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.
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.

HAT Monthly Speaker
Saturday, September 12, 1:30 – 3:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. West, Room 4-414
Speaker: Catherine Rodd, Toronto-based video producer

HAT Monthly Speaker
Saturday, September 12, 1:30 – 3:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 4-414
Speaker: Catherine Rodd, Toronto-based video producer
Topic: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A Personal Perspective

The closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission marked the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Catherine Rodd is a Toronto-based video producer. She covered the event for the United Church, one of the parties to the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This is the single most important issue before all Canadians. Truth and Reconciliation may be our last chance to get it right. The time has come to fundamentally alter the role aboriginal people play in Canadian society.

HAT End of Summer Party!
Sunday, August 30th
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Welcome to all HAT members and guests on Sunday, August 30th; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location will be at the home of one of the HAT Steering Committee members,
please call (416) 966-1361 for details.
TTC transport suggested as parking is limited.
HAT members and guests on Sunday, August 30th; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Party is potluck with a meats and shellfish diet restriction.

HAT Forum:
Saturday Aug 29th 2015, 11:00 - 1:00,
519 Church Street Rm 304
Disaporas; What is the World to Do?

HAT Forum: Disaporas; What is the World to Do?
submitted by Gary Higgins
Definition: from the Greek meaning ' the spreading or scattering across '

There have been so many migrations and diasporas through out history; and their causes were manifold. 
the exodus of the Jews under Moses, 
the Irish potato famine, 
the deportation of English convicts to Australia,
natural disasters, like the floodings in New Orleans
the Chinese and the Indian subcontinent are noted for the largest of diasporas

But of late in world news, we are bombarded daily with horror stories of boat people escaping civil wars & racial & religious conflicts.
From North Africa, they are smuggling from Libya to Italy ; from Syria & Iraq through Turkey.

The EU is trying to help by accepting percentages of the migrants held in camps just inside Europe,

Greece is dead broke, and cannot afford to feed and care for an island full of refugees being detained
GB says no way they will accept any; and promises to fly them back to their country of origin, (First Class?)
Thousands have been camped out in Calais, France, trying to smuggle themselves to England.

Human smugglers are capitalizing on their plight, women & children, whole families on overcrowded boats are turning up drowned.

Donald Trump & Ted Cruz are very hostile to Mexicans and people from Central American countries crossing into the US, aware of how this message plays to the Republicans during a federal election.
 Calling them the worst of the worst; with greater percentages of rapists; ( "quick; hide the women and children ")

Into the US, economic migrants come in search of the American Dream.
"Anchor babies " is the newest term for giving birth to an illegal, that they will automatically become American Citizens, and will later sponsor the parents  and family


1. What is the world to do?
They are building a wall to separate Mexico from the US

2. What are the advantages to diasporas?
Economics, ideas, knowledge
The economist magazine sees only benefits
" the magic of diasporas "; plus numerous other articles

3. What are the negatives?
Xenophobia, racism, cheap work force displacing others

4. Is this just a cheap way around regular routes of citizenship, green cards?
Are rich countries in danger of being made poorer, because of these waves of illegal migrants?

5. Can NIMBY be tolerated?
Remember the Holocaust, and the Jews refused entry to America, "ship of fools"?

HAT Forum
Sat Aug 22nd 2015 11:00 a.m.
519 Church St Rm 304
If the price of Oil never recovers,
Will Canada change in a fundamental way?

HAT Forum
Sat Aug 22nd 2015 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
519 Church St Rm 304
If the Price of Oil never recovers, Will Canada change in a fundamental way?

- Are there examples of entire countries changing their core value systems?
- Do such changes happen gradually or suddenly?
- What is the tipping point for Canada to disown 'dirty' oil? (tar sands)
- What is the tipping point for Canada to disown all oil? (for renewables)
- How many aspects of Canadian Life are, directly or indirectly, dependent on oil?

HAT Forum: ​Leadership in Canada
Sat Aug 15th 2015
519 Church St. Rm 304

HAT Forum: ​Leadership in Canada
 Date: Saturday August 15th 2015
 Time: 11:00am to 1:00pm 
Location: The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. Room 304
 Proposer: Isabel Foote 

What qualities​ do we currently need most in a Canadian Prime Minister?

 Which of these qualities do we see in the current party Leaders?

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:

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

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 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.