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…

Giving Indigenous youth the best chance to succeed

Five reasons why bilingual Indigenous education improves scholastic results and ensures better futures

Giving Indigenous youth the best chance to succeedResearch tells us that bilingual education is the best possible education, but Canadian census results and parents’ experiences suggest that some Indigenous children educated in an Indigenous language are struggling. For example, education in Inuktut is a right that some Inuit parents, and governments, are giving up, and I understand. We want children to succeed and…

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…

How we ignore the complexity and moral ambiguity related to residential schools

We won't find reconciliation until we're willing to examine the truth in all its nuances and subtleties

How we ignore the complexity and moral ambiguity related to residential schoolsIn November 2016, I attended a national gathering in Toronto organized by Indspire, a truly worthwhile national body that promotes and assists with the improvement of education quality and success among Indigenous youth. I was presenting a workshop on the value of bringing dramatic activities into classes such as math and science, to engage students…

Call for papal apology an affront to religious liberty

MPs telling bishops what to do is a monstrous misunderstanding of the relationship between political power and civil society

Call for papal apology an affront to religious libertyParliament will set back both truth and reconciliation if it passes a motion proposed by Charlie Angus, the NDP MP from Timmins-James Bay. He wants Canada’s Catholic bishops to invite Pope Francis to visit Canada to apologize for the role of the Catholic Church in residential schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) included a…

The complexity, nuance and truth at the heart of residential schools

It’s instructive that no credible alternative to the residential schools has ever been put forward

The complexity, nuance and truth at the heart of residential schoolsWith a few idle hours, I sat down to watch director James Mangold’s 2007 film, 3:10 to Yuma, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. I’d popped the DVD into the player because a good action film that pitted the good guys against villains with six shooters seemed like an entertaining way to divert my mind…

Beyak should not be silenced about Indigenous issues

The senator has enabled all of us to take the first step in honestly discussing race and culture

Beyak should not be silenced about Indigenous issuesSen. Lynn Beyak was recently removed from the Conservative caucus for saying and publicizing things that many people think are true. This has emboldened her opponents, and some Indigenous activists are now suggesting that Beyak be thrown out of the Senate and investigated for thought crimes. A year ago, Beyak had the audacity to assert…

A fundamental flaw at the centre of the Truth and Reconciliation report

The commission seems to have begun its work with a conclusion in mind, then spent six years and more than $60 million amassing evidence to support it

A fundamental flaw at the centre of the Truth and Reconciliation reportThis close to Christmas is a good time to test our knowledge of Christianity and Christian charity. So ponder this: When Christian churches founded schools in Canada, what names did they use? Perhaps you think these schools were named after saints, days in the Christian calendar and important church leaders. If so, give yourself part…

Facing up to tragedy and injustice is the first step to healing

What if your children were taken to a place far away where they would cry themselves to sleep every night?

Facing up to tragedy and injustice is the first step to healing“I am only one, but I am still one,” Helen Keller said. “I cannot do everything, but I can still do something.” In 2008, the government of Canada created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the residential school system in Canada and to give recommendations for moving forward as a nation. The commission’s findings,…

In defence of Sen. Lynn Beyak’s stance on Indigenous rights

Racial purity laws – status cards – have no place in a modern country. They should have been gone long ago

In defence of Sen. Lynn Beyak’s stance on Indigenous rightsSen. Lynn Beyak says in an open letter that the Indigenous should give up their status cards and become true Canadians. The reaction to the letter has been fast and furious. She has been denounced by a host of worthies. As I write this, I’m listening to a CBC radio interview with the mayor of…