16-Year-Old Arrested for Opposing Trans Ideology in Ontario, Canada
The lawyer for a 16-year-old Catholic high school student suspended for opposing transgender ideology says his client’s legal battle demonstrates that religious freedom in Canada is rapidly eroding.
“I think it’s representative of where the culture, society, and our government institutions are up here,” attorney James Kitchen said of the case against 16-year-old Josh Alexander.
On February 6, the high school junior was arrested for trespassing after showing up at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario, despite an exclusion order. Kitchen is taking legal action against Alexander by appealing the exclusion order and filing a human rights complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
Alexander, a born-again Christian, was suspended in November for organizing protests at his school against biological males in girls’ restrooms and arguing in class that God created two unchangeable genders.
Alexander’s suspension was technically lifted in January, but it has remained in effect since the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board “excluded” him for the remainder of the school year. Alexander told The Epoch Times that his principal offered him a return to school if he stopped using transgender students’ “dead names” or given names and excluded himself from classes with two transgender students.
Religious Freedom Declining in Canada
Kitchen, the Liberty Coalition Canada’s chief litigator, said he had no idea how big Alexander’s case would become when he first contacted him around Christmas, following Alexander’s initial suspension from the government-funded school.
The Liberty Coalition Canada website states that clergy founded it in January 2021 to ” support Canadians facing unjust and illegal discrimination for exercising their lawful freedoms.”
“I never imagined it would reach this level,” Kitchen said. “I knew it would be publicized, and there would be some sort of conflict because I knew Josh wouldn’t back down.”
Kitchen believes that religious freedom and freedom of expression are declining in Canada, but that religious liberty is fading faster. He claims that many Canadians are unaware of their government’s growing threat to religious freedom, which he claims is “essentially dead” after withering “for about 10 or 15 years.”
Kitchen said the Supreme Court of Canada issued “the nail in the coffin” with a 2018 decision against Trinity Western University in British Columbia. The Christian school, which sought to establish Canada’s first Christian law school, petitioned the Supreme Court after regional law societies refused to accredit them based on their student covenant, which prohibited extramarital sex.
According to Kitchen, the legal precedent established in that case “really gutted religious freedom in Canada,” and such trends have accelerated in recent years as authorities jailed pastors and seized church properties during the pandemic. Alexander’s case, he claims, is another step up.
The lawyer cited Bill C-4, passed by the Canadian Parliament last year, as a “perfect example” of Canada’s encroaching wave against religious freedom.
Religious Leaders Arrested in Canada
Therapists in Canada who provide counseling to repress or reduce “non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behavior” or “non-cisgender identity” could face up to five years in prison under the law, which prompted protests from thousands of churches across North America.
“We don’t have any cases on it yet, no charges, so we’re all just kind of waiting to see what the government decides to do with that,” Kitchen said, predicting that “the gender and sexuality issue” will lead to more legal clashes between Christians and the Canadian government.
“I fully expect to get a call in the next 12-24 months that a pastor or some other religious leader has been arrested for telling some guy who thinks he’s a woman that he should consider being OK with being a man instead of transitioning to be a woman,” Kitchen said.
“As a lawyer in Canada, I expect to be on that case or at least hear about it,” he added. “That’s where we’re going.” Alexander agreed with Kitchen, saying that “freedom of expression and religion, in general, are under attack” in his country. “There’s no doubt that we’re about to lose all the liberties that we’ve taken for granted for far too long,” he said.
Canadians are free to practice any religion under Section 2 of the Charter. They also have the right to think, believe, and express themselves freely.
Alexander observed that some young people his age are afraid to express themselves. He urged them to “speak up before it’s too late.”
“If you think what I’m dealing with now is bad, wait until your freedom of belief and thought is outlawed,” he warned. “Now is the time to speak up before it’s too late. Our predecessors failed to do so, and it is now up to us to pick up the torch and carry it.”
Trudeau’s Open War on Religion in Canada
The honorable Leslyn Lewis, a Conservative Party of Canada MP and licensed attorney, said she would “stand up” for religious freedom after accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of waging an “open war” on people’s faith since his election in 2015.
Lewis blasted a recent report from a Department of National Defence (DND) advisory panel recommending it “not consider for employment as spiritual guides or multi-faith representatives Chaplaincy applicants affiliated with religious groups whose values are not aligned with those of the Defence Team” in a platform update titled “Enough Discrimination.”
“Currently, some chaplains represent or are affiliated with organized religions whose beliefs do not coincide with those of a diverse and inclusive workplace. “Some of these chaplains’ affiliated religions do not subscribe to an open attitude and the promotion of diversity,” according to the DND’s recommendations.
“For example, the exclusion of women from priesthoods in some churches violates equality and social justice principles, as do sexist notions embedded in their religious dogmas.”
This latest report, according to Lewis, is “absolutely shocking.”
“People are only now realizing how far it goes in its assault on traditional faiths,” Lewis observed.
Lewis stated that while asking that “chaplains’ values are aligned with the Defence Team may appear innocent enough,” reading further reveals that “the religious groups it considers do not have the right values fall under the banner of ‘The Abrahamic Religions.'”
“This expressly states that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism followers should be barred from serving as military chaplains,” Lewis wrote.
“How are all the Jewish, Muslim and Christian military members to feel now that they have been singled out as out-of-step with the values of the country they are fighting for? Or that in the same report, their beliefs are explicitly compared to the worst kinds of racism?”
According to the report, “minorities in Canada are consistently just used as political tools by this government,” Lewis continued.
North Korea Test-Fires 2 More Missiles As US Sends Carrier
South Korea’s SEOUL — On Monday, the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz and her battle group began operations with South Korean warships, hours after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles in apparent protest of the allies’ growing maneuvers.
This month’s seventh missile test heightened regional tensions as the North’s weapons tests and joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea intensified in a cycle of tit-for-tat.
The launches could have been timed to coincide with the arrival of the USS Nimitz and its strike group, which included a guided missile cruiser and two destroyers and participated in air defense exercises and other maneuvers with South Korean vessels waters around Jeju Island.
South Korean navy spokesperson Jang Do Young said the drills were aimed at honing joint operational capabilities and proving the U.S. resolve to defend its ally with all available options, including nuclear, in the wake of the North’s “escalating nuclear and missile threats.”
On Tuesday, the Nimitz strike group was scheduled to arrive in Busan’s South Korean mainland port.
“The United States has deployable strategic assets at the ready every day,” said Carrier Strike Group Eleven leader Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney. “We can and will continue to deploy those assets.”
The two North Korean missiles were launched from a western inland area
The two North Korean missiles were launched from a western inland area south of Pyongyang between 7:47 a.m. and 8 a.m. and traveled approximately 370 kilometers (229 miles) before falling at sea, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The missiles, which landed beyond Japan’s exclusive economic zone, traveled on an erratic trajectory and reached a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers, according to Japan’s military. (31 miles).
Previously, Japan used similar wording to describe a North Korean solid-fuel missile that appears to be modeled after Russia’s Iskander mobile ballistic weapon, which is supposed to be maneuverable in low-altitude flight to better elude South Korean missile defenses. North Korea also has another short-range system similar to the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System used by the United States.
Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, stated that North Korea might increase its testing activity by launching additional missiles or conducting its first nuclear test since September 2017.
The South Korean and Japanese militaries condemned the new launches as a severe provocation endangering regional peace and stated that they were cooperating with the U.S. to further evaluate the missiles. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command stated that while the launches did not constitute an imminent threat to the U.S. or its allies, they underscore North Korea’s “destabilizing impact” of its illicit nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea, subject to U.N. Security Council sanctions for its nuclear program since 2016
North Korea, subject to U.N. Security Council sanctions for its nuclear program since 2016, did not immediately respond to the launches.
Last week, the U.S. and South Korea concluded their largest springtime drills in years, including computer simulations and live-fire field exercises. However, the allies have continued their field training as a show of force against the mounting dangers from the North.
North Korea also launched a short-range missile when the USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group arrived in September for joint drills with South Korea, the last time the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has launched more than 20 ballistic and cruise missiles this year to push the U.S. to accept its nuclear status and negotiate sanctions relief from a position of strength.
This month’s tests included an intercontinental ballistic missile and a series of short-range missiles designed to overwhelm South Korean defenses as North Korea attempts to demonstrate its ability to undertake nuclear strikes on South Korea and the United States mainland.
The North conducted a three-day practice last week that claimed to simulate nuclear assaults on South Korean targets.
The country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has called the joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea “invasion rehearsals.” According to the allies, the exercises are defensive.
The tests included a rumored nuclear-capable underwater drone.
The tests included a rumored nuclear-capable underwater drone, which the North said could unleash a massive “radioactive tsunami” and destroy navy vessels and ports. Analysts questioned whether such a device posed a significant new danger, and Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff warned in a statement Monday that the North Korean allegations were likely “exaggerated and fabricated.”
Following some of its ballistic and cruise missile tests earlier this month, North Korea claimed that those missiles were tipped with dummy nuclear warheads that detonated 600 to 800 meters (1,960 to 2,600 feet) above their sea targets, presenting them as maximum damage heights.
North Korea has already had a record year of weapons testing, launching more than 70 missiles in 2022. It had enacted an escalator nuclear strategy that allows for pre-emptive nuclear strikes in a wide range of scenarios in which it perceives its leadership to be under threat.
“It appears North Korea is practicing, or signaling that it is practicing, the use of nuclear strikes, both preemptive and retaliatory, in various scenarios authorized in its nuclear doctrine,” said Duyeon Kim, a senior analyst at the Center for a New American Security.
“The problem is that continued testing allows Pyongyang to perfect its technology, strengthen its nuclear weapons capability, threaten South Korea and Japan, increase the possibility of miscalculation, which could lead to inadvertent conflict, and accumulate political leverage ahead of future diplomatic talks with Washington.”
Following the North’s confirmation of the drone test on Friday, South Korea’s air force disclosed information about a five-day joint practice with the U.S. last week, which included live-fire displays of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry.
According to the air force, the exercise aimed to test precision strike capabilities and reaffirm the credibility of Seoul’s “three-axis” strategy against North Korean nuclear threats. This strategy includes striking potential targets ahead of time, stopping incoming missiles, and taking out the North’s leadership and key military facilities.
SOURCE – (AP)
Lyft To Pick Up New CEO Amid Deepening Post-Pandemic Losses
Logan Green and John Zimmer, co-founders of Lyft, are stepping down to make room for a former Amazon executive as the ride-hailing service battles to recover from the pandemic while long-time rival Uber has been regaining pace.
According to the revised order released Monday, Green will stand down as Lyft’s CEO on April 17, and Zimmer will step down as the San Francisco company’s president at the end of June.
Green will be succeeded as CEO by David Risher, who helped turn Amazon into an e-commerce behemoth. Green will remain Lyft’s non-executive chairman, while Zimmer will become vice chairman after leaving management.
The reorganization comes roughly a month after Lyft announced a $588 million loss for the final three months of last year, more than doubling from the same period in 2021, and issued a bleak prediction for 2023. This exacerbated Lyft’s stock decline, which had dropped its shares below $10, a roughly 80% loss from their price at the end of 2019, only a few months before the announcement of a global epidemic halted demand for ride-hailing services.
The reorganization comes roughly a month after Lyft announced a $588 million loss.
While Uber’s ridership has returned to pre-pandemic levels, Lyft has failed to find a means to recover, leading its losses to rise and investors to flee the shares. Uber expanded its operations to include food delivery, a popular choice amid government lockdowns that kept people opening the Uber app.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives called Lyft’s last six months a “train wreck” that necessitated a change in leadership. He stated that Risher had so much work ahead of him that Lyft would consider selling him. An acquisition would be less expensive than it would have been a few years ago, as Lyft’s current market valuation has dropped to $4 billion, down from around $14 billion at the end of 2019.
Risher said in a prepared statement that he was “gobsmacked” when asked about becoming Lyft’s CEO and that he is now “prepared to take this business to new levels of success.”
Risher was hired as Amazon’s 37th employee and proved so valuable to the Seattle company that when he departed, its founder, Jeff Bezos, issued a thank you statement thanking Risher for helping to develop a company that “is all about working hard, having fun, and making history.”
With consumers reducing their e-commerce purchases due to the epidemic, Amazon has announced 27,000 layoffs since late last year.
Risker founded Worldreader, a San Francisco organization that teaches young children to read.
Uber, also based in San Francisco, experienced a considerably more traumatic leadership transition in 2017 when its co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced out in a high-profile power struggle that was depicted last year in a Showtime TV series. Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s new CEO, has been attempting to transform Uber into the transportation equivalent of Amazon.
SOURCE – (AP)
Strike Over Pay Paralyzes Rail, Air Travel In Germany
BERLIN — Trains, aircraft, and public transportation systems were grounded across most of Germany on Monday as labor unions launched a big one-day strike over pay to obtain inflation-busting raises for their members.
The 24-hour strike, one of the country’s largest in decades, also impacted cargo movement by train and ship as workers at the country’s ports and waterways joined the strike.
Many commuters chose to travel to work, generating some traffic delays, while those who could work from home did so.
Unions are seeking a 10.5% pay increase and have rejected employer offers of approximately 5% over two years plus one-time bonuses.
According to Ulrich Silberbach of the Civil Service Federation, high inflation observed everywhere last year affected many workers hard.
“We have seen a drop in real wages, which needs to be balanced,” he told reporters in Berlin, adding that some of his union’s members in major cities must request public assistance to pay their rent.
Silberbach expressed hope that employers will raise their offer in the next discussions or that unions would be forced to consider an open-ended strike.
Three days of talks are scheduled between the two sides.
His EVG train union colleague Martin Burkert noted that workers’ salaries are a fraction of some senior executives’ salaries.
However, Deutsche Bahn dismissed the union’s proposals as overblown and warned that millions of commuters would be affected.
“Thousands of companies that normally send or receive goods by rail will also suffer,” said Achim Strauss, a spokesman for Deutsche Bahn. “In the end, the environment and the climate will suffer.” The oil companies are today’s winners.”
He said that train tickets that couldn’t be used because of the disruption would remain valid, and travelers should check the company’s website for updates.
The strike caused inconvenience and delays Sunday.
Three days of talks are scheduled between the two sides. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, representing the federal government in the talks, said her side would be “tough but fair and constructive” in the discussions.
Faeser expressed confidence that a satisfactory solution may be found.
Labor strikes are common in Germany, and they usually conclude with a compromise agreement reached between unions and employers.
The strike caused inconvenience and delays Sunday as travelers hurried to reach their destinations early.
SOURCE – (AP)
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