, 2006. Aboriginal children face terrible poverty in Canada: report: B.C. and Newfoundland have highest rates; Alberta and P.E.I. have lowest rates. Last Updated: Friday, November 24, 2006 | 2:04 PM ET, Accessed November 24, 2006 11:19 PT.
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2006. “Canada’s nasty secrets revealed to OECD: Child Poverty in Rich Countries,” last updated November 24, 2006 11:05 am. papergirls.wordpress.com, accessed (YY/MM/DD) http://papergirls.wordpress.com/2006/11/25/canadas-nasty-secrets-
Laurel Rothman, Laura. 2006. “Reducing Child & Family Poverty in a Time of Prosperity: The Roles of Tax Benefits, Public Investments and the Labour Market Submission to Standing Committee on Finance Pre-Budget Consultation,” http://www.campaign2000.ca/rc/rc06/06_C2000NationalReportCard.pdf Last updated YY/MM/DD Accessed November 24, 2006.
Selected webliography on Status of Women Canada generated from my Endnote bibliography, compiled from (1992?-present)
Dion-Stout, Madeleine & Kipling, Gregory D. (1998) Aboriginal Women in Canada: Strategic Research Directions for Policy Development. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.c/publish/research/abwom-ehtml
Dion Stout, Madeleine & Kipling, Gregory D. (1998) Aboriginal Women in Canada: Strategic Research Directions for Policy Development. Ottawa, ON, Status of Women Canada. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/pubs/0662634314/199803_0662634314_e.pdf
Frulla, Liza (2005) Statement of Canada. United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 10-year Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/newsroom/news2005/0302_e.html
Gender Equality, Aboriginal Women (2000) Roundtable Report. Ottawa, Aboriginal Women’s Roundtable on Gender Equality. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/publish/table/010914-e.pdf
Jenson, Jane (2004) A Decade of Challenges; A Decade of Choices: Consequences for Canadian Women. Montréal, Canadian Policy Research Network-Family Network. http://www.cprn.com/en/doc.cfm?doc=558
Kenny, Carolyn, Faries, Emily, Fiske, Jo-Anne & Voyageur, Cora (2004) A Holistic Framework for Aboriginal Policy Research. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/pubs/0662379594/200410_0662379594_1_e.html
Kipling, Dion-Stout and Gregory D. (1998) Aboriginal Women in Canada: Strategic Research directions for Policy Development. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.c/publish/research/abwom-ehtml
Lindsay, Colin, Almey, Marcia & Statistics Canada (2004) A Quarter Century of Change: Young Women in Canada in the 1970s and Today. Ottawa, Status of Women Canada (SWC) Policy Research Fund. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/pubs/0662388976/200412_0662388976_1_e.html
Press Release (1998) Fry welcomes gender breakthrough in APEC. Manilla, Phillipines. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/newsroom/news1998/1019-2_e.html
SWC (1995) Setting the Stage for the Next Century: The Federal Plan for Gender Equality. Status of Women Canada
SWC (1999) Highlights of Federal Government Initiatives to Address Violence Against Women: Legislative Reforms That Assist in Addressing Violence Against Women in 1999: Bill C-79. Status of Women Canada. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca
Voyer, Jean-Pierre (2003) Introduction: Social Capital: A Useful Tool for Public Policy? in Initiative, Policy Research Horizons. Public Works and Government Services Canada. http://policyresearch.gc.ca/v6n3_e.pdf
Filed in Aboriginal Women in Canada, child poverty, critical ethnography, CulturalAnthropology, First Nations, human rights, Memory Work, Nunavut, OECD, Public Policy, social exclusion, Social Justice, urban ethnography, vulnerability to social exclusion, webliographies
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