Education has become the new focal point for the country's culture wars
Conservative and civil libertarian voices have long been stymied by Canada’s indifferent public and politicians. This provided cover for elites to run wild in schools and institutions. But now that era is coming to an end.
Nowhere is this more evident than in schools, which have generally operated under the radar, except when the veil is lifted — as when an Oakville, Ontario trans teacher wearing massive prosthetic breasts was initially permitted to continue doing so despite parent protests.
But over the summer, things began to change. This month, parents’ outcry over a ninth grade Planned Parenthood lesson in the conservative western province of Saskatchewan — which included a set of sexually explicit illustrated cards touting the merits of “yellow and brown showers”— led to premier Scott Moe banning the organisation from public schools.
Elsewhere, Conservative premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs tabled an amendment stipulating that parents of children under 16 must be informed if their child requests a pronoun change at school. Though one quarter of his party threatened to withhold support, Higgs said he was willing to take the issue to an election — and prevailed.
Several other province premiers then followed Higgs’s suit, implementing a requirement for parental consent for under-16 pronoun changes. With a poll yesterday finding that only 14% of Canadians agree that schools should keep children’s pronoun changes from parents, it could turn out to be a winning issue for conservatives in the country.
Evidently, Canadians have grown tired about what has happened over the past few years, encouraged by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But beyond the PM’s irksome wokeisms such as “peoplekind” and “she-cession“, more pernicious still has been the full-speed assault on free speech in education and in the professional sphere. Due to Leftist complaints about Jordan Peterson, ideologically-captured professional accreditation bodies such as the College of Psychologists of Ontario have received approval from the courts to enforce speech codes and compulsory re-education on their members — or to debar them for holding politically incorrect views.
Meanwhile, the Canadian constitution has been interpreted to give carte blanche to anti-white, anti-male and anti-Asian discrimination in sentencing, hiring and research grants. In public education, teachers like Jim McMurtry who tell the truth about why indigenous people died in residential schools (due to epidemics), are fired for insensitivity. Richard Bilkszto, a school principal who questioned DEI during diversity training, was hounded until he committed suicide. Professors like the University of Lethbridge’s Frances Widdowson, who query the fairy tale of the residential schools as “genocide”, are forced from their jobs. At the same time, Left-liberal politicians are agitating for residential school genocide “denialism” to become a hate crime punishable in law.
It appears as though schools will remain the focal point for Canada’s culture wars. Currently, a “million-person march” against gender ideology in schools, bringing together a multi-ethnic coalition, is being organised by a Muslim-Canadian activist for 20 September. This not only threatens the Left-liberal narrative, but could also lead to a fracturing of the Liberals’ minority vote in the crucial multicultural swing ridings around Toronto, adding to their polling woes. The ruling Liberal-NDP coalition and its fellow travellers in the elite institutions are so wedded to this ideology that stepping back from unpopular policies will be difficult — an open goal for courageous conservatives willing to push the Left onto uncomfortable terrain.
Canada is the world’s leading woke nation. If there is a successful backlash there, it could send reverberations much further afield.