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
Greek Debt; a discussion of Issues
Saturday Aug 1st 2015
11: a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
519 Church Street, Room 304

HAT Forum - Greek Debt; a discussion of Issues
Saturday Aug 1st 2015
11: a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
519 Church Street, Room 304
proposed by Cecilia Rayo

We are not experts in Economics, but we can elaborate using our critical thinking to offer some answers to these complicated questions:
What went wrong in Greek”s economy?
Why was it allowed to drag this long?
Are the Greeks the only ones to be blamed?
Who are the beneficiaries of this crisis?
Why it is said that “Bankruptcy is worst than Austerity?
Corruption and tax evasion are easy to be controlled?
What are the consequences for EU if this crisis is not contained?

HAT Forum : Fixed Election Dates: Sat July 25th 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. OISE Rm 4-426

HAT Forum

Saturday 25 July 2015 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m

OISE, 4-426

Proposed by: Moses Klein

Before 2007 Canadian election law recognized the Prime Minister’s
prerogative in setting an election date, but a 2007 law established a
semi-fixed date. (All provinces except Nova Scotia have also enacted fixed
election laws.) It does not prevent early elections when the government
loses a confidence vote, as in 2011, nor did it prevent the Prime Minister
from calling an early election in 2008. However, analysts do attribute to
the fixed election schedule the extended campaign we seem to be in.

1. 1. Are there other reasons, besides the 2007 law, that political
campaigning before the writ period is more active than it used to be?

2. 2. How do you feel about longer political campaigns? If it’s a bad
thing, what can or should be done about it?

3. 3. Does the fixed election date limit the Prime Minister’s power
in important ways? Is this a good thing?

4. 4. Overall, do you support fixed election dates?

5. 5. Should the rules for political activity outside the writ period
be changed? In what ways, and why?

One of the issues I'm touching on (although not directly related to the
2007 changes) is the rules about activity before and during the writ
period. For background information, the best article I know explaining this
is this blog post from Alice Funke, aka The Pundit:
http://www.punditsguide.ca/2015/01/how-a-little-noticed-clause-in-the-fair-elections-act-up-ends-all-conventional-election-timing-speculation/

Forum topic: The Pan-Am games and similar major events Saturday 18 July, 11:00-1:00 OISE (252 Bloor St. W.) Room 4-426

HAT Forum - Forum topic: The Pan-Am games and similar major events

Saturday 18 July, 11:00-1:00

OISE (252 Bloor St. W.) Room 4-426

Toronto is in the middle of hosting the largest international sports event
ever held in Canada. How has that affected our lives and our city? Is it an
asset to the city? An inconvenience? What consequences do you expect for
the city in the aftermath? Should Toronto bid for other major international
events?

HAT Book Club Meeting Sat Jun 8 to discuss "Decade of Fear: reporting from terrorism's grey zone" by Michelle Shephard

We will be discussing the following book at our regular meeting on Saturday, August 8 at 2:30.
 
Decade of fear: reporting from terrorism's grey zone  
Year/Format: 2011, Book, 320 p.
4 holds / 28 copies
Decade of Fear is a darkly entertaining journey through the complicated, often bizarre world of national security since 9/11. Shephard began a ten-year search for answers that took her through the streets of Mogadishu and Karachi, into the mountains of Waziristan and behind the wire of Guantanamo Bay two dozen times.
Michelle conducted hundreds of interviews worldwide, and with sharp insight and an appreciation for the absurd, she weaves together stories of warlords, presidents, spies, grieving widows and global terrorists, to describe the historic decade where often the West’s "solutions” for terrorism only served to exacerbate the problem.. Gripping, heartbreaking and infuriating, Decade of Fear broadens our understanding of a decade that was all too often described through panicked rhetoric.
For further info and location please leave your contact info at 416-966-1361

HAT Newsletter Summer 2015

Please click on this link to see the HAT Summer 2015 Newsletter

HAT Forum Sat July 11th 2015 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Setting Precedence: Culture vs Ethics

HAT Forum Sat July 11th 2015 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location: The Klein House (call 416-966-1361 for specifics if you are a member or regular Forum attendee)

Setting Precedence: Culture vs Ethics

As we have no received wisdom from an objective higher power to guide us, humanists are asked to critically consider all sources of wisdom to develop and redevelop our ethical sense and give meaning to our lives. Our views of right and wrong, desirable and undesirable and our values determine our own course through life.
If we wish to go beyond ourselves to influence the world and make it a better place for ourselves and for others we need to decide a direction based upon our values and ethical sense. We realize, however, these can be biased by our position in the world - our race, our gender, our class and our culture.
From the desire to positively impact the world but also be respectful of the differences between humans comes some tension and a potential conflict.
1. Are there ethical standards that take precedence over culture?
2. How far can we go to produce a philosophy of human well-being that can be applied across all cultures? What are the pitfalls associated with this?

3. Example: The Wulin Dog Eating Festival in China took place recently. A reported 10000 dogs were killed and eaten. Many of the dogs were treated inhumanely, by Western standards (boiled alive, skinned alive). Protests against the Festival took place. Are there legitimate ethical grounds to argue against this cultural practice?
4. Example: Many cultures in the world place a lower value on women than men and treat them very differently in many spheres. Do we have any grounds to promote a value of respect and equality for women on these cultures in other countries? What about when they are acting within our own country?
5. Democracy, Freedom of Speech, gender equality, wealth equity, tolerance can all be discussed in terms of where each of these values is limited by culture (including religion) and whether the need to respect the value trumps cultural sensitivity.

Who decides what is Hate Speech?

HAT Forum
Saturday June 27th 2015 11:00 a.m. - 1 p.m.
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West Room 4-426
Supreme Court upheld hate speech laws
But who decides what is hate speech?  

HAT Monthly Speaker Meeting: Fair Vote Canada and Proportional Representation: It’s Time for Change

HAT Monthly Speaker Meeting
Saturday, June 13, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 4-414
Speaker: Joyce Hall, Co-chair Fair Vote Toronto Action Team
Topic: Fair Vote Canada and Proportional Representation: It’s Time for Change

Fair Vote Toronto is the official Toronto-area action team of Fair Vote Canada, the national organization calling for the replacement of the current first-past-the-post voting system with a fair and proportional system that provides equal votes for all, fair election outcomes and legitimate majority rule. The questions Joyce will address include: What is proportional representation (PR)? How does it work? Does it benefit women and minorities? What is wrong with the candidate with the most votes winning? In an election, doesn’t someone have to lose? Won’t PR result in chaos and instability? Join us for a lively and informative presentation, and bring your own questions!    

Cultural Genocide - a discussion of our reactions

HAT Forum
Saturday June 13th 2015, 11:00-12:30
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Proposed by Bill Kennedy
N.B. This will be a shortened Forum to enable Forum attendees to get to OISE for the HAT monthly speaker series event (see next post)

Cultural Genocide - a discussion of our reactions to this appelation

HAT Forum: Genetic Modification of Human Embryos

Date: Saturday May 30th 2015, 11:00-1:00

Location: Room 304, 519 Church Street
Proposed by: Cecilia Rayo

Discussion Questions:
What if you could screen embryos for diseases before they became babies?

What if you have the power to choose the traits your baby would have? Would you use it?

HAT Forum: Personal Choices and the Environment

Personal Choices and the Environment

HAT Forum
Saturday 15 May 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Proposed by: Moses Klein

1.       How much can personal choices affect environmental issues?
  • ·         land use
  • ·         overpopulation
  • ·         climate change
  • ·         air or water quality
  • ·         resource conservation
  • ·         waste
  • ·         toxins

2.       What, if anything, do you do to improve the environment or minimize harmful effects?
3.       What are some things that we could do better?

4.       How important are personal decisions, as opposed to political decisions, in protecting the environment?

HAT Forum: Are we in Canada as classless as we think we are?

HAT Forum
Saturday 9th May 2015, 11:00-12:30
(N.B. 12:30 finish to allow Forum participants to attend the
HAT SPEAKER SERIES EVENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
 at OISE Rm 3-311 1:30 - 3:30)
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Are we in Canada as classless as we think we are?
Proposed by: Dick Combeer

- What are the typical visible distinctions between social classes?
- What are the typical determinants of social class?
- Can class distinctions ever be useful and important?
- How do individuals and groups move to a different social class?
- Are there steps that can be taken to collapse and otherwise mitigate the effects of social class?



We Must Act Now on Climate Change – For Our Grandchildren

Humanist Association of Toronto Monthly Speaker Event
Saturday, May 9, 2015
1:30 – 3:00 pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 3-311
Speaker: Peter Jones, lawyer (retired), chairperson For Our Grandchildren
Topic: We Must Act Now on Climate Change – For Our Grandchildren

“I don’t want my grandchildren to see the earth die.” These poignant words introduce the video on the home page of For Our Grandchildren (4RG), a web-based organization whose vision is to connect and empower grandparents and prospective grandparents who are concerned about the potentially disastrous effects of climate change, and to enable them to join a movement to counter and prepare for these effects on behalf of all our children and grandchildren.

4RG offers opportunities for grandparents to learn, comment and to come together with others to discuss initiatives such as contacting their decision-makers with their concerns. The website www.forourgrandchildren.ca features an extensive blog with insightful posts on all aspects of climate change, videos, a monthly newsletter, tips on writing letters to the editor, and posters and other documents for use at events. 4RG is endorsed by honorary members Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki and Bishop Desmond Tutu. If you are concerned about the impending effects of climate change and want to help ensure that there is a world for our grandchildren to inherit, join us for this inspiring and informative presentation and discussion.

HAT Forum: Diplomacy and International Relations

HAT Forum
Saturday 2nd May 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Public Shaming
Proposed by: Bill Kennedy

Is Diplomacy in International relations a meaningless panacea?
Can Diplomacy make substantial contributions in International Relations?
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.