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By: Evan Engering

The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not “equal” and cannot be made “equal,” and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws. [1]

These words, first argued by the legal team of Oliver L. Brown sixty years ago last December and reargued sixty years ago this December, were the central argument in the consolidated landmark US Supreme Court case, Brown v. Education Board of Topeka. The court case, a constitutional challenge to the concept of “separate but equal” established in the 1896 Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, was a major victory for the civil rights movement in America, as it spelled out the end of segregated school systems, allowing children of all races the chance to integrate and learn together in the same public school system.

elem school
As the sixtieth anniversary of the arguing of the case passes by without much reverence, I am reminded of our own segregated public school system in Ontario. In a meeting of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation, participating delegates voted to adopt a policy resolution calling for a single, secular public school system in the province.[2]

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By: Evan Engering

In this recessionary age of massive layoffs and outsourcing, there is a priority to restore the promise of secure, stable jobs that we once had. However, the solutions being presented often do not address the depth of the problem, and instead advance the status quo, with the hope that maybe capitulating to the interests of employers will trickle down to benefit employees.

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Here in Ontario, we see several forms of this. From the Progressive-Conservative Party, we have Tim Hudak, proposing a total evisceration of labour unions, a move that would set worker’s rights back over sixty years. While the reactionary substance is alarming, it is also revealing of the true implications of “competitiveness” that regional markets are supposed to have, if they are to survive in today’s world.

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By: Evan Engering

The recent American elections were an interesting exercise in democracy that I think had some positive results. Not because of the presidential race. Obama’s re-election might have been a slight victory for a few things such as marriage equality (despite the strangeness of this, considering the man who delegalized gay marriage nation-wide, Bill Clinton, was Obama’s biggest spokesman in the campaign), but for the most part, Obama will likely carry on the illegal warfare and regressive policies of Bush as he has done the past four years.

No, while the media may have been fixated on the presidential race, perhaps rightfully so, it was eventually reported that there were plenty of other things on the ballot. In addition to electing the office of the Commander-in-Chief, the House of Representatives, and a third of the Senate, there were a number of ballot questions that passed. Most notably, there were ones legalizing medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, and same-sex marriage.

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