Justin Trudeau and the relativism of truth

Is it too much to ask for honesty from the Prime Minister?

Justin Trudeau and the relativism of truthGeorge Orwell would likely have caught his breath at news of a prime minister caught in a flagrant fib on a day dedicated to capital T Truth. Orwell, of course, spent his journalistic career ferreting out and castigating the incessant political lying of the mid-20th century. His magisterial essay Politics and the English Language includes…

The rise of the golden age of stupidity

The pandemic is making scapegoats of those that only yesterday we called fellow citizens and neighbours

The rise of the golden age of stupidityAmerican writer Lance Morrow recently identified our current moment as the golden age of stupidity. No evidence exists that the author of America: A Rediscovery and Second Drafts of History was peeping across the border watching the 2021 Canadian federal election when he made the claim. That’s probably a good thing. Morrow's language might have…

The hidebound habits of the journalistic mind

'Reporting' today is simply a note-perfect parrot-squawk of State-approved storylines

The hidebound habits of the journalistic mindAn editor-in-chief infamous for, shall we say, whimsy once decreed no opening sentence of any news story could exceed 21 words. The impromptu commandment unleashed a newsroom tizzy equivalent to what might have erupted if an exotic dancer had walked in bearing a burlap bag full of ferrets and released them during her performance. The…

Believe it or not! First-rate journalists still exists in Canada

In the midst of institutional confusion and ineptness, individual journalists are still holding the powerful to account

Believe it or not! First-rate journalists still exists in CanadaHonesty demands acknowledgement. In recent weeks I’ve written sharp criticism of journalistic performance on a variety of issues. It’s true that at the institutional level, corporate providers of the ceaseless information that floods our waking hours too often resemble a pooch begging for table scraps while running in ever diminishing circles going yip-yip-yip. It would…

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deaths

Including: how was it possible for these deaths to occur without anyone noticing?

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deathsMelissa Mollen-Dupuis and I don’t know each other but we appear to share similar thoughts on the journalism around Kamloops, B.C. and the discovery of an unmarked grave containing remains of Indigenous children. In an interview with Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper recently, Mollen-Dupuis was sharply critical of media response to the shocking news that ground-penetrating…

Lazy journalism becoming a mouthpiece for the State’s narrative

There is a growing comfort in institutional journalism to follow rather than question

Lazy journalism becoming a mouthpiece for the State’s narrativeWarning lights should always flash before our eyes whenever journalists mix raw numbers and percolating percentages in the same paragraph. Numbers clearly state actuality. Percentages are the ups and downs of context. Regardless of the axiom attributed to Stalin that one death is a tragedy and a million is a statistic, if two people die,…

Standing up for vaccine skeptics

Denigrating those who question the need for Covid vaccinations as “conspiracy theorists” is an attack on our liberties

Standing up for vaccine skepticsIn a recently re-opened Ottawa restaurant this week, a member of our party of five was forbidden from using a chair. He wasn’t sitting on it, standing on his head showing off some exotic yoga pose or, more pedestrianly, engaged in man-spreading to a degree that discomfited other diners. In fact, he was told he…

Time to celebrate the Week of Indigenous Women

RoseAnne Archibald, Mary Simon and Jody Wilson-Raybould give Canadians plenty of reason to hope

Time to celebrate the Week of Indigenous WomenThe fifth ballot win that made RoseAnne Archibald the first ever female national chief of the Assembly of First Nations sealed the Week of Indigenous Women in Canada. Fittingly, it came only seven days after the wave of soul-searching national angst over residential schools that led to overwrought cancellations of Canada Day in some corners…

Will the new AFN chief speak for all Indigenous in Canada?

Each First Nation across the country fiercely guards its status as a sovereign jurisdiction, making it difficult for the AFN to articulate one vision

Will the new AFN chief speak for all Indigenous in Canada?In its 40th year, the Assembly of First Nations is in the throes of a seven-candidate race to select its national chief on Wednesday. But with skeletons of children being rediscovered by the hundreds at former residential school sites, Catholic churches vandalized or burned on First Nations territories, and the AFN accused of financial mismanagement…

The mad rush to implement MAiD legislation

A single year to legalize such a wholesale change about the ending of human life signals a country moving away from its past

The mad rush to implement MAiD legislationFor two evenings recently, my Cardus colleagues and a panel of expert guests have engaged in an in-depth discussion on YouTube on Canada’s post-COVID future. They covered an impressive range of issues from education to the bifurcation of society as the pandemic exposed real, and really troubling, differences in how cohorts of Canadian society were…

Is Wilson-Raybould poised to lead Canada’s Indigenous?

The implications for Canadian politics are profound

Is Wilson-Raybould poised to lead Canada’s Indigenous?In the year before the pandemic, Jody Wilson-Raybould was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s worst headache. In a speech she gave on Wednesday, the former justice minister and attorney general showed why she could become the PM’s worst nightmare. “This practice, this hypocrisy, the affirmation of Charter rights … but denial of Indigenous rights is, in…

We have to understand that MAiD still means homicide

Former Mountie Sean Murphy is calling for a Criminal Code amendment to protect conscientious objections to MAiD

We have to understand that MAiD still means homicideSean Murphy has what he considers a clear way through the tangle between the House of Commons and Senate over Liberal government legislation to expand Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). The former veteran Mountie and coroner says the bill’s status would be clarified if all Canadians understood that MAiD means homicide. A logical outcome he…

Caught in the crosshairs of cancel culture trolls

Cancel culture slaughters reputations, leaving its victims to endure financial uncertainty, isolation, bewilderment and pain

Caught in the crosshairs of cancel culture trollsThe riot that produced the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump has its analogue in the cancel culture rampaging through North American institutions. Neither cancels the other, of course. Both are horrid, each in its especially hideous way. The Jan. 6 attack on America’s federal Capitol destroyed institutional property, mobbed and halted the democratic…

What happens when a hospice rejects medical assistance in dying?

‘This is about the B.C. government destroying a sanctuary for dying patients who want the choice to stay in a facility where MAID is not offered’

What happens when a hospice rejects medical assistance in dying?You might think the middle of a global pandemic is less than an ideal time to disrupt the operations of a hospice where palliative care patients receive comfort as they approach death. If so, you would not share the apparent thinking of the B.C. government or its local Fraser Health Authority, which is forcing layoffs…

Faith leaders oppose changes to MAID law

‘Imposing the intentional taking of human life as a solution to human suffering is unacceptable for a civilized society’

Faith leaders oppose changes to MAID lawMore than 50 leaders across the faith spectrum warn the Liberal government’s changes to medical assistance in dying legislation will pressure vulnerable Canadians to opt for “lethal procedures” over living with illness or disability Equally alarming, says the gloves-off open letter released recently, the alterations contained in the bill known as C-7 will undermine the…

The past isn’t a script set down in stone

Vandalizing public spaces under the delusion that such acts make yesterday a better today is sad-sack politics that fosters democratic weakness

The past isn’t a script set down in stoneFor her book Talking Stones: The Politics of Memorialization in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland, Elisabetta Viggiani mapped 157 publicly visible sites of Troubles commemoration in Belfast. Broken down, the city’s memorials alone offer a ratio of one wall plaque, garden, public tableau or statue for every 25 of the 4,000 or so people killed by the…

Don’t let COVID-19 permanently change Canada

The speed of the spread and the rise of the body count prove something menacing has us at its mercy. How we deal with it is crucial

Don’t let COVID-19 permanently change CanadaThe Quebec government recently ordered the province’s cathedrals of commerce – also known as shopping malls – to close. The edict followed another imperative obliging all places of religious worship to lock their doors. Yet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau subsequently suggested Canadians might not have seen anything yet when it comes to draconian measures to…

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliation

Taking shortcuts becomes a fast track to ending the conversation and starting the shouting. We need to build a workable partnership

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliationCanadians have been swept over the roaring information waterfall and plunged into a kind of suspended frenzy, from the ‘crisis’ of Indigenous railway blockades to the fresh hell of a spreading global virus most of us had never heard of when 2020 began. One immediate effect is a dizzying distractedness that makes coherent political response…

Palliative care suffers because of MAID

Delta Hospice Society has been locked in a lengthy fight with the health authority and the B.C. government, and has now lost its funding

Palliative care suffers because of MAIDDirectors of a Vancouver-area hospice are considering their legal options after the B.C. government abruptly yanked its funding because it doesn’t permit medical assistance in dying (MAID) on the premises. And an Ottawa lawyer engaged by the Delta Hospice Society says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix is simply wrong to claim the facility’s refusal to…

New vision for CRTC is dangerously radical

Critics believe recommendations have the very real potential to limit how freely Canadians can access the Internet and what content they’ll be able to find when they do

New vision for CRTC is dangerously radicalConcern is growing over proposed changes to the federal approach to governing broadcasting in Canada. After two days of almost baffling silence following the release of a report calling for sweeping changes to how – and over what – the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) exercises its regulatory powers, pundits and politicians are starting…

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicide

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicideOver the past three decades, a small palliative care hospice in suburban Vancouver has raised millions of dollars and provided hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to benefit British Columbia’s health system. Now, the Delta Hospice Society must drop its refusal to provide medical assistance in dying (MAID) for qualifying patients in its care. Or…

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicide

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicideOver the past three decades, a small palliative care hospice in suburban Vancouver has raised millions of dollars and provided hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to benefit British Columbia’s health system. Now, the Delta Hospice Society must drop its refusal to provide medical assistance in dying (MAID) for qualifying patients in its care. Or…

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litter

The movie offers a fun-house-mirror examination of our souls and why we've allowed this kind of cultural plundering to go on for years

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litterCats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn. What’s been dropped at the paying public’s shoes is a cinematic blood sample so horrifying it could make Old Possum’s…

Scheer’s departure shows political dissent has been crushed

Neither the Conservatives nor Scheer displayed the remotest capacity to fight back by hammering home the counter message about a Liberal Party in disarray

Scheer’s departure shows political dissent has been crushedIn the end, it’s probably just as well for both the Conservative Party and Canadians that leader Andrew Scheer resigned. Drawing, quartering and hanging might have been all the rage in the Elizabethan era. But it is, to paraphrase a certain prime minister, 2019, and no one gains today by having public political execution preceded…

An election result that reflects the country and its mood

An election result that reflects the country and its moodFittingly, it fell to one of Canada’s finest expatriate essayists to succinctly describe with characteristic understatement the 2019 federal election. “There is no place in a democracy for gangster government,” Adam Gopnik wrote in The New Yorker the morning after Canadians went to the polls. “That reminder made Monday night a truly worthwhile Canadian initiative.”…

Canadians have become habituated to howling for political effect

There’s still time to lower our voices, choose our words and stop talking long enough to listen to our neighbours

Canadians have become habituated to howling for political effectIt might be going a tad far to say overstatement is killing our democracy. Hyperbole in politics has been around since the world’s second oldest profession followed the world’s oldest profession into existence. U.S. President Donald Trump is hardly the first to have gained high office through gifted manipulation of the fibber’s foghorn. Yet we…

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentum

Every Canadian has the fundamental right to think and believe freely. But an Ontario court has sided with the suppression of the individual

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentumImagine being a feminist physician unshakable in your conviction that girls and women must be protected from patriarchal oppression. Now picture being asked to assist with a sex-selection abortion because daddy doesn’t want a female child and mother consents to his wishes. Up until May 15, reasonable Canadians would concur that you had every right…

Reasoned skepticism about climate change is healthy

Let’s not deal with the grim science of cynical political marketing and hyperbole. Instead, we should rigorously adjudicate all belief

Reasoned skepticism about climate change is healthySpotting headlines about the recent United Nations report prophesying imminent global extinction of a million species, I immediately wondered at the media response should Donald Trump ever claim to have eaten a million ice-cream cones. Instinct tells me swarms of media fact-checkers would have been at every Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerry’s in the United…

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people around

Banning the wearing of religious clothing robs public servants of the right to make their own choices

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people aroundLegislative hearings on outlawing the wearing of religious clothing or symbols by specific Quebec public servants could easily be dismissed as proverbial lipstick on a pig.  In fact, they’re worse, much worse, than a skin-deep brush with porcine cosmetology. They are part of a calculated exploitation of the deep human spiritual need to push other…

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architecture

In Ireland, in South Africa, in Canada the desire for stability, resolution and trust runs deep

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architectureRose Conway-Walsh identifies as a confidently progressive left-of-centre leader of Sinn Féin in the Irish Senate. She’s equally confident, however, that many of Ireland’s pressing, implacable existential problems could be resolved by turning the clock back to April 24, 1916. “Everything is rooted in the Proclamation. If we only had fulfilled the ideals laid out…