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November 27, 2003

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In search of the spiritual
Time Magazine, Nov. 24

Religion and spirituality in Canada have set up camp in the most prosaic and unexpected places. The country is no longer a nation of churchgoers. Attendance at religious institutions - the old-fashioned kind, with altars and steeples - is in decline, Yet, as a major new VisionTV/Time poll suggests, we are still a nation of believers, but believers who are more likely to follow our own script than to follow Scripture. “The churches have to recover their spiritual core or go out of business,” says Donald Grayston, an Anglican priest and director of SFU's institute for the humanities. “Nowadays if people come to a church and don't find something they identify as spiritual, they'll go elsewhere, because there's very little institutional loyalty left.” In a quest to retain members, religious groups across Canada are looking for ways to incorporate more spirituality into their services.



Report finds flaws in parole system
Canadian Press, Nov. 18

A National Parole Board report that identified serious problems with Canada's parole system a year ago, but was never released, points to serious flaws in the country's parole system. The study identified 10 cases involving offenders who committed violence against a family member while on parole. The report surfaced after a CBC access to information request “There was a lack of recognition on the part of everybody in the system that family violence was actually a substantial risk,'' SFU psychology professor Stephen Hart, lead author of the report, told the CBC National. According to the CBC, the study also found parole officials often misinterpreted an offender's history of family violence and that family members weren't offered safety counselling.



Gambling with the government
CKNW, Bill Good show, Nov. 18

Can B.C. teachers afford to gamble that the provincial government will not cancel their licence to teach if it is provoked to do so? SFU education professor Peter Grimmett says the very fact that, with enough provocation, the province has the power to take away teachers' livelihood makes the current action of teachers foolhardy. As of the writing of this article, teachers were preparing to vote on whether to withhold their annual membership fees to the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF). If teachers voted to do so, the move would be to protest the provincial government's decision to appoint the majority of the BCTF's board members. Previously, the majority of the self-regulating professional body's members were elected teachers. Grimmett agrees with teachers that the government's structural change of the BCTF “has weakened the underlying principles of self-regulation in a profession.”



Martin's first assignment: Bush
Vancouver Sun, Nov. 13

The most important item on Paul Martin's agenda will be to win back the trust and goodwill of U.S. President George W. Bush, according to SFU political scientist Alexander Moens. He says the Chretien government “has squandered Canada's vital foreign political capital because it put too much stock in the have-your-cake-and-eat-it model of Canadian sovereignty and has become careless about the personal dimension of the relationship.” Moens, an expert in international politics, argues that with its rising dollar, Canada needs to wring a few more percentage points of prosperity out of its relationship with the U.S., by making progress on the resources sector, and on ironing out regulatory differences. “The worst thing the Martin team can do is wait and see if Bush will be reelected in 2004.”
















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