START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Jun 5, 2007
Focus: Hunger
Action Request: Petition
Location: Canada
Since 1989, there has been a 99.3% increase in food bank use in Canada. In a typical month, over 753,000 Canadians need food from a food bank to make ends meet. They are single parents, children, seniors, people with disabilities and even people with jobs. In fact, 13.4% of these people have jobs, yet still cannot afford to feed their families. Even worse, 41% are children.

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Posted: Jun 5, 2007 10:02am
May 5, 2007

He was Canada's most famous and best-loved racing driver. Twenty-five years after his senseless death on the track, he still is

Norris McDonald


May 05, 2007

The news came on Saturday, May 8, 1982: Canada's greatest auto racing hero had died from injuries suffered in an accident earlier that day during final qualifying for the Belgium Grand Prix at Circuit Zolder.

The life and death of Gilles Villeneuve is the stuff of Grand Opera.

He was a nobody from the backwoods of Quebec who went on to become one of the most famous athletes in the world – a daredevil Formula One racing driver employed by the best-known and most romantic of all Grand Prix marques, Scuderia Ferrari. The victim of a double-cross by a conniving teammate, he was intent on defending his honour when he crashed to his death at 32 years old.

The government of Canada dispatched an Armed Forces plane to pick up his body and return it to Canada, along with his young wife, Joanne, and his two children, Jacques, 11, and Melanie, 8 (who filled the hours over the Atlantic by drawing pictures and writing poetry about their father).

The outpouring of affection and grief was nationwide. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Opposition Leader Joe Clark led the mourners at his funeral in Berthierville, Villeneuve's hometown, and the service was broadcast live, coast-to-coast.

Jody Scheckter, his teammate at Ferrari in 1979 and 1980 and a friend, delivered a short eulogy: "I will miss Gilles for two reasons. First, he was the fastest driver in the history of motor racing. Second, he was the most genuine man I have ever known. But he has not gone. The memory of what he has done, what he achieved, will always be there."

He was adored for one reason above all: he was a racer. He wanted to win races and championships, yes, but more than anything he wanted to win every lap he was out on the track, whether it was a practice lap, a qualifying lap or the 35th lap of a 72-lap Grand Prix.

In fact, when Britain's respected MotorSport magazine put out its 75th anniversary issue in April 1999, it had a picture of Villeneuve on the cover – but no story inside. Explained editor Andrew Frankel:

"For this issue, we wanted an image which best described the way we felt about the sport. No single shot can sum up 75 years of motorsport so we looked for one which made us feel good about racing. And Gilles in a 12-cylinder Ferrari said it all ... in the firmament of great racing drivers, his star shines more brightly than that of multiple world champions. The explanation is simple: Villeneuve knew the difference between racing and winning and, unlike the majority of those who drive Grand Prix cars, it was the former which provided his motivation..."

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Posted: May 5, 2007 10:52am
Apr 18, 2007

Mr. Raymond Ningeocheak (Interpretation), February 2007:

For thousands of years, Inuit and seals have had a special relationship. Seals feed Inuit and help keep our dogs alive. We use their skins as clothing.

I myself am 65 years old and I have lived by surviving on the land, so I know what I'm talking about.

Oil and seal fat keep Inuit warm and light our dwellings. We also use seal bones and seal fur for arts and crafts. I know, because I've lived through this kind of life in our communities.

As part of Canadian society, we go to the Canadian government for your support to keep our livelihood going. It's the way we've always lived. We depend on sealing for our economy, and we appeal to you as our government to support us to keep this activity going.

Speaking from my own experience as an Inuit hunter who has hunted and lived by eating and living on seal, if it weren't for the seal that brought me up to this day, I would not be speaking to you today. Otherwise, I would not have really bothered to travel all this way here, to come to this committee meeting, but I feel that when we talk about banning the seal hunt, it affects my livelihood very much and the livelihood of the Inuit. It means a lot to me, so I am here to appeal to you today.

Seals are very nutritious and very important in the Inuit diet, in the past and also in the present, today. It is a very important source of vitamins, proteins, and minerals for our diet. In the olden days, Inuit lived on seal meat, as well as our dogs, which we fed, and the Inuit and their dog teams co-existed. We did that because we relied on seal meat for our nutrition. It is one of the best meat products that you can get from the land.

The skin, which is a byproduct, now has added value for the hunter because we can sell the seals on the market. I myself also have experience. In 1965 I bought myself a Ski-Doo just from sealskins. The selling of the skins from the hunt means the ability to purchase gas, ammunition, oil, parts for my snowmobile, and other items for my family. For these real reasons, the seal is most sought after, all year round.

Good jobs are limited in Nunavut, especially in the smaller communities, and the unemployment rate is very high. Unless a person has a high school education or post-secondary education, it is very difficult to find a good job. For myself, in my age group, that is so true. A lot of us didn't have a chance to be educated, so we're sort of left out. Education is the answer these days. If you have education, you have more chance of getting jobs. For our age group, that doesn't work.

Hunting continues to be an important part of the economy of the Inuit society, and it helps to offset the high cost of living in the north. This is so true for hunters at this time. Hunting is a costly subsistence activity, with few economic opportunities. Hunting allows us to be independent as a people. However, when you have a weak sealskin market, it forces Inuit to rely on social assistance, which takes away the Inuit pride.

With the world market of oil and gasoline going through the roof today, Nunavut is heavily affected, more than any other region. There are no road links to the south. If we had a road, it would reduce the high cost of transportation, but we don't have roads. The cost of living is much higher in the north than anywhere else in Canada.

Last year, over 6,000 raw sealskins were exported from Nunavut. This amounts to $530,000 in income for Inuit hunters in Nunavut alone.

When I was talking about the price of sealskins, the generated income for the Inuit seal hunters in Nunavut, I was referring to raw sealskins only, not the garments that you see the students wearing.

I also wanted to show you my hunting gear that I have worn for most of my life. They're all made out of sealskin products, traditionally tanned so that they're waterproof.

I have shown you my boot liners, which are waterproof, and two pairs of mitts. The gauntlets with the high tops I use when I'm building an igloo. With those, snow doesn't go into your arms. The shorter cuffs, the mittens that I showed you, are for butchering caribou or when I'm working around camp. These I use for my work when I go out hunting, when I'm out on the land. This is some of our survival hunting gear today, and we rely on those. I also have a pair of pants and a parka, which are also waterproof, that I use when I go hunting.

When we talk about clothing and the sealskins that we rely on for our traditional warm clothes when we're out hunting, I'm not talking about the pretty jackets and coats that you see around this building today. I'm talking about the functional hunting gear that has also kept us warm.

The value I was talking about does not reflect the added value earned by making the skins into garments worn by the students here in the audience. This industry generates millions of dollars and is starting to bring back the independence that Inuit once knew.

Unfortunately, animal rights activists have brought negative emotions to this issue. During the 1980s, anti-fur and animal rights activists lobbied primarily in Europe against the harp seal hunt taking place on the east coast, and it resulted in a European ban on young harp seal products in 1983.

The anti-fur and animal rights activity devastated the seal industry in Nunavut for Inuit. Inuit experienced a significant loss in income and could not finance their harvesting activities. This gave rise to a number of social problems that we still live with today. Whenever we've had animal rights groups lobbying in Ottawa, we have been very fortunate to have the Nunavut Sivuniksavut students lobbying on our behalf and speaking out for the Inuit.

The hunting of seals has been portrayed by animal rights activists as inhumane, but this is not true. How Inuit kill seals is to use all the parts of the seal for food, clothing, and other products. Inuit have always been very much into conservation, taking what they needed and not exceeding what their needs are.

The killing of seals appears, as portrayed by the activists, to be perceived in a different light than the slaughter of domestic livestock, but it is not different.

Mr. Chairman, please understand that Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Government of Nunavut are working on policy in the sealing industry in Nunavut. Their key principles are the following four points.

Number one, the harvest must be sustainable. The resource must be protected from overharvesting and managed with a view to maintaining the place of seals within the ecosystem, which also includes good management of seals and seal hunting.

Number two, the whole animal must be used. All parts of the seal have a specific use and all of it should be utilized.

Number three, the harvest must be humane. All kills must be done cleanly and quickly.

Number four, the safety of the hunter must be taken into account.

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated is involved with the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission's specific committees in providing a comprehensive look at the information on ringed seal populations and harvest statistics.

The seal hunt in Nunavut is very sustainable. There are more than two million ringed seals in Nunavut. It is estimated that about 80,000 animals are harvested annually. It is lower than historical harvesting numbers.

Ringed seals are distributed across the north and do not migrate south. Ringed seals have never been endangered, and Inuit do not have any concerns about the seal population. Inuit have never depleted the stock.

Regarding the climate that is changing, we are beginning to notice that the ice formation now is changing, and therefore it changes the behaviour of the seals. This winter alone, there are places where we normally had seals, but because the ice has been very slow to change in that area, we notice that they have moved to another area. That's something that we also have to keep in mind, that the population is flexible and it does migrate. It moves around.

To Inuit, seal hunting means fresh, healthy meat on the table. It means an earned income. It re-establishes the pride of hunters. It means new mitts, new boots, a new parka, among other things that we survive by.

We are pleased that the price of seal has gone up slightly, and it gives us hope that it may be sustainable for us to hunt seal again. When we talk about hunting seal for the skin, I want to reassure you that we do eat the meat. We do use the bones and all parts of the seal for other things as well. We're not just killing it for the seal skin to sell. We do conserve, and because the price of seal skin is going up, it doesn't mean that Inuit will go out and hunt double what they're killing now for their own sustenance. We believe in good management, and we have never overkilled because the price was right.

Lastly, Mr. Chairperson, I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk to the committee. As Canadians we believe that the Canadian government will listen to our concerns, attempt to get to know our culture—the way we live—and come to appreciate us as a people living in Canada.

Also, Mr. Chairperson, I invite you to come north to see how the rest of Canada lives. You are most welcome to visit Nunavut.

When you come to the northern part of Canada you will see that we are a different people, separate from other Canadians. We live differently; we have our own language and our own culture; we live in a different geographic region than you do. We also hunt differently from what you perceive seal hunting to be. We do not use clubs when we hunt seals. Nowadays we have rifles, and sometimes we use the traditional harpoon to hunt seals.

Again, you are welcome to come to Nunavut to visit with us. We'll be very happy to help you out with some of the questions you may have about Inuit and seals.

These boots I am showing you are tanned sealskin waterproof “kamiks”, as we call them. In fact, they are really too hot to wear in this building right now.

Any questions you may have are welcome.

Thank you very much.

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Posted: Apr 18, 2007 2:38pm
Dec 12, 2006
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Visit - online
Location: Canada
The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans' study on the Canadian Seal Hunt continues today with appearances from Dr. Lavigne from IFAW and Ms. Aldworth of the HSUS. The two-hour meeting begins at 11 a.m. EST. Watch it live at (FOPO Meeting No. 33). It will be rebroadcast on later. I urge everyone to watch with an open mind, balancing animal welfare and cultural tolerance.  
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Posted: Dec 12, 2006 6:42am
Dec 3, 2006

International Day of Disabled Persons
3 December 2006

2006 Theme: "E-Accessibility"

The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December, aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. The theme of the Day is based on the goal of full and equal enjoyment of human rights and participation in society by persons with disabilities, established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in 1982.



How the Day may be observed

  • Involve: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all interested communities - governmental, non-governmental and the private sector - to focus upon catalytic and innovative measures to further implement international norms and standards related to persons with disabilities. Schools, universities and similar institutions can make particular contributions with regard to promoting greater interest and awareness among interested parties of the social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the Day focusing on disability issues and trends and ways and means by which persons with disabilities and their families are pursuing independent life styles, sustainable livelihoods and financial security.
  • Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate - the contributions by persons with disabilities to the societies in which they live and convene exchanges and dialogues focusing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of persons with disabilities.
  • Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to further implement international norms and standards concerning persons with disabilities and to further their participation in social life and development on the basis of equality. The media have especially important contributions to make in support of the observance of the Day - and throughout the year - regarding appropriate presentation of progress and obstacles implementing disability-sensitive policies, programmes and projects and to promote public awareness of the contributions by persons with disabilities.
    Call for Canadian Mental Health Commission
    Find out more | Supporters | Take action | Français

    Schizophrenia Society of CanadaIn May 2006, a Senate Standing Committee recommended that a Canadian Mental Health Commission be established and that it become operational by September 1st. To date, the federal government has done nothing to address this urgent need.

    Click here to join the Schizophrenia Society of Canada in calling on Ottawa to immediately fulfill this recommendation as a first step towards developing a vitally-needed national strategy to deal with mental illness and mental health issues.

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Posted: Dec 3, 2006 7:48am
Oct 12, 2006
Name: Odyssey
Type: Memorial (for the deceased)
To Honor: Other
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Peace the spork out to our young peregrine falcon. From the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club:

October 11 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I had a call from Kathy Nihei this morning who realized that no one likely had called me. She was right. It seems that Odyssey has died! The bird was brought to her Oct 1st, having been hit by a car in Vanier. It was limping, favouring the right leg. Bev Bryant, a volunteer for Falcon Watch and the Wild Bird Care Centre, told Kathy of the same limp our Odyssey had during the Watch. That and the right age and being male was why Kathy, and Tracey Poulin, his surgeon, decided it most likely was Odyssey.

He had bad fractures of his right wing, fractures to both the radius and ulna. The MNR was called and the decision was to operate to fix the wing, and then to send him to Ray's LIttle Reptiles and Raptors for educational purposes! He died during the surgery, on Oct 5th. The MNR will be coming by this week to pick up his body, which will go to Guelph for necropsy.

Although the bird could have been any juvenile passing through, I do think it is probably Odyssey. How unfortunate! A loss of a good flyer. He was underweight, around 500 gms, and I think he was probably chasing prey when he was hit.

At least for Diana, she had a successful nesting season and we hope she will again. She has not been seen for a while now, either due to exploring her new home or migration.

I should add that while this is sad for us, this is also not unusual. Being a great flyer is not the only thing a young peregrine needs to accomplish for survival. It also needs to know how to follow prey, as in looking where one is going at the same time as where the prey is going, and moving cars are a tough part of this. Remember, he was hatched a month later than our others, so had a bit less time to practice lessons before moving around on his own.

In spite of this event, the Falcon Watch was a success and we did make a difference, as we always do! We gave him a very good chance and it was up to him and nature once he left us.

See photos of Connor, Diana, and Odyssey on Bob Boisvert's web site

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Posted: Oct 12, 2006 2:32pm
Jun 29, 2006
On July 1, Ottawa becomes the centre of the universe for Canada Day celebrations. You can watch the action on Parliament Hill on my Care2 page or at For the schedule of events, please visit⟨=1. Enjoy!

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Posted: Jun 29, 2006 9:15am
Apr 15, 2006

1) Donnie Darko

Years after the release of Donnie Darko people are still arguing over whether Frank the Rabbit was evil. Whatever you believe, writer/director Richard Kelly's critically acclaimed feature film debut is easily the first film that springs to mind when evil rabbits are mentioned.

Donnie Darko

2) Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Grown men soil their armor when they confront the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. To quote a character in the film, the rabbit featured in the 1979 Monty Python comedy is "the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on."

3) One Crazy Summer

Every time I use the word bunnies I'm forced to add 'cute and fuzzy' because of this John Cusack/Demi Moore romantic comedy. Cusack stars as a wannabe cartoonist who draws evil bunnies whose sole purpose is to destroy happy relationships.

4) Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever writer/director Eli Roth confirmed to me that the Bunny Man in his film is evil. "The Bunny Man is a very, very mysterious and evil creature," said Roth. "Actually the Bunny Man was very influenced by 'The Shining.' There's a scene in 'The Shining' where Shelley Duvall's running around the hotel and she sees these creepy things. There's a guy in a bear suit who is just really, really, really weird. It always stuck with me as a kid so it's kind of my little nod to 'The Shining.'"

5) Night of the Lepus

This campy 1972 horror flick featured a herd of gigantic killer rabbits. Made that way by a genetic experiment gone wrong, these bunnies love to kill humans - including "Psycho" star Janet Leigh and Trekker DeForest Kelley.

6) Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Cheese lover Wallace and his trusted canine companion Gromit square off against vegetable loving rabbits in this Oscar nominated blockbuster from writer/director Nick Park.

7) Looney Tunes - Back in Action

While Bugs Bunny isn't evil (mischievous yes, evil no) Looney Tunes - Back in Action was so horrible that anyone associated with it (including the film's animated stars) could justifiably be labeled evil.

8) The Brown Bunny

A bunny movie in name only, this self-indulgent movie by filmmaker Vincent Gallo gives all bunnies - brown, black, white, pink, rainbow, whatever - a very bad name.

9) Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Evil in a whole different way... This mix of live-action and animation featured a sexy rabbit named Jessica (voiced by Kathleen Turner) who uttered the movie's most memorable line: "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."

10) Fatal Attraction

The award for Best Special Appearance by a Bunny goes to Fatal Attraction. Anyone in the mood for a little rabbit stew?

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Posted: Apr 15, 2006 1:41pm
Apr 6, 2006
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Write Letter
Location: Canada
"The goal of these amendments to the Migratory Birds Regulations is to help protect and restore the biological diversity of arctic wetland ecosystems and the ecosystems of important migration and wintering areas, by reducing the population size of overabundant snow goose populations. To curtail the rapid population growth and reduce population size to a level consistent with the carrying capacity of breeding habitats over a period of about five years, the mortality rate must be increased by two to three times the level of the past decade."



Kathryn Dickson
Senior Waterfowl Biologist
Migratory Birds Conservation Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
Telephone: (819) 997-9733
FAX: (819) 994-4445

Isabelle Jetté
Legislative Services
Program Operations Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
Telephone: (819) 934-3964
FAX: (819) 956-5993

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Posted: Apr 6, 2006 11:26am
Mar 24, 2006
Focus: Health
Action Request: Petition
Location: Canada
I have just created and signed the petition:
"Establish maximum wait times for mental illnesses"

Target: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister and First Ministers, Prime Minister's Office

In the 2004 Health Accord, the Government of Canada ear-marked $5 million to reduce wait times in 5 areas: joint replacement, sight restoration, cancer care, cardiac surgery and diagnostic imaging. What about severe mental illness?
We, the undersigned, call upon the Prime Minister and First Ministers of Canada to add the treatment of severe mental disorders to their priorities for wait-time reduction.

According to Health Canada, more than four million Canadians are suffering from an identifiable mental illness at any given time. Only one-third of them are getting treatment.

In a position paper published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, the group argues that prompt treatment is essential because of the stigma associated with mental illness, and the disabling nature of conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, panic disorder and mood disorders.

"For most of us, the worry of 'losing your mind' is the most disabling thing that can happen to us," the paper states. It establishes maximum wait times for five "sentinel" mental illnesses: psychosis, mania, hypomania, postpartum mood disorder, major depression.

According to Dr. Blake Woodside, chairman of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and director of the eating-disorders program at Toronto General Hospital, what is truly tragic is that delays in treatment routinely result in a worsening of a person's condition and worse outcomes -- at great cost to individuals and the health system.

"Right now, if you show up in ER suicidal, you will get care, but if you want a consultation for a serious mental-health problem, it will take many months to be seen," Dr. Woodside said.

Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. Please sign here:


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Posted: Mar 24, 2006 12:48pm


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