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 Book Group, Saturday Feb 4th , 2:30-4:00pm OISE

Saturday, February 4th , 2012 from 2:30-4:00pm at OISE,252 Bloor Street West, Room 11-204
The book we have chosen for the next 2 sessions(Chapters 1-10 for Feb.4) is:
Life, money and illusion : living on earth as if we want to staywritten by Mike Nickerson,
"In the 2006 first edition, Canadian environmental activist and teacher Nickerson argued that the human species has grown to fill the Earth, and that this new reality compels new responsibility. He has not changed his mind about that, but updates his evidence and argument to integrate the subsequent economic turmoil and how it signals economic maturity that reinforces the danger posed by ecological maturity. Among his perspectives are vision for the 21st century, where value is neglected and overstated, monetary reform, and working together as societies". Book News, Inc.)
Mike Nickerson is a longtime environmental activist, popular educator and the author of 'Change the World I Want to Stay On' and 'Planning for Seven Generations'. He also helped draft the Canada Well-Being Measurement Act.
Please note our change in meeting time from first Sunday in the month at 11am to the first Saturday in the month at 2: 30 in the afternoon.

HAT FORUM, Sat. Jan 28, 11am - 1pm, OISE

HAT WEEKLY FORUM DISCUSSION Date: Saturday, January 28 Topic: The realignment of Canadian politics, nine months later Facilitator: Moses Klein Location, OISE, Room TBD. The unexpected results of May's elections changed the challenges facing each of the three major political parties in different ways. How well do you feel they have each responded to their new circumstances? How do you feel they should respond? And have you changed how you identify yourself politically?

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

HAT FORUM, Sat Jan 22m 11am OISE

HAT FORUM Sat Jan 22, 11am - 1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street W

A discussion of municipal, provincial and federal government public service unions, including critics and supporters of government unions with regard to GNP, economic growth, compensation, governance, and perceived contribution or hindrance of public service unions in the legitimate progres of society,

Western countries have become severely polarized over these very issues. Time seems to be running out for creative and humane solutions aimed at restoring harmony and purpose to society. Are there specific measures that might be taken regarding public service unions in order to improve the contribution governments make to society?

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

Ottawa affirms legality of same-sex marriages performed in Canada

Ottawa affirms legality of same-sex marriages performed in Canada - The Globe and Mail
The federal government has quelled a growing controversy with a declaration that all same-sex marriages performed in Canada are legal.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson issued a statement on Friday that reversed his department’s earlier position that same-sex marriages performed in Canada are legal only if they are accepted as such in the home country of the marriage partners.

He said that a “legislative gap” that caused the confusion will be closed.
“The confusion and pain resulting from this gap is completely unfair to those who are affected,” Mr. Nicholson said. “I want to make it clear that, in the government’s view, those marriages are legal.”
His statement was a source of relief to same-sex couples who feared that, not only might they be unable to divorce because of a one-year residency requirement, but that their marriages were invalid. Many had lost faith in a country they had considered a beacon of social justice for gays.
“Oh my God, this is a wonderful turn of events for everybody,” said Brendan Fay, a New Yorker who came to Canada to marry his partner several years ago. “It restores confidence and trust in the Canadian government.
Mr. Nicholson blamed the former Liberal government for the problem, because, when it legalized same-sex marriage, it did not address the fact that the residency requirement was destined to leave thousands of couples unable to divorce. Former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler responded that it did not stick out as a serious potential problem.
Martha McCarthy, a lawyer for the lesbian couple whose Toronto divorce application has turned into a test case, said that Mr. Nicholson’s statement has assuaged her concern. “Everyone who was panicked by the news yesterday can relax and forget all about the uncertainty of the last 24 hours,” Ms. McCarthy said. “You are all still married.”

Harper attacks same sex marriage

The Harper government has served notice that thousands of same-sex couples who flocked to Canada from abroad since 2004 to get married are not legally wed.
But speaking in Halifax Thursday, the Prime Minister said the issue was not on the agenda for his majority Conservatives. “We have no intention of further re-opening or opening this issue,” Stephen Harper told reporters when asked about The Globe and Mail’s report.

The reversal of federal policy is revealed in a document filed in a Toronto test case launched recently by a lesbian couple seeking a divorce. Wed in Toronto in 2005, the couple have been told they cannot divorce because they were never really married – a Department of Justice lawyer says their marriage is not legal in Canada since they could not have lawfully wed in Florida or England, where the two partners reside.
“In terms of the specifics of the story this morning, I will admit to you that I am not aware of the details,” Mr. Harper said. “This I gather is a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken a particular position based on the law and I will be asking officials to provide me more details”
The government’s hard line has cast sudden doubt on the rights and legal status of couples who wed in Canada after a series of court decisions opened the floodgates to same-sex marriage. The mechanics of determining issues such as tax status, employment benefits and immigration have been thrown into legal limbo.
Despite legal about-face, Harper has ‘no intention’ of reopening same-sex marriage - The Globe and Mail

HAT Monthly Meeting Jan 14 - OISE, Room 7-162

We now have a confirmed room for our HAT monthly meeting on Jan 14:

HAT Monthly Speakers Meeting
Saturday, January 14, 2012, 1:30-3p
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 7-162Speaker: Dr. Nikolay Zyuzev, “Is Russia on the Road to Liberalization?”
Dr. Nikolay Zyuzev is a member of the Russian Humanist Association; he has a PhD in Philosophy from Moscow State University and currently holds positions in the Departments of Philosophy of Komi State Pedagogical Institute and Syktyvkar State University; he has presented, written and edited many papers and books on Russian culture; and he is also a professional journalist (he has been for many years a "Radio Liberty" freelance contributor) with political experience.

Dr. Zyuzev will talk about the current situation in Russia. Revolts are going on in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities; demonstrations are being held about the illegitimacy of the elections; arrests are occurring; and there are rumours that soldiers are being prepared. Dr. Zyuzev believes it is all just the beginning of a new long and painful phase in the process of liberalization in his country. Some aspects of the events sometimes are misread by local commentators. Whether Dr. Zyuzev is right or wrong in this observation – you can decide. 

Please join us for an insightful look at a fascinating country in turmoil from someone who knows Russian political life from within.

ROM Colloquium, Feb 3 - free lectures

Royal Ontario Museum | Collections & Research | ROM Colloquium
Every year, the ROM staff presents a free daylong colloquium of research in the field. This year's event is Friday, Feb 3

"This fascinating annual ROM Colloquium highlights recent discoveries by ROM curators and researchers.
ROM experts deliver consecutive 15-minute presentations on the latest research in the arts, archaeology and pure and applied sciences."
Note that Museum admission is not included (tho the admission price has dropped this year), but the lecture series is Free.
Signy & Cléophée Eaton Theatre.
Please enter the ROM by the President's Choice School Entrance, located at the south end of the building on Queen’s Park.

HAT Forum, Saturday Jan. 7, 2012 11:00am - 1pm OISE

Date: Sat. Jan 7, 2012, 11:00am -1pm
TOPIC: WORKFARE (scenario for discussion below)

SCENARIO: Two hundred passengers plus a crew of twenty are shipwrecked on a remote shore. There is no way to communicate with the outside world and it is assumed that they will never be rescued. A major storm has blown the ship aground and it is tilting badly, making it impossible to use for accommodation. Fortunately there is access to the remaining food stocks, tools, personal possessions and general supplies. After seeing that all the passengers and crew are safely on land, the captain holds a meeting to determine how to deal with the situation. There is broad-based agreement among the group to work cooperatively, share all resources equally and take measures to ensure their mutual survival.

Extensive discussions are held focusing on what skills each person has and how to best deploy them. Jobs include fishing and hunting for food, building and maintaining shelters, making paths, guarding the enclave from dangerous animals, clearing land for planting crops, making and repairing tools, caring for children, the elderly and the disabled. Although this group is not expected to work the routine amount, which is approximately fifty hours per week, where possible, they are assigned modest tasks, carefully structured to account for their individual capabilities.

The captain has taken the initiative in helping to organize matters. However, he makes it clear that he is not the ruler and that major decisions must be made by the entire group, democratically. The survivors agree. In a relatively short time, they have constructed dwellings for shelter, established a fishery, organized groups to search for food in the forest and achieved a basic level of self-sufficiency.

About a year after the shipwreck, certain issues arise that threaten the cohesion of the group:
They refuse to help with other tasks when the sea is too rough for fishing.
The quantity and freshness of the fish they provide is declining.
They refuse to let others use the boats to fish.
The fishermen complain about others building make-shift rafts and fishing in their spare time.
The entire group convenes a general meeting and a majority agree that the fishermen are now in breach of the basic social agreement.
The fishermen reject the conclusion. The boats (which were life boats originally salvaged from the ship) are seized along with the fishing gear. Others in the group are democratically chosen to perform fishing duties. The group instructs the fishermen to engage in different jobs. Some reluctantly agree, others insist that they have been deprived of their “rightful livelihood” and refuse.

The work habits of certain members have resulted in a general consensus that their performance is consistently unsatisfactory. As well, other members are engaged in tasks that are no longer required by the group, since certain priorities have changed over time. Nevertheless, they refuse to accept new jobs. Many in the general group are beginning to express displeasure with the “less useful groups” claiming that they are not doing their “fair share” and in some cases, are disrupting the progress of others. The size of these groups appears to be slowly growing and the majority feels strongly that something should be done about the situation.

How should the group as a whole deal with the recalcitrant fishermen and the two “less useful” groups? Come join us and contribute to this theoretical discussion. All are welcome.

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
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.