Food Labelling – Summary by Chris E

Last Monday’s WSIC meeting focused on something near and dear to all our hearts—and even nearer to our stomachs:


What’s really in the food we eat? And why do Canadians, living in one of the most well regulated countries in the world, still feel the need to ask this? WSIC’s guest speaker, Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumer Council of Canada, had some opinions about that, and so did our audience.

“Do you see any positive movement toward better labeling of genetically modified foods?” asked one …

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Food Labelling – Do we know enough?

Many processed foods contain ingredients certain people can’t eat. But those ingredients must be listed right on the package. Does that mean we have the knowledge we need to protect ourselves?

If you’ve got food-specific allergies or dietary restrictions, you probably know the answer. Too often, vague label descriptors like “natural flavour” disguise ingredients we try to avoid. Unfamiliar words like “casein” replace commonplace ones like “milk.” Making an informed decision about what we eat is harder than it needs to be.

On the evening of Monday, …

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Charter Rights – Are they Worth the Risk?

Many Canadians consider Omar Khadr´s treatment by American and Canadian authorities to be immoral, and even illegal. But few understand the legal precedent set by his plight.

Canadian officials not only helped violate Khadr´s Charter rights; they made it possible for those violations to be made against any of us. Canadian law has changed significantly since 9/11, making the average citizen far more vulnerable to abuses of power than before.

On the evening of Monday, September 17, Why Should I Care welcomes guest speaker, Dr. Barbara J. …

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Political Media Coverage – Discussion Summary

All of us (well, most of us) love a good political contest. Especially during elections. Maybe we don´t welcome the election itself-especially if we feel like we just had one-but once it gets rolling, we´re sucked in. We´re treated to a solid month, sometimes more, of public spats, embarrassing revelations, and hopefully, some real debate.

Then it´s over. And most of us, except for the wonks, tune out.

Why is that? Are Canadians really so disengaged from the workings of Parliament itself-the day-to-day politics, during which policies …

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Is Canadian Media Speaking Truth to Power?

The ability to speak truth to power is key to any healthy democracy. To a large extent, that role gets filled by the media. A strong, independent media helps shape people´s perspectives about politics and gives them the information they need to make evidence-based political decisions.

However, the effectiveness of the media in providing unbiased content is often criticized. There is concern from all levels that the media drives traffic by focusing on the politics rather than the policy, leaving Canadians with more personality-drive sizzle than …

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Thoughts after hearing from Amnesty International

On July 16, WSIC welcomed guest-speakers Freddy Osorio and Shanaaz Gokool from Amnesty International.

As we all know, A.I. deals with human rights issues of many types, affecting people all over the world. This night, our subject was the impact of First World corporations on people in Third World countries. While the problems may be happening far away, these corporations are right next-door.

Victims of the Bhopal disaster at the Union Carbide plant in India are still awaiting their promised compensation while Canadian owned Barrick Gold is …

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Canadian Corporations abroad: Putting corporate accountability on the Human Rights agenda

Over the past few years Amnesty International has started asking some hard questions about the impact that some business practices have on Human Rights. Are Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards enough to prevent Human Rights violations? Is business altruism enough to make the world a better place? Do you think Canadian corporate initiatives abroad should have the same responsibility as they do domestically? Can foreign private investment be part of the solution to the development conundrum?

Canadian businesses are expanding across the globe, causing many to …

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Water Issues Blog

This Monday´s WSIC event provided a refreshing look at an issue that isn´t drying up: global water rights. (Those will be my first and last puns, I promise.) Like a lot of WSIC events, this one featured two guest speakers: Tara Seucharan and Michael Brothers, both members of the Council of Canadians.

Tara opened the discussion with a review of what the Council of Canadians has stood for since its founding in the mid-1980s. She emphasized the Council´s ferocity in protecting Canadian …

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Commoditization of Water – Is it a Right?

Commercialization of water is big business.

Though Canada controls much of the world’s accessible fresh water, and is blessed with one of the lowest municipal prices for water among industrialized countries, we still buy it from far away places like Fiji for as much as $6/litre.

Why? Because we often waste–or pollute–the water we’ve got here at home. Meanwhile, around the world, people struggle to gain access to the fresh water we take for granted. These two problems may be more closely connected than we’d like to admit.

Canada has …

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