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.

CANCELLED!!! HAT Monthly Meeting: Nov 10, OISE, Africans in partnership against AIDS

(due to the unavailability of our Speaker, we regret that the HAT MONTHLY MEETING for NOV 10 is Cancelled)

DATE: Saturday, November 10, 1:30 – 3:00
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 5-230
SPEAKER: Dean Hyatt, Africans in Partnership against Aids

In 2000 Dean Hyatt, a white, 5th generation Canadian, was infected with AIDS and received a great deal of emotional and practical support from Africans in Partnership against AIDS (APAA). Consequently, he works tirelessly to raise awareness of the important work that APAA does in the Greater Toronto community. APAA was established in 1993 and is a community-based AIDS service organization.

All welcome, free admission - hope to see you there.  

HAT FORUM, Saturday 27 October, OISE 11am-1pm

HAT Forum
DATE: Saturday 27 October 2012, 11am - 1pm  Room  2-198
Topic: The Value of Memory
Facilitator: Moses Klein

This discussion is a follow-up to Ulli Diemer's Monthly HAT talk on archiving for Connexions. Why is it valuable to preserve the past? Is it worth keeping artifacts from the past, or are records of what has happened enough? And why?

Ontario Humanist Society « Be part of a study on non-religious identity

Ontario Humanist Society « Be part of a study on non-religious identity
Matt Murdoch, a Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Psychology from Carleton University, is in the planning stages of an interview-based study for a class at Carleton University.  He'd like to talk with nonreligious people who were formerly religious. In particular, he'd like to focus on their experiences with transitioning from religious to nonreligious identities and any support (or lack thereof) before, during, and after the process.

Matt is hoping to begin with the interviews in November.  If you would like to be part of this study, please contact Matt directly at:

Hat Forum, Sat. Oct 20, Political Candidates - Attributes

DATE:  Sat Oct. 20, 11am - 1pm.
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2 -198
TOPIC: What attributes do you think  a candidate should have to be a leader of a nation?
FACILITATOR:  Cecilia Rayo
  • What criteria should be used to evaluate a political representative during an election?
  • How do you get informed about your representatives?
  • When you follow a political party with which you think you agree, do you check that all the policies they propose to improve the different areas of government are well founded and all the possible negative consequences have been well studied?
  • What do you think are the causes of the trivialization of politics?
  • If you agree that there is a trivialization of politics, how would you fight it?

HAT FORUM, Sat Oct 13, 11:00-1pm OISE

[this topic has been rescheduled from Sept to Oct 13 - note unusual room change]

DATE:  Oct 13, 11:00-1pm.  
LOCATION:  OISE, 242 Bloor Street West, 2-198, 10-200

How resources should be apportioned in society lead to some very basic questions: namely, what are the core ideals of society? From a Canadian or “western” perspective, many would claim that our ideals are aimed at maximizing individual freedom coupled with group responsibility. By using this formula for guidance, the topic of “Distributive Justice” can be addressed under the general category of “group responsibility”.

Here are some “distributive” ideas for discussion:

STRICT EGALITARIANISM:  Because people are inherently “equal” they must be entitled to an equal share of all goods and services.  This view holds that differences in wealth between people promote envy and discord, ultimately undermining the stability of society. Would this approach have an impact on incentives for productive people resulting in the entire society being significantly poorer? What if an equal share was not enough or too much?

INDIVIDUAL NEEDS: “To each according to his need, from each according to his ability”. What mechanisms would society require in order to determine how much a person needs and what their productive output should be? Can this be accomplished in a large, complex society?

LIBERTARIANISM: Individuals are entitled to retain everything they legally acquire. Helping those in need would be a voluntary act. Would the lack of a proscribed “safety net” result in people becoming alienated from mainstream society, developing into a “pariah” class and aside from having a wretched existence themselves, threaten the stability of society?

BASIC ENTITLEMENTS: To be “moral” a reasonably affluent society should be prepared to ensure that poor people, the disadvantaged or those who suffer bad luck should be helped by receiving sufficient food, shelter, medical care and clothing to function modestly. Should basic entitlements be absolute or relative?

RESPONSIBILITY OF THE RECIPIENT: Assuming that the majority in society agree that seriously disadvantaged people should be helped, is it reasonable to expect that those who are physically and mentally capable, be prepared to work, to the best of their ability, in exchange for such help?

PROGRESSIVE VERSUS FLAT TAXES: If there were a flat tax of 25%, a person earning $ 200,000 per year would pay $ 50,000 in taxes.  Progressive taxes could force the same person to pay $ 100,000 (50%) or   $ 120,000 (60%) etc.  The government, by “redistributing” this taxpayer’s “surplus” revenue, is then challenged to use the money in a productive, efficient and “just” way for the benefit of society.  Would this “redistribution” affect the taxpayer’s incentive to be productive in the future?  If the taxpayer earned the money honestly,  by working hard, being productive and creative, is it possible that leaving a greater share with him/her would benefit society more than having the government absorb it?

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 Oct 6, 11 am - 1pm "Drones"

HAT FORUM:  Date, Sat. Oct. 6, 11am - 1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 242 Bloor Street West, 2-199
Topic: Living Under Drones

The US is flying drones over Pakistan to murder "terrorists".
What do you think of this strategy?

 From Chris Floyd in blog "Empire Burlesque". The report he refers to is

The "best available information", they say, is that between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed in Pakistan between June 2004 and mid-September this year – of whom between 474 and 881 were civilians, including 176 children. The figures have been assembled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which estimated that a further 1,300 individuals were injured in drone strikes over that period. ...

"US drones hover 24 hours a day over communities in north-west Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning," the American law schools report says. "Their presence terrorises men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.
Moderator: Isabel Foot

Simon Parcher, HAC President, to appear on The Agenda Oct 4

Simon Parcher to appear on The Agenda Oct 4
A reminder:
Simon Parcher,  President of HAC (Humanist Association of Canada) will be appearing on TV Ontario’s “The Agenda – with Steve Paikin" on Thursday, October 4, 8:00 pm.
It will be a live panel discussion examining how philanthropy is changing, the nature of religious vs. secular giving and philosophical questions about what it means to be a charitable person in the 21st century.

Participants are:
Sara Einstein (New York), Author, “Compassion, Inc: How corporate America blurs the line between what we buy, who we are and those we help”,
Shabir Ally, President, The Islamic Information and Dawah Centre,
Dave Toycen, President & CEO, World Vision Canada,
Simon Parcher, President, Humanist Canada.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject please post them to the HAC list, or send to Simon.
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.