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.

Abortion rights were Henry Morgentaler’s gift to women: Mallick | Toronto Star

Abortion rights were Henry Morgentaler’s gift to women: Mallick | Toronto Star
[read the entire article online].  Heather Mallick was HAT Humanist of the Year for 2013.

:"..... Many young women don’t know what Henry achieved for them, a fact that he found amusing. It pleased him that they didn’t live in fear. But the anti-choicers — all of whom presumably have a dozen children each, as their religions expect — have brought the U.S. battle against abortion to Canada.
They may be Tea Party types shunned by Stephen Harper, who knows a vote-killing issue when he sees one, but they exist. In the U.S. they are known as “the Army of God.” In Britain they are called “swivel-eyed loons.” Here they are called “rural anti-choice values voters.” O Canada. You are quite pleasant, relatively speaking.
But the anti-choicers do hate Henry Morgentaler, even in death. Henry, a man who truly loved women, was handed a means of helping them that other more easily frightened doctors had slapped away. In the late 1960s, desperate women came to him in Montreal seeking abortions. It seemed Nazi-like to reject them because of a cruel law, knowing they might die, and some did.
Henry, who could have been turned into a handful of ash in Auschwitz, decided he would do something good and useful with his life. He risked all. Arrested repeatedly, he won every case that was heard by a jury but one 1973 acquittal (a jury of 11 men and one woman) was overturned by an appeals court comprising five Catholic judges. A year later, the federal law was changed. Thanks to Henry, new trials can be ordered but jury verdicts cannot be overturned.
That’s just another little gift from Henry, aside from women not dying of rupture and infection in back-alley abortions or forced to call themselves insane in front of a committee of three doctors and beg for an abortion.
I’m trying to figure out how we can sustain his achievement, even in an era of economic decline that is full of hate, where women are often viewed as nothing more than disobedient vaginas that must be managed from the outside by religionists.
I don’t know. How will we find Henry’s courage in ourselves? We have to speak up, write letters to the editor, donate money and above all, vote. We have to show up in our own defence.
Henry is dead. We’re on our own...

Dr Henry Morgenthaler, Obituary, May 29, 2013

Ontario Humanist Society « Dr Henry Morgenthaler, Obituary, May 29, 2013
Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the family doctor who led the abortion movement in Canada, died of a heart attack at his Toronto home early Wednesday. He was 90.

Dr. Morgentaler, who was the focus of both reverence and hatred, was one of the key players in the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that declared the law prohibiting abortion unconstitutional. He is survived by his wife, Arlene, four children, several grandchildren and his extended family. Funeral arrangements are private….
…A Holocaust survivor, whose defiance of authority was steeped in bitter experience, a humanist, an atheist and a lover of the spotlight, Dr. Morgentaler was revered by pro-abortion advocates and reviled by those who opposed them. In the last half-century, he was lauded, arrested, and jailed. His Toronto clinic was destroyed by arsonists, he was physically threatened and awarded an honorary degree and the Order of Canada. Today, it is hard to say which changed more – him or the country that accepted him as a 26-year-old immigrant in 1950.His mother died in Auschwitz and her murder was directly linked to his desire to help other women live the way they wished. “I knew I could not save my mother,” he told The Globe in 2003. “But I could save other mothers. It was an unconscious thought. It became almost like a command. If I help women to have babies at a time when they can give love and affection, they will not grow up to be rapists or murders. They will not build concentration camps.”

Jan. 28, 1988, the day the Supreme Court declared Canada’s long-standing abortion law unconstitutional, was the greatest day in Dr. Morgentaler’s life. For the next 20 years, on the anniversary of the ruling, he held a dinner for key supporters in the struggle. “It was a vindication of everything I believed in,” he said. “For the first time, it gave women the status of full human beings able to make decisions about their own lives.”

Perhaps the second greatest day in his life was Oct. 10, 2008. That was the day when Governor-General MichaĆ«lle Jean pinned the Order of Canada on his chest in a ceremony at the Citadel in Quebec City, while protesters marched outside. His inclusion as a member, the lowest of three ranks, in our highest civilian order, had been hotly debated for years: One side denounced him as a murderer; the other praised him as a hero. Several members of the Order, including Roman Catholic Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, returned their medals in protest against Dr. Morgentaler’s appointment.

“I am honoured to receive the Order of Canada today,” Dr. Morgentaler said in a brief statement after the ceremony. “Canada is one of the few places in the world where freedom of speech and choice prevail in a truly democratic fashion. I’m proud to have been given this opportunity, coming from a war-torn Europe, to realize my potential and my dream, to create a better and more humane society.”

HAT FORUM Saturday June 1, OISE, 11am - 1pm - Food Futures

DATE:  Sat. June 1, 2013, 11 am - 1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street West
TOPIC:   Food Futures in a context of Climate Change and Ecological Challenges.

All are welcome to this discussion.

HAT Monthly Meeting, Sat June 15, 2013 1:30-3pm "Pablo Neruda"

SAT JUNE 15, 2013, 1:30-3p,
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West
TOPIC:  “The Mysterious Death of Poet Pablo Neruda: Politics and Culture in Chile.” 
SPEAKER:  Dr. Luis Fornazzari
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, has been called “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” When communism was outlawed in Chile in 1948, an arrest warrant was issued for Neruda, a communist, sending him into hiding and eventually into exile. He returned many years later and became a close advisor to socialist President Salvador Allende. At the time of the coup against Allende led by General Augusto Pinochet, Neruda was hospitalized with cancer and died three days later. There are suspicions that the junta had a hand in his death.
In June 2011 a Chilean judge ordered that an investigation be launched following suggestions that Neruda had been murdered by the Pinochet regime for his pro-Allende stance and political views. Enough evidence was uncovered to order an exhumation of Neruda’s body in April 2013 to determine if he had been poisoned.
Enter Dr. Luis Fornazzari, a behavioural neurologist and assistant professor in medicine at the University of Toronto. He is a Chilean-Canadian medical authority who has followed the case closely. Dr. Fornazzari was born and raised in Chile and has lived in Canada since 1974, after fleeing his native country following the coup that brought Pinochet to power. Dr. Fornazzari will discuss his role in this attempt to solve the mysterious death of Pablo Neruda and his personal experience of the political turmoil that brought him to Canada in 1974. This will be a fascinating afternoon, mixing forensics, intrigue and poetry. We may even read a few poems!  

Atheist Census

[Posting by request of the HAT coordinator]
Atheist Alliance International ( launched Atheist Census in December 2012, and so far over 200,000 people have been counted globally, and over 10,000 in Canada alone! We want to make Atheist Census as big as possible, so I'm writing to ask you to help us by promoting Atheist Census to your members and supporters.  I appreciate that you may have done so already, but as this is a long term project so it needs a push every now and then!


Spencer Lucas
Atheist Census Coordinator, Atheist Alliance International

HAT FORUM, Sat May 25, 11am - 1pm OISE

Date:  Sat May 25, 11am - 1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street W
TOPIC:  Climate Change
PRESENTER:  Cecelia Rayo

HAT FORUM, Saturday May 18, 11am,

DATE:  Saturday May 18, 11am - 1pm
LOCATION:  OISE 252 Bloor Street West.
TOPIC: A Right to be Forgotten? 
FACILITATOR:  Bill Kennedy
From the Globe and Mail, Sat. May 4, 2013:, Focus F5, Author, Drew Nelles:
"Did Rehtaeh Parsons (the 17-year-old Nova Scotian who killed herself in April after being raped and bullied) have a right to be forgotten? In how many ways does digitization resemble arson?"

HAT FORUM, Sat May 11, 11am-1pm, OISE "Death, Dying, Mortality, Bereavement"

HAT FORUM Date: Sat May 11, 2013, 11am - 1pm Location: OISE, 252 Bloor Street W TOPIC: Death, Dying, Mortality, and Bereavement Facilitator: Deborah Jenkins

HAT BOOK GROUP: Sat June 1, OISE, 2:30 "Beyond religion"

HAT BOOK GROUP MEETING DATE: JUNE 1 2013 at OISE, 262 Bloor Street West, from 2:30-4: TITLE DISCUSSED: Beyond Religion: ethics for a whole world By the Dalai Lama, 2011, 188 pages -20 copies available in the Library. FACILITATOR: Jodi Perrin "The Dalai Lama is the leader of one of the most influential religious traditions of the world. Over his years of struggle with the largest atheistic regime (China) and of exile in the largest secular democracy (India) he has come to the conclusion that we need an ethic for humanity based on common human values. “Beyond Religion” is his most recent attempt to present an ethical stance for persons of any religious background or none. Could we find some of his thoughts useful in building our humanist worldstance?"

HAT FORUM, SAT May 4, 11am OISE 252 Bloor Street W

DATE:  Sat. May 4, 11am - 1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street West

With the Earth’s population approaching 7 billion people and still increasing -– while the earth and its resources remain finite  - what implications (amongst all of the other implications) could this have on the future of parenthood? 

All are welcome.
Reminder:  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.