Stephen Harper a rare Canadian statesman

Harper is only the 4th statesman to appear in Canadian history in the last century and a half

Stephen Harper a rare Canadian statesman“The first study of a statesman,” Edmund Burke observed, “must be the temper of the people,” what Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls “the fundamental values and understanding of Canadians.” On the surface, Burke continued, public opinion simply involves complaints over the loss of an allegedly glorious past and extravagant hope for the future. But complaints…

Humanitarian compassion a democratic indulgence

Compassion for the suffering of others not often shared by others in the world

Humanitarian compassion a democratic indulgenceThe impact of the chaotic migration from the Middle East to Europe and beyond is more sensed than understood. How, for example, did the migrant crisis come to “dominate debate,” as a recent newspaper headline put it last week, in the Canadian election campaign? A beginning, if not the beginning, lay in U.S. President Barack…

Trudeau, Mulcair autobiographies election season pap

Trudeau's autobiography reads like it was written by committee; Mulcair's is not telling the whole story

Trudeau, Mulcair autobiographies election season papBoth Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair recently wrote political autobiographies. The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, had the good sense to write about hockey, which many Canadians actually care about. When self-serving politicians write about themselves, the results are usually badly written and filled with clichés (as both these books are). Worse, they are boring. Reading…

Zombie apocalypse in higher education

Liberal education has been extinguished by political correctness

Zombie apocalypse in higher educationIn 1953 Hilda Neatby, a historian at the University of Saskatchewan, wrote So Little for the Mind: An Indictment of Canadian Education. A generation later, the Great Brain Robbery appeared, written by two friends, Jack Granatstein and David Bercuson. A couple of years ago Ben Ginsberg wrote The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the…

Truth and Reconciliation report riddled with clichés and factual errors

Truth and Reconciliation report riddled with clichés and factual errorsNo Stampeding for this cowboy last weekend. I spent it reading the 382 pages (including 1,210 notes) of the report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), called “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future.” The central chapter of the Truth and Reconciliation report, “The History,” was crucial. It looks like a scholarly discussion of…

Anti-terrorism Act aimed squarely at violent Islamic jihadi terrorists

Bill C-51 explicitly states that it is not concerned with “lawful advocacy, protest, dissent, and artistic expression"

Anti-terrorism Act aimed squarely at violent Islamic jihadi terroristsDespite the general justification of the preamble, there are no marginal annotations explaining the details of Bill C-51, the government’s proposed anti-terrorism law. This means that commonsense is required to rein in the anxieties of our imagination if we are to discern the reasons why changes to existing security legislation are warranted. We also need…

Canadians now have the human right to be killed

Supreme Court’s assisted-suicide decision a perversion of human rights

Canadians now have the human right to be killedOver the past week or so, the implications of the Supreme Court decision in the assisted suicide case have gradually been clarified. A commonsensical reading of the decision and some reflection on how the Supremes obfuscate the English language suggests an ethical and logical incoherence seldom achieved even by the ermine-clad lawyers who have made…

University students treated like children

By the very institutions meant to make them think for themselves

University students treated like childrenOver the Christmas break I did some work at Harvard. On the first walk between my hotel and the archive, I noticed several changes since my last visit, years ago. Inside one of the gates was a sign: Tobacco-Free Harvard Yard. It was not just smoke-free but, starting last summer, devoid of tobacco products. Some…