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.
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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.
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HAT EVENTS | GTA EVENTS | GTA NEWS | HUMANIST NEWS | HAT NEWSLETTER | ETHICAL ACTIONS | UNIV of TORONTO EVENTS

HAT Forum
Sat June 4th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 303 or 304
Topic: “The State Apology"
Facilitator: Moses Klein

Thinking about examples of political leaders who have, on behalf of their country, apologized for past actions.

1. What functions do or should such apologies serve?
2. When is a public apology appropriate? When is it not appropriate?
3. When are apologies enough? When are apologies not enough? What more needs to be done?
4. On May 18th, Justin Trudeau made two widely reported apologies in the House of Commons. At 3 PM he apologized for Canada turning away the Komagata Maru in 1914; at 6 PM he apologized for his role in the now-infamous altercation on the House floor. How are these two apologies different?

A few examples of public apologies to consider:
(a) Justin Trudeau’s apology for the Komagata Maru on May 18th.
(b) Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology for the residential schools.
(c) The 1988 apologies of Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney for the internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians respectively during WWII.
(d) Bill Clinton’s 1998 apology, during a visit to Africa, for the slave trade.
(e) Barack Obama’s 2009 apology for Jim Crow.
(f) David Cameron’s 2010 recognition of Bloody Sunday as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.
(g) Gordon Brown’s 2009 apology for the treatment of Alan Turing.
(h) Nestor Kirchner’s 2004 apology for Argentina’s Dirty War.
(i) F.W. de Klerk’s apology in 1996 to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for apartheid.
(j) Konrad Adenauer’s apology for the Holocaust.
(k) Shinzo Abe’s 2007 apology to comfort women.
(l) Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology for the treatment of aboriginal people.
(m) John Paul II’s 1992 apology for the persecution of Galileo.

HAT Forum
Sat May 28th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 303 or 304
Topic: “Do we need another Enlightenment?"
Proposer: Cecilia Rayo

Our political system is unable to respond to looming economic and environmental crises that present a clear and present danger to our way of life, and instead of thoughtful planning and responsible leadership we get demagoguery, posturing, and theatre.
Rational thought cannot prevail in the current social and media environment, where elections are won by appealing to voters’ hearts rather than their minds. The rapid-fire pace of modern politics, the hypnotic repetition of daily news items and even the multitude of visual sources of information all make it difficult for the voice of reason to be heard.

1. Do you agree with this view of modern politics? If you do so, why?

2. Do you think that the first Enlightenment was successful in its predicted outcome that the reasonable individuals could construct a new rational society predicated on liberty, equality and brotherhood? Explain your answer.

3. The public opinion battlefield is the hert not the head. Do you agree with this statement? Explain….

4. How do you think that we could restore sanity to the politics of this world?

HAT Forum
Sat May 21st 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 303
Topic: “Building Bridges? Humanism and Religion"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

- Do you engage personally with religious people about faith issues, and if so how?

- How engaged do think the Humanist movement should be with organized religions?


- When, if ever, is it appropriate to ridicule religious beliefs?


- What religious practices or emotions should Humanism seek to replicate in a non-theistic context?


- One of Humanism's objectives is to foster human flourishing. Would it pose a dilemma for Humanists if it could 
be scientifically proven that people are happier and healthier if they have religious beliefs? 


HAT Forum
Sat May 7th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 304
Topic: “Ideas from other countries that you would like to see in Canada"
Proposer: Debora Jenkins

*The idea for this topic came from Michael Moore's recent film, Where to Invade Next, in which Moore goes to other countries in search of good ideas to bring back to the United States. The movie is not playing in Toronto anymore but you can watch Michael Moore discuss many of the ideas of the film on YouTube on the Stephen Colbert show and on Talks at Google.

1. What do you think of the following ideas mentioned in the film? 

Portugal: legalized possession of any and all drugs 15 years ago
Norway: all prison sentences capped at 21 years
Italy: mandatory 7 to 8 week paid vacations 
France: superior quality, healthy student lunches
Slovenia: free university
Rwanda: quotas for women in government
Iceland: quotas for women (and men) on boards in companies (40% for both genders)
Germany: a thriving middle class of well-paid workers
Finland: no homework

2. What ideas, be they cultural, political, social, edible, aesthetic, or economic, would you like to bring to Canada? From what countries? Why?

Off the top of my head, here are a few of mine:

Sweden: the Nordic Model for prostitution (already here but under threat)
Pittsburgh: beautiful, creative bike racks as public art
New Orleans: Beignets!
Washington DC: free museum admission
Paris: a strong sense of style and design
London: plentiful wrought iron fences and railings 
Most countries in the world: better social skills/closer family and community ties
Etc.

Yours?

4. What are the drawbacks to some of these ideas?

5. Why do we sometimes seem to be reluctant to adopt ideas from other places?

6. What Canadian ideas do you think other countries would benefit from?

7. Any ideas we don't want? Like the American political system :)
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.