February 27th – March 5th 2015

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a provocative speech to the U.S. Congress regarding the risks of dealings with Iran. The speech painted U.S. President Barack Obama as being naïve. Obama dismissed Netanyahu’s speech, calling it a distraction. Read more about Netanyahu’s speech and Obama’s response here.  Also this week, the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) followed labour action at University of Toronto and York University and initiated a strike. After failing to come to a contract agreement with the university’s Administrators, the faculty at UNBC initiated strike action on Thursday. UNBC’s Faculty Association says that UNBC faculty wages are twenty percent lower than wages at other institutions. Read more about UNBC’s strike here and University of Toronto and York University’s respective strikes here.

Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective:


Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., to mandate indigenous learning – CBC News

Starting in 2016, Lakehead University will make indigenous education mandatory for all undergraduate students. After 2016, every student who completes undergraduate studies at Lakehead will take at least one course that focuses on indigenous affairs. The move is part of Lakehead’s strategic plan and is also designed to tackle racism. Yolanda Wanakamik, Lakehead’s co-ordinator of graduate and external relations with the office of aboriginal initiatives, said that “there will be conversations in the classroom. Most people will be talking about stereotypes people have about indigenous people in northwestern Ontario, in fact across Canada.”

Canadian job quality hits 25-year low due to structural decline: CIBC – Andy Blatchford

According to CIBC, Canada’s employment quality index reached its lowest point in the last twenty-five years; the employment quality index is down fifteen percent since 1990. This index measures the spread of full and part-time jobs, the gap between self-employment and paid-employment, and the sectoral composition of full-time paid employment. CIBC states that this decline is the result of structural problems inherent in the labour market, which are difficult to reverse.


African leader urges ‘Marshall Plan’ for countries worst hit by Ebola epidemic – News Wires

In an international conference in Brussels, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, and Alpha Conde of Guinea called for more aid to help these countries eradicate Ebola and rebuild their devastated economies. Sirleaf urged that long-term responses will require significant resources and a type of Marshall Plan, which was the type of aid plan implemented to rebuild Europe after World War II.

Austria passes controversial ‘Islam law’ – The Stream

Austria’s National Council passed a bill reforming an old law that governed the status of Muslims. Although the bill protects certain Muslim practices, the law banned foreign funding of religious leaders and mosques. The law affects 560,000 Austrian Muslims and has sparked international discussion over the relationships between religion and state.

Thought Provoking Read

Mexican education: Flunking the test – OAXACA

Most Mexican schools are awful – private included – “the poorest children in Canada do better than the richest in Mexico.” Most Mexican’s go to school an average of 8.8 years instead of 13.3 like many other countries. President Enrique Peña Nieto’s education reform faces an uphill battle as unionized teachers still hold powerful positions in education ministries and in Congress. His reform seeks to centralize salary payments at the federal level and streamline spending.

Photo of the Week:  The Salvation Army in South Africa’s New PSA


The Salvation Army in South Africa picked up on debates over the colour of The Dress (people see the dress as either black and blue or white and gold) that polarized social media users to launch a public service announcement  (PSA) fighting against domestic violence and abuse against women. The PSA, pictured here, reads as follows: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue? The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.” The PSA sparked social media debates that rival initial dress-related ones: many criticize the PSA as narrow given men and children are also victims of domestic violence (Photo: Salvation Army South Africa via Twitter).

The Undercurrent Journal