We shouldn’t teach ethnic languages in public schools

Teaching such languages is better done by parents and ethnic associations. Schools must focus on core subjects

We shouldn’t teach ethnic languages in public schoolsThe Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called upon governments to make the teaching of Indigenous languages in public schools a priority. No one would disagree with the idea of having more Indigenous people become familiar with their ancestral languages. Many Canadians want their children to learn their ethnic languages. Parents with Scottish roots might…

Lining up for another government payout

Should every Indigenous person who was required to attend day school be compensated?

Lining up for another government payoutCBC reports that a class-action lawsuit against the federal government has been authorized on behalf of Indigenous students who attended day schools in Canada. It seeks damages for every Indigenous student who attended. There are an estimated 100,000 such people alive. The lawsuit could result in a payout of at least the $5 billion that…

Worried about the alt-right? Be the anti-right

The best way to reduce the possibility of more alt-right-inspired violence is to confront its narratives head on

Worried about the alt-right? Be the anti-rightBy John Grant and Fiona MacDonald EvidenceNetwork.ca One year since the violent alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., and months since the Toronto van attack, Canadians can legitimately worry about increased political violence. The images of angry white men marching openly in Nazi regalia loom large alongside the revelation that some men are organizing groups driven by views of…

Night hunting has no place in the modern world

Why would a responsible government not immediately issue a total ban on something that’s so explicitly dangerous?

Night hunting has no place in the modern worldNight hunting is an incredibly dangerous practice involving high-powered rifles capable of killing over a distance measured in kilometres. People have been killed as a result of this reckless activity and livestock slaughtered. It’s also responsible for an alarming decline in moose in Manitoba. It should not be allowed under any circumstances. The Manitoba government…

Canada’s cross-cultural identity deeply rooted in western society

While there’s great diversity in Canada – regional, urban-rural, French-English and ethnic – it’s encompassed within the framework of Canadian culture

Canada’s cross-cultural identity deeply rooted in western societyThe view that ‘‘There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada,’’ put forward by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is incorrect. Notwithstanding Canada’s official multiculturalism policy, Canadian culture is firmly based in western civilization. The main Canadian political structures are derived from western civilization: Language is a foundational substructure of culture, and Canada’s two official…

It’s the religious who tend most to favour diversity

Non-believers overwhelmingly believe every religious community in Canada, especially Muslims and evangelical Christians, hurt the country

It’s the religious who tend most to favour diversityThroughout autumn, the soup of our multicultural society has almost boiled over with questions about secularism and religion – of what is and isn’t allowed in contemporary public and common Canadian life. Efforts to relegate religious expression and thought to the margins have been ramped up. Those efforts, however, are out of step with broader…

On board but not bored: why committee work makes a difference

The best boards reflect Canada’s diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, language, regionality, background and enthusiasm for the cause

On board but not bored: why committee work makes a differenceMany of us volunteer to sit on boards of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some of us also sit on for-profit boards that govern businesses. In both cases, we know the experience (and consequences) of good and bad board encounters. Consequently I increasingly ask myself, after board meetings, how did it really go? Was the time…

A tempest in a cultural appropriation teapot

For the CBC and others, a joke about cultural appropriation is more important than, you know, things like real racism

A tempest in a cultural appropriation teapotAll novelists are liars. Thieves, too. So said the late Mordecai Richler. My friend and I were in the dark at the back at the Bovine Sex Club on Queen West, waiting to see the Minneapolis punk band Off With Their Heads. My friend had just told me the story of how, years ago, he…

Why cultural appropriation is a good thing

It’s difficult to point to an attribute in any culture that hasn’t been copied from another culture. Sharing cultural properties is how humanity advances

Why cultural appropriation is a good thingThe first time I heard the term cultural appropriation was a few years back when a volunteer-run yoga class at the University of Ottawa was denounced by university administrators and suddenly cancelled. This bizarre story quickly went viral, with many wondering if this was a Canadian April Fool’s Day prank. Regrettably, the university officials who…

The pitfalls of policing what people say and think

To argue that writers may not write from the perspective of another culture limits the broader culture’s imagination and understanding

The pitfalls of policing what people say and thinkIt was a poorly lobbed joke that went off in Hal Niedzviecki’s hand. Last week, Niedzviecki wrote in a column for Write magazine that he was “exhausted” by the immutable whiteness of white Canadian authors. As a cure to this affliction, he proposed a contest to encourage writers to explore “the lives of people who…

Cultural appropriation controversy is entirely about free speech

The only route to a better appreciation of the cultures in Canada is through exposure, questioning, expressing opinions – even if those opinions are wrong

Cultural appropriation controversy is entirely about free speechIf there’s ever going to be a watershed moment in protecting free speech in Canada, the recent controversy surrounding cultural appropriation could fit the role. The story began in a rather innocuous manner. Hal Niedzviecki, editor of Write magazine (the quarterly publication of the Writers’ Union of Canada), wrote in a column, “I don’t believe…