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.

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?

News: Waterloo - ECE staff to be Catholic, board says

ECE staff to be Catholic, board says
WATERLOO REGION — Early childhood educators will have to prove they’re Catholic if they want to get a job in the new all-day every-day kindergarten classes starting at local Catholic schools this fall. Trustees of the Waterloo Catholic board were told Monday that the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association has advised the school boards should give preference to baptized Catholics when hiring the early childhood educators, who will work as a team side by side with teachers.

Currently, the Catholic school board gives preference to Catholics when hiring teachers. Most board administrators such as principals and superintendents are also teachers, so they, too, are Catholic. And trustees of the Catholic board must be Catholic, by law.

But other workers at the Catholic board, such as secretaries or custodians, don’t have to be Catholic in order to be hired. And nor do education assistants, who offer help in the classroom. That’s because these workers aren’t responsible for educating children. The reason the early childhood educators will have to be Catholic is because they will be working closely with the teachers and will be helping to deliver the program to the children, said Rick Boisvert, superintendent of human resources services. They’ll help participate in morning prayers and other religious instruction, which is integrated into the classroom experience of children in the Catholic schools.

Seventeen early childhood educators will be hired by the board to provide instruction in the all-day every-day kindergarten program that is being started in eight schools starting this fall. The program will eventually be offered in every elementary school in the province, and has become a hallmark of the Ontario Liberal government’s emphasis on education.

The early childhood educators will make about $24 an hour, which is at the high end of the pay scale for these professionals. Trustees also heard that there is also talk of them becoming part of a union, perhaps the Catholic teachers’ union.

I'm all for proper ECE full-day kindergarten - but not tax money for CATHOLIC daycare. Keep an eye on GTA.

HAT Book Group: Sunday May 9, TIMS 11am

For those of you wishing to join HAT book group's next discussion, we will be meeting on Sunday, May 9, from 11:00-12:30 at the Tim Horton's at Bay/Bloor (near Oise) to discuss the last part of Nelson Mandela's autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom.

HAT Monthly Meeting: Sat. May 15: Klezmer for the Modern Age

Saturday, May 15  1:30 – 3:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 4-422                                                                                                
Martin van de Ven, Clarinetist, Composer
“Beyond the Pale – Klezmer for the Modern Age”

Martin van de Ven has been an ESL and computer instructor, music coordinator, and, for the last dozen years, clarinetist and composer for Beyond the Pale. From Toronto, Beyond the Pale's sound is inspired by a wide range of cross-cultural influences, from Klezmer, Balkan, and Romanian music, to bluegrass, jazz, reggae and funk. Beyond the Pale’s live performances have delighted audiences across Canada and parts of the US. Their three albums – Routes, Consensus and Postcards - have met with awards and critical acclaim: “first-class klezmer,” “klezmer played with sheer gusto and joy… tightness and verve,” “fabulously inventive.”

Local Event: In the beginning was the Big Bang - Univ of Toronto, May 13, Free

The Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) will be celebrating its 25th anniversary by hosting a free public lecture featuring Janna Levin of Barnard College of Columbia University and Ralph Pudritz of McMaster University. Prof. Levin and Prof. Pudritz will present talks entitled "In the Beginning there was a Big Bang" and "From First Stars to First Life", respectively.

More Info HERE
Thursday, May 13, 7:30, Health Sciences Building,  U of T, 155 College Street

Local Event: Offense, Respect, Ethics and the Law (U of T) Apr. 17

Civil libertarians, human rights experts, journalists and philosophers from across the country will discuss the recent controversies surrounding freedom of speech and Canadian human rights commissions at a Toronto conference on April 17.  The public is invited to attend and join in the conversation.
Offense, respect, ethics and the law: How should we talk to one another about sensitive subjects? is co-sponsored by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (Toronto) and the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership (Calgary).
WHEN:       Saturday, April 17, 2010, 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
WHERE:     Campbell Conference Room, Munk Centre, 1 Devonshire Place,

Local Event: Dr. Buckman at UofToronto Spring Reunion May 29

If you are a UofT grad, Dr. Robert Buckman is giving one of the alumni workshops (for free) at the Spring Reunion, Sat May 29, Convocation Hall. Also, Professor Janice Gross Stein, director of the School of Global Affairs at the Munk Centre for International Studies, a widely acknowledged expert on conflict resolution and international relations, will give the keynote at the AGM. And there is a free BBQ!
Registration is required by May 21, 2010.
Click to register online or call 1-888-738-8876.

HAT Events: Film Day, April 18

Humanist Film Day Location: 216 Beverley St.
HAT's monthly film series returns to our old location. We once again have permission to hold activities at 216 Beverley St. the Centre for Inquiry Ontario. One Sunday every month, beginning at 3:00 PM, we will be screening and discussing a film.

Sunday April 18, 3:00 PM
Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi

Local Event: Art for AIDS exhibit, Gladstone Hotel

Art for AIDS Exhibit - The Gladstone Hotel (Toronto) | Art for AIDS International
On April 9th join Art for AIDS International at the famous Gladstone Hotel on 1214 Queen Street West in Toronto to celebrate the launch of a new exhibition featuring both local and international art made to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
All the work is for sale with proceeds benefiting Art for AIDS International as well as projects in sub-Saharan Africa benefiting women and children affected by HIV/AIDS.

This event is being hosted in collaboration with the Gladstone Hotel and will run from April 5th to April 11th in the Second Floor Reception Space. The Official opening will occur on April 9th from 7 - 10pm . Free

HAT EVENT: AGM Sat April 10, 1:30

Saturday, April 10, 1:30-3pm
OISE - 252 Bloor west, Room 8-280

Annual General Meeting, and election of officers. You must be a current member to vote at this meeting.

HAT Forum Sat. April 10 - 11am

Humanist Forum: April 10, 2010, 11am
OISE Room 10-204
TOPIC: Political Participation
Facilitator: Moses Klein

How important is it that citizens of a democracy be actively engaged in its political life? How important is it to you be actively involved? What could be done to foster a culture of political participation?


Event: Lecture by Lord Parekh on Religion and Philosophy

You may be interested in this lecture:

Secularism and the Role of Religion in Public Life
Apr 06, 3 - 5 pm Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
Annual Public Lecture by Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

The event is free and open to the public but the registration is required. Please register by following this link:

Lord Parekh is Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy at the Universities of Westminster and Hull, Fellow of the British Academy and until recently President of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was also a Fellow of the European Academy and of the Royal College of Arts, visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia, McGill University, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. Lord Parekh is the author of several books in political philosophy including Rethinking Multiculturalism, (Harvard University Press 2000) and A New Politics of Identity, (Palgrave Macmillan 2008).
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.