2016 Hart House Hancock Lecture

Glorious and Free?

Hancock Lecture 15th Anniversary
How do we reconcile the perception of Canada as a welcoming and inclusive nation with the direction of its policies?


Divisive rhetoric and actions delivered in the name of “public security” have, in recent years, created very different experiences for different Canadians. The reform of citizenship law and the surveillance of “anti-Canadian values” were among the previous government’s attempts to contour Canadian citizenship in the post 9/11 world, yet these policies also connect to a long-standing tradition of marginalization in Canada.

From the genocide of Indigenous peoples and the internment of Japanese Canadians, to ongoing practices of racial profiling and the racialization of national security policies, Canada remains a country in tension with its own mythology.

As Canadians are ushered into a new era of “sunny ways,” how will the newly elected administration acknowledge and effectively address the continuity of discrimination in Canada’s history? How will it respond to the underrepresented voices and experiences of everyday citizens affected by public security policies?

The talk will be followed by an in-depth discussion and Q&A with guest lecturer, Azeezah Kanji, and moderator, Desmond Cole.

When: Tues., Feb. 9, 2016, 7 pm
Where: Hart House Theatre
Cost: Students – Free* / Non-Students – $10

Full Lecture

Q&A Discussion

The following YouTube video features Azeezah Kanji, the 2016 Hart House Hancock Lecturer, delivering her remarks at the Walrus Talks Canada 150 event entitled “We Desire a Better Country” that was presented at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg on the evening of March 16, 2017.

Feb. 8, 2016: Read more about tomorrow’s Hancock Lecture and the racialization of public security policies in the Torontoist article, “Hancock Lecture to Explore the Meaning of Canadian Citizenship.” >

Jan. 29, 2016: Azeezah Kanji’s response to Barbara Kay in the National Post, entitled “Counterpoint: While on the Topic of Muslims, here are a few other numbers to note.” >

Jan. 7, 2016: Azeezah Kanji’s co-authored Toronto Star article on the subject of national security and the war on terror, entitled “Liberals must end Canada’s complicity in torture.” >

Azeezah KanjiAzeezah Kanji

Azeezah Kanji is a legal scholar, activist, and writer based in Toronto. She received her JD from University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and LLM specializing in  Islamic Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She serves as Programming Coordinator at Noor Cultural Centre, and is a frequent contributor to Canadian media (including in the National Post, Toronto Star, and Rabble) on issues of national security, multiculturalism and Muslims in Canada.

Desmond ColeDesmond Cole, Moderator

Desmond Cole is an activist, author and an award-winning freelance journalist. He is a weekly columnist at the Toronto Star, and his writing also appears in Torontoist, Walrus, NOW Magazine, VICE and Ethnic Aisle. Desmond hosts a radio program every Sunday afternoon on Newstalk1010, and co-hosts a podcast on Canadian politics called Canadaland Commons. He is currently working on his first book about the past and present experiences of black Canadians.

Hancock Lecture Complementary Programming

The annual Hancock Lecture is designed to enliven discussion, instigate thought, even kindle controversy. To facilitate this type of reflection and ongoing interaction, Hart House presents supplementary events and activities to further the theme of the lecture. Throughout the month leading up to and following the lecture, join the conversation around citizenship, race and religion by attending these special events.


Doc SeriesConscious Doc Film Screening: Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows
The film features unprecedented access and exclusive interviews with Omar Khadr during his first few days of freedom after nearly 13 years in detention. The Canadian born Khadr describes his experiences to author Michelle Shephard in this 44-minute documentary, a collaboration between the CBC, the Toronto Star and White Pine Pictures.
When: Tues., Jan. 26, 2016, 6:00 pm
Where: Debates Room, Hart House

Talking Walls TileTalking Walls Exhibit: “…But I still can’t vote”
Transforming the hallway of Hart House into an exhibit space, “…But I still can’t vote” tells the story of people who live in Canada and contribute to their communities, yet remain unable to vote in elections at any level of government.
When: Feb. 1–17, 2016
Where: Main hallway, Hart House

5-Buck Lunch5-Buck Lunch
Sponsoring groups are invited to come and dine with those interested in volunteering as an informal way to discuss the refugee crisis and potential solutions. Information on how to get involved will be available to browse as you enjoy a Syrian inspired lunch. Hosted by the University of Toronto’s Syria Initiative and the Hancock Lecture.
When: Wed., Feb. 3, 2016
Cost: $5 Students / $7 Non-students

ZarqaReligion, Comedy and Free Speech Symposium: In partnership with Multi Faith Centre
When does free speech become hate speech, and how do we protect political and civil rights from policies of censorship? Join Zarqua Nawaz, Prof. Ken Durry, author of A Buddhist, a Christian, and an Atheist Walk into a Classroom: Pedagogical Reflections on Religion and Humor and Tasleem Thawar, Executive Director PEN Canada, for an engaging conversation about the intersection of satire and religion.
: Wed., Feb. 3, 2016, 6–8:30 pm
Where: Debates Room, Hart House

Get Crafty!Get Crafty: Love Letter to Syrian Newcomers
Hands on workshop asks participants to write letters of welcome and support to the 10,000 Syrian refugees to be settled in Toronto by Valentine’s Day 2016.
When: Thurs., Feb. 11, 2016, 11 am–1 pm
Where: East Common Room, Hart House


Beyond the HeadlinesBeyond the Headlines: In Conversation with Azeezah Kanji
Continue the conversation as Beyond the Headlines puts policy to the test in an engaging live to air interview with 2016 Hart House guest lecturer Azeezah Kanji and social activist Desmond Cole. Hosted by Abdi Hersi.
When: Mon., Feb. 22, 2016, 11 am–12 pm
Where: Map Room, Hart House

About the Hart House Hancock Lecture

The Hancock Lecture – named in honour of Margaret Hancock, Warden of Hart House from 1997 to 2007 – is an annual Hart House event where emerging thought-leaders and social commentators present timely, important and provocative ideas relevant to Canadians. For more info on the Hart House Hancock Lecture go here >>