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by Eric Kaufmann
Tuesday, 29
August 2023
Analysis
18:05

Canada’s conservatives fight back against progressive school policies

Education has become the new focal point for the country's culture wars
by Eric Kaufmann
Has Justin Trudeau created the world’s leading woke nation? Credit: Getty

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. 


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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 “denialismto 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.

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Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

The bitter fruits of wokery thrive in the shadows of education offices and the cobwebbed halls of academia but wither in the light of public awareness. The woke pushers are a tiny minority concentrated in a few areas of influence. The only way to get their loony views into the public sphere was to do it quietly in the few domains they dominate (like education) and hope nobody paid attention, and that worked for rather longer than it should have, long enough to give us a generation filled with young zealots dedicated to this absurd cause, but everywhere it has faced the actual voters, it has been defeated soundly. If it starts costing elections, lefty politicians will begin distancing themselves from it, as they now do with the ‘defund the police’ movement. They won’t condemn it or acknowledge their error, but they’ll at least stop talking about it, pushing it in legislation, and quietly pretend it never existed in the first place. A decade or two from now, when woke is long defeated politically, the angry true believers of the woke generation who couldn’t let go or grow up will probably give us a new stupid fad philosophy (as the defeated socialists/communists of the previous generation planted the seeds of wokery), but one bridge at a time.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve Jolly
T Bone
T Bone
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I would argue Woke has already succeeded in it’s goal of destabilizing Western Society. It’s all a grift. We tend to focus on the disruptive loons spreading pseudo-religious utopian doctrine because they’re the ones making headlines but they’re always the first to be thrown under the bus. The loons just create the conditions justifying centralized control and transfers of taxpayer money to “problem solvers.”

The more prices rise for instance, the more State interventions and bailouts become necessary to prevent collapse. It’s like a perpetual hostage taking mission. More debt is constantly incurred to hold off “Crisis.”

I have no idea what Canada plans to do because they appear completely captured but most of the Western World has a chance if they can get the backbone to start saying No. Sorry, no more transfer payments to your social causes.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  T Bone

Great summary, but the key word is “if”, as in “the Western World has a chance if they can get the backbone to start saying No.”

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago
Reply to  J Bryant

And in a lot of places in America, people are saying ‘No’, that’s enough and reasserting their authority through local school boards and state level elections. I’m less optimistic about Canada and others’ ability to resist government overreach. America’s system of divided government naturally lends itself to this sort of problem. It’s a big country and top down policy almost always meets some resistance somewhere, and then if that resistance is successful, it can easily spread. More other western governments, like Canada, are not as decentralized, so it will be harder for people to fight back effectively, but at least the article gives us some good news eh.

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Canada is every bit as decentralized as the USA.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
30 days ago
Reply to  harry storm

Thank you for clarifying. I’m honestly not very familiar with Canadian government. I stand educated and it’s good to hear.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
28 days ago
Reply to  harry storm

It’s Federal Government is elected by Ontario and Quebec. That is why the Trudeau government has been able to brutalize Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

David Murphy
David Murphy
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The authoritarian bent of Canadian gov’ts at all levels is the problem, and this is constitutionally entrenched: British-style constitutional monarchy but without a real monarch and the constitution is an elite-controlled document. Most governmental bodies are appointed by the First Ministers, who in turn are not elected by the electorate of their jurisdictions.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago
Reply to  T Bone

The key lies in preserving democracy and local accountability, because as I said, when woke policies become the focus of voters, they consistently lose, and fairly badly. Overreach by state authorities to assert more control over education and already lost Democrats a key election in Virginia, and the victor of said election is an early favorite for a presidential run in 2028. Their alliance with the woke is starting to cost them more than it gains them, and if that continues, they’ll drop this like a bad habit. They won’t abandon identity politics entirely, but they won’t stay on a losing horse.

T Bone
T Bone
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Read about the Toqueville Effect sometime. Wikipedia has a good summary.

The Social Revolution that we’re in now (fairly similar to the 1960s) seems wholly predictable. The radicals that demand mass social reform are never content with the outcome of the concessions they extract. It either doesn’t live up to their expectations or like Critical Theorists, they actually think liberal reforms made things worse.

They assume “liberals” conspired with “Right Wingers” to water down reforms for their own benefit. They basically think Desegregation was just a tool of the Whiteness Patriarchy to hide systemic injustices like misogyny, racism or etc under a performative veil of justice.

I really don’t know how the left can run away from the narrative on what they did to cities but they’re expert narrative weavers. I’ve seen a few recent narratives where they’re primarily blaming collapsing cities on the commercial building market’s inability to recover from pandemic slowdowns. Nothing to do with crime, incompetent woke bureacracies, mass immigration or the fact that their policies promoted the slowdowns? Nope!

This stuff in NYC is unbelievable. Check out some of those protests.
The woke and globalist policies are most brutal to the minority communities they claim to help. It’s a completely regressive movement.

Last edited 1 month ago by T Bone
Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  T Bone

Is Unherd holding a contest to see who can fit the most gibberish into a single post? Because you boys are really going for it this week!
“They basically think Desegregation was just a tool of the Whiteness Patriarchy to hide systemic injustices like misogyny, racism or etc under a performative veil of justice.”
This is amazing! Most of you just spout the usual Trumpian inanities but this guy has gone to to school on his crazy! This is creative, unique and utterly, utterly bonkers.
The rest of you need to up your game when T Bone gets going!

T Bone
T Bone
1 month ago

Look up Derrick Bell and Interest-Convergence Theory.

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago

Have you ever made a substantive comment, or are inane insults all you are capable of?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

On the evidence available it seems unlikely that this kidult even knows the meaning of ‘substantive’.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago

If you want to join the debate you should address the arguments. Unfortunately, given the content of your existing posts, I suspect that might be too much of an ask.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
30 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Oh I agree about the cities. That’s why I’ll never live in one. The states like California, Illinois, and New York, where large cities dominate policy have the most corrupt and ineffective governments. Illinois had two consecutive governors indicted on charges related to misappropriation of state funds. Logically, there’s no way this should continue, but it does, so there must be some explanation. Damned if I know what it is. I’ve honestly entertained the possibility that urban living is so far from natural conditions that it distorts human social behavior and impairs people’s ability to form stable group bonds and maintain psychological boundaries between the individual self and the collective.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
28 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

When power grids fail because of renewables they say that it is because you didn’t adopt them quickly enough. When test results show that their schools are failing they just abolish testing. People who think progressives are suddenly going to see the error of their ways are delusion.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
28 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I think you are too optimistic. One of the institutions they’ve infiltrated is the legal profession. We already have a supine judiciary – we will soon have a truly ideological one. My belief is that the only answer for Canada is to split into Western and Eastern Canada. The Western provinces still have a culture and population capable of defeating this – Ontario east does not.

Kevan Hudson
Kevan Hudson
1 month ago

From 1993 to 2002 I was a seven time Green Party candidate at all three levels of government in Canada.
Fast forward to 2023: I have been asked to be a candidate for the provincial Conservatives, and to help with the federal Conservatives in the next election.
I figure this illustrates the idiocy of the professional managerial class and wokeism in Canada and how many Canadians oppose it. We have old school lefties (anarchists, greens, socialists) like me working with conservatives and religious folks on many issues from freedom of speech to classroom curriculum.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
28 days ago
Reply to  Kevan Hudson

A modern conservative looks like an early 90’s NDPer. Anti free trade, any war, don’t believe mainstream media, don’t trust the government, don’t trust universities or other public institutions, don’t trust the RCMP. Your former colleagues – that great mob of sellouts – must really hate you for standing for your principles.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago

FIFO? Maybe it is wishful thinking but perhaps Canada will not only be the first woke country but the first to rebel against it.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
1 month ago

How long has lefty coprophilia been on the menu in Canadian schools?

Last edited 1 month ago by Dumetrius
Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

I sometimes worry about you people and the things that you are completely obsessed by..

Andrew R
Andrew R
1 month ago

How’s your champagne?

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Grey Rock method ! Grey Rock method !

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

This is a vast improvement on the frankly disturbing first iteration of your thoughts.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 month ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Polonium or Earl Grey?

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Senokot, please, I’m a liberal.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
30 days ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

As I said, obsessed!
LOL!

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
28 days ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

It has been happening for 40 years but has taken off in universities dramatically in the last 10 years. This was in part planned. The Trudeau government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into work programs and into woke political groups. In K-12 schools it has accelerated dramatically in the last 5 years. In particular the radical transgender nonsense is being fed to children starting in kindergarten. That last issue is what is really waking people up. People are tired of the 24/7 LBGT propaganda. After the Covid mandates parents are much less willing to assume that the school system, teachers and their unions know best – or that they care about their children.

Valerie Taplin
Valerie Taplin
30 days ago

Older, retired and independent people have to make the effort to fight “wokery”, Younger, employed people often can’t as their jobs would be at risk.
There’s a lot one can do, such as supporting organisations like the Campaign for Free Speech, and Sex Matters which assist whistleblowers and people whose jobs and livelihoods are under attack, just because they have stated fact, and challenged malevolent woke ideology. Also cancelling subscriptions to organisations signed up as Stonewall Champions and Mermaids.
The so-called liberal left has become illiberal and intolerant of anyone who does not agree with their ideology. It demonstrates how misguided some people can be so, and reminds me of the 70s when Harriet Harmon and her Labour colleagues supported the Paedophile Information Exchange. That people in positions of power can be so gullible is extremely worrying.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

Why not install tele-screens (i.e. in the style of ‘1984’) in every home and school – this will enable anyone guilty of ‘wrong think’ to be observed, identified and arrested….

All in the name of freedom and tolerance, of course….

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
30 days ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

These already exist. They’re commonly known as ‘cellphones’.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

Peterson is being made to attend struggle sessions. But his revolutionary precursors were truck-drivers as far as there’s already been a mass fight-back against the Gnostic-Leninist takeover of the Canadian state.

Marcie Neville
Marcie Neville
30 days ago

Or Trudeau could turn this into a wedge issue, which he is brilliant at. The last two elections he used wedge issues and fear mongering to eke out minority governments. We are getting desperate here and there’s no guarantee we will ever be rid of them.

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
1 month ago

It’s more the lack of affordable housing and diminished quality of life driving Conservatives to higher poll numbers, here in Canada. I wouldn’t read much more into it than that – we’re at a lower level on the hierarchy of needs, right now. Those who can’t afford groceries or pay their rent or mortgage won’t be interested in discussing anything like this.
In fact, I’d argue that if our Conservatives are smart (which is not a given) they should focus on the cost of living, and nothing else. Getting distracted by things like this is probably the only way they could lose the next election.

David George
David George
1 month ago

We’ve a similar situation here in New Zealand. The Labour and Green parties have hitched their wagon to the woke express and are falling well behind in polling for the election in a few weeks. They’ve made a mess of everything else so the wokeness is obviously not entirely to blame.
One of our most respected Lefty commentators:
Ostensibly about unity, the Prime Minister’s address homes in on the two issues which, for the last three years, have divided New Zealanders the most – Ethnicity and Gender. …. Taken in its entirety, Hipkins’ speech has much less to say about unity than it does about refusing to work with anyone who declines to embrace Labour’s radical social agenda. That being the case, it would have been more honest to entitle his address: “Going For Broke With Woke”.
http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2023/08/going-for-broke-with-woke.html

John Pade
John Pade
1 month ago

It sounds like the US.
Issues like transism, racialism, global warming crisisism find support from each others’ believers. Together, they create the coalition of the wrong. If you can corral enough wrong fringers, casting your net ever wider and wider, eventually you will have a majority.
San Francisco and Portland are examples where these fringers have taken power and of the fruits of their policies.
However, mutual support is not enough for the long term. As the idiocy, theoretical and practical, of their policies exposes itself, forced acquiescence and coerced agreement become necessary and even the most fun part of the program.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
30 days ago

Romans 1:24-28

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago

“the fairy tale of the residential schools as “genocide””
Only a white supremacist like Kaufman would describe the horror of the residential schools as a “fairy tale”.
Grotesque.

David McKee
David McKee
1 month ago
Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  David McKee

Uh, definitely yes.
Unless you want to believe a single sourced piece from the Dorchester Review which itself has zero sources.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 month ago

Looking forward to all your links to stories of bodies being found.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

Geez, just last week they dug up another grave and found no bodies. People are not denying the horrors of residential schools, but if you stray an inch from the regime narrative you get the useful idiots calling you all kinds of names.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago
Reply to  David McKee

Grey Rock method ! Don’t get drawn in to debate with these people !

Andrew R
Andrew R
1 month ago

Hilarious

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Andrew seems to find the mass murder of indigenous children to be a matter of considerable mirth.
No real surprise there..

Andrew R
Andrew R
30 days ago

You have no idea what a fallacy is. Every single post of yours is evidence free but full of insult.

In short, you’re an idiot.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
30 days ago

I suspect this is another topic you don’t actually know anything about.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
30 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Showing up his own side for the ignorant jackasses that they are.