Columns

From the category archives: Opinions

Bob McKeon

Prostitution bill charts positive path

Bob McKeon

June 23, 2014

Last December, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that Canada's prostitution laws were unconstitutional. The judges gave Parliament one year to pass new laws that would pass the constitutional test. On June 4, Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced a new prostitution law (Bill C-36) into the House of Commons. Predictably, this proposed law has given rise to intense debates that go beyond predictable ideological divides. No government would voluntarily open up debates on prostitution legislation unless forced to by courts. Prostitution is a complex, difficult issue that defies a simple solution.

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Commitment to defend life is far-reaching

Bob McKeon

May 26, 2014

On May 8, I was asked to speak at the March for Life. The day started with the Alberta bishops leading a well-attended Pro-Life Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica. Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Mackenzie Diocese gave the homily, spoke of the new life of the Easter season, and the strong family and community values of the aboriginal peoples of his diocese. After Mass, people gathered at the Legislature for prayers and some talks. Then everyone started walking together through downtown streets to Churchill Square by City Hall. At Churchill Square, we stopped again for prayers and some more talks. I was one of the speakers at Churchill Square.

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TRC national event defining moment for local churches

Bob McKeon

April 28, 2014

It is now almost a month past the Edmonton national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). This was an historic event involving thousands of former students who attended Indian residential schools, members of their families, representatives of the churches who administered the schools, and many other aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians from all across Canada.

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Lent is more than 'giving up'; it also involves reaching out

Bob McKeon

March 31, 2014

On Shrove Tuesday, I was at a church pancake supper. The conversation quickly turned to Lent, which started the next day, and about fasting. Each of us started talking about the specifics of what we were going to give up during Lent. Different foods and activities were named. Every year, there is a Scripture passage (Isaiah 58) that talks about fasting that appears in the Liturgy of the Hours on Ash Wednesday and in the daily Mass readings two days later.

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Support for dignity of human work must be more than an icon

Bob McKeon

March 3, 2014

Two weeks ago, Judge Denny Thomas of the Court of Queen's Bench issued an unusual injunction which delayed implementation of Bill 46, the Public Service Salary Restraint Act, which had been hurriedly passed in the Alberta Legislature last December. This was the latest act in an ongoing drama of collective bargaining between the Alberta government and 22,000 provincial employees represented by the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE).

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Bouchard took 'Catholic view' of oilsands

Bob McKeon

February 3, 2014

Five years ago this month, Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul, Alberta, issued his high profile pastoral statement, The Integrity of Creation and the Athabasca Oil Sands. Four months later, Bishop Murray Chatlain of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, downstream from the Alberta oilsands, issued a pastoral letter in support of the stance taken by Bouchard.

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Say 'no' to gaps between rich and poor, writes Francis

Bob McKeon

December 16, 2013

Last weekend, I took the time to read Pope Francis' new apostolic letter Evangelii Gaudium. It is a demanding read (85 pages, single spaced). It is a joyful, exciting, surprising and hope-filled text that continually challenges the reader.

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Alberta's residential school stories must be told, heard by all

Bob McKeon

November 18, 2013

In recent weeks, I have been in many conversations with people talking about the upcoming National Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings to take place March 27-30 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.

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Ecological crisis is a moral problem

Bob McKeon

October 21, 2013

Ecological issues are very much in the news these days. We read about the latest international report on climate change, debates on proposed bitumen pipelines and oil being shipped across Canada in railway tank cars, and provincial court decisions about the right of environmental groups to be able to attend and speak at public hearings concerning the construction of new oilsands plants.

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Be a bridge between city's rich and poor

Bob McKeon

September 16, 2013

Last month I attended an afternoon meeting at the Marian Centre in inner city Edmonton. At the end of the meeting, I was invited to join with the Marian Centre staff for the 5:15 pm Mass at St. Benedict's Chapel at Edmonton's City Centre Mall.

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