The Humanist Association of Toronto provides a focus of activities and discussion for Humanists in the Toronto area. Please note: HAT events are open to the public, and views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of the Humanist Association of Toronto. For all public statements, educational events, media enquiries, please contact the webeditor, who will forward your enquiry to our Spokesperson.
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm
The Monthly Meeting the 2nd or 3rd Saturday at 1:30pm (TBD)
The Steering Committee meets 1st Wednesday, 7pm
The Book Group meets monthly.

GTA event (free) John Ralston Saul Book Launch, Jan 21

January 21, 2011 7:00pm
St James Cathedral's Archives & Museum Committee is pleased to host John Ralston Saul speaking on his latest book,
Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin
Introduction by Christopher Hume.
No cost for admission, donations welcome. info: 416-364-7865
(note: interest was shown by some members in the LaFontaine-Baldwin lecture this year, & Mr Saul's other recent lectures at the ROM and AGO were by admission fee).

BHA applauds UN reinstates reference to sexual orientation in resolution on execution

UN reinstates reference to sexual orientation in resolution on execution

The British Humanist Association has welcomed the vote late last night by the United Nations General Assembly in favour of adding victims’ sexual orientation back to the list of highlighted groups in a resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The UN passes the resolution every two years, which urges states to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based. However one month ago the General Assembly’s Third Committee narrowly voted to take out “sexual orientation” from this year’s resolution, which the BHA believes constituted the removal of the recognition of the particular vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

BBC video: 200 Countries, 200 years in 4 minutes

Note: This video was suggested by Robin - an excellent overview of 200 years of Global Health developments, from the BBC "The Joy of Statistics" program.

You may also enjoy this great new piece by OXFAM

VideoPSA by Andrea Dorfman, on women's equality before international law.

NEWS: DNA identifies new ancient human dubbed 'X-woman'

BBC News - DNA identifies new ancient human dubbed 'X-woman'
Scientists have identified a previously unknown type of ancient human through analysis of DNA from a finger bone unearthed in a Siberian cave.

The extinct "hominin" (human-like creature) lived in Central Asia between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago. An international team has sequenced genetic material from the fossil showing that it is distinct from that of Neanderthals and modern humans. Details of the find, dubbed "X-woman", have been published in Nature journal. Ornaments were found in the same ground layer as the finger bone, including a bracelet.

Whoever carried this mitochondrial genome out of Africa about a million years ago is some new creature that has not been on our radar screens so far ” Svante Paabo Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

"This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly-understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia." The discovery raises the intriguing possibility that three forms of human - Homo sapiens , Neanderthals and the species represented by X-woman - could have met each other and interacted in southern Siberia....
(also read full article on HumanistNewsWire)

Happy Solstice! Lunar Eclipse and Meteor Shower Tonite!

NASA reports that this is the first time an eclipse has coincided with a solstice since December 21, 1638, and the next one won't come around again until 2094. The extravaganza in the sky doesn't end there, however, as the Ursids meteor shower will also be taking place. The earth's shadow should start showing on the moon's lower left around 1:33 a.m. EST by 2:41 a.m., the entire moon will be covered, and will stay that way for an hour.The shadow will start moving again at 3:53 a.m., and the moon will be back to normal by 5:00 a.m.

Globe and Mail: The Future of Faith

Young increasingly shun religious institutions.

(GLOBE AND MAIL)'If the future for institutional religion in Canada lies in the hearts and minds of the young, a dark night is sweeping down on the country's churches, synagogues and temples.

Young Canadians, who religious leaders once hoped would find their way back to faith, are instead doing the opposite: leading the country's march toward secularism. And with the exception of evangelical Christians, they are doing it at an accelerated pace.'

This is one of 4 articles on the "Future of Faith" in the Globe and Mail. See also: Canada Marching from Religion to Secularization.

Fading Faith: The Rise of the Secular Age By James A. Haught

Correspondence of Interest:  Dear Toronto Humanists:
Here's my latest book, about the retreat of religion, and my newspaper column drawn from it.    If you can use the column in any way, I'll be delighted.  from James A. Haught, editor The Charleston Gazette

Fading Faith: The Rise of the Secular Age By James A. Haught Gustav Broukal Press  2010 

Philosopher-historian Will Durant called it "the basic event of modern times."  He didn't mean the world wars, or the end of colonialism, or the rise of electronics.  He was talking about the decline of religion in Western democracies. The great mentor saw subsiding faith as the most profound occurrence of the past century -- a shift of Western civilization, rather like former transitions away from the age of kings, the era of slavery and such epochs.

Since World War II, worship has dwindled starkly in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and other advanced democracies. In those busy places, only 5 or 10 percent of adults now attend church.  Secular society scurries along heedlessly.

Pope Benedict XVI protested: "Europe has developed a culture that, in a manner unknown before now to humanity, excludes God from the public conscience." Columnist George Will called the Vatican "109 acres of faith in a European sea of unbelief."

America seems an exception. This country has 350,000 churches whose members donate $100 billion per year. The United States teems with booming megachurches, gigantic sales of "Rapture" books, fundamentalist attacks on evolution, hundred-million-dollar TV ministries, talking-in-tongues Pentecostals, the white evangelical "religious right" attached to the Republican Party, and the like.

But quietly, under the radar, much of America slowly is following the path previously taken by Europe. Little noticed, secularism keeps climbing in the United States. Here's the evidence:

** Rising "nones." Various polls find a strong increase in the number of Americans -- especially the young -- who answer "none" when asked their religion. In 1990, this group had climbed to 8 percent, and by 2008, it had doubled to 15 percent -- plus another 5 percent who answer "don't know." This implies that around 45 million U.S. adults today lack church affiliation. In Hawaii, more than half say they have no church connection.

** Mainline losses. America's traditional Protestant churches -- "tall steeple" denominations with seminary-trained clergy -- once dominated U.S. culture. They were the essence of America. But their membership is collapsing. Over the past half-century, while the U.S. population doubled, United Methodists fell from 11 million to 7.9 million, Episcopalians dropped from 3.4 million to 2 million, the Presbyterian Church USA sank from 4.1 million to 2.2 million, etc. The religious journal First Things -- noting that mainline faiths dwindled from 50 percent of the adult U.S. population to a mere 8 percent -- lamented that "the Great Church of America has come to an end." A researcher at the Ashbrook think-tank dubbed it "Flatline Protestantism."

** Catholic losses. Although Hispanic immigration resupplies U.S. Catholicism with replacements, many former adherents have drifted from the giant church. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 20 million Americans have quit Catholicism -- thus one-tenth of U.S. adults now are ex-Catholics.

** Fading taboos. A half-century ago, church-backed laws had power in America. In the 1950s, it was a crime to look at the equivalent of a Playboy magazine or R-rated movie -- or for stores to open on the Sabbath -- or to buy a cocktail or lottery ticket -- or to sell birth-control devices in some states -- or to be homosexual -- or to terminate a pregnancy -- or to read a sexy novel -- or for an unwed couple to share a bedroom. Now all those morality laws have fallen, one after another. Currently, state after state is legalizing gay marriage, despite church outrage.

** Sociologists are fascinated by America's secular shift. Dr. Robert Putnam of Harvard, author of "Bowling Alone," found as many as 40 percent of young Americans answering "none" to faith surveys. "It's a huge change, a stunning development," he said. "That is the future of America." He joined Dr. David Campbell of Notre Dame in writing a new book, "American Grace," that outlines the trend. Putnam's Social Capital site sums up: "Young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of five to six times the historic rate."

Oddly, males outnumber females among the churchless. "The ratio of 60 males to 40 females is a remarkable result," the 2008 ARIS poll reported. "These gender patterns correspond with many earlier findings that show women to be more religious than men."

Growing secularism has political implications. The Republican Party may suffer as the white evangelical "religious right" shrinks. In contrast, burgeoning "nones" tend to vote Democratic. Sociologist Ruy Teixeira says the steady rise of the unaffiliated, plus swelling minorities, means that "by the 2016 election (or 2020 at the outside) the United States will have ceased to be a white Christian nation. Looking even farther down the road, white Christians will be only around 35 percent of the population by 2040, and conservative white Christians, who have been such a critical part of the Republican base, will be only about a third of that -- a minority within a minority."

Gradually, decade by decade, religion is moving from the advanced First World to the less-developed Third World. Faith retains enormous power in Muslim lands. Pentecostalism is booming in Africa and South America. Yet the West steadily turns more secular.

Arguably, it's one of the biggest news stories during our lives -- although most of us are too busy to notice. Durant may have been correct when he wrote that it is the basic event of modern times.

(Haught, editor of the Charleston Gazette, West Virginia's largest newspaper, can be reached by e-mail at His book is available on Amazon.

HAT Book Discussion Group: Sun. Jan 9, 11am- 1pm "Infidel"

Humanist Book Discussion Group
Sunday, January 9th. From 11am - 1:00pm.
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West -- ROOM TBA (check at desk if we have not been able to email it)
Book to be discussed: "INFIDEL" by Aayan Hirsi Ali. It deals with the treatment of Moslem women in Somalia and other Muslim countries, her escape to the Netherlands and association with Theo Van Gogh.'Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant." (163 copies in Library but many hold. paperback price at amazon or chapters- about 15$)

NOTE: Mary has a copy to lend, if anyone needs it.

HAT Forum, Sat. Dec 18, 11 am - 1 pm - Wikileaks

HAT Forum Dec. 18, Saturday-11:00am-1:00pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2-198
Topic: WikiLeaks
Facilitator: Jeanne Erickson

Is it ethical to disseminate the contents of stolen documents, especially when it puts peoples lives in danger?

Who benefits from the revelation of confidential observations of personal traits and behavior of officials?

Are hackers, like those who shut down the Mastercard and VISA sites, the new threat?

CBC Ideas, the Blair/Hitchens debate, Dec. 15

You can now also listen to the Blair/Hitchens debate on the motion  "Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world". on CBC ideas. on Dec. 15.

We have already posted the full transcript debate between Christopher Hitchens and former prime minister Tony Blair on the HumanistNewsWire website, as well as the News Statesman link

Thanks to Mike C for sending along the CBC link.  Mary

Christopher Hitchens, Catholics and condoms - The Globe and Mail

Christopher Hitchens, Catholics and condoms - The Globe and Mail
video: An excerpt from the Globe's recent conversation with the author and noted atheist in which he discusses the Catholic Church's missive about the use of contraceptives. (wait for the commercial to load first)

Human Rights Day, Dec 10: Amnesty Letter Writing Events in GTA

OISE/U of T is holding a Writing for Rights event on December 10, 2010 10:10 pm
in association with the Adult Education and Community Development dept and esp. Interchange, a peacebuilding network.
Location: 252 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON Contact: (647) 402-7535

Amnesty International Toronto Office is holding a Writing for Rights event on Dec 10, 2010 3 – 8pm
Stop in any time from 3-8 pm to write letters, watch videos, hear guest speakers on the hour and enjoy refreshments.
Location: 1992 Yonge Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON Contact: (416) 363-9933 x 328

Group 18 – Toronto is holding a Writing for Rights event on Monday December 13th, 2010 7:00 pm
As every year our small AI group will meet at our regular meeting place: Friends House, 60 Lowther Ave on Monday December 13th at 7pm. We intend to write as many letters as possible; light refreshments will be provided.
Location: 60 Lowther Ave, Toronto, ON Contact:

OISE/U of T is holding a Writing for Rights event on 10 am – 4 pm
For students, faculty, staff, alumni, and open to the public! Come through the lobby to the coffee shop.
Location: 252 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON Contact: (647) 402-7535

Harbourfront Community Centre is holding a Writing for Rights event on December 10, 2010 12:00 pm
Getting all the staff and students of the Harbourfront Community Centre to take time on December 10th, 2010 to write a letter regarding International Human Rights Day.
627 Queens Quay W , Toronto, ON Contact: (416) 553-0547

Banquet Benefit for War Resisters, Dec 10

event alert  from HAT member Michael Wheeler:

Time:        RECEPTION 6:30 PM
                DINNER 7:00 PM
COST:      $20 TO $50

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
761 Queen Street West, Suite 203
Toronto, ON M6J 1G1   (416) 603-7915

Annual Winter Solstice Festival: Kensignton Market Dec 21

Kensington Winter Solstice « Red Pepper Spectacle Arts

21st annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival

TUESDAY DEC. 21, 2010 6:30-8:30

Celebrate the return of light on the longest, darkest night!

The Kensington Market Winter Solstice is a participatory lantern parade.Make a lantern, bang a drum, wear a costume, carry a puppet…this is a people’s celebration! Children welcome, and everyone else.
Hand-made and commercial free since 1987.
info: 416-598-3729 or RedPepperSpectacle

HAT Forum Saturday December 11, 11am - 1pm OISE

DATE: Saturday December 11, 11am-1pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2-198
Topic: "Friendship"
Facilitator: Cecilia Rayo

"Friends" are the relatives that we choose.
-What does friendship mean to you
-What values are involved when you choose a friend?
-Trust and loyalty are basic ingredients of friendship. How far will you go to honour them?
- How do you think friendship is important in the development of a human being?


HAT MONTHLY MEETING: Dec 11, 1:30-3pm @ OISE: How the Brain Works
Date: Saturday, Dec. 11
Time: 1:30 – 3
Location: OISE, Room 4-422
Topic: How the Brain Works
Speaker: Dr. Luis Fornazzari

Dr. Fornazzari is a staff neurologist with the Memory Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital and a neuropsychiatry consultant with the Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene. His talk will address such fascinating issues as does the brain direct our behaviour; will we ever be able to understand the brain as an organ in the way we do the kidney or heart; how does the brain relate to thoughts, feelings, sensual experiences such as sound and colour (with special attention to music); do chimpanzees have a theory of mind; and will “mind control” ever become a reality?

Shelley's "The Necessity of Atheism" - 200 years

March 2011 marks 200 years since Percy Bysshe Shelley’s tract 'The Necessity of Atheism' was printed, distributed around Oxford and then, swiftly, burned. Here is an article from the British Humanist Association about a commemorative event with Richard Dawkins.

'The Necessity' had been prefaced with a plea to potential critics: that anyone who saw fault in the essay was welcome to submit rational, methodical refutations, but not to simply persecute the author for being an atheist. But instead, Shelley was expelled from the university, an event which propelled forward a hectic series of elopements and political activities which would dominate the rest of his short life.

Why was The Necessity of Atheism so dangerous? What, in fact, was it arguing for? What was its importance in the career and reputation of Shelley, and why is it still a vital document today?

Note: You can read the tract on

Ann Wroe is a recent biographer of Percy Bysshe Shelley and well-placed to address such questions. To mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of 'The Necessity of Atheism' and Shelley’s consequent expulsion from Oxford, the British Humanist Association will host a new Shelley Lecture on Tuesday 29 March 2011.

The event will be chaired by Professor Richard Dawkins and will be held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where the famous debate on evolution between Huxley and Wilberforce, also overshadowed by notions of dangerous atheism, took place in 1860.

C-49 - Anti-smuggling or anti-refugee?

C-49 - Anti-smuggling or anti-refugee? | Canadian Council for Refugees
On 21 October 2010, the government introduced Bill C-49 - Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act. Despite the title, most of the provisions in the bill punish refugees, not smugglers. The people who will suffer if this bill is passed are people fleeing persecution, including children.

The CCR is gravely concerned that many of the measures in Bill C-49 fail to honour our obligations towards refugees. Passing the bill will result in refugees being treated unfairly in Canada.

As of 1 December, all opposition parties (Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc québécois) have stated publicly that they cannot support Bill C-49 and that the government should address the problem of smuggling in ways that do not punish refugees.

This is great news, but the bill is not yet defeated. Join the CCR and other allies in raising public awareness of the impacts that Bill C-49 could have on refugees in Canada. INTERPARES ACTION

HAT MONTHLY MEETING: Dec 11, 1:30-3pm @ OISE: How the Brain Works

Date: Saturday, Dec. 11
Time: 1:30 – 3
Location: OISE, Room 4-422
Topic: How the Brain Works
Speaker: Dr. Luis Fornazzari

Dr. Fornazzari is a staff neurologist with the Memory Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital and a neuropsychiatry consultant with the Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene. His talk will address such fascinating issues as does the brain direct our behaviour; will we ever be able to understand the brain as an organ in the way we do the kidney or heart; how does the brain relate to thoughts, feelings, sensual experiences such as sound and colour (with special attention to music); do chimpanzees have a theory of mind; and will “mind control” ever become a reality?

All are welcome, no entry fee, as usual.

Christoper Hitchens/Tony Blair Munk Debate transcript

Here in full is the transcript of the Munk debate between Christopher Hitchens and former prime minister Tony Blair. The motion: "Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world". No prizes for guessing who was arguing for and against. debate transcript on the New Statesman website, and we have printed it out for you on the Humanist News Wire.

HAT FORUM, Sat Dec 4, 11am - 1pm "More"

HAT FORUM: Sat. December 4 at OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2-198
Topic: "More" or "Why More?" But on many different levels.
Don't we all need More time, to do all the things we would like to do?
FACILITATOR: Cornelis van de Graff

HAT Book Discussion Group, Sunday Dec 5, 11am-1pm, "The Sacred Balance"

Humanist Book Discussion Group
Sunday, December 5- From 11am - 1:00pm.
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West ROOM 2-198

Book to be discussed: The Last 4 Chapters of...
The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, updated & expanded
Suzuki, David, Pub. 2007
(or one of the older editions of the same text first published in 1997 - many copies in the library)

"The Sacred Balance is a powerful, passionate book with concrete suggestions for creating an ecologically sustainable, satisfying, and fair future by rediscovering and addressing humanity's basic needs."

"But what are the real needs that must be satisfied to live rich, fulfilling lives? This is the question David Suzuki explores in this wide-ranging study. Suzuki begins by presenting the concept of people as creatures of the Earth who depend on its gifts of air, water, soil, and sun energy. He shows how people are genetically programmed for the company of other species, and suffer enormously when we fail to live in harmony with them."

HAT Forum: Sat Nov 27, 11am - 1pm, OISE Room 7-192

HAT FORUM, Saturday November 27, 11am - 1pm, OISE, 252 Bloor Street West
TOPIC: The War on Terror - what is it today?
As humanists do we accept being lied to by our leaders, by the media?
What do we feel about "noble lies"? eg the weapons of mass destruction

Steve Martin: Atheists Don't Have No Songs

a little fun for a rainy night from Stevie Martin (the 'he' is always lower case)

Event: PEN Canada, Institutional Lies: Linden MacIntyre & Richard Gwyn, Dec 8

Institutional Lies: Linden MacIntyre in Conversation with Richard Gwyn Political commentator and author Richard Gwyn speaks with Linden MacIntyre, co-host of CBC's The Fifth Estate, about abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, government secrecy, and freedom of speech.

This event will be held at Ben McNally Books in Toronto on Wednesday, December 8, at 7pm.

HAT Forum: Sat. November 20, 11am -1pm OISE

HAT FORUM, Saturday November 20, 11am - 1pm, OISE, 252 Bloor Street West
TOPIC: We will be talking about "Loyalty" in the context of: Right or wrong, you have to be 'loyal to ...'??When is it correct to be dis-loyal? Who decides?
FACILITATOR: Cornelis van de Graaff.

HAT FORUM: Sat. Oct 30, 11am-1pm, OISE. Topic: Death in a Humanist Perspective

LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West

This is a weekend in which various religions focus on relationships between humans living and humans deceased. Hallowe'en(Pagan/Christian), All Saints Day and the "Day of the Dead" (Meso-American/Christian) all point us to thinking about "the quick and the dead", to use liturgical language.

What might death signify for each of us?
How might our thoughts about death shape how we live now?
Do we feel a need to show respect those those who die?
If so, how might we do this? e.g., Memories, Care of physical remains
What functions do customs and traditions around dying perform for those remaining alive?

(Please note, the Ontario Humanist Society is organizing a conference for Humanist Officiants and the General Public in the Spring of 2011 on the topic of Humanism at Journey’s End: Compassionate Care, End of Life Decision Making, Grief, Mourning and Rites of Passage (Funerals, Memorials, Celebration of Life)
We'll keep you posted on the details on this list).

HAT Forum, OISE, 11 am, October 23 - Human Rights Commissions

Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, 11am-1pm
Facilitator: Rob Thistle
Topic: Do Human Rights Commissions Serve a Useful Purpose?

Federal & Provincial Human Rights Commissions (HRC’s) were established with noble goals – to ensure that members of minority groups were not discriminated against by those in positions of power. However, many feel that HRC’s have themselves become oppressive wielders of state power. Critics have claimed that HRC’s are unchecked and unrestrained, and that HRC bureaucrats pursue ideological agendas, with the full power of government behind them. They are accused of championing frivolous and undemocratic claims, while true violations of human rights sit in enormous case backlogs.

1. Should HRC’s have the ability to designate certain speech as illegal?
2. Should defendants in HRC complaints be granted the same access to free legal resources as complainants?
3. Is there a better way for legitimate violations of Human Rights to be addressed?

All are welcome

HAT Monthly Meeting, Saturday Nov. 13, OISE 1:30pm

Date: Saturday, November 13
Time: 1:30-3pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor west, Room tbd
Topic: Advocating for the Homeless and the Poor
Speaker: Cathy Crowe

Cathy Crowe is a nurse, educator and activist, advocating for the homeless and the poor in the areas of housing, public health and social justice. She has degrees in nursing and education from Ryerson and OISE, and has received honorary degrees from the University of Victoria and McMaster University. She also received the Atkinson Charitable Foundation Economic Justice Award in 2004. Cathy is the author of Dying for a Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out.

HAT Book Discussion Group: Sunday, Nov. 7, 11am

Humanist Book Discussion Group
November 7 Sunday- From 11am - 12-30/1:00pm.
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West -- ROOM TBA (check at desk)

Book to be discussed:

The Sacred Balance : Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, updated & expanded
Suzuki, David, Pub. 2007
(or one of the older editions of the same text first published in 1997 - many copies in the library)

" The Sacred Balance is a powerful, passionate book with concrete suggestions for creating an ecologically sustainable, satisfying, and fair future by rediscovering and addressing humanity' s basic needs."
"But what are the real needs that must be satisfied to live rich, fulfilling lives? This is the question David Suzuki explores in this wide-ranging study. Suzuki begins by presenting the concept of people as creatures of the Earth who depend on its gifts of air, water, soil, and sun energy. He shows how people are genetically programmed for the company of other species, and suffer enormously when we fail to live in harmony with them."

Munk Debates - Religion Tony Blair and Chris Hitchens Nov 26

Munk Debates - Religion (see website for livestream fees, tickets from $20-80 on website)
Roy Thomson Hall 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, Canada

6:30 PM Doors open
7:00 PM Debate begins

The 6th semi-annual Munk Debate will feature practicing Catholic and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair debating bestselling author and atheist Christopher Hitchens. These two world-class debaters will tackle the resolution: be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world.

The debate will focus on competing claims regarding religion’s effect on human civilization, today and into the future. For example: In a world of globalization and rapid social change does religion provide the common values and ethical foundations that diverse societies need to thrive in the 21st century? Or, do deeply held religious beliefs promote intolerance, exacerbate ethnic divisions, and impede social progress in developing and developed nations alike?

HAT Forum Sat. Oct 16 11am-12pm OISE, "Questioning Islam"

Date: October 16 11am-12pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, ROOM 7-192
Facilitator: Jody Perrin
Topic: Questioning Islam....

Islam is the dominant worldview of about 1.5 billion fellow citizens of our world. It guides the policies and laws of dozens of countries from the Straits of Gibraltar to the tip of Australia and from central Africa to the southern edges of Russia. And through immigration and conversion it is one of the fastest growing faiths in Europe and North America.

1) As a humanist, what is my response to this growing religious/political phemomenon?
2) What do I know about Islam and how did I learn this knowledge?
3) What would I like to know about Islam and how could I acquire reliable information?
4) How useful are terms like "Islamophobia" or "Islamofascism" in our conversation?
5) A personal question that has repeatedly haunted Jodi over the past 2 weeks is:

If Islam is, as many allege, a violent creed spread by sword and blood, why is it that after over 1000 years of Muslim rule in the Middle East, 6 million Coptic Christians reside in Egypt and hundreds of thousands of Christians of Maronite, Syriac, Chaldean and Armenian Churches reside in other Arabic countries.(These churches can trace their heritage to the earliest centuries before the Bishop of Rome asserted his authority in the West!) Europe's last Muslim populations were expelled or massacred in 1492. Refugees from this "Reconquista", both Muslim and Jewish were welcomed in the Muslim ruled lands now called Egypt and Turkey.

HAT Forum, Sat Oct 9, 11am OISE Toronto Mayoral Election 2010

What Toronto Needs - Mayoral election 2010
Humanist Forum, Saturday Oct 9, 11am OISE 7-192
Topic: What Toronto Needs
Facilitator: Robin Russell

As food for thought, how do the candidates stack up on the following categories:

1. Fiscal Responsibility & Strategy
2. Transit Strategy
3. Greater Voter Participation
4. Urban Design
5. Ecology
6. Attracting Global Talent

Who Should Be Elected?
Background reading:
How city council works:

U of T 's alumni magazine
article discussing the topics laid out above

TEDxToronto | September 30, 2010 at Glenn Gould Studio | Ideas Worth Spreading

TEDxToronto | September 30, 2010 at Glenn Gould Studio | Ideas Worth Spreading

TED is a the Glenn Gould today. Sold out (of course!) You can sign up for updates when the feeds are posted.

I'm particularly interested in PLANINTERNATIONAL (as that's one of the nonprofits I support). Here's the speaker:

Amanda Sussman provides training on political activism
to strengthen the ability of citizen’s groups to participate in shaping government policy. She has extensive experience working with a wide range of organizations including Human Rights Watch, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, Amnesty International, the Food Security Policy Group, the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She was senior policy advisor on human rights and refugee issues to the former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Recently, Amanda was a member of the Steering Committee for the Canadian G8/G20 Civil Society Campaign, which led a successful effort to garner 7.3 billion dollars from G8 countries to save the lives of women and children in the developing world. She is also a [senior advisor] to Plan International, Canada, one of the world’s largest international child-centered development organizations, without political or religious affiliations.

HAT FORUM: Sat. Oct 2, OISE 11-1pm. Liberal Arts

HAT Forum, OISE 252 Bloor Street West, Room 7-192
Date: Saturday, October 2, 11am - 1pm
Topic: Liberal arts education and the ideal of the Renaissance Man
Facilitator: Moses Klein

Consider the principle of a liberal arts education, stressing breadth over specialization and general intellectual skills over technical mastery. Is this ideal still a valuable one in today's world? Are today's schools suited toward producing Renaissance people? Should they be? And if so, how?

For one provocative viewpoint, John Allemang argues (Globe and Mail) that a renewed focus on liberal arts education would further empathy and cross-cultural peace.

NOTE: you may be interested in supporting the Save Comparative Literature campaign  (and the Ethics Centre and the Northrup Frye center and diaspora studies) at Uof T.

the Star: Short-sighted environmental reporting

Juan Cole: This week’s award for bad environmental reporting goes to John Spear of the Toronto Star for his article on the cost of wind power in Ontario “when we don’t need it.”

Spear manages to write the entire article as though the only comparison between wind power and other energy should be about the conventional pricing, and he continually assumes that green energy is an unneeded add-on. He complains about government essentially subsidizing the start-up costs of wind turbines by paying a relatively high price per kilowatt hour, and brings up the question of over-production of power and the inability of wind to meet high demand on particularly hot, still days as this past August. Spear either has no sense of irony or has never read a book on pollution or climate change, or just doesn’t get it. I couldn’t tell you.
But he manages not to make the connection between the use of coal, natural gas, and petroleum to produce power in Ontario and the highly dangerous levels of air pollution reached in Toronto in late August, not to mention the the extreme heat alert around the same time. That is, he was complaining about the inability of the wind turbines to deal with the air conditioning demand (in Canada!) on hot windless days instead of realizing that the hydrocarbons caused the heat wave in the first place. It is astonishing.
He doesn’t want to factor into the cost of the hydrocarbons the lost lives caused by pollution (and consequent losses to the economy), the effects on health and consequent costs of medical care, and the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change on Canada as more and more carbon is dumped into the atmosphere– even just things like insufficient lumber availability from transformed forests affected by more frequent forest fires and fewer hardwood trees.
Is the 12 cents a kilowatt hour for wind that Spear complains about really such a bad bargain when it produces none of those bad effects? Is it really the case that hydrocarbons are such a steal when they do? Nor does he seem to be aware of the potential positive effects on job-generation of wind energy, as the Nordseewerke shipyard in Emden, Germany, has discovered.
I constantly come across this bad arithmetic (it is not even calculus, just adding and subtracting) in business reporting on alternative energy, and am frankly getting more and more crotchety about it. Spear’s article should have been about why Ontario is still depending so heavily on the hydrocarbon power generation that “we don’t need” and which is actively harming us, not why the pollution-free wind turbines are a government boondoggle. (Maybe he has a point about how the provincial or municipal energy contracts are being let, I don’t know; but if that is the main problem then it isn’t about wind, is it?)

Saudi Arabia to re-educate its clerics against extremism

Saudi Arabia to re-educate its clerics against extremism
An interesting move on the part of King Abdullah. This might be topic for discussion with Mr. Mirza at our monthly meeting on Oct 16.

Saudi Arabia is set to train mosque imams and preachers to resist extremist ideologies in a new government-run program.

The program, which begins this week and will include 20 simultaneous sessions in the capital city of Riyadh and its surrounding provinces, is run by the kingdom's Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The title of the opening session is "The Friday sermon and its importance in implementing moderation and intellectual security." "We are bringing in the most senior scholars in Saudi Arabia to give this training," Ahmad Fouad of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs told The Media Line. "Twenty lectures will be delivered in and around Riyadh."

Over the past eight years the Ministry for Islamic Affairs has been implementing educational programs for mosque personnel, including preachers, imams and muezzins (those who sing the call to prayer), stressing "the importance of citizenship and intellectual security," the Arab daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.

Prof. Gared Nonneman, an expert on Saudi affairs at the Center for Gulf Studies in the University of Exeter, said that the Saudis have been successful in reducing the level of extremism in the kingdom through a variety of programs initiated by King Abdullah. "This program fits into a larger pattern in Saudi Arabia," he told The Media Line. "From 2004-2005 the Saudis have launched a very effective campaign against extremism."

Nonneman said that since coming to power in 2005, King Abdullah has launched a national dialogue project meant to unite society around the idea of Islamic tolerance. He has also promoted the idea of inter-religious dialogue, stemming from his belief that such dialogue does not contradict the fundamentals of Wahhabism, a conservative strand of Sunni Islam which dominates Saudi Arabia.

Nonneman noted another program initiated by King Abduallah indented to reintegrate Saudi Jihadis into society by having them meet and discuss religious issues with moderate Muslim scholars within the Wahabbi tradition. The program is held in collaboration with the Islamists' families and includes financial incentives to partic

Of interest: The Archaeology of Early Humans in South Africa, Oct 27, UofT

Sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America a Free lecture:
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 – 5:15 pm
Breaking the News from the Distant Past: The Archaeology of Early Humans in South Africa
Presenter: Michael Chazan, University of Toronto
Location: Bahen Centre – Room 1190, 40 St. George Street

GO: Word on the Street Festival, Sunday Sept 25, Queens Park.

WORDS: Pay tribute to the printed (and digital) word this Sunday at The Word On The Street Festival, bringing together authors and publishers from across the country in one epic day of literary celebration. Headliners this year include Man Booker Prize winning Yann Martel reading from his new book Beatrice and Virgil and soon-to-be former mayor David Miller discussing his authorial debut Witness to a City. The festival offers far too many events to fit into this modest blurb, but an entertaining way to encounter as much as you're able can be found in the Diaspora Dialogues' Literary Scavenger Hunt, running throughout the day. Queen's Park (111 Wellesley Street West), 11 a.m.–6 p.m., FREE.

GO: Stuff envelopes with Fair Vote Canada on Sept 28

We need 10 volunteers to help with a mailing project for Fair Vote Canada
Date: Tuesday, September 28
Location: 130 Carlton St. (NE corner of Carlton and Jarvis), in the Party Room
Start time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm or 9:00pm
Task: stuff and seal 1,000 envelopes

Immediate benefits: great conversation with fellow electoral reformers (in fact, let's talk about municipal electoral reform!)

Long-term benefits: history books will show that the pivotal moment in the fight to bring proportional representation to Canada can be traced back to this critically important mailing...and you were there!!

If you can lend a hand on Tuesday evening, please reply to or call 416-410-4034.

UofT Event: Neuroscience, Free Will and Moral Responsibility Oct 6

of possible interest:
Neuroscience, Free Will and Moral Responsibility
Oct 06, 3 - 4:30 pm
Joint Centre for Bioethics Seminar Series
Gardar Arnason, PhD, Researcher, Dept. of Social and Moral Philosophy
University of Helsinki
Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, 754
Contact Information  Beth Woods
(note that these seminars are usually archived online)

HAT Forum Saturday, Sept. 25, 11am-1 pm OISE Single Sperm Donors

Topic: Single Sperm Donor Parenthood
Date: Sat. Sept. 25, 11 am-1pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street W. Room 4-418
Moderator: Dr. Marilyn Miller

Since the 1970s Feminist movement opened doors to better, higher paying jobs for women and the means to support a family, a growing number of single women are choosing to raise children without a father, using sperm donor insemination. During the past four decades, sperm banks have proliferated in part as an outgrowth of the feminist movement. The trend is now finding its way as a theme in current movies, The Kids are All Right, The Switch, and The Back-up Plan.

A strong issue in the U.S. and Canada is the right of the sperm donor to remain anonymous vs. the right of the donor conceived child to know their donor parent’s identity. Medical News Today reports that it became compulsory last June in the Netherlands for all sperm donors to be identified. In the UK since April this year all children conceived via donors will be entitled to have identifying information when they are 18.

Should the records of fertility clinics be opened so that donor offspring can find out who is their biological father? That is the goal of a class action lawsuit launched Oct. 24, 2008 in the province of British Columbia

How can the rights/needs of the parents be balanced with the rights/needs of donor conceived children?

Is single parenthood a good model for optimal human development in view of psychological and child development research that identifies the different contributions mothers and fathers impart in their parenting as teachers and role models?

HAT Monthly Meeting, Sat October 16: OISE: Ahmadiyya Muslim Institute

Date: Saturday, October 16
Time: 1:30 – 3pm
Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street W Room 3-311
Topic: Living the Faith in Contemporary Society
Speaker: Afzal Mirza

Mr. Afzal Mirza is a missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, whose premise is 'love for all, hatred for none.' He has many years of service in Canada and the USA. In the recent past, he was the Vice Principal of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Institute of Islamic Studies in Mississauga. Currently, he is the missionary responsible for Peel region. Mr. Mirza will speak on living the faith in contemporary society: how does an individual Muslim observe their faith in a secular society with Judeo-Christian roots? How does one do this especially when one’s experience as a peaceful, liberal-minded Muslim is at odds with what is portrayed in the media? And how does one interact with others in this society?

There will be an opportunity for open discussion and questions.

Protesters with the group One School System Network, a coalition of teachers, civil rights, secularist and religious groups, held a rally calling for the end of tax-payer funding to the Catholic school system, Toronto, Ont. Sept. 13/2010.

Protesters with the group One School System Network, a coalition of teachers, civil rights, secularist and religious groups, held a rally calling for the end of tax-payer funding to the Roman Catholic school system in Toronto, Ont.

GO: FairVote Canada meeting, Toronto, Sept 22, Meet Larry Gordon


Another election -- another excellent opportunity for fair voters to campaign for democratic reform in the city of Toronto. When only 39% of our citizens vote, something needs fixing and we have some answers.

Come and find out how Proportional Representation can work in our city elections and help the campaign for democratic reform.

Let's not miss this chance to talk to candidates, councillors and our neighbours and advance our campaign for a voting system that represents all of us.

Guest Speaker: Larry Gordon, Executive Director, Fair Vote Canada
Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 Time: 8 to 10 pm.
Place: 519 Community Centre
519 Church Street, Room 301
(a few doors north of Wellesley Street)
Refreshments available

For more information, contact – Gary Dale

Ayaan Hirsi Ali rebroadcast on | Ideas | Ideas
Thursday, September 16 NOMAD
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali born activist and writer whose life has been threatened by radical Islamists. Wherever she speaks, she is protected by bodyguards. And they were there when she gave a Donner lecture in Toronto. Article HERE

Event: James Hansen @ Science for Peace: Climate Reality

Science for Peace: Climate Reality

Public talk with James Hansen, Naomi Klein and Clayton Thomas-Muller, Wednesday, September 15, 5:30pm at McMillan Theatre, Toronto

Science for Peace and The Centre for Global Change Science at the University of Toronto welcome the world’s foremost climate scientist and author of Storms of My Grandchildren, Dr. James Hansen, for 2 days of engagements, meetings with students and political lobbying, Wednesday, Sept. 15th and Thursday Sept. 16 in Toronto.

Joining Dr. Hansen at his main public speaking event, Wednesday, Sept. 15th are: the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Naomi Klein; Indigenous Environmental Network’s Tar Sands Campaigner, Clayton Thomas-Muller; and moderator Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux (U of T Aboriginal Studies and Social Work).

Wednesday, September 15 at the McMillan Theatre (capacity: 800), Edward Johnson Bldg, 80 Queen’s Park
5:30pm – 6:30pm Science presentation by Dr. James Hansen
7:00pm to 8:45pm Climate Reality: A Conversation with Dr. James Hansen, Naomi Klein & Clayton Thomas-Muller, moderated by Cynthia Wesley

About Dr. Hansen:

Dr. James Hansen is one of the world’s foremost climate scientists. In his scientific work, Dr. Hansen has proven to be consistently accurate in his predictions. He has long been recognized as an authority on climate science and has been asked to give briefings to every U.S. administration since that of President George H.W. Bush. Overseas, he most recently spoke to the Club of Rome, at the United Nations University in Tokyo and to the French National Assembly.
Dr. Hansen will be able to discuss the most recent scientific findings about climate change, about what can be accurately predicted and about areas of uncertainty, and about his own recommendations of a complete phase-out of coal. You will find in him an accessible and humane man, deeply concerned about the welfare of future generations.

HAT Forum Saturday Sept 11, 11am - 1pm OISE "Privacy"

TOPIC: Privacy vs the public’s right to know
DATE:  Sat. Sept. 11, 11am-1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, Room 4-218
MODERATOR:  Rob Thistle

When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else - David Brin, writer

Privacy ain’t what it used to be!  The web 2.0, reality TV programming, “infotainment” journalism and security concerns have all adjusted the bar for personal privacy.  The trend to require government and business to be more transparent has led to an ongoing clash of rights between public policy promoting a more open society and the legitimate expectation of privacy for individuals, organizations and governments.  How much do we really need to know, and how much should we be expected to reveal?

Homa Arjomand speaking at Durham Humanist Association, Pickering Sept 30.

From John Manuel:
At the September 30th meeting, Homa Arjomand will be our guest speaker.  We invite you to spread the word.  As you know, she is a very popular speaker, having received awards from HAC, HAT and CFI, among others.
We have asked her to update us on Sharia law, but she will also address other related subjects, as time permits.
Our meetings are held at the Golden Griddle, Liverpool Road and Hwy 2 (Kingston Rd), in Pickering (Pickering Town Centre entrance, Kingston Rd), with supper (open menu) at 7:00.  Homa will be introduced around 8:00.

One School System Rally update, Monday Sept 13, 12-2pm

Thank you for posting info about the rally on your webpage.  We appreciate it.  Please note the following update so the changes can be made: Please let us know if you are coming at:

Date:   Monday, September 13
Place:  Royal York Hotel 100 Front Street  Toronto
Time:  12 noon - 2:00 pm

On September 13-14, the Ontario government will host an international two-day summit on education: The Building Blocks for Education: Whole System Reform.  There will be speakers from six countries:

There will be a demonstration on September 13th in Toronto, at the Royal York where the conference is being held, to tell about the world about the disastrous educational policy we have in the province of Ontario.  We wan tto push for one school system for all.

It's been eleven years since the UN made a ruling that Ontario's education policy of having separate school systems is discriminatory.

We know that John Tory's platform of providing funds for other religions to have schools failed.  In the last election voters served notice that the public would not support that platform.  Therefore we can be confident that this option will not be taken.

Consider this:  With only one school system we would free up $250.00 PER CHILD or about $7,500 PER CLASSROOM per year! The Ontario Provincial Government is not going to take action unless the electorate makes one school system an issue. In other words a grassroots has to galvanize itself to make a lot of noise.

Check us out on

Canada's Dirty Little Secret - One School System Rally Sept 13

Canada's Dirty Little Secret
Here's another article on the Education Summit, and the One School System campaign.
"We’re 50 years behind Quebec, but better late than never. Do you have plans for Monday, September 13th, noon? Drop them!
This is our golden opportunity to tell Premier McGuinty and his international guests that things are not going well in Ontario’s education system. No. It reeks of religious segregation and homophobia.
Mr. McGuinty seems proud to be hosting an International Education Summit (at the Royal York hotel, 100 Front Street, Toronto), September 13-14, where he plans to show off how well we do education in Ontario. How dare he! Well, we plan to put a fly in the ointment of McGuinty’s smoke and mirrors (if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphors) and make sure his visitors get a clear picture of our harsh and unsavory truth.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall when McGuinty explains – while mopping sweat off his brow–to President Obama’s Secretary of Education why he thinks it’s such a good idea to funnel a billion dollars each year into building a wall between Catholic and non-Catholic school-children in Ontario!
See you at noon on September 13!

HAT FORUM: Special Guest, Sat Sept 18, 11am-1pm : Gary Bauslaugh, on Robert Latimer

Topic: The Persecution of Robert Latimer: how the Canadian justice system failed in this hardest of hard cases.
Presenter: Gary Bauslaugh
Location: OISE Room 4-218, 11am-1pm
Date: Sat. Sept 18

Gary Bauslaugh, author of Robert Latimer - A Story of Justice and Mercy. His investigative writing has appeared in many publications, including the Skeptical Inquirer, the Vancouver Sun, The Humanist and Humanist Perspectives. He was Editor of Humanist Perspectives from 2003 to 2008 and during that time also served for a year as President of the Humanist Association of Canada. He was a teacher and administrator in the Canadian college and university system for many years, and has a PhD in Chemistry from McGill. He lives in Duncan, BC.

During the first half hour Gary Bauslaugh will outline the major legal issues that have arisen during the lengthy prosecution of Robert Latimer. We will ask discussion groups to respond to some of these issues, with Gary Bauslaugh joining in, and discussion and responses to follow.

NOTE: We would have liked to feature Gary for a Monthly Meeting, but we already have a monthly meeting on Sept 11. We hope that you will be interested in attending this very special Forum meeting to meet Gary on Sept 18.

HAT FILM PROGRAM: Sun Sept 26, 3pm, 216 Beverley St.

The HAT monthly film series will resume, after a summer hiatus, with a screening of American History X,

Date: Sunday, September 26, 3:00 PM
Location: 216 Beverley St.
(Note: change of date from previous announcement)

A drama about the making, and unmaking, of a hardline racist.

One School System rally, Sept 13, Toronto 11:30-2:30 Royal York

From Simon Parcher, President of HAC:

September 13 · 11:30am - 2:30pm
Location Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto
100 Front Street W, Toronto

Member organizations of One School System will protest the discrepant funding of Ontario Catholic Schools via a Separate School Board in defiance of two UN disciplinary rulings against the Government on Ontario.

The event will take place on the first day of a two day international summit on education held by the Ministry of Education

Come join your fellow humanists and atheists along with other individuals and groups who oppose the public funding of religious schools in Ontario!

This September 13-14 in Toronto, the Ontario government will host a two-day summit that will bring together experts and education policy makers from across the globe. The Building Blocks for Education: Whole System Reform international summit will feature speakers and participants from six countries who will share ideas and look at new ways to help solve the challenges facing students from Ontario and around the world. What an opportunity to show the world what Ontario is doing and to expose the Ontario government's dirty little secret!

The rally was conceived by Ottawa Humanist Richard Young and soon supported by Richard Thain, Renton Patterson, Malcolm Buchanan, Leonard Baak and I. Richard Young and Richard Thain funded the printing of 1000 extra copies of Humanist Perspectives Magazine. The lead article, written by Richard Young is entitled, "Canada's Dirty Little Secret - Getting Schooled in Ontario!" See a copy in your local Chapters, if you are not a subscriber. The magazine is being mailed to MPs and other influential people before the rally and will be distributed to delegates at the summit. Some partners in the rally so far are members of CHP, HC, and several groups in the One School System Network, formed by CFI, e.g. Renton Patterson of CRIPE.

This is your opportunity to make a difference and stand up for what you believe in! Sheila Ayala of HAO, HC and Secular Ontario has agreed to be the event organizer. The exact place in downtown Toronto and the time of the rally will be announced shortly. Please advise Sheila if you can attend on September 13. We are hoping to have at least 500 protesters to turn out. Sheila's email address is

HAT Forum Sat Aug 28 11am OISE

Saturday Aug 28, 11am - 1pm. OISE Room 11-200
Topic: Is Canada An 'easy mark' for refugee claimants?
Facilitator: Ann Benedek

Topic provided for discussion:
Ottawa’s former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Martin Collacott has said Canada is seen as 'the easiest mark in the world' for prospective refugees.

Recent controversy has centered around the arrival of 490 Tamil migrants whose ship landed on Canadian shores; it had previously intended to go to Australia before being deterred. According to the United Nations refugee agency, all 490 on the ship are seeking asylum. Concern has also been registered that Canada is an easy target for human smugglers. And, in the case of Tamils seeking asylum, there is concern that some may be linked to "terrorist groups": (in June 2,000 the National Post reported Toronto police as saying 'up to 8,000 Tamils living in Toronto are linked to Tamil terror groups 'including the Tamil Tigers')


Is Canada too welcoming to Tamils seeking asylum?

Are Canadian Immigration policies too complex, too time consuming and too lenient, enabling those who are not legitimate refugees to remain in Canada?

Is Canada obliged to accept anybody and everybody who lands on its shores requesting asylum?

HAT Forum: Sat. Aug 21, 11am-1pm, OISE Room 11-200

HAT Forum, Saturday, August 21
Topic: The Canadian Senate
Facilitator: Moses Klein

Is an appointed legislative body appropriate to a democratic system? Is it important to have an upper chamber for "sober second thought"? Should the Senate be abolished? If not, what powers should it have, and how should it be constituted?

HAT Forum Saturday Aug 14, 11am-1pm OISE Room 11-200

HAT Forum Saturday Aug 14, 11am-1pm, OISE Room 11-200
TOPIC: FACTS: Are there any?
Who asks such a silly question? In fact, there are only facts.
Sorry, my friend, facts is precisely what there is not, only interpretations


NEWS: Deception used in counselling women against abortion - Toronto

Deception used in counselling women against abortion - Toronto
This article is cross-posted on the HumanistNewsWire
Consider writing to the reporter, Joanna Smith,, to thank her for this piece, which exposes 'abortion counseling' in the GTA.

Toronto is now honouring "artists, thinkers and scientists".

Plaques Mark Toronto's Heritage Heroes - Torontoist

See the EARLIER POSTon the British Humanist Association Humanist Heritage blue plaque program for comparison.

Toronto is now honouring  "artists, thinkers and scientists".

While London has blue plaques and New York City has bronze plaques and medallions, Paris has thousands of plaques  mounted throughout that city paying homage to citizens who died in its  defense during the Second World War. Cities the world over honour distinguished citizens and the places they lived — or, in the  case of Paris, where they died — with a variety of heritage programs. 

So how does Toronto recognize citizens who made a significant  contribution to the character of this city, and mark the location where  they domiciled? Until recently, it was through an ingenuously named heritage program known as Cabbagetown People. Since 2002, Cabbagetown People has honoured a slew of Heritage Heroes [PDF] (their terminology), commemorating the likes of author Morley Callaghan and world-famous magician  Doug Henning. Though well-intentioned, this heritage program lacked  scope, recognizing only those Heritage Heroes who had resided in the  Cabbagetown neighbourhood.

Like other metropolitan centres, Toronto was in need of a citywide  commemorative plaques program. Earlier this year, that's finally what it  got.In March, Mayor David Miller, along with Toronto’s first poet laureate Dennis Lee, and representatives from Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Legacy Project launched the Heritage Toronto Legacy Plaques Program. The citywide heritage program  recognizes Toronto’s artists, thinkers, and scientists by identifying  their homes or other significant locations in their lives.

Humanists may wish to RECOMMEND candidates or to recognize humanist luminaries in a similar program.  Ideas welcome.

HAT Forum, Sat. Aug 7, 11am - 1pm OISE Room 11-200

Sat. August 7, 11am - 1pm.  OISE Room 11-200
Topic: The issue of the "mandatory long census form" in Canada's next census.
Facilitator:  Jodi Perrin

What are some of the uses of such a form and why do experts in the field (like the head of Stats.Can.) feel so strongly about its cancellation ?
Are there other ways to gather accurate information reflecting our diversity?
How intrusive is it and what are the privacy issues it raises?
Why has this become an issue now although we have had this mandatory long form for certainly the last several census periods and it appeared not to engender large protest from privacy advocates?

HAT FORUM: Sat July 30, 11am-1pm OISE Room 2-198

DATE: July 30 11am-1pm   OISE  Room 2-198
FACILITATOR:  Robin Russell
TOPIC:  Representative Democracy versus Limited Right to Vote/Direct Democracy
In ancient Greece only a tiny minority of people had the right to vote, and they voted directly on the issues of the day.  Is there merit in only allowing people who have demonstrated an ability to understand the issues the right to vote, and employing direct democracy? Who would decide who has the right? Are the issues of today too complex to even contemplate this model? Would the hard decisions on financial matters be better served with this model? Would the overall welfare of all people likely improve or decline? Pros and cons

HAT Monthly Meeting: Saturday September 11, 1:30-3, OISE

“The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”, Performed by David Calderisi
Saturday, September 11, 2010 from 1:30 – 3 pm
OISE  252 Bloor west, Room 4-426

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” actor David Calderisi performs the poem as translated by Edward Fitzgerald. David has had a long acting career spanning over 40 years and has appeared in a number of TV series, features and TV movies, as well as performing in live theatre.

HAT Forum Saturday July 24, 11am - 1pm OISE Room 2-198

HAT FORUM  Saturday July 24
TOPIC: Is Marriage a Tradition in Decay?
Facilitator: Silvia Blejman Kantor

- How valid is the institution of marriage in 2010?
- Are there any compelling factors that make marriage an institution to be preserved and kept alive?
- As humanists, what is our position in supporting this institution?

all are welcome

HAT Forum Sat. July 17, 11am-1pm OISE Room 2-198

HAT FORUM: Saturday, July 17th
TOPIC:  Civil Liberties and Public Safety
Facilitator: Moses Klein

How do you see the relationship between freedom or privacy on the one hand, and law and order on the other? Does a commitment to civil liberties require limitations to police power, and if so, what limits? Does a commitment to law enforcement require limitations to personal freedom, and if so, what limits?

EVENT: Film Screening of the BOHEMIAN EMBASSY, July 12, 7pm

A special invitation from Don Cullen (to the left!) for the film debut/screening of Bohemian Embassy.  It is being held this Monday, July 12th at the Toronto Underground Cinema located at 186 Spadina (1½ blocks N of Queen). 
This film documents the history of the Bohemian Embassy, and features: 
Margaret Atwood, Mark Breslin, Jackie Burroughs, John Robert Colombo, Joanne Crabtree, Don Cullen, David French, Greg Gatenby, Paulette Kirkey, Dennis Lee, Gordon Lightfoot, Gwendolyn MacEwen, George Miller, Bram Morrison, Robert Priest, Chick Roberts, Sylvia Tyson, Nancy White - among others.

More info HERE

NEWS: Janet Carding Appointed ROM’s New Director and CEO

Janet Carding Appointed ROM’s New Director and CEO
Janet Carding Appointed ROM’s New Director and CEO

On June 27, Sal Badali, Chair of the ROM Board of Trustees, announced the appointment of Janet Carding as the new Director and CEO effective September 2010. Carding joins the ROM from the Australian Museum, Sydney, the country’s preeminent museum of nature and culture, where she has held the position of Assistant Director, Public Programs & Operations since 2004.

At the ROM, Carding will be responsible for furthering the Museum’s mission, advocating for its ongoing public and private sector support, promoting its research, programs, and collections, and overseeing the management of the Museum’s operations, which include exhibitions, programs, education, visitor services, administration and facilities management. Carding is the first woman appointed to the position of ROM Director and CEO.

'We are absolutely delighted that Janet Carding, a museum professional for over two decades, brings her wealth of experience to the ROM. She’ll provide inspired and strategic leadership to one of Canada’s most revered and preeminent educational, research and civic institutions,'

Carding currently teaches the Museums and Galleries Administration segment of the University of Sydney’s Museum Studies program. She holds a degree from Cambridge University in History and Philosophy of Science and a Masters from the University of London in History of Science and Medicine.

HAT SUMMER PARTY: Sun Aug 29, 4-8pm

HAT members & guests are Warmly Invited to the
Humanist Association of Toronto 20th Anniversary Party

Sunday, August 29, 2010 4 – 8 p.m.
123 Howland Avenue
Home of Moses Klein

Limited parking—take TTC if possible. East from Bathurst subway station & North of Bloor

Pot-luck Buffet, Stimulating conversation and fun!

RSVP 416-922-8972
No meat or shellfish, please, in deference to
Moses’ mother’s kosher diet. In order to assure food variety, please contact co-ordinator of party: Cecilia Rayo

HAT Book Group: CHANGE OF DATE: Sunday Oct 10, 11am Manic Cafe

Book to be discussed:
Manufacturing Depression by Gary Greenberg
Facilitator: Paula O'Connor

Gary Greenberg is a practicing psychotherapist and author of The Nobel Lie. He has written about the intersection of science, politics and ethics for
many publications, including Harper's, The New Yorker, Wired, Discover, Rolling Stone and Mother Jones.

We will be discussing the book on October 10.

Meet at:

The Manic Cafe
426 College Street (just east of Bathurst Street)
at 11:00 a.m.

HAT FORUM: Sat. July 10, 11am-1pm, OISE, Room 2-198

HAT FORUM: Saturday, July 10
LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2-198
TOPIC: Why are we attracted to Violence?

All are welcome to this free group discussion.

Hat Forum July 3, 11am - 1pm; "Nationalism". OISE ROOM 2-198

HAT FORUM: Saturday, July 3
LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2-198
FACILITATOR: Cornelis van de Graaff
Topic: Nationalism (s) and National Pride.

Questions to be asked: Our Country, right or wrong?
With what entity do we identify?
Does Nationalism skewer our view of the world?
Does Reason enter into National Pride?

GTA EVENT: People's Summit: Maternal health, MDGS, Education, Climate Change - workshops

See the full schedule of workshops HERE, on Global Justice, Climate Change, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, and Activism. Sessions are held at UofT and Ryerson
Session opener features Maude Barlow on Friday nite @ the Carlu, pwyc

GO: Reproductive Justice Rally, June 19, Toronto

From SDTC -
"...Have you been fuming about how the Federal Conservatives are –supposedly – spearheading maternal health at the G8, but refusing to fund abortions as part of that initiative? Or were you disturbed when Senator Nancy Ruth advised that aid agencies should 'shut the f** up' about abortions till after the G8 for fear that Stephen Harper will harden his stance for political reasons? The time has come to vent your fury. Join The Rally for Reproductive Justice beginning at 1pm at Ryerson’s Pitman Hall (160 Mutual St) this Saturday, June 19th as it marches to the Ministry of Health and Education at 900 Bay Street. The rally will be advocating for full funding of family planning and safe abortions as part of Canada’s G8 Maternal / Child Health Initiative. Plus, it will be supporting the implementation of changes to Ontario’s sex education curriculum. Why? Because women in developing nations should have access to the same options that Canadian women have to control their bodies and safety".

HAT Event: Monthly Meeting with David Boultbee - Blog report

Please visit David Boultbee's blog, to see comments about his talk to the HAT monthly meeting last week!

"This weekend I spoke to the Humanist Association of Toronto (HAT*) - a very enjoyable experience.

I sold two books and received an honorarium but more importantly I got to speak to some wonderful people about a topic near and dear to my heart - naming writing.

I had prepared some notes as I wasn’t sure of how many people would be there - I wanted to have something on hand in case I was placed behind a podium. As it turned out the gathering was just the right size for a round table forum, so my notes weren’t needed. However the process of preparing them ensured that I was prepared, which was the whole idea anyway..."

HAT Forum June 19: Free Speech in Toronto, 2010 OISE, Room 11-200, 11am

HAT Forum, 11 am
Facilitator: Jodi Perrin

Pride organizers ban "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid" from this years Pride Parade, though they have marched in previous years. The Pride Committee caved into threats from City Council, orchestrated by Martin Gladstone and the B'nai B'rith group, to withdraw funding and perhaps even permits.

Question 1:
Why do our corporate media and cultural institutions rush out to defend free speech when some insensitive cartoonists create images that offend a billion Muslims yet those same groups led by B'nai B'rith actively deny free speech to a few persons who wish to express their conviction that Israeli state policies resemble apartheid? (Would they deny Nobel prize winner and Archbishop Desmond Tutu the right to march as he was one of the first to make the apartheid connection?)

Our cash-poor government devotes over 1 billion dollars to policing, security and equipment to lockdown the heart of our city entailing further loss of income for persons and business in that area.

Question 2:
How does this "shock and awe" exercise affect the ability of those who might dissent from the agenda of the G20 to express themselves in free speech?

Question 3 (or is it a Koan):
Who is afraid of What and Why?

GTA Event: CFI hosts Nate Phelps, June 18

Nate Phelps, estranged son of “God Hates Fags” Pastor Fred  Phelps, to Speak in Toronto. The event will take place at the University of Toronto Macleod Auditorium on Friday, June 18th at 7:30 pm.

The newly turned atheist and estranged son of "God Hates Fags" pastor Fred Phelps will speak about his experiences growing up in the Westboro Baptist church, the  most controversial family in the US. The Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFI) will host the event as Nate denounces the violent and discriminatory rhetoric of his family.

Nate will outline his family's anti-gay campaign and share his experiences growing up with the indoctrination and violence of his father. He will recount the journey since he left home at 18, from fundamentalism to mainstream Christianity to finally letting go of any notion of God.

This is an official Pride Toronto Affiliated Event.

GTA EVENT, FILM: Agora (2010) - The story of Hypatia and the burning of the library of Alexandria

 Currently showing in Toronto:

Agora (2010)

The 2009 movie by Alejandro Amenbar, Starring: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Ashraf Barhom, Michael Lonsdale, Rupert Evans, is in town.

Set in Roman Egypt in the fourth century, "Agora" tells the story of the legendary astronomer and philosopher Hypatia (Weisz), trapped in the legendary Library of Alexandria, and her fight to save the old world's wisdom from the religious riots sweeping the streets of Alexandria....  A large-scale investigation into religious hysteria, the film is a stunning spectacle, piloted by a filmmaker drawn to the frayed ends of human irrationality.

In Alexandria during the 4th century, Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) is an astronomer and philosopher eager to convey her enthusiasm for the cosmos to her band of students and her particularly inquisitive Christian slave, Davus (Max Minghella). As the Christians rise up to overthrow Pagan control of the city, Hypatia is forced to relinquish her status while Davus joins the opposing army, finding himself torn between his devotion to God and the affection he carries for his master.  Years later, Hypatia has inched closer to her dream of understanding the mystery of Earth’s rotation, while a former student, Orestes (Oscar Isaac), becomes prefect, struggling to keep order as the city’s Jewish contingent clashes with the power-mad Christians. As another round of violence is about to erupt, Hypatia’s brilliance is declared blasphemy, forcing Davus back into her life... It’s a war of education for Hypatia, who values the might of the cultured mind, thrilled with Davus and his interest in the solar system in the moments before their relationship takes a dark turn. The film abrasively contrasts the threat of enlightenment and theory against the wrathful superstition of organized religion, and how that combustibility could never coexist peacefully, much less in Alexandria during such a volatile age.

"Agora is a multileveled portrait of zeal. Hypatia's zeal for learning positions her in the highest ranks of her society, but it also blinds her to the real dangers she faces from those who see science and humanism as a threat to faith. The Christians' passion to establish their new faith turns into a campaign to silence all others. To this day, the dark side of zeal is evident in those who turn from the ideal of diversity and try to stifle a plurality of voices in the marketplace, schools, and religious centers. Agora is one of the best films of 2010 with its impressive mix of rich thematic material, fascinating characters, and an astonishing performance by Rachel Weisz as Hypatia"

HAT Book Group: Sunday June 13, 11am

The HAT Book Group will meet on Sunday, June 13, at 11 am at Manic Coffee at 426 College near Bathurst. The book under discussion is LONELY, by by Emily White. All are welcome.

HAT FORUM: Sat June 12, 11am OISE

HAT FORUM Saturday June 12, 11:00am-1:00pm Room 11-204
TOPIC: Is rehabilitation necessarily a part of imprisonment and is Harper correct in calling for extension of the pardon process?

-54 Canadian Federal Penitentiaries hold 12,700 prisoners serving more than 2 years at a cost of $110,000 per year, per male inmate, and $150,000 per year per female, as of 2001
-there are somewhat over 32,000 inmates in total in Canada
-cost is over $70,000 per year, per inmate in medium and minimum security prisons
-in the US, cost of rehabilitation per inmate per year is $2000, vs incarceration at about $63,000 per inmate per year
-in provincial prison in Canada it costs app. $52,000 per year to guard one prisoner
-Pardons Process in Canada: person can apply for erasing criminal record after 3 years for summary offenses (up to 2yrs prison) and after 5 years for indictable offenses.


1) What is roughly the total cost of incarceration of prisoners in Canada?
2) Would you like a non-rehabilitated ex-con to move in beside your house?
3) Left alone, do prisoners lose their criminal attitude on their own in prison?
4) Should there be a criminal record? How does the criminal record contribute toward re-offending? Is it in the nation’s interest to have criminals re-offend?

GTA Event: June 17, Luminato: (un)veiled, documentary on hijab

Luminato - Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity 2010 - (un)veiled: Muslim Women Talk About Hijab (36 min)
June 17 National Film Board - Toronto Mediatheque 150 John Street Toronto, ON
As part of the Luminato Festival, here is a free event - a documentary Introducing the audience to modern Muslim women living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, (un)veiled discusses the controversial topic of the hijab.
It shows the diverse and lively debates in Muslim societies about the meanings of modernity, emancipation and feminism.


We regret to inform you that we will not be meeting on Saturday June 26, as the University of Toronto will be closed during the G20 and we do not have access to the OISE building.

HAT EVENTS: Film Day June 16

June 20th: 3pm. CFI 216 Beverly Street
TITLE: God Grew Tired of Us.
This documentary about four of Sudan's "Lost Boys" who fled the civil war, eventually getting asylum in the United States.

Free admission, all welcome.

HAT FORUM: Sat. June 5 11am-1pm, OISE Room 11-204

SAT June 5, OISE 252 Bloor Street West, 11am - 1pm Room 11-204
TOPIC: Death, and why are some many people afraid of it. Should they be?
FACILITATOR: Cornelis van de Graaff

There are many questions about Death, we can ask ourselves, aside from the Fear of Dying.
There is also the question ofsShould we postpone it, if possible and at what cost?
Some might come up with Euthanasia. Not whether it is or should be legal, but how do we look at it from a Humanist viewpoint. Is it moral for the state to encourage dying? For a crime or for financial reasons?

HAT petition re Sex Education in Ontario

[You may download a printable version of this petition HERE]

Petition to the Government of Ontario

We the undersigned support the proposed 2010 revisions to sex education in Ontario. As the government is rethinking the curriculum, we strongly encourage that the final version retain the following admirable features of the original proposal:

Proactive: By discussing issues of sexuality with children before they experience the difficult and confusing changes of adolescence, the proposed curriculum will help them to cope with those challenges when they do reach puberty.

The curriculum integrates the medical implications of sex with the emotional aspects of a relationship, encouraging adolescents to consider all factors in deciding how intimate to get with a partner.
The proposed curriculum does not tell students what decisions to make about their own sexuality. Instead, by informing students of the many reasons to delay sexual activity, including risks of pregnancy and disease as well as issues of person comfort, it helps them to make their own decisions responsibly.
The proposed curriculum acknowledges different forms of sexuality, most notably sexual orientation. As early as Grade 3, even before they consider the mechanics of sex, children can understand the special relationship of a loving couple, and can appreciate that such couples may include two men, two women, or one of each. Later, when they become aware of their own sexual orientation, this should help gay as well as straight children to understand their developing urges.

Please send completed forms to: Humanist Association of Toronto, c/o Moses Klein, 123 Howland Ave., Toronto, ON, M5R 3B4

HAT FORUM: Sat. May 22, 11am -1pm OISE Room 11-204

Saturday, May 22, 11am -1pm OISE 252 Bloor Street W, Room 11-204
Topic: 'The meaning of dreaming'
Facilitator: Isabel Foot

The meaning of dreaming (real physical sleep state) and how it fits into out lives.

Information supplied for this forum:

Dreams and our awareness of dreams seem to have evolved with us. Mammals dream, at least they have a characteristic Rapid Eye Movement. Children dream.

A lot of discussion seems to lie around if dreams and/or our awareness of them gives the individual an evolutionary advantage to survive in the world- a coping mechanism for the conscious mind, for example Joe Griffin and the expectation fulfillment theory.

Dreaming is Nature’s solution to the problems emotions cause animals and humans. (An emotion is another word for an expectation.) Stress, for example, is caused by an accumulation of arousal patterns in the autonomic nervous system that are not being de-aroused by taking the necessary actions that would do so.

The prime function of dreams is to metaphorically act out undischarged emotional arousals (expectations) that were not acted out during the previous day. By dreaming we complete the arousal/de-arousal circuit so as to wake up with an unstressed autonomic nervous system and our instincts intact, see

Or are dreams "doors" to the unconscious part of the mind. Perhaps they are not identified with our body, career, personality, but to a wider being-ness. Of course, this can still be an evolved facility.

e.g. In the view of the Qur'an, sleep is outwardly the suspension of the natural forces in man, but it is at the same time a return of man's spirit to his inner being. Sleep is the lesser death, and death is the greater sleep. In both cases, the spirit is transferred to a different world." ­ Sayyid Musawi Lari, Resurrection, Judgment, and Hereafter

Of particular interest to me (Facilitator) are dreams that repeatedly take us to the same location. Also, the interesting fact that in my dreams, telephones don't work. I have heard of people who have dreams in which keys don't work. What is your experience manipulating mechanical objects in dreams?

Do you have a special interest about dreams you'd like feedback on? Now's the time to ask.

HAT Monthly Meeting: Sat. June 12: "The Gender Divide"

Saturday, June 12  1:30 – 3:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room TBD
David Boultbee, Science Fiction Author
“The Gender Divide”

In The Gender Divide, David Boultbee’s second novel, he deals with the controversial issue of gender disparity from an unusual perspective. In a world where women live four times as long as men, Ryan Peters is one of a few men with a similar lifespan. This difference in lifespan has had profound consequences on the world balance of political, economic, and military power and has created a social gender divide that threatens to tear the world apart. Determined to close this gender divide, Ryan will sacrifice anything to succeed. Born in Toronto, Ontario, David Boultbee spent most of his formative years on the family farm in a small rural village in the Greater Toronto Area. He still lives close to his childhood home with his wife and children.

HAT FORUM Sat May 15, OISE ROOM 11-204 11am-1pm

Saturday, May 15, 11am -1pm OISE 252 Bloor Street W, Room 11-204
Topic: 'Income Disparity in the western world: pros and cons - Is equality good for us?'
Facilitator: Robin Russell

No one argues that there is income disparity in the western world. Is this universally a bad thing, or is it a natural phenomenon? Where countries have low versus large disparities, how do their overall societies compare? Which model should Canada adopt: status quo or a shift in one direction or the other?

Finland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark have the least income disparity, while the USA and Britain have the highest. Canada is midway between the two.

As background/research for this forum, people may wish to go to:

1: TVO: The Agenda
to view the May 7th broadcast of Ideology Part I: Is Equality Good for Us?

2: EqualityTrust

HAT FORUM: Sat May 8 OISE Room 11-204 @ 11am - 1pm

Saturday, May 8, 11am-1pm OISE 252 Bloor Street W, Room 11-204
Topic: Sex Education
Facilitator: Moses Klein
As a controversial proposal revising sex education in Ontario is under consideration, we will discuss our preferred approaches to the subject. Do the proposed curriculum guidelines fit with humanistic ideas about sexuality and about education? How, and at what ages, would we advise teaching children about sex and sexuality?

HAT Events: Film Day

May 16, 3pm. CFI 216 Beverly Street

Die Welle (The Wave). A high school teacher attempts to teach his students about fascism by setting up a model within the classroom. The experiment gets out of control. A German film, based on a true story from California.

HAT Forum: May 1, OISE 11am-1pm Room 11-204

Forum: Saturday May 1, 2010
OISE : ROOM 11-204
Facilitator: Jody Perrin


The United States is perhaps the largest and most lucrative market in the world for what we deem to be 'illegal drugs' or substances which have mood altering effects but are proscribed by our culture. The response of the American administration was been in recent years to attack on the sources of supply, usually outside of its borders and involving many millions of dollars in funding, equipment, personnel information-sharing, directed against suppliers in numerous countries ranging from Afghanistan to Columbia, especially Mexico. This is often termed the War on Drugs. (Canada and Mexico under similar conservative administrations seem to merely tag along with this initiative)

Some questions might include:

1) Is this strategy yielding positive results?
2) What are some of the costs of this initiative to the countries receiving this 'aid' and some of the costs to all of us in terms of policing, incarceration, human effects of criminalization of behaviors. etc. in our own countries?
3) Has prohibition worked in the past?
4) Is this strategy (war of drugs and prohibition) one which fits in with our Humanist Principle no.4 which states we "affirm the dignity of every person and the right of the individual to maximum possible freedom compatible with the rights of others." Or Principle no.11, we "affirm individual and social problems can be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking, joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings"?
5) Can we think of some other strategies that might help our societies rationally and humanely deal with some of the problems of our collective drug addictions?
HAT meetings are free and open to members and the public. Call (416) 966-1361 for location information. ___________________________________________________
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm.
The Monthly Meeting, is usually the second Saturday at 1:30pm; specifics should be found on this blog.
The Steering Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
The Book Group usually meets on the first Saturday afternoon of the month.