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New year, same issues: This week's blog roundup

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New year, and the world’s no less crazy. The Dalhousie scandal continues to make headlines on our fair turf this week, as the debate on the merits of restorative justice rages on. Though the 13 Dentistry students that belonged to the misogynistic Facebook group have since been suspended, Judy Haiven’s piece on why the road most travelled -- the middle one between apology and contrition -- won't do anymore as a response to institutional sexism. Lucia Lorenzi also throws her hat into the ring, writing about her own experience with sexism as a postgraduate, and how rape culture destroys students' faith in the system. Finally, Stephen Kimber tells us why a public investigation into the controversy is necessary in order to truly bring the perpetrators to justice.

Year-end polls can be an enlightening look back at our collective time spent on this Earth -- or they can make you want to tear your hair out. Such was the case with Time magazine’s absurd "poll" that asked readers if the word "feminist" should be banned. Meghan Murphy outlines why this question was asinine. On the bright side, though, the frequent use of the term means that change is finally afoot. Stephen Kimber tells us why 2014 was a good year for feminism.

In more tragic news from the realm of gender politics, Ohio trans teen Leelah Alcorn committed suicide a few days shy of 2015. In the ensuing media coverage, various pundits editorialized her death into a debate over whether her parents' religious rights took precedence over her gender freedom. This so-called "debate" is especially pertinent in Canada at the moment, with the tabling of Bill 10 in Alberta. Mercedes Allen tells us why it’s the child’s rights that supersede those of the parents when it comes to trans issues.

While a new year brings much uncertainty, one thing is without a doubt going down in 2015 -- a federal election, hooray!  Recent polls put the Conservatives neck in neck with the Liberals, which means a coalition government between opposition parties is not out of the question. Brent Patterson gears up for what is sure to become a debate in the media, and then asks what a coalition government would mean for progressive politics in Canada.

Here's a joke you can use all election year: "How do you know a politician is lying? His lips are moving." So begins Susan Wright's piece on noncommunication in political speak. She asks whether some of our politicians have lied to us -- and whether a political lie is really a lie at all.

Finally, political analyst Naomi Klein’s most recent book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate purports that social movements are enough to save the planet. Dennis Gruending disagrees, and tells us why here


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