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The Strong and Free Podcast

The Strong and Free Podcast

By Christopher Balkaran
Topics that Matter. No Agenda to Push. Keep the Conversation Going.
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Gun Violence: Louis March and the Zero Gun Violence Movement
I sit down with Louis March, head of the Zero Gun Violence Movement to discuss gun violence and what governments can do moving forward. 
November 06, 2020
Gun Violence: Sheldon Clare, and the National Firearms Association
Listen to my conversation with Sheldon Clare, President of the National Firearms Association to discuss gun violence and what the federal government should do to respond meaningfully.
October 31, 2020
The Pro-Choice Perspective: A Conversation with Dr. Jill Doctoroff, National Abortion Federation Canada
I sit down with Dr. Doctoroff, Canadian Director of the National Abortion Federation Canada to discuss access to clinics and education on abortion. 
October 24, 2020
The Pro Life Abortion Perspective: A Conversation with Jakki Jeffs, Executive Director at Alliance for Life Ontario
I sit down with Jakki Jeffs to learn more about the Pro Life movement and what the Alliance for Life Ontario's message is on the abortion debate. 
October 17, 2020
The Pro Choice Abortion Perspective: A Conversation with Joyce Arthur, Executive Director at Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
I sit down with Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) to discuss her views on Abortion and what the goals of ARCC are. 
October 10, 2020
The Pro Life Abortion Perspective: Cam Cote, Centre for Canadian Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR)
In this episode, I sit down with Cam Cote of the Centre for Canadian Bio-Ethical Research (CCBR) to get a better perspective of their Pro-Life stance on abortion. 
October 03, 2020
The Right Mindset: A Conversation with Sean Zahedi
Sean and I talk about having the right mindset in being successful.
September 26, 2020
Community Policing with the LGBTQ2S Community: A Conversation with Sgt. Henry Dyck of the Toronto Police
I sit down with Sgt. Henry Dyck (@TDotGayCop) to learn about the work the Toronto Police is doing with the LGBTQ2S community. 
September 19, 2020
Digital Democracy with Minister Audrey Tang!
I chat with Minister Audrey Tang, of the government of Taiwan about Digital Democracy.
September 12, 2020
Mid Year Check In and Summer Break!
I discuss where the Podcast has been in 2020 and where it's headed. And, I'm taking a Summer Break!
July 23, 2020
Community Policing: A Conversation with Sgt. Jeff Zammit of the Toronto Police
I discuss the critical need for community-based policing with Sgt. Jeff Zammit of the Toronto Police. We also discuss the Neighbourhood Community Officer Program in Toronto.
July 07, 2020
Race-based Data Collection and COVID-19: A Chat with Dr. Vinita Dubey
I discuss the City of Toronto's decision to collect race-based and socioeconomic data from those testing positive for COVID-19 with Dr. Vinita Dubey.
June 27, 2020
Enforcing the Law and the Need for Community-based Policing
I attempt to unpack the nuances of community issues and the challenges police face enforcing the law. 
June 14, 2020
Youth Hidden in Plain Sight: Part 2 - Warren Abbey
I sit down with Warren Abbey for Part 2 of our conversation from March (link: to discuss his time in prison and what changes could be made to provide hope for those in jail. 
June 07, 2020
George Floyd
What solutions can we build from the death of George Floyd?
May 31, 2020
72 Days: 05 - A Chat with Dr. Kenton White on COVID-19 and Data Collection
In Episode 5, Heon and I sit down with Dr. Kenton White, Chief Data Scientist at Advanced Symbolics Inc. 
May 23, 2020
72 Days: 04 -The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit and, AI?
In this episode, Heon and I discuss the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) and contemplate a needs-based idea that relies on technology to deliver government benefits tailored to you.
May 17, 2020
72 Days: 03 - Why the WHO?
In this episode, Heon and I examine the need for an international body called the World Health Organization. 
May 09, 2020
72 Days: 02: A Serious Conversation on the Role of Government in a Pandemic
In Episode 02, Heon and I examine the roles of the Minister of Health, Chief of Public Health and the Prime Minister. 
May 02, 2020
72 Days: Justin Trudeau's Reality Pre-COVID-19
In this new series, we examine the federal government's response to COVID-19.  Our first episode examines the political landscape Justin Trudeau finds himself after the October, 2019 election. Three main issues are facing the Liberal Party of Canada:  - Regionalism - Alienation of Staunch Supporters - Indigenous Protests (Wet'suwet'en)
April 24, 2020
Power of Positivity - 25 - The End - Onto the Next!
Thank you for being part of this great series! This will mark the end of the Power of Positivity Series!
April 19, 2020
Power of Positivity - 24 - Start Thinking About the Transition!
What will transition look like for you once the restrictions are lifted?
April 18, 2020
Power of Positivity - 23 - Stay Balanced
Keep perspective of the things that evoke strong emotion for you.
April 16, 2020
Power of Positivity - 22 - Don't be Afraid of Losses
Embrace loss in pursuit of your goals!
April 15, 2020
Power of Positivity - 21 - Relentlessly Pursue your goals!
Think about your goals and don't be scared to be a novice!
April 14, 2020
Power of Positivity - 20 - Setbacks are a part of achieving goals!
Ensure your goals are adaptive and flexible to the environment we're in!
April 13, 2020
Power of Positivity - 19 - It's all about a state of mind!
Choose positivity and creation today, instead of negativity and reaction!
April 12, 2020
Power of Positivity - 18 - Fight Politics!
It's too early to make this a right/left debate! 
April 11, 2020
Power of Positivity - 17 - Stay Productive to Fight the Negative Energy!
Choose 3 goals you want to complete today!
April 10, 2020
Power of Positivity - 16 - Fight your Worry!
Stay positive today everyone and fight your internal worries!
April 09, 2020
Power of Positivity - 15 - Treat Yourself!
Treat yourself and set some goals to fight the negativity!
April 08, 2020
Power of Positivity - 14 - Embrace Failure!
Think about failure and think about how you can learn from it in achieving your goals!
April 07, 2020
Power of Positivity - 13 - Stay Positive around Negativity, define your biggest challenges to your goals
Tips to stay positive around negative people and energy! And identify the reasons why you didn't achieve your goals for today!
April 06, 2020
Power of Positivity - 12 - Fight Worry and Add to your Stock!
Today is a perfect day to add to your stock of knowledge and/or state of mind. Listen now!
April 05, 2020
Power of Positivity - 11 - Choose what you give LIFE to!
Today, keep the positivity going and choose what you give life to!
April 04, 2020
Power of Positivity - 10 - Reframe your State of Mind!
We can't choose this reality we're in. We can change our mentality!
April 03, 2020
Power of Positivity - 09 - Envision the Day Back to Normalcy!
Think about what you want to tell people you accomplished during the lockdown!
April 02, 2020
Power of Positivity - 08 - Choose Positivity!
Happy April! Choose positivity, despite the amount of negativity out there. It's your day! Make it amazing!
April 01, 2020
Power of Positivity - 07 - What is your Biggest Goal / Idea?
Visioning, goal setting and fighting lethargy is extremely important during this time. 
March 31, 2020
Power of Positivity - 06 - Time Thiefs!
Identify your Time thiefs / Dragons and build an action plan to fight against them.
March 30, 2020
Power of Positivity - 05 - Identify your Dragons
In this episode, I discuss how important it is to identify the things that may be keeping you from your goals! Instagram: @topherbrownies
March 29, 2020
Power of Positivity - 04 - Visualization, Do one thing and Journal
Keep the positive energy going. Journaling is a great way to keep the creativity flowing. 
March 28, 2020
Power of Positivity - 03 - Clean your Space, Choose your Media, Give Back
Gillian Smith provides some tips on what types of media to consume and striking the balance between staying informed and reading the news all day.
March 26, 2020
Power of Positivity - 02 - Exercise and Healthy Nutrition While in Self Isolation!
I know this episode is about maintaining health, but check out my Instagram page where I'll begin selling brownies! @topherbrownies 
March 25, 2020
Power of Positivity - Begin Fighting COVID-19 with your Energy
A positive mindset will flatten the curve of COVID-19 in addition to the other measures discussed. 
March 24, 2020
Analyzing the Coverage of the 2020 Ontario Teacher's Strike
Heon Lee and I analyze nearly 200 media articles over 30 days on the Ontario Teacher's Strike.
March 15, 2020
Youth Hidden in Plain Sight: Warren Abbey's Story on Guns, Gangs and Violence
Warren Abbey has spent over 11 yrs in prison and since, has written a Creative Writing book called "Honour Thy Brother" and is working to reform youth and help them make better choices in their lives.
March 07, 2020
Getting Young People Active: Vanessa Lodge
Vanessa Lodge works with marginalized communities in the sport and recreation space. We sit down to discuss the impacts sport and recreation can have on young people.
February 29, 2020
Artificial Intelligence: A Conversation with Erin Kelly, President and CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc.
Erin Kelly is President and CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc,  Erin's article in the Globe and Mail:  Erin interviewed on TVO's The Agenda:
February 22, 2020
Artificial Intelligence and Refugee Claims
Petra Molnar, is Acting Director at the University of Toronto's International Human Rights Program.
February 15, 2020
Oliver Lane and his Journey as a Trans Athlete
Oliver Lane is a transgender athlete and recent graduate of the University of Guelph. A Rookie of the Year, MVP and Ontario University Athletics Athlete of the Year Oliver’s story is highlighted here:
February 08, 2020
The Barriers Still Faced by the LGBTQ2S community: A Conversation with Jacq Hixson-Vulpe
Jacq Hixson-Vulpe is currently a Senior Consultant at the 519 and authored the "Creating Authentic Spaces" document: The 519:
February 01, 2020
The LGBTQ Community and the Conservative Movement: A Conversation with Jamie Ellerton
Jamie Ellerton is Principal at Conaptus, Limited. Medium Article on NY Resolutions:
January 11, 2020
How do we Restore Balance in our Conversations? End of Year/Decade Reflection!
Listen to Munisha and I discuss how to restore balance in our conversations when it comes to politics. Happy Holidays and wishing you all the best for 2020 and beyond!
December 24, 2019
Climate Change: How Industries are reducing their Carbon Footprint
Todd Anderson has over 20 years experience in the energy sector - specifically in wind and solar. I sit down with him to discuss the innovative ways industries are reducing their emissions. And, what governments can do to help. 
December 14, 2019
Youth and Politics: the Generation after Milennials
Ann Nguyen sat down with me to discuss her interest in politics and her involvement in the Toronto Youth Cabinet - an organization that directly works with Toronto's City Councillors. Check them out at
December 07, 2019
Peter Downing and WEXIT's Constitution
For all the coverage of Wexit, surprisingly no one is talking about the Organization's Constitution. In this episode, I sit down with Peter Downing to discuss WEXIT's Constitution, which can be found here:
November 30, 2019
A Conversation with Gillian Smith
Gillian Smith is a tireless Volunteer, Consultant and former Progressive Conservative candidate in the 2018 Ontario Provincial Election. She has written an article about her experiences. Link below.
November 23, 2019
One Year Anniversary!
Join me as I discuss #strngnfr's ups and downs over the past year! What have I learned after one year of Podcasting? What can I improve upon? And most importantly - why I believe balanced discourse is more necessary than ever before! 
November 16, 2019
2019 Federal election results, proportional representation, and is western separation doable?
In this episode, I discuss the 2019 federal election results and proportional representation! As well I examine the Wexit association more closely looking at their constitution. I end the podcast by discussing some of Wexit's demands and how these could potentially be resolved within our curreny Federal system !
November 09, 2019
The West: Part 1 - Confederation and Western Alienation
Western alienation is real in Canada. You cannot open a newspaper without reading an article about it. Listen now to Heon and I, as we break down the underpinnings of western alienation that is rooted in our federal system. We explore Canada's federation, beginning with the near-immediate discontent by Provinces towards the federal government shortly after Confederation. What caused this? How did issues of the economy, taxation and the World Wars play a role? This and subsequent episodes will be very important to continue having a conversation about Western Alienation. Perhaps the most important conversation facing Canadians and Canada today. 
November 02, 2019
Canada Votes: Young People in Politics
In my last episode on the "Canada Votes" series, I wanted to talk to someone who has worked on the inside of a political party. I had the chance to converse with my friend Emily, who's been involved in politics since University, herself becoming the President of her political riding association. I wanted to understand more about the flexibility inside parties, the openness to criticism and what keeps her going even if she disagrees with the leader and certain public policies. Listen to our conversation and let me know what you think. And as always, stay balanced, stay informed!
October 28, 2019
Canada Votes: Bloc Quebecois
So I was a bit late uploading this. But better late than never! Listen to Heon and I discuss the Bloc Quebecois - examining the Party's history, its current platform and the major issues it is fighting for. An interesting aspect of the Bloc is their platform is quite interesting. While the Party is very much focused on fighting for the rights and freedoms of Quebec and Quebecois, the Bloc also pose interesting initiatives that could garner it support from outside Quebec. The Party's very much about fighting for the environment, ensuring big tech companies pay taxes in Canada and increased funding for Quebec artists and musicians. That said, the Bloc also are concerned about Multiculturalism and would like the French language to be a pre-requisite to citizenship in Canada. These and many other issues can alienate the Party from potential supporters both inside and outside Quebec. Listen to Heon and I debate and discuss this very important Party. 
October 25, 2019
Canada Votes: WEXIT - Interview with Peter Downing
Nearly 50 percent of Albertans would support secession from Canada, according to an Angus Reid poll completed in 2019. In #strngnfr's first interview, we sit down with Peter Downing, leader of the Wexit movement out of Alberta to understand what is leading to this sentiment. Has Ottawa purposely disempowered Provinces? Or are the concerns of Alberta a result of our federal system that does not address regional issues appropriately? Listen to my conversation with Peter Downing and learn about some of the issues facing Alberta and Albertans. And as always, stay balanced, stay informed. 
October 19, 2019
Canada Votes: Populism
Join Heon and I as we discuss the rise in populism in Canada. We also discuss the history and the aspects of populism that are not normally covered in the news today. Let us know your thoughts. Do you think populism is on the rise in Canada? 
October 11, 2019
Canada Votes: The Peoples Party of Canada
The Peoples Party of Canada (PPC) is perhaps the youngest political party in Canadian federal politics. Many have characterized the Party as being xenophobic and anti-immigrant. Their leader, Maxime Bernier has been vociferous by openly rejecting Canada’s multiculturalism policy. There is however an underlying philosophy that is guiding the Party and its decisions. Join Heon and I as we try to uncover the PPC more. What are their strengths, weaknesses and threats? And why are they resonating with many voters? We hope you enjoy listening to this podcast. It was very informative for us to research. Let me know what you think!
October 05, 2019
Justin Trudeau's Blackface / Brownface Scandal
Our goal at #strngnfr is to explore political topics with a balanced view. Throughout our #elexn43 coverage, we couldn't help but cover Justin Trudeau's brownface-blackface scandal. Join us in hearing our perspectives and what this may have done to the Liberal Party. 
October 02, 2019
Canada Votes: The Green Party of Canada
The Green Party of Canada has always been intriguing to me. I didn’t know enough about the Party. Is their platform only about responding to the environment? What about their stance on the economy? Immigration? Taxation? What are the Party’s strengths? Weaknesses? What would a Canada look like under the Green Party? And what is the connection with other Green Parties throughout the world? Join us in our continuing Election coverage as we explore the Green Party in more detail. 
September 28, 2019
Canada Votes: The Conservative Party of Canada
In episode three of our coverage of the 2019 Canadian federal election, Heon and I discuss the Conservative Party of Canada's history, philosophy, guiding principles, policy objectives and the biggest weaknesses facing the Party. Tune in now!
September 19, 2019
Canada Votes: The New Democratic Party (NDP)
In our second instalment leading up to the federal election, the Strong and Free Podcast examines the New Democratic Party (NDP). How was the Party formed? What principles does the Party fight for? What could explain the Party's meteoric rise in the 2011 federal election? And what are the Party's biggest challenges heading into the 2019 election? As always, we try our best to answer these questions providing you with as much information to continue having the conversation. Tune in now and let us know what you think!
September 07, 2019
Canada Votes: The Liberal Party of Canada
In our new series, the Strong and Free Podcast will be looking at each major political party leading up to the October election. First up, the Liberal Party. What could explain Justin Trudeau's rise in 2015? How could the leader of the third party seemingly overnight become the governing party with a majority? What did the past 4 years under Trudeau look like and what can Canadians expect if the Liberals were to win in October? These questions and others will be answered! Tune in now and let us know what you think!
August 31, 2019
The Canadian Military Part 4: Supports for Returning Military Personnel
In our final episode on the Canadian Military, we explore the stories of returning soldiers and the types of government supports for returning Military personnel. Specifically, we examine the supports that help individuals transition back to life in Canada. The sense of duty our military has to defend our country and the values we espouse cannot be understated. This series has fundamentally changed our perspectives and we are forever grateful to the brave individuals that sacrifice their careers, livelihoods and wellbeing for the safety and security for all of us. 
August 24, 2019
The Canadian Military Part 3: Veterans
In this week's episode, The Strong and Free Podcast examines four main issues facing veterans:  PTSD; Homelessness; Exposure to Chemicals; and Lump-Sum Disability Payments. As always, let us know what you think! 
August 17, 2019
The Canadian Military Part 2: Procurement
In this episode, Heon and I examine the perpetual issue of procurement in the Canadian military. What are the reasons behind procuring the best equipment for Canada's military? And why is military procurement always in the news? Listen now to learn more about military procurement in Canada! Sources used: Library of Parliament, The Evolution of Defence Procurement in Canada, February 2016: Report of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, Military Underfunded: The Walk Must Match the Talk, April 2017:
August 10, 2019
The Canadian Military Matters.
In this episode, Heon and I begin to explore the Canadian Military. We ask the tough questions of why the military is not front and centre for many Canadians. Sources used: Earnscliffe Strategy Group (2018): Views of the Canadian Armed Forces Tracking Study. Current Canadian Operations : Liberal Part of Canada Strategy: Strong, Secure and Engaged:
August 03, 2019
Hate Speech
Sources used in this episode: Hating Hate: Policy Implications of Hate Crime Legislation Author(s): Beverly A. McPhail Source: Social Service Review , Vol. 74, No. 4 (December 2000), pp. 635-653 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Political Tolerance, Racist Speech, and the Influence of Social Networks Author(s): Allison Harell Source: Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 91, №3 (SEPTEMBER 2010), pp. 724–740 Published by: Wiley The Limits of Tolerance in Diverse Societies: Hate Speech and Political Tolerance Norms Among Youth Author(s): Allison Harell Source: Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, Vol. 43, №2, Diversity and Democratic Politics (June 2010 juin), pp. 407–432 Published by: Canadian Political Science Association and the Société québécoise de science politique  DIGNITY, HARM, AND HATE SPEECH Author(s): ROBERT MARK SIMPSON Source: Law and Philosophy, Vol. 32, №6 (November 2013), pp. 701–728 Published by: Springer Stable URL: Accessed: 22–07–2019 22:25 UTC
July 27, 2019
Introduction of Heon Lee!
Welcome Heon Lee: Strong and Free's new co-host! In this episode we discuss Heon's background, and what made him decide to join the Strong and Free Podcast. Encounters with Canada ( MP Mark Warawa:
July 20, 2019
The Gender Gap: Identity Politics Part 2
In part two of our series on Identity Politics, Heon and I examine the Gender Gap. We tackle these four areas: 1) A history of the gender gap 2) Implications for today 3) What do current scholars believe 'cause' or contribute to the gender gap? 4) What can govts do to attempt to address this? Sources used: Complexities of the Gender Gap Author(s): Susan E. Howell and Christine L. Day Source: The Journal of Politics, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Aug., 2000), pp. 858-874 Published by: The University of Chicago Press  Revisiting the Gender Gap Author(s): James A. Rycik Source: American Secondary Education, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Summer 2008), pp. 98-101 Published by: Dwight Schar College of Education, Ashland University The Gender Gap Author(s): Karen M. Kaufmann Source: PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Jul., 2006), pp. 447-453 Published by: American Political Science Association Canadian Human Rights Act (1977) Percentage of women among university graduates, by field of study (1992, 2008) Statistics Canada—Women in Canada (Unpaid work, household activities) Gender differences in post-secondary STEM programs
July 14, 2019
Identity Politics
Identity Politics is a hot topic in today's politics. Listen to Heon and I debate the history of the topic and where the movement can go for the future. Sources used: Medium Article: Statistics Canada 2011 Report on Women and Education (1990-2009) US Census Bureau — Historical Income US Law School Performance Article (Link within the article to the particular study currently not available) NCES — Fall Enrollment in Post-Secondary Institutions (Supplementary Statistics) Civil Rights Act (1964) Equal Pay Act (1963) John F. Kennedy's Executive Order — Affirmative Action Graduation Rates from 4 Year Post-Secondary Institutions NCES
July 07, 2019
Alabama and its Ban on Abortion (Part 4): Special Guest!
Friends, this episode is quite special. Strong and Free's special guest, Heon Lee helps unpack the State of Alabama's ban on abortion, with detailed research on the Bill and implications. You don't want to miss this episode (and sorry for the poor audio quality!). Sources used: Bill text Canada's Prostitution Criminal Law Reform Bill-36 BBC Alabama women’s opinions on abortion (Video) Kay Ivey election platform & stance on abortion Polling data on abortion 25 of 27 Republicans are white, male legislators in a Republican dominated chamber/Four women against the bill are Democrats Raising victims of rape and incest
June 21, 2019
Abortion Part Three: Understanding the Anti-Abortion Movement
Sources Used:
June 17, 2019
Brainstorming a Better Way: Genuine Curiosity!
Hi everyone - in this episode I discuss a bit of brainstorming on the Strong and Free brand. Take a listen and let me know what you think! Stay balanced, stay informed!
June 10, 2019
Abortion Part Two: Psychological Effects on Women
Listen to my latest podcast on the psychological effects of abortion on women. Sources used: M. A. Biggs, Ushma D. Upadhyay, Julia R. Steinberg and Diana G. Foster, "Does abortion reduce self-esteem and life satisfaction?" Quality of Life Research, Vol. 23, №9 (November, 2014), pp. 2505–2513 Published by: Springer Julia R. Steinberg and Lisa Rubin,  Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2014, 1.1: 239–247), “Psychological Aspects of Contraception, Unintended Pregnancy, and Abortion," Katrina Kimport, in her piece, “(Mis)Understanding Abortion Regret,” Symbolic Interaction, 2012.
June 03, 2019
Abortion Part One: Personhood
Medium Article:
May 30, 2019
Anti Vax Movement
This topic discusses the Anti-vaccination movement noted as one of the top ten threats to health in 2019 by the WHO. MEDIUM ARTICLE:
May 20, 2019
Conversations about Education in Ontario
Hi Everyone,  Sorry for making my content Ontario-focused the last little while! Lots happening over here.  Medium Article and YouTube link below. Let me know what you think! MEDIUM ARTICLE: YOUTUBE:
May 12, 2019
Cuts to Education?
Sources used in this podcast: Liberal Party 2018-19 Education Programs - Other Education Funding 2018-19 - 2018-19 Ontario Budget - 2019-20 Ontario Budget - Grants for Student Needs 2019-20 - Grants for Student Needs 2019-20 Projections - Priorities and Partnership Fund (PPF) - New YouTube Channel - Medium articles -
May 04, 2019
You Should Care About the new 5G Network!
Sources used in this podcast: Congressional Research Service, "Fifth-Generation (5G) Telecommunications Technologies: Issues for Congress", United States Government, January 2019: Huawei, "5G Network Architecture: A High Level Perspective," 2016: Kadri Kaska, Henrik Beckvard and Tomáš Minárik, "Huawei, 5G and China as a Security Threat," NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, 2019: NGMN, "NGMN 5G White Paper," February 17, 2015: GSMA Intelligence,"ANALYSIS Understanding 5G: Perspectives on future technological advancements in mobile," December 2014: GSA.Com, "The Road to 5G: Drivers, Applications, Requirements and Technical Development," 2015:
April 15, 2019
Before You Reply Online - Confirmation Bias!
In this episode, I provide some insights on Confirmation Bias! 1) Present political issues online that invites conversations; not shuts them down. 2) Think about the sources used for the articles you post 3) Look at the comments, likes and engagement. Are people engaging with your content meaningfully, or at all? 
April 12, 2019
Quebec's Ban on Religious Symbols: Bill 21
In this episode, I explore the Province of Quebec's ban on religious symbols for certain public servants. Sources used in this podcast include the following: Marie McAndrew and Mahsa Bakhsaei, "The difficult integration of Muslims into Québec since 9/11: International or local dynamics?" International Journal, Vol. 67, No. 4, (Autumn 2012), pp. 931-949 Mereille le Breton, "Laïcité in the French Public School System : an exception française?" Paroles gelées, 23(1), 2007: 1-27. Raphael Liogier, "Laïcité on the Edge in France: Between the Theory of Church-State Separation and the Praxis of State-Church Confusion," Macquarie Law Journal 2009, Vol 9: 25-45. Lori G. Beaman, "Battles over Symbols: The "Religion" of the Minority Versus the "Culture" of the Majority," Journal of Law and Religion, 28.1, 2013. pp. 67-104. 
April 09, 2019
Before You Reply Online: 02 - Political Sniping!
In this episode, I explore political sniping in our comments online and provide some tips on how to avoid it. Remember: we want to be conversation starters / continuers (is that a word?) NOT conversation enders! Let me know your thoughts and feedback!  Twitter: StrongnFreePod Instagram: strngnfree Facebook/LinkedIn: Strong and Free Podcast Tumblr: strongandfreecad Email:
April 05, 2019
Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
Sources used in this podcast: Donna Feir and Robert Hancock’s “A Guide to Reconciliation for Quantitative Social Scientists," Interesting reading: Twitter: StrongnFreePod Instagram: strngnfree Facebook/LinkedIn: Strong and Free Podcast Tumblr: strongandfreecad Email: 
March 31, 2019
Before You Reply Online: 01!
I’m excited to share with you a new podcast series (surprise!): “Before You Reply Online”! We’ve all been there: someone posts something on our social media feeds that we absolutely disagree with: maybe it’s just a difference of opinion - or maybe it’s something so deeply upsetting to us, we can’t even fathom to look! So what do we do? We reply! And looking back, it might not have been the most...thoughtful reply ;).  This series will be about giving you some tips, tools and tricks through trial and error that I am trying to employ to prevent the inevitable ‘flame war’ from happening. Using my own experience, I'll try to guide you through the mental steps necessary before hitting that reply button.  Don’t flame people, kids. Let’s keep this respectful! And as always, stay balanced, stay informed!
March 27, 2019
Sources used in this episode: Defining and Researching Islamophobia Author(s): Erik Bleich Source: Review of Middle East Studies, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Winter 2012), pp. 182. Published by: Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) Islamophobia or Islamophobias: Towards Developing A Process Model Author(s): ZAFAR IQBAL Source: Islamic Studies, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 96 Published by: Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad The Long History of Islam as a Collective “Other” of the West and the Rise of Islamophobia in the U.S. after Trump Author(s): LÜTFİ SUNAR Source: Insight Turkey , Vol. 19, No. 3, TRUMP'S AMERICA CHANGES, CHALLENGES EXPECTATIONS AND UNCERTAINTIES (Summer 2017),  Erik Bleich, “What is Islamophobia and how much is there? Theorizing and Measuring an Emerging Comparative Concept,” American Behavioral Scientist, 55(12), 2011 Ideology, identity, and law in the production of Islamophobia Author(s): Cyra Akila Choudhury Source: Dialectical Anthropology, Vol. 39, No. 1 (March 2015) Shariah and Citizenship—How Islamophobia Is Creating a Second-Class Citizenry in America Author(s): Yaser Ali Source: California Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 4 (August 2012)
March 25, 2019
Donald Trump and Immigration Policy
In this episode I look at the rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate in the US, and examine how human perception may shape our discourse - for the worse. Let me know what you think!
March 12, 2019
SNC Lavalin Mini-series: Part 3 - Deferred Prosecution Agreements
In the final instalment of the SNC-Lavalin mini-series, I examine Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs). What is missing is a real understanding of what DPAs are and its effects on the Criminal Code. Sources used include the following: Justifications and Purposes of Negotiated Justice for Corporate Offenders: Deferred and Non-Prosecution Agreements in the UK and US systems of Criminal Justice Federico Mazzacuva, 2014, Journal of Criminal Law: 249. The Effect of Deferred and Non-Prosecution Agreements on Corporate Governance: Evidence from 1993-2013 Author(s): Wulf A. Kaal and Timothy A. Lacine Source: The Business Lawyer, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Winter 2014–2015), pp. 63 Published by: American Bar Association Justice department's use of DPAs causes backlash Jaclyn Jaeger Compliance Week. 10.110 (Mar. 2013): p32+. Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2013 Wilmington Compliance Week, Inc What Happens to a Prosecution Deferred? Judicial Oversight of Corporate Deferred Prosecution Agreements Author(s): Benjamin M. Greenblum Source: Columbia Law Review, Vol. 105, No. 6 (Oct., 2005), pp. 1868. Published by: Columbia Law Review Association, Inc. DOJ's Use of DPAs in Healthcare, Kathleen M. Boozang, and Simone Handler-Hutchison, American Journal of Law and Medicine, 2009, 89-124.
March 03, 2019
SNC Lavalin Mini-series: Part 2 - Legislation
In Part 2 of the Mini-Series on SNC-Lavalin, I examine the legislative environment the company, as a multi-national finds itself in. I examine the Corrupt Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) and its limitations. Sources used in this podcast include the following:
February 25, 2019
Food for Thought: Public Governance
Listen now on why public governance is so critical to major infrastructure projects!
February 21, 2019
SNC Lavalin Mini-series: Part 1 - Public Governance!
Tired of all the information about SNC-Lavalin? Listen to Part 1 of a small mini-series on SNC-Lavalin! This first episode will focus on public governance and procurement. Sources used in this podcast include the following:
February 17, 2019
Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline - Meaningful Engagement with Indigenous Peoples
Twitter: StrongnFreeCAD Instagram: strngnfree Facebook/LinkedIn: Strong and Free Podcast Tumblr: strongandfreecad Email:  Sources used in this podcast include the following: TransMountain ULC, Project Description for the Proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project, May 2013: Sean Kheraj, "Historical Background Report: Trans Mountain Pipeline, 1947-2013," York University: 2014. The National Energy Board, National Energy Board Report: The Trans Mountain Expansion Project, May 2016: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, 2018 Crude Oil Forecast: Markets and Transportation, 2018: Dmitry Zhdannikov, "OPEC raises U.S. oil supply outlook, sees lower demand for own crude," Reuters, September 23, 2018: Veracity Plus Consulting, Why Canada Needs New Pipeline Capacity to Tidewater, July 2016 Government of Canada, "Canada's Pipeline Safety System," July 25, 2016: Thomas Gunton et. al, Public Interest Evaluation of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, Simon Fraser University, May 2015:
February 10, 2019
FFT03: Taking a Deep Dive on Issues
 Twitter: StrongnFreeCAD Instagram: strngnfree  Facebook/LinkedIn: Strong and Free Podcast  Tumblr: strongandfreecad  Email:  In the third episode of Food for Thought, I explore why we are so quick to judge a topic after reading a bullet point about it - as was the case with the Minimum Wage legislation in Ontario.
February 07, 2019
Minimum Wage in Ontario
In this episode Strong and Free looks at the minimum wage debate in Ontario, by comparing Bill 148 introduced by the Ontario Liberal Party in 2017, and Bill 47 introduced by the Progressive Conservative Party in 2018.  Sources used:
February 03, 2019
FFT02: OSAP and Evidence-Based Protests?
Twitter: StrongnFreeCAD Instagram: strngnfree Facebook/LinkedIn: Strong and Free Podcast Tumblr: strongandfreecad Email: In the second episode of Food for Thought, I explore the need for evidence-based policy decisions, which should translate into evidence-based protests - especially considering the recent changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
January 30, 2019
Changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
Twitter: StrongnFreeCAD Instagram: strngnfree Facebook/LinkedIn: Strong and Free Podcast Email: Sources used in this podcast: Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, “Post Secondary Education in Canada,” Federal Spending on Post-Secondary Education, May 5 2016: 7. Gerard Walsh, “The Cost of Credentials: The Shifting Burden of Post-Secondary Tuition in Canada,” Royal Bank of Canada, June 2018: 2. Canadian Federation of Students, “An Overview of Tuition Fees in Canada,” July 2015: Canadian Federation of Students, “Funding for Post-Secondary Education,” 2013: Office of the Auditor General, “Ontario Student Assistance Program,” Chapter 3. 2018: OCUFA, “Reckless government announcement threatens education quality and students’ rights,” January 17, 2019:
January 27, 2019
FFT01: E Government in Canada?
Welcome to a new series presented by Strong and Free: Food For Thought (FFT). Questions will be posed about how the government can be better. In FFT's first episode - why can't more government services happen online?
January 22, 2019
Canada's Immigration System
Sources used in this podcast: David A. Green and Christopher Worswick, “Canadian Economics Research on Immigration Through the Lens of Theories of Justice,” University of British Columbia, 2017: 4. Paula Simons, “On point: Fifty years ago, Canada changed its immigration rules and in doing so changed the face of this country,” Edmonton Journal, June 29, 2017: Author unknown. “Points-based Immigration Systems: Canada”, Library of Congress, June 9, 2015: Vibha Kaushik and Julie Drolet, “Settlement and Integration Needs of Skilled Immigrants in Canada,” MDPI Social Sciences, 2018, 3. Jay Makarenko, “Immigration Policy in Canada: History, Administration and Debates,” August 12, 2010: Daniel Hiebert, “What’s So Special About Canada: Understanding the Resilience of Immigration and Multiculturalism,” Transatlantic Council on Migration, June 2016: 4.  Author unknown, “70 million children get no education, says report,” The Guardian, 2010: James Bissett, “Immigration policy is out of control and needs an overhaul,” Ottawa Citizen, November 20, 2017: Jason Markusoff, “Canada’s failing refugee system is leaving thousands in limbo,” Maclean’s Magazine, January 10, 2018: Sigal Samuel, “‘There’s a Perception That Canada Is Being Invaded’,” The Atlantic, May 26, 2018:
January 20, 2019
Sources used in this episode: Tracey L. Meares, “The Law and Social Science of Stop and Frisk,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 10(1), November 2014: 338. CBC News, “The Skin We’re In,” Date unknown: Statistics Canada, “Homicide in Canada, 2017,” The Daily, November 21, 2018: US Department of Justice, “Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations,” Urban Institute, 2015: 15. Jamaican Canadian Association, “The Independent Street Checks Review,” February 22, 2018: 13-14. Anthony N. Doob and Rosemary Gartner, “Understanding the Impact of Police Stops,” A Report for the Toronto Police Board, January 17, 2017: A6. Justice Michael Tulloch, Report of the Independent Street Checks Review, Government of Ontario, 2018:
January 13, 2019
Basic Income!
Sources used in this episode: Evelyn L. Forget, “The Case for Basic Income in Canada,” University of Manitoba, 2012. David E. Thigpen, “Universal Income: What is it and is it Right for the US?” Roosevelt Institute, October 2016. David Macdonald, “A Policymaker’s Guide to Basic Income,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, October 2016. John Kay, “The Basics of Basic Income,” ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, date unknown. Ryan Meili and Danielle Martin, “The Health Case for Basic Income,” in Basic Income: Rethinking Social Policy, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2016. Kela FPA, “Platform for Basic Income Experiment,” From Idea to Experiment: Report on Universal Basic Income Experiment in Finland, 2015. Homeless Hub, “Homelessness and the Lack of Affordable Housing: What is the link?” The State of Homelessness in Canada, 2014.
January 06, 2019
Thank you!
Happy New Year!  Thank you for everyone tuning into Strong and Free. There are some major plans for 2019. It's going to be great! Tune into hear what I am thinking for the year ahead!  As always, stay #strgnfr
January 01, 2019
Cannabis Legalization!
Sources used in this podcast: Armina Ligaya, “Cannabis legalization named top Canadian business news story of 2018,” Global News, December 16, 2018: Vanmala Subramaniam, “Canadians still split on cannabis legalization, Forum Research Poll finds,” Financial Post, October 17, 2018: Mohammad Hajizadeh, “Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana in Canada: Review of Potential Economic, Social, and Health Impacts,” International Journal of Health Policy Management, 2016: 454. Deloitte, “A society in transition, an industry ready to bloom 2018 cannabis report,” 2018: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction, “Cannabis,” Canadian Drug Summary, June 2018, 5-7: B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Submission, “B.C. Cannabis Regulation Engagement,” Government of BC, 2017: Government of Canada, “Legalizing and Regulating Cannabis: The Facts,” 2018: Juliet Akhibe et. al, “The Public Health Implications of the Legalization of Recreational Cannabis,” Ontario Public Health Association, 2017: 16-17. Marco Leyton, “Legalizing Marijuana,” Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 2016: 75. Michael Broughton, “The Prohibition of Marijuana,” University of Manitoba, 2016: 6.
December 24, 2018
U-S-M-C-A !
Sources used in this podcast: Statista, “Breakdown of BMW Group's worldwide automobile sales in FY 2017, by region,” 2017: Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, “Trade Policy Under President Trump: Implications for the US and the World,” Chatham House, November, 2017: Congressional Research Service, “Proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement,” In Focus, November 30, 2018: Wilson Center, “Infographic | USMCA: Rules of Origin and Origin Procedures,” Wilson Center: Canada Institute, November 30, 2018: Heather Gies, “NAFTA out, USMCA in: What’s in the Canada, Mexico, US trade deal?,” University of Toronto, October 1, 2018: 2.,%20USMCA%20in.pdf Royal Bank of Canada, “The USMCA: Manageable Concessions, Less Uncertainty,” RBC Economic Research, October 1, 2018: Kelsey Johnson, “Dairy 101: The Canada-U.S. milk spat explained,” iPolitics, April 22, 2017: Scott Vaughn, “NAFTA’s Environmental Record: History, outcomes, impacts and options,” International Institute for Sustainable Development, June 2017: 7. Mary E Burfisher et. al, “The Impact of NAFTA on the United States,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 15.1, 2001: 128. O’Leary, C. J., R. W. Eberts and B. M. Pittelko (2012), “Effects of NAFTA on US Employment and Policy Responses”, OECD Trade Policy Working Papers, No. 131, OECD Publishing., 8.
December 18, 2018
Free Trade!
Sources used in this episode: Thieb Peterson, “Globalization Report 2018: What about the NAFTA Countries?” Global Economic Dynamics Blog, June 13, 2018: Bruce Anderson and David Coletto, “Most Canadians would vote for the USMCA deal,” Abacus Data, October 16, 2018: Financial Post, “Barely a third of Canadians happy with new North American trade deal, poll suggests,” October 23, 2018: Jolanta Drozdz, Algirdas Miškinis, “Benefits and Threats of Free Trade,” Publishing House of Wrocław University of Economics, 2011: 41: Government of Canada, “Minerals and the economy,” Natural Resources Canada, August 8, 2018: Government of Canada, “Canadian Mining Assets,” Natural Resources Canada, February 2018: Ian Fergusson, “The Trade and Investment Relationship,” United States-Canada Trade and Economic Relationship: Prospects and Challenges, September 14, 2011: 3. Dr. Veena Jha et. al, “Literature Review,” Renegotiating NAFTA: Pros and Cons for Canada and Mexico,, September 2017:
December 17, 2018
Towards a Civil Discourse!
Sources used in this episode: American Psychological Association, “Managing Stress Related to Political Change,”, 2017: Mythili Sampathkumar, “Thanksgiving: Most Americans want to avoid discussing politics at dinner, poll finds,” Independent, 2018: Rishab Nithyanand et. al, “Online Political Discourse in the Trump Era,”, 2017: 5. Robert McChesney, “Media Policies and Media Reform: Technology and the Internet,” The Problem of the Media: US Communication Politics in the 21st Century, 214. Andrea Leskes, “A Plea for Civil Discourse: Needed, the Academy’s Leadership,” Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2014:
November 27, 2018
Carbon Pricing in Canada!
This episode will focus on the carbon pricing system being proposed in Canada. Sources used: Nicholas Rivers, “The Case for a Carbon Tax in Canada,” Canada 2020, November 2014. Justin Worland, “How the Recession Accidentally Helped the Planet,” Time, July 22, 2015: Marc Jaccard et. Al, “Is Win-Win Possible? Can Canada’s Government Achieve its Paris Commitment…and get re-elected? “ Simon Fraser University, September 2016. Government of Canada, Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, 2016. Government of Canada, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector,” June 6, 2018: Jesse Good, Carbon Pricing Policy in Canada, February 26, 2018, Rizwan Khan and Burgundy Dunn, “The Federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and its Provincial Opposition,” Mondaq, October 2018: John Paul Tasker, “Trudeau promises rebates as Ottawa moves to levy carbon tax on provinces outside the climate plan,” CBC News, October 23, 2018: Government of Saskatchewan, Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, December 2017: Government of Manitoba, A Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, 2017: Government of Canada, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Province,” Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2017: 12. Royal Bank of Canada, “Carbon Levies Poised to Become Big Money for Provinces,” RBC Economics Research, October 2017. Joseph Aldy and Robert Stavins, “The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon: Theory and Experience,” Journal of Environment & Development, 2012. Nelson Bennett, “Don’t fixate on carbon pricing: Mark Jaccard,”, September 21, 2016: Ross McKitrick, “Canada’s phony debate about carbon taxes,” Fraser Institute, February 23, 2018: Jonathan Ramseur, “US Carbon Dioxide Emissions Trends and Projections: Role of Clean Power Plan and Other Factors,” Congressional Research Service, May 31, 2017:
November 19, 2018
Strong and Free: Episode 1!
Welcome to Strong and Free! A podcast dedicated to providing you the information you need on the topics of the day! Sources used in this episode: Dr. Chloe Carmichael, “Political Polarization is a Psychology Problem,” Huffington Post, August 11, 2017: Diana Petramala, et. Al, “Millennials in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area: A Generation Stuck in Apartments?” Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, Ryerson University, 2018: 5. Eric Grenier, “2015 federal election saw youth vote in unprecedented numbers,” CBC News, June 15, 2016:
November 15, 2018