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Justice

Feature

January 2011

Politics and prisons

By Patricia Clarke

As the federal government gets tough on crime, Canada’s jails are expanding. Many wonder if larger prisons — and ballooning corrections budgets — are the right way to go.

Feature

December 2010

Prescription for a pandemic

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Scientists, activists and politicians agree that generic drugs can slow or stop the global spread of HIV-AIDS. So why haven't they been made more accessible?

Feature

November 2010

Abortion wars: the next front

By Kevin Spurgaitis

After 20 years of relative peace, activists on both sides of the abortion debate are mobilizing for a new battle that threatens to reopen bitter ethical divisions

Feature

September 2010

Shaken to the core

By Various Writers

Last winter's earthquake changed Haiti forever. It also left an indelible mark on four writers who witnessed the disaster and its aftermath.

Feature

September 2010

The cost of doing good

By Trisha Elliott

Donors often wonder how much of their money goes directly to the causes they support. But that may not be the question to ask.

Feature

September 2010

Can big business save the planet?

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Philanthro-capitalists are putting their money where their morals are, using cash and clout to redefine the meaning of good business

Feature

July 2010

A home here is possible

By Miriam Spies

Twelve years ago, the author felt excluded at church because of her cerebral palsy. By speaking out, she helped her church become more accessible for all.

Feature

July 2010

Gambling on casinos

By Richard Wright

Casinos bring much-needed jobs and revenue to First Nations communities, but can also exacerbate social problems. Do the wins outweigh the losses?

Feature

May 2010

Photo Essay: A refuge from despair

By Terry Asma

Thirty years after the Sandinista revolution, Managua, Nicaragua is a study in contrasts — none starker than the numb despair of the city’s poorest kids and the infectious hope of child street vendors at a United Church-supported school

Feature

May 2010

A motherlode of debate

By Mike Milne

Should the church sell its stock in controversial mining firms, or press for change from within?

Feature

May 2010

Toil and trouble

By Carolyn Morris

Every temporary worker who comes to Canada has a dream of a better life. Too often the reality they face is exploitation and a system that seems to invite abuse.

Feature

May 2010

Pure grit

By John Bird

Rallied around a common cause, church people, Natives, cottagers and environmentalists halted a massive dump near Georgian Bay that threatened some of the purest water on Earth

Feature

March 2010

Interview with Jim Hodgson

By Richard Wright

Shortly after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, the United Church’s co-ordinator of Caribbean, Central America and Colombia partnerships talks about the church’s response

Feature

March 2010

Overpopulation

By Lisa Van de Ven

More tiny footsteps equal a bigger collective footprint. How many people can our planet sustain?

Feature

March 2010

Living in limbo

By Carolyn Morris

Zimbabwe-born Tanya Mpala has no legal status in Canada. College-age students like her face systemic barriers that can bring their education to a screeching halt.

Feature

February 2010

Fighting a new battle

By Larry Krotz

Soldiers wounded in Afghanistan face a different kind of adversity when they return home and try to restart their lives

Feature

January 2010

A sanctuary for conscience

By Brian Platt

U.S. war resister Rodney Watson asked a Vancouver United church to shelter him after exhausting his refugee-claim options

Feature

January 2010

'Fighting to be our daughter’s parents'

By Trisha Elliott

Born with severe cerebral palsy, Daria Gallinger needs 24-hour care. Now her parents face a cruel choice: keep her at home and accept financial ruin, or give her up so she qualifies for the help she needs.

Feature

January 2010

‘We have to turn the page on the past'

By Richard Wright

As a girl, Elsie Robinson attended a United Church-run residential school in Ahousaht on Vancouver Island. Her grandson is Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations and a strong advocate of better education for First Nations children. Last October, one day before she died unexpectedly near Nanaimo, B.C., she spoke with Richard Wright.

Feature

January 2010

A national disgrace

By Richard Wright

Sixty percent of children living on First Nations reserves do not graduate from high school. Aboriginal leaders and educators agree: something must be done to fix Native schooling

Feature

October 2009

Meet Doreth Brown

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Single. Mother of three. Determined to do more than just get by.

Feature

September 2009

Black gold or green disaster?

By Larry Krotz

Governments see jobs. Oil companies see money. When it comes to debating Alberta’s oil sands, there’s no middle ground.

Feature

September 2009

No place for a woman

By Trisha Elliott

Shelters across Canada have seen a dramatic rise in homelessness among women. What’s often hidden are the causes.

Feature

July 2009

Aid under fire

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Mounting dangers are forcing humanitarian workers to rethink the way they deliver relief

Feature

May 2009

‘I remember you. You were my teacher.’

By Richard Wright

They hadn’t seen each other since he was a student at a residential school in Manitoba and she was a teacher. A chance reunion started a remarkable journey of healing.

Feature

March 2009

Photo Essay: Lost and Found in Guatemala

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Central America’s biggest city is home to some of the region’s poorest people. But a church-supported project is offering hope to children living in appalling squalor.

Feature

March 2009

When will you bring food?

By Gary Kenny

With Zimbabwe lurching toward famine, the United Church responds with its biggest food-aid partnership ever

Feature

February 2009

AIDS enters adulthood

By Larry Krotz

Twenty-five years on, HIV/AIDS continues to wreak tragedy upon vast swaths of the developing world. The rest of us are getting used to it.

Feature

January 2009

Condition critical

By Kevin Spurgaitis

As strains on the public health-care system mount, so does the clamour for more competition from the private sector

Feature

December 2008

The trouble with Angel

By Lee Simpson

She is the street person I’ve chosen to “adopt.” I give her money, food and companionship. She personifies questions I cannot answer.

Justice

Photo: Courtesy of Josée Cardinal

How families cope when a loved one goes missing

by Justin Dallaire

A Quebec man went for a walk in the early morning of March 16, 2016, and hasn’t been seen since. His family, like many loved ones of the missing, finds it impossible to grieve — or give up hope.

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Observations

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: Our magazine's plastic problem

by Jocelyn Bell

"While I can easily defend the use of a polybag on financial grounds, it would be unconscionable to deliver a cover story about plastics . . . in plastic."

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Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

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Features

April 2018

10 easy ways to kick our nasty plastic habit

by Susan Nerberg

It's not as hard as you think.

Features

April 2018

Tea bags and other surprising places plastics lurk

by Susan Nerberg

Hidden plastics rarely get recycled and often can’t be reused. Here we make some of the invisibles visible.

Features

April 2018

Drag queens help church raise money and awareness

by Darrell Noakes

The event, called “Take Me to Church,” after a popular song, was a fundraiser for LGBTQ youth in Saskatchewan.

Columns

April 2018

Why Canada needs a free-range parenting law

by Pieta Woolley

Features

April 2018

10 easy ways to kick our nasty plastic habit

by Susan Nerberg

It's not as hard as you think.

Faith

April 2018

4 science-trained faith leaders share what still gives them goosebumps

by Various Writers

"This greater knowledge amplified my belief in a mysterious God who still offers so much more for us to discover."

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