StFX University and Coady International Name 2018 Coady Chair in Social Justice

 
 

Skilled Leader and Coady Graduate from South Africa Returns to Share Experience

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Mfalatsane Pricillah (“Sadi”) Motsuenyane, former Chief Director of Sustainable Livelihoods with the Department of Social Development for the Government of South Africa, has been named the 2018 Coady Chair in Social Justice. A member of Coady’s Advisory body and a graduate of Coady’s Asset-based and Citizen-led Development (ABCD) and Livelihoods and Markets certificates, Motsuenyane has a longstanding relationship with StFX University and Coady International Institute.

“It is an honour to welcome Sadi as the 2018 Coady Chair in Social Justice,” Dr. June Webber, St. Francis Xavier University Vice President and head of Coady International Institute and Extension Department says. "Sadi’s longstanding history of community leadership and development through apartheid to post-apartheid reconstruction and development in South Africa will be an invaluable source of learning and inspiration for all at StFX, Coady, and in the greater community.”

In a manner that is consistent with the principles of the Antigonish Movement, Motsuenyane has been helping people in her own country study their social and economic situation. This has allowed residents to improve their livelihoods collectively, to earn more income, and to take more control of the local economy. By facilitating restorative justice dialogues in strife-torn communities, Motsuenyane has created a platform for collective discovery, recovery, and utilization of human and material assets with newly found mutual dignity and respect. 

“Social justice, equity, and the rights of South Africans has been central to my community development work during the years of fighting for the end of Apartheid in South Africa,” Motsuentane says.

Born on a farm into a family of entrepreneurs and community developers, Motsuenyane now has more than 50 years of community development experience.

“My community development work has been influenced largely by my family’s livelihood strategies which were strongly asset-based, and later in my career by the Coady International Institute’s asset-based community development approach, inspired by the late Dr. Rev. Moses Coady.”

Motsuenyane holds a Master’s in Public Administration and Development Management from the University of Stellenbosch. Her previous work experience includes roles with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Agricultural Research Council, and Agricor. Since her retirement in December 2017, she has been completing her PhD at the University of the Western Cape, including her thesis titled, “Exploring the impact of asset-based thinking as an alternative approach to unleash the generative capacity of social grants in South Africa.”

The Coady Chair in Social Justice was created in 2012 to honour the spirit of Rev. Dr. Moses Coady and the leaders of the Antigonish Movement by bridging local and global concerns, involving the community, and encouraging an interdisciplinary approach to issues. The Chair is an important means to deepen StFX’s commitment to its service to society's mission, to develop students’ understanding and sense of social responsibility, and to support Coady as a centre for global citizen leadership and social justice at StFX. Key elements of the Chair’s tenure include public presentations, classroom seminars, and workshops that bring students, faculty, community members and citizen-leaders together for shared learning.

The 2018 Coady Chair in Social Justice will reside on the campus of StFX from September 17 – November 16, 2018.

 

Antigonish Library June Events

 
 

Call (902) 863-4276 for events' information

Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5, drop in)
Mon, June 4, 10am – 11am, Antigonish Town & County Library
A weekly library program for children ages 3-5 years. Please join us for stories, crafts, games & more. 
 
Block Play Tuesdays (NEW! drop-in)
Tue, June 5, 10am – 4pm, Antigonish Town & County Library
Join us in building something awesome with our new blocks, brought to you with support from Community Health Boards in the North Shore, Pictou and Antigonish Counties through their wellness funds!
 
A Special Storytime for World Oceans Day, with the library and Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans!
Tue, June 5, 10am – 11am, Antigonish Town & County Library
Join library staff and staff from Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as they host a storytime with a special reading of 'The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark.' All are welcome! On World Oceans Day, people around our blue planet celebrate and honor the ocean, which connects us all. Get together with your family, friends, community, and the planet to start creating a better future. Working together, we can and will protect our shared ocean. Join this growing global celebration on 8 June! For more information, please visit: www.worldoceansday.org
 
ToddleTime (ages 18 months - 3 yrs, drop-in)
Wed, June 6, 10am – 11am, Antigonish Town & County Library
A weekly library program for toddlers (18 months - 3 years) & parents/caregivers. Please join us for stories, songs, fun & games. 

Community Cafe presents 'Realism in Art' video by Peter Murphy with commentary by Anna Syperek
Wed, June 6, 2:00pm – 3:30pm, Antigonish Town & County Library
Join us for a talk on Realism in Art, a video by Peter Murphy with commentary by Anna Syperek.

Knitting Circle (all ages, drop-in)
Wed, June 6, 2pm – 3pm, Antigonish Library
Stop in, connect with others and knit! All are welcome, for more information call 902-863-4276.
Knitting for Kids (drop-in)
Wed, June 6, 3pm – 4pm, Antigonish Town & County Library
Join us for a weekly knitting program for kids! .
 
ABCs for Babies (ages 0 - 18 months, drop-in)
Fri, June 8, 10am – 11am, Antigonish Town & County Library
A weekly library program for babies (0-18 months) & parents/caregivers. Please join us for stories, songs & fun activities. 
 
Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5, drop in)
Mon, June 11, 10am – 11am, Antigonish Town & County Library
A weekly library program for children ages 3-5 years. Please join us for stories, crafts, games & more. 
 
Young Readers Club
Mon, June 11, 3pm – 4pm, Antigonish Town & County Library
A monthly book club for kids ages 9-12, the YRC meets after school at the library to share thoughts about the awesome books that they've read and talk about them. The first meeting, books that will be read will be decided on. Registration is required. Light snacks will be provided. For  registration, please call the library at 902-863-2476.
 
Block Play Tuesdays (NEW! drop-in)
Tue, June 12, 10am – 4pm, Antigonish Town & County Library
Join us in building something awesome with our new blocks, brought to you with support from Community Health Boards in the North Shore, Pictou and Antigonish Counties through their wellness funds
 
ToddleTime (ages 18 months - 3 yrs, drop-in)
Wed, June 13, 10am – 11am, Antigonish Town & County Library
A weekly library program for toddlers (18 months - 3 years) & parents/caregivers. Please join us for stories, songs, fun & games.
 
Knitting Circle (all ages, drop-in)
Wed, June 13, 2pm – 3pm, Antigonish Library
Stop in, connect with others and knit!
 
Knitting for Kids (drop-in)
Wed, June 13, 3pm – 4pm, Antigonish Town & County Library
Join us for a weekly knitting program for kids! 
 
Armchair Travellers presents 'India: Wishing Wells Projects, Farming and Tibetan Refugee Communities' with speakers Karen Fish & Mary Van Den Heuvel
Thu, June 14, 7pm – 8pm, Antigonish Town & County Library
Travel around the world without having to leave the library by listening to the adventures of others! All are welcome. For speaker suggestions, call 902-863-4276.
 
ABCs for Babies (ages 0 - 18 months, drop-in)
Fri, June 15, 10am – 11am, Antigonish Town & County Library
A weekly library program for babies (0-18 months) & parents/caregivers. Please join us for stories, songs & fun activities. 
 
Open Mic Night
Fri, June 15, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Antigonish Library
Join us for Open Mic night - recite some poetry, play an instrument; all are welcome!

 

A Word About The Bursary

 
 

My goodness has time ever flown by. It seems like just last week The Xav published an article introducing the Class of 2018 Student Refugee Bursary but with only a couple of weeks left in the school year, I figured it is time for an update and many thank yous.

We began our campaign in September with the goal of raising $50,000 to establish a bursary to help students who attend StFX and who were at one-time refugees. The goal was bold and seemed very ambitious from the start but thanks to the X-Ring Store, our Chancellor, UNIFOR, StFX for SAFE, StFX WUSC and students like you, we just might make it. To date, we have raised more than $21,000 and that number doesn’t even include Dr. Crocker’s offer to match all student contributions up to a maximum of $20,180 or the commitment that the X-Ring Store has made to donate all net proceeds from the year to our bursary. This means that our fund will grow from its current state, but we are far from guaranteed to reach our goal and any contribution would be so so appreciated.

I am so proud of our class for coming together and raising so much this year, and I would also like to recognize a few additional people and groups for working so hard over the year. Firstly, thanks to StFX for SAFE and StFX WUSC who have worked tirelessly doing coat-checks, bake sales and raffles to raise money. These students have donated their time to an incredible cause and for that I say a tremendous thank-you. Thanks to Drs. Susan Crocker and Kent MacDonald as well as everyone in StFX Advancement and the X-Ring Store for their encouragement, guidance, generosity, contributions and hard work. You know who you are and for your help I will always be grateful. Thanks to Majd Al Zhouri for performing his harrowing one-person, one-act play “To Eat an Almond” and shooting a video to raise funds and awareness. His story is incredible and he is even better. Thanks to Sylvia Phee for her help securing $2500 and $500 donations from UNIFOR national and local. An incredible union with a generous and socially conscious membership. Finally, thanks so much to Dr. Norine Verberg for all of her hard work and guidance throughout the year. Thank you thank you thank you thank you, you have all made a wonderful difference.

 

Sisters of St. Martha move out of The Bethany House

 
 

The sisters take big steps into their new residence

March 1, 2018, the Sisters of St. Martha have officially moved out of the Bethany House, which has been home to many sisters since being built in 1921. Their new home which has been developed over the last year is situated adjacent to the Bethany House. As soon as everything is removed, the building, which has many structural problems, will be demolished. The move was sparked by a number of safety concerns associated with the Bethany building including a lack of emergency sprinklers. The building was also found to be too old and too big for the aging residents.

The new facility, Parkland Antigonish, is sponsored and run by Shannex, a family-owned organization that offers many services including home care, retirement living, assisted living, memory care and nursing care. The new building includes 25 nursing home beds, and modern amenities. In the next 10 to 20 years, when beds are no longer needed by the sisters, the facility will open up rooms for community use and revert to become a public nursing home.

The move was contested at first, as many of the sisters have lived in the old Bethany building for decades. However, continued safety concerns have pushed residents to make the move into the Shannex building next door.

Shannex CEO Joe Shannon told the Casket “We’re thrilled to be able to bring this forward for all the Sisters as well as the community of Antigonish…and we are honoured to be apart of the next journey with the Sisters of St. Martha.”

The Sisters of St. Martha are a beloved and active part of our Antigonish community. Since their formal establishment as a religious congregation in 1900, they have continued to contribute to community work and causes including the Antigonish movement during the 1940s. Dr. Moses Coady was a strong admirer of the sisters, and once declared that fifty of Saint Martha's sisters could change the world.

Today, the sisters continue to celebrate and promote activism in the community such as Pink Shirt day against bullying, African Heritage Month, the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society, just to name a few. As well as events happening on the StFX campus through their Facebook and Twitter pages.

The new Parkland Antigonish location will have it's grand opening celebration on Monday, March 19, 2018 between 2:00pm and 4:00 pm to invite members of the community to come join them in their new journey.

 

Students Prepare for Student Research Day

 
 

This upcoming March 28, from 6-9pm, Student Research Day will be taking place, displaying student research projects from different departments across the university. They currently have 93 poster projects and 9 oral presentations registered, totaling 102 participants altogether.

The day is a chance for students to proudly display their hard work to the community. Often times, students do not have much of an opportunity to share their research, and Student Research Day has become the forum for StFX students to do so. As Dr. Kolen stated, it is a chance for students to delight in their own hard work, receiving positive feedback to encourage further research projects into the future. The intent is to display students’ understanding of their work, and have professors engage with students on the students’ research, generating dialogue and interest in the otherwise unnoticed student projects.

Not only that, but it operates in order to allow time for professors and students from different departments, to come and hear about, and question, information outside of their own discipline. It is easy enough to find information concerning one’s own subject area, but harder still to do the same outside that echo chamber. Student Research Day engages the community, allowing them to branch outside of their regular field of knowledge in a way that enhances the experience of both presenters and audience alike.

This will be its 16th year in existence, as it was started in 2003 by Dr. Angie Kolen in the Human Kinetics department. Having had positive experiences sharing her own research in a similar way through her graduate studies, Dr. Kolen noticed that StFX lacked this space for students and decided to change that. She brought her idea to the university, and it was initially shot down. However, she did not take no for an answer, and the fruits of her labour are still felt today.

The research day started off as a poster fair alone, until Dr. Steven Baldner of the Philosophy Department (Dean of Arts at the time), spearheaded a movement to create oral presentations as well. The purpose of this development was to create an opportunity for those who might not have research well suited to the poster format. They would have a chance to share their own ideas and findings, but without the necessary visual representation of their work. Intended for arts students, such as English and Philosophy who might not have data fitted to a poster arrangement, the oral presentations have now become a space for all students from across all subject areas.

As it stands now, it is still Dr. Kolen and her colleagues who run the event; a hard project to maintain on top of a regular teaching workload. Dr. Kolen hopes that the university can eventually take on the project themselves to ensure its continuance and development into the future.

 

Naloxone Kits Available at Nova Scotia Pharmacies

 
 

How to get one, and who is at risk for an overdose

In the fall of 2017, the Nova Scotia provincial government announced a program that made Naloxone kits available for free at local pharmacies across the country. Naloxone is a drug that can be administered during an opioid overdose to reverse the effects, potentially saving a life. Those who use both prescription opioids and street drugs are encouraged to pick up a kit for use in case of an emergency. In addition, those who come into close contact with an opioid user, both prescribed or recreational, should also consider picking up a kit. Naloxone kits do not require a prescription; however, those wishing to take one must complete a brief 20 minute training session on when and how to administer the drug properly.

On average, 60 people in Nova Scotia die from an opioid overdose every year. However, with the introduction of fentanyl into the drug scene last year, the amount of overdose deaths has skyrocketed, especially in youths. Government officials are hoping that making Naloxone kits available to the public will reduce the number of opioid-related deaths. However, it is also encouraged that someone using a Naloxone kit call 911 first, in order to achieve proper application. The Good Samaritan Act protects those who call 911 in the event of an overdose from being charged with simple drug possession.

Antigonish offers seven locations to get a Naloxone kit: the pharmacies at Superstore and Walmart, Mackinnon’s Pharmasave on campus and on Main Street, Shoppers Drug Mart on Main Street, Halliburton PharmaChoice on Main Street, and Lawton’s Drugs on Church Street. Students interesting in getting a Naloxone kit can simply walk up to the pharmacy at any of these locations, express concern for themselves or loved ones regarding opioid usage, complete the 20 minute training session and walk out with a Naloxone kit. Despite having to express concern for yourself or another opioid user, no names or information is required, and anonymity, if desired, is respected.

Each kit contains two ampoules of Naloxone, two syringes, two ampoule breakers, one pocket breathing mask, two non-latex gloves, two alcohol swabs, a pill bottle, an instruction pamphlet, and a training card. If you have had to use your Naloxone to intervene on an overdose, the pharmacy will refill it for you. Though originally only 500 kits were distributed across the province, pharmacists can order more based on the needs of their community.

The public accessibility of Naloxone kits demonstrates how governments are turning away from a punitive method of dealing with drug use and towards a restorative and rehabilitative approach, which will hopefully inspire other communities and institutions, like StFX, to do the same. It is no secret that opioids and other drugs are used on campus. The next step that has been considered and discussed between students is whether or not these should be available within residences and if the Community Advisors and campus security should carry the kits.

 

Dr. Ann Sherman's Legacy Living On

 
 

Helping the Underrepresented Soar in School

March 2, 2018 was a day to remember former StFX faculty member Dr. Ann Sherman, as a new 1$ million scholarship was installed in her name.

Dr. Sherman died on August 2, 2017 but has left her mark on StFX. She was the former director of the school of education at StFX, in which she was admired for her hard work and dedication to the university.

The scholarship has been put in place for African Nova Scotian students, as well as Aboriginal Canadian students in the Faculty of Education field. 

The ceremony took place in the Coady International Institute’s Dennis Hall, where the Bragg family donated $500,000 to start the fund. Dr. Ann Sherman was a niece to John and Judy Bragg.

It was then later announced that alumnus Jeannie Deveau from the graduating class of 1944 had generously agreed to match this donation of $500,000.

With the new scholarship being put into place, it will allow the university to become more accessible for the students of African and Aboriginal descents. These students are often times underrepresented at university due to their history and struggles with oppression, and are not always given the opportunity to attend university.

These bursaries are opening the door to new opportunities for these students, who would otherwise not have the means to afford the rising tuitions in Nova Scotia. 

Dr. Sherman was a strong advocate for the underrepresented and was always willing to fight for the people in these communities. She was a lifelong educator, and her passion in life could be seen through her work in the classroom.

She was a very resilient woman with a mindset that was not going to allow anyone to stop her in her fight to allow everybody the chance to be in a classroom. She strongly believed that no matter what someone’s background, race, or religion, everybody should have the same rights to learn.

The current StFX Dean of Education, Dr. Jeff Orr, who was a dear friend of Sherman's said, “She had a passion for many things in education. The top of her list was support for First Nations and African Nova Scotian students.”

StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald was also at the ceremony and, in speaking with The Casket, he said:  “It represents what is so different and great about StFX.; you don’t just idly pass through this place. In fact, if you’re not interested in actively joining a community, like StFX, you probably don’t come here. I think her being here, at StFX, and the impact we heard she had on her students, on peers, on family members to be part of this university community, I think reflects a lot on what is good about StFX.”

Sherman was the embodiment of what it means to be a Xaverian. At StFX everyone must stand up for each other, and most importantly stand up for those who are the minority and may not always have their voices heard.  

Even though Dr. Sherman is not with us anymore, her love for education and helping the underrepresented is going to live on through this scholarship that will help more Nova Scotians attend university and pursue their academic dreams.

 

AWE Project Launches Sexual Violence Climate Survey

 
 

Using your knowledge and experience to strengthen prevention and response

The Antigonish Women’s Resource Center and Sexual Assault Services Association (AWRCSASA) and several community partners including Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, St. Francis Xavier University and the Strait Regional School Board have announced a sexual violence climate survey. It was launched on Wednesday March 14, 2018 by the Advancing Women’s Equality (AWE) Project. The goal of this climate survey is a direct response to sexualized violence in rural Nova Scotia and a tangible way in transforming the context and bringing about an end to such sexualized violence.

The AWE Project is a community-based project that is advocating for more effective policies and systems in regards to sexualized violence; transforming the context in which sexualized violence is perpetrated; and utilizing a survivor-centred approach in analyzing the current practices while assessing community needs and advocating for changes in policies and systems within the three partner communities. AWE is gathering insights that are gained through cross-community collaboration which will inform the creation of a new model of addressing sexualized violence in a rural context. This new model will be shared with other communities that are seeking to build a more community-based approach in addressing the many rampant forms of sexual violence. Led by the AWRCSASA, AWE is a singular entity in a network of projects that are funded by the Status of Women Canada which is a collective movement in empowering women leaders to advance gender equality. It is important to note that AWRCSASA uses a definition of “woman” and “female” which actively includes trans women, gender-queer women and non-binary folks.

Facilitating the AWE project builds on the previous work of the AWRCSASA’s Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, Preventing Violence against Women at St. Francis Xavier University and the Bringing in the Bystander programs. At the heart of this project is the addressing of all forms of sexual violence including harassment, cyber-misogyny, slut-shaming and blaming as well as sexual assault. AWE also focuses on institutional recognition and take-up as well as aspects of colonization and the contemporary issues that are sustained by such legacy. Thus, decolonization and reconciliation are fundamental elements of the AWE project in tackling sexuality and consent education and advocacy as well as identifying and working with the practical needs of vulnerable groups in the partner communities.

The AWE Project is now issuing a call to all StFX students of all genders to participate in this student-based, campus-community research study to deepen the discourse surrounding sexual violence and pursue tangible ways to eradicate it. The survey was adopted from climate surveys that have already been conducted across various US campuses through Not Alone: The first report of the White House Task Force to protect students from sexual assault. It has also been previously conducted at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Annie Chau, the AWE Project coordinator and co-investigator for this survey says, “Acknowledging what students know about sexual violence and how they experience sexual violence is critical in our work to better prevent and respond” Students are especially important to reach out to in this work as “in so many important ways, students on this campus are already engaged. This survey provides the opportunity for us to listen and really hear from them.”

The Director of health, Counselling and Accessible Learning here at StFX, Margaret McKinnon, who is also the Principal Investigator for this project adds that

“The feedback from this survey will help us further develop and strengthen our policies and practices to address sexual violence. The survey will provide us with baseline data about student’s experiences with sexual violence which will be important in guiding the direction of our prevention initiatives and will assist us with evaluating change and progress in the future.” 

By participating in this survey, students at StFX have a unique opportunity to be directly involved in the re-structuring of sexual violence prevention and response on our community.

“It only takes 35 minutes to help make our community safer”

Bre O’Handley, the Gender and Sexual Diversity Student Advisor as well as a co-investigator, asserts that: “This is the first-time accurate data on sexualized violence will be collected here at StFX. Finally, all students have the opportunity to take a small amount of time to contribute to StFX’s efforts to prevent sexualized violence in our community.”

Those who participate in this survey will be entered to win a one-of-five $100.00 Visa Gift Card. Beyond this incentive however, Alison Armstrong, an Honors student in Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies urges students to participate because “So many students, myself included, have been looking for ways to share our knowledge and experiences regarding sexual violence on campus in a meaningful way; I think this is that way. This data will inform practical decision making and changes that are needed to make our campus safer.”

To take part in the survey head over to svclimatesurvey.ca. You can direct any further questions or inquiries to annie@awrcsasa.ca. The information provided in this article has come directly from the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre’s press release and website. It is time to say No More.

 

Medieval Symbols, Religious Texts and Responses to Black Success

 
 

Contextualizing White Supremacy

On the evening of Tuesday, February 27, StFX students, faculty, and community members, gathered in the Schwartz building to participate in the third contextualizing lecture of the school year. The lecture series, hosted by the StFX History Department, invites panelists to discuss and contextualize current issues. The series draws on historical narratives and how they continue to shape and be in conversation with modern issues and topics today.

The third lecture, that myself and many others were privy to on Tuesday night, worked to critically contextualize white supremacy. White supremacy describes the dominance and power that white people have held over other races throughout history. Although all white people benefit from white privilege to some degree, not all white people are white supremacists. Those who self-identify specifically as white supremacists, however, believe that white people are inherently superior to people of colour and therefore should continue to dominate society. In the wake of the massacre that took place in a Florida high school last month, that was initiated by a young man who had ties with neo-nazi groups, as well as the debate that was sparked locally about the removal of the Cornwallis statue in Halifax, the lecture came in a very timely manner.

The lecture was hosted by history professor Chris Frazer, who welcomed panelists Dr. Robert Zecker, who has been teaching in the Department of History since 2002; Dr. Ronald Charles who works in the Department of Religious Studies; and Dr. Donna Trembinski, who focuses her research and teaching in medieval history.

Each panelist had a unique and tremendously important perspective to bring to the discussion of white supremacy. Dr. Trembinski discussed how and why medieval symbolism is being used by white supremacists, like the symbols present at the Charlottesville riots that occurred in August. She indicated that the presence of these symbols shook her department nationally and they have since been working to deconstruct the ways in which the teaching of Medieval Studies works to perpetuate white supremacy.

Dr. Trembinski discussed how often times the narratives of people of colour are ignored or silenced in the study. Many prominent figures in the medieval era were, in fact, people with African backgrounds but their existence as people of colour are either hidden or white washed by historians. She explained that the medieval world was not homogeneously white and Christian and the fact that it appears as such shows the inherent racism of the teaching of Medieval History in general. Dr. Trembinski reminds us that the past must intersect with the present and commits that herself and other educators are working to change racist narratives and promote the truth of these histories in order to combat the perpetuation of white supremacy in our modern world.

Dr. Charles followed by discussing racism and white supremacy in religious, particularly Christian, thought. He points to the story of the curse of Ham that appears in Genesis in the Bible and how it is often used to perpetuate ideas about black inferiority. Some believe that this story promotes the idea that blackness is a curse and black people are meant to be enslaved. Dr. Charles points out that this narrative, along with many other white, Christian stories were and continually are, used by white people to undermine the rights and equal existence of black people.

The panelists explained that white supremacy, Christianity and colonialism are all inherently and historically linked because we teach our history from the top down. We do not inquire about the experiences and histories of marginalized groups and we continue to neglect to do so. Dr. Charles explained that some Christians continually use the Bible and religion to justify acts of racism and the perpetuation of white supremacy. The narratives in the Bible of superiority and domination continue to shape the ways in which we interact with those who are different from ourselves. Dr. Charles reminds us that while we may accept certain aspects of religious texts, we must reject problematic aspects and that we must continue to think critically about what we read if we wish to deconstruct systems that allow some to succeed on the backs of others.

Dr. Zecker looked to White Supremacy in U.S. history and reminded us of all the times that we thought we had made progress just to find out that racism still indeed thrives in our societies. The narratives that promote racism as yesterday’s news do not allow us to critically analyze the moment we currently find ourselves in and respond to issues in the right context. Dr. Zecker points out that, in this day and age, we are continuing to accept and legitimize white terrorism that we have seen acted on in recent events. He also points to an interesting pattern wherein after moments of black success, the United States has continually seen a rise of racist groups.

In Dr. Zecker’s perspective, the Trump administration is helping to normalize and allow for white supremacist groups to be legitimate. Black achievement, Zecker highlights, has always been a threat to white dominance and supremacy and we thus must not equate black success to the deterioration of racism because they often go hand-in-hand. The presence and glorification of statues of men who have committed heinous and racist crimes and the “debate” over whether to remove them shows that we do still have a long way to go in dealing with racist histories in order to promote more tolerance and respect into the future.

The discussion that ensued after the panel was very powerful and interesting. Those present worked to put white supremacy into a Canadian context and discuss the issues faced by black people and indigenous people in our country as well as those who continue to allow racism to exist and make up so much of our Canadian narrative today. The panelists worked with listeners to suggest ways to combat white supremacy in our day to day lives by centering the stories and ideas around those who are marginalized and promoting the power and leadership of people of colour. The existence of these difficult but candid discussions is also a step in this direction.

This is the final contextualizing lecture of the year but there are many events occurring this week for International Women’s Week that will also be working to spark progressive and activist conversation on campus. For more information, please be sure to seek out the Women’s Week Facebook pages.

 

Making Better Opportunities for Women in the Work Force

 
 

 Breaking the barriers for women

The Liberal Party of Canada has started pushing the envelope of gender equality in the workforce and equal pay in 2018, and their other focus has been narrowing the gender pay gap.

Within their focus of gender equality in the work force, the Liberals have extended the budget for parental leave.

Bill Morneau, the Minster of Finance, made a comment in Parliament that while it’s excellent to see all the women that have been entering the workforce and adding to the Canadian economy, there are still barriers that block women from success in the workforce.

Just last month, the Liberal Party extended the budget for parental leave from 35 weeks to 40 weeks to help with those barriers that women face. 

The hope is that with the extended leave, the second parent involved with raising the child will enable the mother to get back into the workforce sooner and have the other parent look after the child with the extra 5-week extended period.

In an interview with CBC, a parent by the name of Yulanda Julien stated that the extended parental leave “would have helped our entire family.”

Julien continued to say that this extended pay would have allowed him to stay in the house longer to help raise his child, adding that fathers also play a vital role in a child's upbringing.

However, even with the great news and plans that the Liberal Party have for women in the workforce, there seems to be a missed opportunity to make an even bigger change. 

The Liberal Party did extend the parental leave, but the Employment Insurance (EI) benefits were not raised, which can cause issues for parents that are taking the time off for this leave.

Right now, the EI benefits are 55 cents to each dollar of the eligible earnings for the parents that choose the 12-month parental leave. But, for the couples that will go with the new 18-month leave, they will only be getting 33% of eligible earnings.

While the Liberal Party is making the workforce more accessible for women in terms of parental leave, they are also now trying to make the gender pay gap smaller.

Bill Morneau said that they have been working tirelessly to bridge the 12 cent hourly pay gap that still exists between men and women that work full time.

It’s a very exciting time for women in Canada. Finally their pleas for gender equality are being listened to. The new implements that are being put in place might seem small, but they are the step forward that women have been looking for. 

There is still a long way to go for women in the work sector in Canada, but the Liberal Party is making it clear that they want to work with the women of this country in order to fully fulfill gender equity. 

 

StFX student sends medical supplies to clinics across the globe

 
 

Alec Cranston is doing his part by helping one clinic at a time

For the past year, StFX student Alec Cranston has been packing suitcases and handing them off to local travellers, in hopes of spreading the wealth of Canadian medical supplies to countries who lack such resources.

Cranston is a member of an organization called Not Just Tourists. It began in Canada and, over the years, has collected surplus medical supplies across the country, in order to deliver them to medical clinics and hospitals in need around the world. The organization was developed in order to end the desperate need for supplies across the globe.

The organization, which was founded in 1990 by Dr. Ken Taylor and his wife, Denise Taylor, has been making deliveries over the past few decades. It all began when the couple had gone on a trip to Cuba and experienced Cuba’s medical supply shortage firsthand. The two decided that they needed to do something and bringing medical supplies to countries such as Cuba seemed like the perfect step forward.

The organization is run across Canada by volunteers like Cranston, who want to make a difference when it comes to the shortage of global medical supplies.

Cranston has spent his past two summers working at a hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia and explained how “the amount of medical supplies that goes to waste is horrifying”. He stated that he has always wanted to get involved with relief aid and helping other countries.

Over the past 25 years, with no funding, the entirely volunteer-driven organization has delivered over 10,000 suitcases to 82 countries around the world.

Cranston has been able to add to that number with several successful deliveries. He joined in May of 2017 and is now one of only two Not Just Tourists representatives in Nova Scotia. His role with the organization is to collect the supplies, organize it and pack it into suitcases.

He explained that the goal is to have people who are planning a vacation or travelling for business to sign up and take a bag with them for their visit. It seems simple, but of course there are setbacks and having people take the bags “is the hardest part”, as it doesn’t always work going through customs or other such challenges are presented.

But when it does work, the results have shown to be very beneficial. Successful places that Cranston has been a part of include multiple trips to Cuba, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico.

When asked how someone goes about delivering the supplies, Cranston explained “sometimes we have clinics that are registered, but if not, we can leave it up to the person to choose where they want to go”. For this reason, it can make deliveries easy for the travellers with time restrictions. Cranston told us that he would supply the traveller with a list of clinics near the airport, or on the traveller’s route so that they can access the nearest location for lack of time, or so that the traveller can choose where they would like to make the delivery. It provides them with “the freedom of choice” so that person can make the decision on their own and maybe even create a connection with that place.

As Canadians, Cranston explained we are “well supplied and well-funded by the government and have strong trade agreements, that these other countries just don’t have.” This means we will never be at a loss for supplies and doctors will not have to choose one person over another when it comes to distributing supplies to patients. Cranston ended by stating that a lot of these countries, like Cuba, have really great health care systems, but are just lacking the source of supplies.

 

Maclean's Magazine makes statement on gender wage gap

 
 

Maclean’s Magazine, an already controversial publication by StFX standards due to its constant ranking of the university and its party culture, has just gotten a whole lot more controversial. Their March 2018 issue has been created with two different versions. The content of the magazine is identical in every way, however one version has a cover that reads “Men pay 6.99 8.81 for this magazine” while the other reads “Women pay 6.99 8.81 for this magazine”, with a barcode for each price that is either covered or revealed with the corresponding price point.

Maclean’s anticipated upset around their decision, and for obvious reasons; why is it okay to offer the same product but at a difference of 1.82, based on the sole qualification of gender? It seems ridiculous and sexist to apply this principle and disadvantage a distinct group arbitrarily. And it is right that it seems this way, because that was exactly the purpose of Maclean’s in doing this.

Below the prices is a statement of intent surrounding the issue, which reads, “The prices reflect the shocking 26 per cent pay equity gap that still exists in Canada.” MacLean’s created the issue with separate prices in order to firmly call attention to the pay disparity that exists between men and women.” Inside is an article explaining their position on the point, however the purpose of the issue was not just to educate, but to provoke. It was not enough for Maclean’s to include information on the subject; rather, they wanted to create real change by giving readers the lived experience of what it means to have a difference in pay. A difference in earnings leads to a difference in purchasing power, reflected in the different prices on offer.

The internal article explaining their position on the matter, cites the #MeToo movement and how impactful it has been. Maclean’s views the pay equity gap as the next obstacle to tackle as part of this viral thread.

And Maclean’s isn’t the first group to highlight this disparity, as they themselves note.

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, there is cause for such demonstrations to take place. As of 2014, Canada was the country with the 7th highest gender wage gap. Traditional “women’s work” tends to pay less, and women are more likely to work part-time jobs, contributing to this figure. However, about 10-15 per cent of the wage gap is attributed to discrimination.

 Maclean’s, in creating this very noticeable issue, starkly contrasted in black and yellow, calls attention to this extremely relevant topic. As their article concludes, women should expect nothing less than to receive equal pay for equal work. Maclean’s is merely attempting to bring greater attention to women’s worthy cause.