Saturday, 22 March 2014

Global perspective on fight against anti-gay bullying

Manitoba Education minister Nancy Allan hugs
Evan Wiens - teen bullied on camera for efforts
to start a Gay-Straigh Alliance in his Steinbach School.

Bill 18 protects the rights of students across the province of
Manitoba to organize gay-straigh alliances.

Image Source: 
Craig Young of wrote an article on efforts to fight bullying against LGBT students in New Zealand in September 2013. The fascinating article compares the efforts in New Zealand to similar struggles in the United States, the UK, and Canada - noting differing social contexts.

Particularly interesting, from my admittedly provincial perspective, is the singling out of Ontario and our own province of Manitoba as the two jurisdictions in Canada with laws fighting homophobic bullying. An earlier post in this blog is even included in the recommended readings section.

Overall, learning of the immense challenges that face LGTB students in schools should make us proud, as Manitobans, to have passed the Safe and Inclusive Schools measure of Bill 18. We have a long way to go towards a fully just society, but Bill 18 represents a series of needed and practical steps in the right direction. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Great idea, sure Winnipeg will get it...

... in 2150.

Protected Intersections For Bicyclists from Nick Falbo on Vimeo.

Now, it's good to see that bike infrastructure is on the upswing here. Thanks to tireless advocacy from Bike to the Future (now Bike Winnipeg) the Peg's meagre bikeways have expanded, including the very nice Assiniboine Avenue cycle track. Before much of the track was chopped off to provide parking for construction vehicles it served as a key part of many Winnipeg cyclists' trips. It still does, but in a much shorter section, which leads to awkward left turns onto the non-bikeway/motor vehicle side of Assiniboine Avenue.

The Disraeli Pedestrian Bridge and Pembina's buffered bike lanes add some connectivity to our bikeway network, but there's few places where with enough cycle tracks to necessitate protected intersections. Unless there's another round of $20 million Federal stimulus funds for Active Transporation and a mad rush to build them (which does lead to some hiccups with public consultation) it will be a very long time before the Peg's bikeways near the quality of Minneapolis's, let alone those of cities in the Netherlands.