Crisis in Education
Of the many inspiring quotations seen on grade school classroom walls, “Be the change you want to see in the world” is among the most popular. Curiously enough, the educational establishment almost always opposes any changes to its own status quo. Case in point: the uproar over Alberta’s plans to remake its public-school curriculum by putting greater emphasis on facts and memorization. Such a “content-rich” learning approach conflicts sharply with the “child-centred” beliefs long cherished by educrats. But there’s more at stake here than competing classroom methods, reports Lorrie Clark. Up for grabs is the very way in which a society creates and nurtures its citizenry.
Was the nadir of the Trudeau government’s foreign policy when the prime minister beclowned himself in donning an Indian folk costume while on an official state visit? Or when he declared Europe’s acute energy supply crisis would be solved through more wind and solar power? Each became emblematic of the sad slide in Canada’s international credibility. So it has been encouraging to see all the Conservative Party leadership candidates thinking seriously about foreign and defence policy. While they differ in detail and disagree about significant aspects, it seems certain whoever wins the race will put the Liberals on notice that under a Conservative prime minister, there’d be no more Mr. Dress-Up. Mathew Preston reviews and compares each candidate’s positions – and agrees it’s time for Canada to put its Big Boy Pants back on.
Tolerance is one of Canada’s greatest virtues. For this reason, any accusation that our country is riven with hatred is profoundly troubling to all fair-minded Canadians. One of the loudest voices levelling accusations of systemic hate is the Muslim Association of Canada; it’s also a major beneficiary of government anti-hate funding. But can a group that has invited speakers who approve of the death penalty for gays or the extermination of the Jews and that denounces nearly any criticism of its positions as “Islamophobia” really be defending the Canadian values of (in its own words) “justice, mercy, peace, respect, security, equity, dignity and equality”? Frédéric Bastien takes a close look.
The knives are out for Pierre Poilievre. Virtually everything about him displeases not only the hard-left but soft conservatives and ostensibly well-meaning centrists who believe – or claim – that he is an ideologue (or opportunist) mesmerized by (or perhaps merely exploiting) populism, a word raised in their minds to the power of incantation signalling everything bad in the human soul. Samuel Routley conducts a detached and good-faith evaluation of Poilievre’s policies, style, messaging and background, setting the Conservative leadership candidate’s meteoric rise against the context of an increasingly disgruntled electorate with a potential “change” election on the horizon.
Whether you consider him a patriot or traitor, Louis Riel’s two rebellions in the 1800s were grounded in practical matters of geography and political representation – with the overarching goal of bettering the lives of the Métis people Riel claimed to represent. But today, a nasty dispute among Métis organizations is fixated on internal power struggles and matters of racial identity rather than greater prosperity and respect for all. At the centre is a multi-million-dollar lawsuit that turns on competing definitions of Canada’s mixed-race Métis and arguments over who should represent them. Peter Best explores the legal origins of this fruitless struggle and what it might hold for Canadian taxpayers of all races and combinations.
The New Racism
If the first precept of medicine is to do no harm, then surely that same principle should hold for education as well. And yet the growing determination among school boards and teachers’ organizations to force critical race theory into the classroom threatens great harm to the children they’ve been entrusted to teach, as well as to the targets of critical race theory and society at large. David Millard Haskell offers a first-hand account of what happens when this socially-divisive and fact-blind Marxist ideology infects a major school board in southwestern Ontario. It’s an education in chaos.
Freedom of Conscience
A successful society depends on the contributions of many unelected civic-minded individuals who feel a duty to serve others. But who would put their name forward for such public service if they knew it was likely to unleash a torrent of politically-motivated abuse? Case in point: Collin May, recently appointed chief of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Despite being eminently suited for the job, May was last week accused of “overt racism” and faced calls to resign because of a book review he wrote for C2C Journal 13 years ago. It’s an accusation built on a blatant misreading of the text and disregard for historical truth. The editors of C2C Journal examine the toxic implications of this “attack first, ask questions never” approach to public discourse.
Energy and Food Supply
It has been said that in the “progressive” mind, intentions matter far more than practical realities. Passion and commitment drive everything, and utopia shimmers on a distant horizon. Who can be against “saving the plant”? The journey may seem pleasant enough for a while, especially in advanced and basically well-run countries whose systems were built with “design margin,” robust enough to absorb some bad contingencies. But that can only carry a country – or a global economy – so far. Gwyn Morgan lays out the awful humanitarian results when unworkable government policies driven by decades of green ideology are compounded by war and geopolitics.
Following the Science
Can an advanced present-day society not only be wrong, but do all in its power to avoid being right? Can it basically lose its collective mind? Psychologist Mattias Desmet believes it can, and has assembled the intellectual framework to evaluate a societal descent in which overweening governments not only robbed people of their freedoms, but the people gladly colluded in the process. In Desmet’s view, whole populations have fallen into the grip of a “group hypnosis that destroys ethical awareness,” one that also envelopes society’s (allegedly) best and (ostensibly) brightest, and one whose worst effects could still lie ahead. In her review of Desmet’s important new book, Margret Kopala explores how we got here and where we may yet go.
With Canada’s inflation rate officially hitting 7.7 percent, the cost of living has become the dominant political and economic issue of 2022. But where on the ideological spectrum should Canadians seek solace? On the right, the prescription is clear: inflation is always a monetary affliction that can only be cured by higher interest rates, complemented by reduced government spending and lower taxes. On the left: take your pick, as economic interventionists offer up a wide variety of causes and cures. Philip Cross sorts through the competing explanations and looks to the lessons of history for guidance on bringing Canada’s inflation rate to heel.
Reforming Health Care
Canada is among the few countries where it is illegal for people to use their own financial resources to look after their own health and pay for life-saving treatments. Instead, governments allegedly do all this for ”free” – but then ration access to health care when demand for services exceeds supply. The result is an overloaded system with millions of Canadians languishing on waiting lists for services that, in many instances, fall below international standards. Brian Day charts what happens when an innovative company tries to ease some of these pressures and provide more timely health care. In short, governments don’t like it when you make them look stupid.
History was once a collection of facts, relics and other evidence organized in ways that illuminated our past and explained our present. And museums were where we kept much of that history safe, accessible and easily enjoyed. But that’s so yesterday. Today, Canada’s museums are accused – often by their own staff and leaders – of perpetrating “Euro-centric ableist narratives of patriarchy, exploitation, colonization and heteronormativity” and must therefore be comprehensively dismantled. Larry Ostola examines the mysterious disappearance of Toronto’s popular Fort York Guard, a long-time tourist attraction, as museums across the country descend into identity politics madness.
The laws of economics are crystal clear about what happens when prices fall dramatically. Demand rises in step. Such will be the inevitable result of Canada’s new national childcare program as parents respond to heavily-subsidized fees that will eventually drop to a mere $10 per day. But unless the supply of childcare spaces increases in equally dramatic fashion, chaos awaits. Talking to daycare operators across the country, Peter Shawn Taylor charts the troubled rollout of Ottawa’s new childcare policy, the role played by the Trudeau government’s open hostility towards the private sector and what the future holds for Canadian families.
State of Academia
As a lifelong academic, political scientist Barry Cooper believed the university had the means – and the duty – to lead government and society in the quality of reasoning it brought to bear on difficult issues. Like Covid-19. Instead, Cooper’s document-based review of the University of Calgary administration’s decisions and statements during the pandemic suggests that, far from carefully weighing evidence and reaching balanced (or even courageous) decisions, the leadership was governed by emotion, driven by impulse and willingly subject to the shifting whims of medical bureaucrats. Logic, evidence, rational risk assessment and even basic humanity were cast aside. Whatever one might think of the resulting policies, the paper trail Cooper examines is shocking for its banal thinking, atrocious writing, pompous condescension and immature emotionalism.
Is Truth Dead?
“As a valued customer, a dedicated member of our expert team will be with you very shortly.” All of us encounter variations on this ubiquitous line – at minimum insincere, exaggerated and misleading, if not deliberately false. Many of us barely even notice, while nearly all have given up fighting it. But what does it actually take to inure a culture to misdirection, deception and falsehood – to lying? What is the motive source that would seek such comprehensive degradation? And where might it lead? David Solway explores how lying has become institutionalized into a structural component of cultural and political life, seeing its origins in deep recesses of human nature, its contours outlined by theologians of ancient times – and its dreadful potential exploited and put to unprecedented uses today.