The Battle of Passchendaele

Legion Magazine

The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, began on this day in 1917. This battle is remembered as a symbol of the worst horrors of the First World War. Find out why by watching this video from @HistoricaCanada. #CanadaRemembers

The Battle of Passchendaele (100th Anniversary of The Great War

Documentary) | Timeline

Church of the Apostles discovered near Sea of Galilee, archaeologists say

The Church of the Apostles, which is said to have been built over the house of Jesus’ disciples Peter and Andrew, has been discovered near Israel’s Sea of Galilee, according to a team of American and Israeli archaeologists.

Experts from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in New York, have been excavating the site of el-Araj on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The archaeologists believe that el-Araj is the site of the ancient Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida, which later became the Roman city of Julias.

Prof. Steven Notley of Nyack College told Fox News that the group’s previous annual excavations at the site had uncovered evidence of the church’s existence, such as pieces of marble from its chancel screen and small gilded glass blocks called tesserae that were used in ornate church wall mosaics. “These discoveries already informed us that the church was waiting to be found somewhere nearby,” he explained, via email.


Following the clues, the archaeologists discovered the church’s mosaic floors. “It is always remarkable to bring these beautifully decorated floors to light after being buried for almost 1500 years,” Notley explained.

Archaeologists uncovered the mosaic floor of the Byzantine church at el-Araj.

Archaeologists uncovered the mosaic floor of the Byzantine church at el-Araj. (Zachary Wong)

The Byzantine church had been mentioned by early Christian pilgrims, notably the Bavarian bishop (and saint) Willibald in 725 A.D. “[Willibald] states that the church was in Bethsaida built over the house of Peter and Andrew, among the first disciples of Jesus,” Notley told Fox News.

The professor added that the church’s discovery is significant for at least two reasons. “First, until its recent discovery, many scholars questioned its existence. Although it is mentioned in Byzantine pilgrimage itineraries, many thought these reports mistaken,” he explained. “Of equal importance, the church indicates that there existed a living memory in the Christian community about the location of Bethsaida, home of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44).”

The Roman city of Julias was born out of the Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida during the first century A.D, according to the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. The New Testament describes Bethsaida as the home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip. Jesus also healed a blind man at Bethsaida, according to Mark 8:22-26, while Luke 9:10-17describes a nearby location for the feeding of the five thousand people.

Aerial view of the excavation site at el-Araj.

Aerial view of the excavation site at el-Araj. (Zachary Wong)

While the site appears to have been unoccupied for about two centuries during the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., the local Christian community still remembered where the New Testament village had been located, according to Notley. “The discovery of the church strengthens our position that el-Araj should be considered the leading candidate for New Testament Bethsaida-Julias,” he added.

A Roman bathhouse discovered at el-Araj in 2017 provided an important glimpse into the area’s ancient urbanization and Motti Aviam of Kinneret College selected a site over 100 yards from the main excavation site for a subsequent dig. The excavation found Roman-era houses and pottery, indicating the existence of a small city.


Experts from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in New York, excavating the site of el-Araj on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. (Zachary Wong)

Experts from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in New York, excavating the site of el-Araj on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. (Zachary Wong)

Experts are confident that the next excavation season at el-Araj will reveal more of the ancient site’s secrets and plan to entirely excavate the Byzantine church. “Thus far, we have only uncovered some of the southern rooms of the church, likely the southern aisle,” Notley said. “At the end of this season, we were just beginning to uncover the mosaics of what is likely the nave, the center section of the church.”

The archaeologists believe that el-Araj is the site of the ancient Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida, which later became the Roman city of Julias.

The archaeologists believe that el-Araj is the site of the ancient Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida, which later became the Roman city of Julias.

Electromagnetic imaging also suggests that there are more buildings and structures to be excavated at el-Araj. “At the end of next season we expect to be able to publish a preliminary report on our first five seasons and definitely answer the question of the location of New Testament Bethsaida-Julias,” Notley explained.

‘We walked into a buzzsaw’: How the most image-conscious prime minister in Canadian history made himself look foolish in India

In this exclusive excerpt from John Ivison’s new book Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister, Gerald Butts and other insiders reflect on the political fallout of the PM’s subcontinental blundering

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with his wife Sophie Gregoire and their pay their respects at the Sikh Shrine Golden temple in Amritsar on February 21, 2018.NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

John Ivison

July 31, 2019

It had been a tumultuous year, but Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party was still sitting comfortably in the polls, almost ten points clear of the Conservatives, and he could reflect on the fact that all but two first-term majority governments in the entire history of Canada had been re-elected. Christmas vacation 2017–18 for the Trudeau pack — Justin; his wife, Sophie; and their children, Xavier, ten years old, Ella-Grace, eight, and Hadrien, three — was a very different affair than the previous year, when they had accepted an invitation from the Aga Khan to holiday with family and friends on the Ismaili spiritual leader’s private Caribbean island, Bell Island, using his private helicopter to get there. Trudeau was eventually found guilty of contravening the Conflict of Interest Act on four counts for his little family vacation and so decided to play it safe this time around, skiing on the slopes of Lake Louise in the Rockies.

The cover of Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister by John Ivison

The Liberals have always had a vulnerable heel when it comes to entitlement issues. The NDP leader Jagmeet Singh summed up the public mood: “It just seems there’s these two worlds. There’s the world everyone else lives in, where people are struggling to make ends meet. And then there’s the world where people who are wealthy and well-connected and powerful think the laws don’t apply to them.” But while there was widespread disapproval about the Trudeau family visit with the Aga Khan, the ethics commissioner’s censure did not appear to shift vote intentions — at least not immediately.

The Trudeaus headed to the remote, back-country resort Skoki Lodge, accessible only by ski and sled. In contrast to the luxury of the previous year, conditions at Skoki were spartan, with no Wi-Fi, no power, and no running water. “The outhouse at 25 below was great for the kids,” joked Trudeau. The prime minister is an inveterate user of social media, but in its absence he read vociferously and scribbled away at those soft-cover puzzle magazines you can buy at newsstands. His usual exercise regime of boxing and yoga was replaced by skiing and snowboarding.

He returned to work in a buoyant mood. When asked if he was worried that the government’s credibility was being impacted by a recurring habit of tossing election pledges into a boneyard of broken promises, he was unapologetic. “We put forward an incredibly ambitious agenda for 2015, where we laid out a plan for a government that was going to be active in changing things and making things better for people in a whole bunch of different ways, and we’re delivering on those commitments. We’re halfway through the mandate. We’ve done an awful lot, there’s still more to do but I am confident that we’re going to achieve the things Canadians expected us to do,” he said.

He appeared remarkably unruffled at being one of the most scrutinized people on the planet 

Trudeau was elected on the back of the slogan “Hope and Hard Work.” When he stuck to that message track — labouring with diligence and discipline to promote a more compassionate Canada than the one bequeathed by his predecessor, Stephen Harper — he won acclaim at home and abroad. He appeared remarkably unruffled at being one of the most scrutinized people on the planet. “Justin has not changed. Of all the people involved in this process, he’s changed the least,” said Tom Pitfield, a lifelong friend of Trudeau’s who is now part of his political inner circle. “He’s the exact same person who tried to win that boxing tournament — he’s just become more disciplined.”

But political troubles are not like flurries on a river — one moment white, then melted forever. They are more like mounds of thick, wet slush that pile up until they block a government’s progress. The blizzard that blew away any complacency in Liberal ranks, and forced Trudeau and his advisers to recognize that victory at the next election was not preordained, was the prime minister’s ill-fated passage to India in February 2018. What should have been a routine foreign trip, with the prize of securing closer trade ties to one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and endearing the prime minister to Indian Canadians across the country, ended up highlighting the more flaky side of Trudeau’s personality. The colourful spontaneity Canadians had once found refreshing was suddenly ridiculous for many.

John Ivison, new book Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister. Photo by Caroline Kim Moore.

If, as Walt Whitman suggested, human beings are prone to contradict themselves because they are large and “contain multitudes,” Trudeau is not that unusual. But if his first fifteen months in office displayed the Jesuit restraint more typical of his father, the visit to India in February, with the whole family in tow, saw his impetuous side come to the fore, with near-disastrous diplomatic consequences. Trudeau said that the impetus behind the visit was his own memories of going on trips with his father. “Going through it now, having my family with me, makes me a better politician and a better dad,” he said by way of explanation.

The family was pictured in lavish local costumes in the shadows of the subcontinent’s great sites. The eight-day visit was characterized by a threadbare itinerary that looked increasingly like a taxpayer-funded family vacation. Coming so soon after the Aga Khan scandal, it felt to many Canadians like a thumb in the eye. As the attire grew more exuberant, so did the sniping that the Trudeau tour was “too Indian, even for an Indian.” The extremely light official diary allowed the Trudeaus time to pose with some of India’s top movie stars, like Shah Rukh Khan, who wore a sober Western-style black suit while the Trudeaus wore braided saris and sherwanis. The prime minister capped it off with a performance of bhangra dancing that struck many people as being a Bollywood move too far.

The family was pictured in lavish local costumes in the shadows of the subcontinent’s great sites. NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

Some senior Liberals back in Ottawa lifted their heads from their hands long enough to point the finger of blame at Sophie for ordering the over-elaborate costumes and persuading the whole family to wear them. “I think there’s no question that was more her than him,” said one Liberal MP. “But, look, he wasn’t forced to wear any of that stuff. There’s a theatrical side to him that likes ingratiating himself with people.” (Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was asked to contribute to this book but declined.)

It all smacked of the kind of cultural imperialistic tourism that Mark Twain lampooned 150 years ago in The Innocents Abroad: “In Paris, they simply opened their eyes and stared at us when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”

When it was revealed that an Indian Canadian once convicted of the attempted murder of an Indian politician in British Columbia had been invited to an event at the High Commission in New Delhi, the trip was roundly condemned as a disaster. Jaspal Atwal, a former member of the extremist International Sikh Youth Federation, deemed a terrorist group in Canada and India, attended a reception in Mumbai, where he was photographed with the prime minister’s wife and Indian-born cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi. He was also invited to the event in New Delhi, but that invitation was quickly rescinded once the pictures from Mumbai were made public in Canadian media and Atwal was identified as having been convicted of the attempted murder of Malkiat Singh Sidhu, a Punjab cabinet minister, during a visit to Vancouver Island in 1986.

There may have been extenuating circumstances. The Prime Minister’s Office encouraged the Canadian national security adviser, Daniel Jean, to talk to reporters — briefings in which Jean suggested that elements within the Indian intelligence service may have been happy to see Atwal embarrass Trudeau for being soft on Sikh separatism. Atwal’s name was removed from a blacklist, thus allowing him into India, and Jean suggested he had been cultivated by diplomats at the Indian consulate in Vancouver.

But as any veteran of political campaigns knows, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. The impression left with many Canadians was that Trudeau had embarrassed himself, which was his prerogative — and the country, which was not. “If they had Googled the name, this guy (Atwal) would have shown up in two seconds,” said Garry Keller, who was a former chief of staff to Conservative foreign affairs minister John Baird. Trudeau’s erstwhile allies at the Toronto Star wrote it off as “the least successful foray into that country since the repelled Mongol invasions.” Similar headlines ran in newspapers around the world. Trudeau said his one regret was he didn’t take more suits to India.

The impression left with many Canadians was that Trudeau had embarrassed himself 

When the final bill came in, the trip was revealed to have cost around $1.5 million, including $17,000 to fly Vancouver celebrity chef Vikram Vij to help prepare Indian-inspired meals at the Canadian High Commission. As the opposition pointed out, there were, presumably, plenty of cooks in India who knew the recipe.

“We walked into a buzzsaw — (Narendra) Modi and his government were out to screw us and were throwing tacks under our tires to help Canadian conservatives, who did a good job of embarrassing us,” said Gerald Butts, in his evaluation. “But none of that is the core issue …. Nobody would remember any of that had it not been for the photographs. We should have known this better than anybody — in many ways we’d used this to get elected. The picture will overwhelm words. We did the count — we did forty-eight meetings and he was dressed in a suit for forty-five of them. But give people that picture and it’s the only one they’ll remember.” Prince Harry, so often depicted in a Savile Row suit, probably felt the same way about the pictures of him on the one occasion he dressed as a Nazi.

The impact was immediate in the polls. What had been a comfortable Liberal lead over the Conservatives was whittled away and the parties spent the following months in a statistical tie. New Conservative leader Andrew Scheer had come in on cat’s paws after winning a lengthy leadership race in May 2017 and had spent most of the intervening period consolidating his existing base rather than wooing new voters. Yet suddenly, through no particular enterprise of his own, Scheer was a real contender to be Canada’s next prime minister. It was a classic example of a recurring paradox at the heart of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government: brave moves — such as his decision to hold a town hall in Nanaimo, B.C., in early February 2018, in front of an audience that was deeply hostile to his government’s decision to back the construction of a crude oil pipeline through the province — that are often undone by silly, unforced errors.

His father, Pierre, had faced an election that was far tighter than it should have been in 1972 — just four years after being elected on a wave of “Trudeaumania.” Visiting British journalist Jerome Caminda discovered an angry country. Trudeau dominated the front pages of Canadian newspapers through his “flair for physical activity” and his unerring sense of drama, Caminda wrote, but he was losing his audience. Still,Trudeau senior was seeking re-election at a time when unemployment remained high, even as inflation was rising. By contrast, his son has presided over a period of relatively strong growth, with inflation at benign levels and unemployment lower than at any time since the mid-1970s. In the absence of strong economic headwinds, the loss of Liberal audience could be blamed squarely on the prime minister.

Trudeau’s handlers continually reminded him that his sense of humour was no laughing matter, advising, “You have many attributes but you’re not funny — stick to the script.” Yet he struggled to comply, as with his weak attempt at humour with the lady in a town hall who talked about “the future of mankind,” only to be corrected by Trudeau, who said he preferred “peoplekind.” The seemingly innocuous comment drew ire around the world before Trudeau even had the chance to explain he was joking. “How dare you kill off mankind, Mr. Trudeau, you spineless virtue-signalling excuse for a feminist,” wrote professional controversialist Piers Morgan on MailOnline, the most visited English-speaking newspaper website in the world.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, daughter Ella-Grace and son Xavier prepare chappati for a communal vegetarian meal known as ‘langar’ at a community kitchen at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. AFP PHOTO / DPRO

Veterans inside the Liberal government kept their heads while the less experienced were losing theirs. “The India trip plays into a narrative that Trudeau’s not serious, but voters will not be saying in the polling booth, ‘All things being equal, I’d like to vote for him but those costumes in India were so fucking stupid.’ Those people don’t exist,” said one battle-scarred campaign vet. But the backlash was an indication that a politician who has been a pioneer in the use of political image management on visual-based social media had gone too far.

As traditional media budgets have shrunk, and new outlets for visuals multiplied, politicians have more ability than ever to communicate directly with voters. Trudeau has taken full advantage. An analysis by researchers Mireille Lalancette and Vincent Raynauld of 145 Trudeau Instagram posts in the year after his election revealed a shrewd strategy to build a positive, optimistic view of the new prime minister and Canada. The photos taken by official photographer Adam Scotti were edited strategically to showcase a “dynamic and outgoing” leader, tending to his duties with “seriousness and vigour.” Elements of Trudeau’s personal brand were highlighted — youth, athleticism, open-mindedness, empathy, a sunny disposition, and support for feminist causes permeate the pictures. Trudeau is an ardent runner and jogs wherever he happens to be in the world. By pure coincidence, a photographer seems to be available on every occasion. Close to half the pictures contained patriotic symbols. Nothing is left to chance — a picture of Trudeau jogging with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto featured the prime minister in a pair of Rugby Canada shorts and a T-shirt from the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. The Prime Minister’s Office tweeted directly to both organizations along with the picture.

This was hardly the first time that a Canadian prime minister had tried to manipulate his or her image. William Lyon Mackenzie King set up the Bureau of Public Information in 1939 to monitor public opinion. The Harper Conservatives became experts at precisely micro-targeting the voters they needed — slicing and dicing the electorate because they knew who their supporters were, where they lived, and whether they were likely to vote, thanks to a voter information database that was the envy of their rivals. But Trudeau took political image-making to another level. One stream of posts saw him expressing reaction to national and international events like the Fort McMurray fires or the Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris. “They highlight his compassion, empathy and sensitivity,” said the authors of the Instagram study.

By the end of 2017, one columnist calculated that Trudeau had wept openly, or had his eyes well up, at least seven times on camera. In October, he cried as he spoke about the death of his friend Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip; a month later, he was in tears as he apologized to residential school survivors in Newfoundland and Labrador; and a few days later he was dabbing his eyes with Kleenex as he delivered an apology to members of the LGBTQ community for decades of sexual persecution by the Canadian government. These were meaningful interventions for the people whose lives had been impacted — but they were frequent. Trudeau’s demonstrative nature expanded the palette of emotions accessible to Canadian prime ministers — it was hard to imagine his predecessor exhibiting such vulnerability, or even his own father. But the prevalence of occasions where he brought himself to tears in late 2017 led some to question his sincerity.

Another category of pictures featured Trudeau taking part in pre-planned events like the Pride Parade or visiting baby pandas at the Toronto Zoo. They showed him in casual attire, usually in a shirt with the sleeves rolled up and no tie, “at ease interacting with those around him.” Some of the posts offered an insight into his family life — trick-or-treating on Halloween or taking part in Father’s Day celebrations. “These posts give an impression of normal family life that appeals to voters who see their own lives reflected in the Trudeau family,” said the authors of the Instagram study.

With such a carefully calibrated spin machine at his disposal, it remains a matter of debate how Trudeau, with his bulging Tickle Trunk, got it so wrong in India. Perhaps it was as simple as voters not seeing their own lives reflected in the images of the Trudeaus, dressed up like Bollywood extras, in front of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. One Liberal MP said Trudeau has gone to the empathy well once too often. “What I get at the doorsteps is, ‘I don’t want to hear any more apologies. I don’t want to see any more pay-outs. I don’t want any more political correctness. Do them but talk about what you’re doing on the economy. Talk about the things that make a difference in my life.” The MP said he has a large reservoir of respect for Trudeau. “He’s a quick study and he’s got more depth than people give him credit for.” But he said the opposition tag of him as a lightweight is always there. “That ‘lightweight’ business is always at the back of people’s minds and India confirmed the lightweight image.” Whatever the explanation for the trip’s shortcomings, it was more bad news to add to an accumulating pile. The potential for spontaneous combustion is always there for Canada’s twenty-third prime minister.

Excerpted from Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister by John Ivison. Copyright © 2019. Published by Signal, an imprint of McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Meghan Markle is the worst kind of snob

That’s why people dislike her. It’s got nothing to do with race.

Joanna Williams
Associate Editor
31st July 2019

Meghan Markle is the worst kind of snob

‘Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George.’ Ok, so we’ve come a long way since Shakespeare’s take on the Battle of Agincourt. But still, Cry God for Harry. Thank God we have our very own Prince Hal to instruct us in the evils of racism and lead us into the woke uplands. Having ditched the base contagious clouds of, erm, playing naked billiards in Las Vegas and dressing up as a Nazi, Harry is now out to educate us all on the problem of unconscious bias.

The Prince, as newly genned-up on racism as a students’ union officer recently graduated from Intersectionality 101, has decreed that ‘just as stigma is handed down from generation to generation, your perspective on the world and on life and on people is something that is taught to you. It’s learned from your family, learned from the older generation, or from advertising, from your environment.’ Bless him, Harry is clearly speaking from experience here. If anyone has a claim to have learned racism from his family it’s the 6th in line to the throne. But the rest of us? Not so much. It’s bad enough that we keep His Royal Highness in luxury without also having to endure his preaching.

Harry’s great anti-racist awokening coincided with his marriage to Meghan Markle and he has led the way ever since in denouncing as ‘racist’ any criticism of his wife. He set the narrative back in 2016 with a letter to the press condemning the ‘racial undertones’ in coverage of his then girlfriend. And where Harry leads, others follow. The kind of commentators you might normally expect to oppose the monarchy, with all its inherited wealth and privilege, queue up to denounce even the slightest criticism of our Meghan.

So when, as happened yesterday, Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine took Meghan to task for her beyond-parody guest editorship of Vogue, woke Twitter immediately rounded on Vine and leapt to the defence of Megs. Judging by the vitriol levelled at Vine, you’d expect her column to be one racial slur after another. Far from it. It’s the headline, ‘We Brits prefer true royalty to fashion royalty’, that seems to have prompted so much anger. Now, you’ve really got to read between the lines here (back to Intersectionality 101, if you didn’t pick up on it) but the implication, we’re told, is that Meghan is being singled out as not a proper royal. She’s being held to a higher standard than, say, Duchess Kate. Whereas Kate will always be ‘true royalty’ and the long dead Diana always ‘the people’s princess’, poor Meghan is destined only ever to be ‘fashion royalty’. In drawing this distinction, Meg’s defenders argue, Vine is not only revealing her own racism but dog-whistling to the inner racist in all the ignorant Mail-reading plebs.

But the truth is that few Brits have a problem with Meghan because she is (ever so slightly) black. Precisely the opposite: in the eyes of everyone unable to stomach more than one episode of Suits, Meghan being ‘biracial’ (as she describes herself) and involving gospel singers and black preachers in an otherwise boring wedding ceremony is the only vaguely cool thing about her. Back in 2011, about one in 10 UK couples who live together described themselves as being in an ‘interracial’ relationship. This was up 35 per cent on the previous decade and is highly likely to have risen further still. Estimates suggest that there are almost one million mixed-race children being raised by interracial parents across the country.

With the possible exception of a few sad social outcasts, no one has a problem with the fact that Meghan’s mum just happens to be black. No, Meghan is criticised for being snobby, elitist, hopelessly out of touch and possessing all the self-awareness of a flea. It’s not Meghan’s skin colour that annoys people, but the fact that she thinks nothing of donning an outfit that costs more than most people in the UK earn in a year and then getting her minders to order the public not to take photos of her. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex happily spend £2.4million of taxpayers’ money on renovating their house but then keep the press away from their son’s christening. Meghan has a baby shower involving private jets to New York and then tries to be taken seriously as someone raising awareness about the importance of mental health.

When Meghan wants to deflect criticism from her lavish lifestyle and petty authoritarianism, she presents herself as a social-justice warrior with lessons for us all on mental health, feminism and racism. Frankly, no one wants a princess to tell them how to think. It’s preachy and condescending and hypocritical. So it’s no surprise that Meghan’s guest editorship of the uber glossy and stupidly expensive fashion magazine Vogue has come in for criticism. The cover features 15 women considered to be ‘forces for change’ (including a mirror, natch, so us ordinary folk can see ourselves as change-makers, too). Inside is an editorial penned by Meghan, and interviews with primatologist Jane Goodall and Michelle Obama – who reveals that her 15-year-old self would congratulate her on having landed such a cute husband. So, really inspirational stuff.

The criticisms of this project write themselves. The glossy pictures of women who tick boxes (black: check; brown: check; disabled: check; transgender: check) alongside adverts for designer frocks reduces any serious message to frippery. Few of the 15 women chosen have made a huge contribution to society: they have been chosen because of who they are, not because of what they have achieved. Yet we are supposed to fawn over them as role models and see them as a source of inspiration. Yuck. Vogue – exactly like feminism and royalty – is simply posh, privileged tripe.

There are heaps of reasons for people not just to criticise Meghan and Harry, but to ridicule their hypocrisy and puncture their pomposity. And not one involves the colour of Meghan’s skin. Meghan comes in for criticism because she is the worst kind of snob who condescends to tell others not just what to do, but also what to think. The fact that she is biracial is completely irrelevant. Of course, there is an obvious solution for Harry and Meghan if they do not like the public attention and criticism. Harry could denounce his claim to the throne. They could give up the titles, move out of the palaces and fund their own lifestyle. I can’t for the life of me imagine why they don’t.

Gwyn Morgan: Here are a few climate-change head scratchers for Canadian voters to ponder

An eclectic list of little-known facts, head-scratching paradoxes and utter hypocrisy

Canadians are facing a bewildering array of information and disinformation on the environment in the leadup to the federal election, writes Gwyn Morgan.Getty Images

Special to Financial Post BY GWYN MORGAN

July 30, 2019

With energy and the environment playing an important role in the fall election, Canadians face starkly different policy positions from political parties, together with a bewildering array of information and disinformation. Here is my rather eclectic list of little-known facts, head-scratching paradoxes and utter hypocrisy.


On June 17, the House of Commons passed a motion declaring a National Climate Emergency.

Firstly, there is no such thing as a “national” climate emergency. Climate change is global, not national, and Canada’s contribution to global CO2 emissions is a minuscule 1.6 per cent. Here are the answers to some questions that will help you assess whether there’s really a “climate emergency.”

Apocalyptic projections of rapid sea level rises are driving municipal and provincial governments on both our east and west coasts to implement “sea level rise plans” that include sterilizing waterfront from development, building sea barriers and even buying out and destroying homes that are deemed vulnerable. So just how fast are sea levels rising? Here again the NOAA provides the answer. Despite all the calamitous rhetoric, the NOAA states that sea levels “continue to rise at the rate of about one-eighth of an inch (3.2 mm) per year.” At that rate, a house built 10 feet above sea level today would still be 9 feet 7 inches above sea level 40 years from now.

After hundreds of billions of dollars invested, wind and solar contribute just two per cent of global energy supply 


South Africa, India, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and China, all signatories to the Paris climate accord, are building a combined 1,800 new coal-fired power plants. Coal plants emit twice as much CO2 as natural gas plants. Meanwhile, international environmental groups campaign against sending Canadian LNG to those countries. And here at home, the Trudeau Liberals have just introduced a tax specifically designed to discourage the building of new cleaner-burning gas-fired power plants as they continue to pursue the fantasy that wind and solar will keep the lights on. Good luck with that. After hundreds of billions of dollars invested, wind and solar contribute just two per cent of global energy supply. And that’s only when the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would have us believe that fossil fuel emissions are the sole reason for climate change. But what about urbanization and deforestation? A study by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs states that the urban population rose from 750 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. We don’t need the IPCC’s hugely complex computer models to know that cities are hotter. All we have to do is walk from a paved sun-heated street lined with concrete buildings to a grassy park. Rather than reflecting the sun’s rays back to outer space, all that concrete and pavement absorbs the sun rays, creating a giant heat sink. Likewise, deforestation is turning vast tracts of cool African and South American jungles into heat-absorbing barrens. The U.S. EPA summarizes the combined effect, “Processes such as deforestation and urbanization … contribute to changes in climate.” Trying to deal with any problem without considering all possible causes is both a foolish and dangerous strategy.


The Liberal government’s proposed “national clean fuel standard” requires increased biofuel content in motor fuels. Government mandated biofuel content requirements in North America and the EU have driven the burning of critically important jungle habitat to make way for palm oil plantations. On the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, over 50,000 Orangutans have died because of palm oil deforestation.


Several municipal Councils, including Toronto and Victoria, are looking to sue fossil-fuel producers for causing climate change, but 70 per cent of emissions come from their own constituents. And imagine their outcry if fuel producers failed to deliver!


B.C. Premier Horgan, a champion of carbon taxes, called an enquiry to investigate high gasoline prices, but prohibited the enquiry panel from considering the price impact of provincial taxes. He also wants Alberta to build a new refinery to supply his province, but he’s against the pipeline that’s needed to carry it.


The Trudeau government implemented a tanker ban prohibiting movement of Canadian oil on the northern B.C. coast. Meanwhile, hundreds of tankers churn through the delicate and much more enclosed St. Lawrence estuaries carrying oil from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, Iraq, Nigeria, Angola and Algeria. And while ship/whale collisions are virtually unheard-of on BC’s northern coast, those foreign oil tankers move through waters where a critically endangered Northern Right Whale was killed in a ship collision just last month.


Gerald Butts, former personal secretary to the prime minister, is back to help the Liberals win re-election. Before joining the Prime Minster’s Office (PMO), Butts was CEO of World Wildlife Canada (WWF), an organization dedicated to “landlocking” the oilsands by stopping new pipelines. In his role as head honcho of the PMO, he was the mastermind behind policies that could cripple our country’s oil industry. Gerald Butts has admitted via his Twitter account to receiving $361,642 from WWF during his first two years at the PMO. He claims it was severance, but how many Canadians have ever received severance for quitting their job?

So there you have it, my list of points to ponder through those long and balmy mid-summer evenings that “we the north” enjoy.

Gwyn Morgan is the retired founding CEO of Encana Corp. 

CORBELLA: Not a human right to have women wax male genitalia

Licia Corbella

Published:July 30, 2019

Jessica Yaniv, a transgender woman in B.C., has filed over a dozen human rights complaints against businesses she alleges discriminated against her on the basis of gender identity. Courtesy Jessica Yaniv, @trustednerd

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column includes language about male anatomy and thus may not be suitable for all readers.

Jessica Yaniv is the complainant in a “stranger-than-fiction” B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case. The 32-year-old transgender woman has 13 outstanding complaints against various waxing service providers who, for a variety of reasons, could not give her a Brazilian wax because she still has a penis and testicles.

Some of the female estheticians involved in this case don’t know how to wax male genitalia because they have never been trained to do so. Others don’t want to. That, frankly, should be their right. But, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decided to hear this case that has traumatized and impoverished numerous vulnerable, already-poor, and mostly immigrant women in the suburbs of Vancouver’s lower mainland.

Calgary constitutional lawyer Jay Cameron has provided free legal representation to five of the 13 respondents (Yaniv dropped complaints against three others) and says he would be willing to help the other women pro bono, as well.

“The idea that the state would compel or punish a woman who is not trained and who is not comfortable to wax male genitals and fine her for refusing on the basis of gender identity or expression is just beyond the pale,” said Cameron, who works for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

This case “that is so much stranger than fiction,” has “gone viral,” says Cameron, noting that British comedian Ricky Gervais, with more than 13 million Twitter followers, tweeted about it saying, simply: “It is a woman’s right to say ‘I don’t wax testicles. On a man or a woman.’ End of discussion. No sexism. No homophobia. No transphobia.”

Meanwhile, Yaniv has told othermedia that she has been refused waxing services from establishments claiming to serve both men and women, but that problems only arise when she says she is transgender.

During recent hearings, Angie Barnetson was brought in as an expert witness to describe in graphic detail how and why the waxing of male genitalia is so different from waxing female private parts. You’d think the difference would be self-evident for most adults but her testimony brought up more issues than most of us would have imagined.

Reached at her Victoria business Manscape Spa, which caters to people with male genitalia seeking Brazilian wax jobs (often called Brozilians or Manzilians), Barnetson says untrained estheticians could seriously injure a man if they used “strip wax” on the scrotum and penis as opposed to hard wax.

Barnetson also says that clients with male genitalia must be positioned in different ways in order to perform the waxing so that “tissue-thin skin” is held taught.

She also notes that this requires touching of the male genitals, which can lead to arousal and — unrelated to this case — has resulted in incidents in which clients ask the estheticians to perform additional services more often associated with those performed by a sex trade worker.

“Sometimes, they (these men) can get angry and threatening when they are refused,” says Barnetson, who adds the situations usually change quickly when the removal of the wax happens. (Ouch!) Barnetson, who at 52 says she doesn’t “take any s–t from anyone,” has had to — on many occasions — rescue flustered, young estheticians who work for her when that happens.

It shows that the jobs of those who perform waxing are far from easy. In the current B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case, Cameron notes his five clients are mostly new immigrants and women of colour, working from their homes, and with small children at home, as well.

“These women are not well off, some are poor. Some don’t speak very good English and they are traumatized and bewildered by this process,” explains Cameron. “Some of their husbands are mad at them, wondering what they put in their advertisements to have this happen, so there’s family tension. One of them is severely depressed. She’s on medication, she’s been eating tremendously and has been putting on a lot of weight. Most of them have shuttered their businesses because it’s not a service they do and they were hoping this case would just go away — and it should have. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal should have dismissed this case.”

That, of course, would have been the wise, common sense thing for a so-called Human Rights body to do. After all, is it a human right to have your scrotum waxed by an untrained woman? A simple Google search in Vancouver reveals numerous businesses offer Manzilians. So, what might be the motivation of Yaniv to initially file 16 complaints against these women?

At first, Yaniv was seeking $1,000 in damages from each of these businesses. Now, she is seeking upwards of $25,000.

Some of her tweets might explain Yaniv’s targeting of the women she calls, “these people.” She’s written unflattering remarks about new Canadians on Twitter, under the name Jonathan Yaniv: “We have a lot of immigrants here. . . They lie . . . they’ll do anything to support their own kind and make things miserable for everyone else.” The comments become even more offensive from there.

Could it be that Yaniv is targeting these poor, immigrant women because she’s a racist? It sure sounds like it.

Prior to just two weeks ago, Yaniv’s identity was protected by a publication ban. But on July 18, after an application by Cameron, tribunal member Devyn Cousineau wisely ruled to lift the ban: “There is no purpose served by the tribunal protecting Ms. Yaniv’s identity when she does not feel the need to do so herself. Upholding a publication ban in this case undermines the integrity of the tribunal as a public institution and can no longer be justified.”

It’s the right decision but methinks the integrity of the tribunal was undermined by choosing to accept Yaniv’s case, when a quick online search would have shown them that there are numerous businesses in the Vancouver area eager and able to provide a Brazilian wax on male genitals.

Now that Yaniv’s name has been revealed, even more ugliness about her has been outed. Aren’t you glad you were warned?

Rex Murphy: The Yaniv outrage has left Canada, rightly, the laughing stock of the world

The silent passing over of this story is journalistic cowardice, the fear of offending the passing pieties of militant progressivism

Jessica Yaniv, a transgender woman in B.C., has filed over a dozen human rights complaints against businesses she alleges discriminated against her on the basis of gender identity.Courtesy Jessica Yaniv, @trustednerd

Rex Murphy

July 27, 2019

A friend of mine recently went to his local garage, claimed he was a re-conditioned ’79 Chevy Nova and asked them to do a timing check on the carburetor and rotate his tires. They said they wouldn’t because he didn’t have a carburetor, or tires, and they only worked on “cars.” He is off now to the local human rights tribunal (after a stop for spare parts at Canadian Tire).

The strange, ominous and creepy case before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is reverberating around the world. This is the case of the person, variously identified on the Internet as Jonathan or Jessica Yaniv, who has mounted a campaign to force unwilling cosmeticians to do a “Brazilian Wax” on their still very present testicles and penis. Yaniv has filed complaints against them all.

As I wrote last week, these are all women, some immigrants, and on the economic and cultural margins — 16 in total, according to most accounts. At least one, originally from Brazil, has had to close her small business. All have been under intense duress, and the vexatious complainant is notably hostile to immigrants (social media posts by Yaniv, then identifying as Jonathan, are remarkably insulting to newcomers to Canada). Some have paid Yaniv $2,500 dollars to lay off, while others equipped themselves with lawyers, at their own expense, had the complaints dropped.

It is a very disturbing case — and for more reasons than the harassment of these women. It raises questions not only about the human rights tribunal but about many of the main organs of Canadian journalism.

The latter first: The Times of London has a story on it, a popular Irish radio show talked to Yaniv (angry about the questions, Yaniv hung up, but only after telling the host she was capable of getting pregnant). A far continent away, The Australian gives a full account of the story. Hundreds of other serious and widely followed news sites and blogs in Canada, the U.S., and abroad have done the same.

This is not a local story. And when tweet-master Ricky Gervais fired off this projectile of compressed lucidity, the matter had the Twitter equivalent of an Apollo liftoff: “It is a woman’s right to say ‘I don’t wax testicles. On a man or a woman.’ End of discussion. No sexism. No homophobia. No transphobia.” The world is listening to this squalid tale.

Is it not Canadian news that the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is giving this apparently aggressive and eagerly litigious person such specialized and respectful attention? 

From my perspective the core of the story is not Yaniv, whom, from what I have read, presents as opportunistic, cruel and delusionally self-entitled, who manipulates the ever-changing fixations of identity and gender politics for (a) notoriety, (b) possible gain, and (c) some delight in pushing and insulting hard-up people, especially Asians and newcomers (see last week’s column) as a very questionable personal amusement.

Where is this yarn — outside the National Post and Toronto Sun — in the large media of this country? CTV, CBC, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star? Silence. (The Post Millennial has covered the story, as has Blaire White, herself a transgender woman — she posted her work on YouTube.) Perhaps the TV networks have an excuse. After all you cannot expect to have a full seven hours live on the comatose Mueller hearings and cover the Trump presidency every 15 minutes, and still serve up a story of harassment of immigrants and very strange and creepy behaviour out of Vancouver. (Were Trump to tweet on the matter, of course, the panels would be endless, righteous outrage infinite.)

Is it not Canadian news that the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is giving this apparently aggressive and eagerly litigious person such specialized and respectful attention? At the same time as 16 women are going through what must be to them a frightening, perplexing and tormenting legal grinder? Why are the Canadian media not at least reporting on what they are going through?

Is it simply because even the word “transgender” is kryptonite to the brave media who are always otherwise anxious to write and broadcast “truth to power”? The silent passing over of this story is journalistic cowardice, the fear of offending the passing pieties of militant progressivism.

As to the Tribunal, is it simply enough — see mocking epigraph above — for someone to walk into its offices, self-declare “I am a trans woman and I can’t get my scrotum waxed,” and have them take on the case? Is that truly all it takes?

Did the tribunal’s members think maybe if 16 — 16! — women unanimously turned Yaniv down, the problem was more likely with the would-be customer, not the provider? Did they consider the upheaval in their lives as solemnly as they presided over this transparently noxious, trivial, illogical and indulgent complaint?

In my column last week, I lamented the Tribunal’s lack of common sense. This week I ask where’s their sense of human sympathy, compassion for the newcomer — and to use one of their most-beloved terms, for the marginalized? The woman from Brazil has lost her income while Yaniv enjoys the publicity.

People do not choose to wax other people’s genitals for love of the craft. They are poor. They likely want to provide for their children so those children will never have to face the unpalatable chore of tending to other people’s privates, male or female, privates. These selfless people, who condescend to this work are, properly considered, moral heroes. Parents who do what all great parents have done, work for the good of their children. But now they are “defendants” in a Canadian court, accused of being transphobic bigots.

Of Yaniv’s other alleged activities, I will not disturb your stomachs with full recount. But if you can combine a fixation on tampons and very young girls, texting young girls with child pornography pictures, proposing all-nude swims for 12-year-olds and you can easily compose it for yourself.

There are people who might actually need the protection of a rights tribunal. But not the bullying and troubled being who wants their privates barbered under force of law.

Canada is a laughing stock in half the world over this cruel and transparent farce.

Multiculturalism: A Failed Policy Are all cultures equal? Yes, according to Multiculturalism.

Gad Saad Ph.D.

Posted Oct 21, 2012

Source:Numerous heads of state including Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), and David Cameron (UK) have recently proclaimed that multiculturalism has been an utter failure (see here). Many people are baffled by this position as they confuse multiculturalism as a political normative philosophywith the colloquial use of the term meant to represent cultural, religious, and ethnic heterogeneity (or pluralism). The latter meaning is a very laudable objective to pursue as such diversity creates a richer social tapestry. On the other hand, Multiculturalism (hereafter capitalized) in the first sense of the term is more than merely a failed political philosophy. It is a central cause of the slow erosion of Western civilization. For an in-depth critique of this political philosophy, see Salim Mansur’s book Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism.

One of the defining features of Multiculturalism is the tenet that all cultures are equally valuable, good, and worthy of respect if not outright celebration. This in part stems from a hodgepodge of postmodernism (“there are no objective truths”) and moral/cultural relativism (“Who are we to judge the moral and/or cultural precepts of another people?”). For a discussion of these misguided principles, see my earlier posts here and here. A consequence of Multiculturalism is the notion that host nations/cultures should not expect that new immigrants internalize the defining ethos of the host nation. Rather, it is assumed that each cultural group will maintain its distinct identity irrespective of whether its foundational cultural values are contrary to those of the host nation. Lack of integration and assimilation are not necessarily poor outcomes according to Multiculturalism, as such isolationism is viewed as an instantiation of cultural pride.

Let me first address the supposed equality of cultures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cultures that ensure the legal equality of the sexes, that protect the rights of religious minorities and homosexuals, that provide legal protection for freedom of conscience, freedom of speech (see my earlier posts regarding this fundamental freedom here and here), freedom of religion, and freedom of association, that institutionalize a separation of state and church, are infinitely superior to those that do not. There is nothing shameful, arrogant, or jingoistic in stating so. Millions of people seek to enter the United States and Canada from around the world but few people line up to emigrate to Cuba, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. The yearly patterns of global immigration for the past 100 years speak to that trivially obvious fact. In the same manner that a psychologically healthy person is one who is not riddled with suicidal self-loathing, a healthy civilization cannot be shackled with endless self-hatred (a too frequent reality amongst Western intelligentsia; see my earlier post on this issue here). Of all ways by which societies might be organized, Western liberal democracies constitute the optimal one. This does not mean that the West has created perfect societies bereft of social ills. Rather, it implies that the flourishing of individuals in all of its forms is best guaranteed by societies that are rooted in individual freedoms, as enshrined in the American Bill of Rights and American Constitution.

Western nations are perfectly within their sovereign rights to dictate the civilizational conditions to which new immigrants must adhere. This is the minimal price to pay for being granted the privilege of starting a new life in a welcoming society. This means that new immigrants must accept and assimilate within the defining ethos of liberal democracies. Not a single inch of our foundational liberal traditions should ever be conceded under the guise of Multiculturalism (and all of its nonsensical and misguided tenets such as moral and cultural relativism). This does not mean that people should not take great pride in their cultural, religious, and ethnic heritages. To the contrary, most culture-specific elements (e.g., language, music, culinary traditions) should be celebrated in creating a multicultural (not capitalized) society, as long as these do not clash with the tenets of liberal democracies. We are all enriched by our respective and unique cultural backgrounds. However, if your culture contains elements that seek to overthrow and/or irrevocably alter our existing social order then you do not have the right to promote if not live by such values.article continues after advertisement

My family moved from Lebanon to Canada in the mid-1970s to escape the horrors of the Lebanese civil war, which was rooted in the most violent religious strife and hatred that one might imagine. I am forever grateful to Canada for having granted my family the opportunity to start a new life in a free and peaceful society. While I cherish my cultural, linguistic, and ethnic heritage, I unabashedly recognize that the liberal tenets of Canada are superior to those from which I escaped many years ago. Being Canadian of Lebanese heritage means that I can retain the innocuous and enriching elements of my culture of birth (Arabic language, culture of hospitality, rich culinary tradition) whilst fully rejecting those components that are antithetical to a truly free society.  Liberal democracies are profoundly enriched by our cultural differences, as long as none of these differences are rooted in a desire to alter if not suppress our individual freedoms.

FUREY: What they’re not telling you about Canada’s hate crime stats

Anthony Furey

Published:July 22, 2019

A woman against Islamophobia braces herself against a wall before police take her away. Demonstrators protest against Islamophobia and for free speech clash at City Hall in Toronto, Ont. on Saturday March 4, 2017. Craig Robertson / Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

It’s that time of the year again, when Canada’s annual hate crimes statistics are released and advocacy groups send out their press releases and take to the airwaves to break down what it all means.

While there’s often an alarming tone to the occasion, this year’s conversation will likely be more muted than in previous years because the latest numbers have gone down by 13%, from 2,073 in 2017 to 1,798 in 2018.

That said, as StatsCan explains: “Even with this decline, the number of hate crimes remains higher (with the exception of 2017) than any other year since 2009, and aligns with the upward trend observed since 2014.”

When broken down by identifiable group, Monday’s release means a 50% drop in hate crimes targeting Muslims, 15% fewer targeting sexual orientation, 12% fewer against black individuals and a 4% drop in incidents against Jews.

But this time around, before we take these numbers and try to craft a narrative around them, let’s take a step back and look at how they’re put together in the first place. Because there’s a lot StatsCan isn’t telling you in their release that doesn’t make its way into the basic reporting.

For starters, an overview of hate crimes will cover broad terrain – from graffiti that harms no one to violent incidents like the Quebec mosque massacre. They’re both bad and it’s right to have a zero-tolerance attitude to all categories, but obviously, the first one is cause for much less concern than the second one.

The numbers have always shown that, thankfully, the more severe forms of hate crimes are much rarer. Out of the 1,798 number, there were 138 incidents in 2018 that involved bodily harm to an individual and only 2 of those resulted in deaths. Compare that to “mischief/mischief to religious property”, which had 782 incidents. Threats alone made up for 251 incidents.

There’s another problem with all of this data though, one that calls into question not just how we talk about specifics, but the validity of the entire conversation itself.

The StatsCan release on Monday added some interesting context: “Police data on hate-motivated crimes include only those incidents that come to the attention of police services.” In other words, there could be more hate crimes happening that the police never heard about.

That’s a fair point. But they don’t offer the flip side of the coin, and they should. Which is that these stats aren’t “hate crimes” full stop. They’re “police-reported hate crimes”.

What does that mean? It means what it sounds like. Someone calls the cops and says a hate crime occurred.

It doesn’t mean these are all cases where someone was found guilty of perpetrating a hate crime. It doesn’t have to even mean the police properly investigated the incident. For many of these cases, it just means someone said something happened and the police jotted it down.

When I made a media request to Statistics Canada last year to ask for the number of actual charges, convictions and acquittals related to hate crimes I learned that they don’t compile these figures. This means they don’t tally the proven cases – they count when everything is still at the potential stage.

Prior to the release of this year’s data, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network – our version of the controversial left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center – called on Statistics Canada to revise their methodology. They recommend that instead of using police-reported data, StatsCan does an annual survey that “asks Canadians if they’ve been the victim of a hate crime and takes a believe-the-victims approach”.

Is this a wise idea? Wouldn’t that only further muddy the waters? The facts tell us that alleged victims can and do lie.

A special prosecutor is currently being assigned to investigate the Jussie Smollett case. A Winnipeg couple has been charged for allegedly staging an anti-Semitic attack against their own cafe. And everyone remembers the hijab hoax case in Toronto that saw none other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weigh in on an assault that never happened.

One expert on the issue recommends Canadians ask critical questions of these statistics. “What’s the rate of hoax? That’s a blunt question but it’s extremely useful,” says Wilfred Reilly, a professor of political science at Kentucky State University, in an interview with the Sun.

Reilly studied American hate crime statistics in-depth, resulting in the publication of his new book Hate Crime Hoax: How the Left is Selling a Fake Race War.

“I would put the confirmed hoax rate at about 15% – cases that definitely unraveled and were provably debunked,” explains Reilly. “5% result in convictions and the rest are ambiguous.” He suggests the Canadian figures could likely be similar.

If we’re going to have a national conversation about hate crimes every year, we’re going to have to get better data. Or, at the very least, let Canadians know the facts behind the numbers we’re discussing so they can determine their usefulness.

Could the real number of hate crimes happening be significantly higher? Certainly. Or could we be overrun with hoaxes? That’s also possible. Given what we’re working with, we just don’t know.

STEWART: Why repealing the Multiculturalism Act makes sense

Special to Toronto Sun

Published:July 26, 2019

Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, speaks during a party event at the Stonebridge Hotel in Fort McMurray on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. SunMedia

“The Canadian Multiculturalism Act is in many senses an ill-considered document, focused so squarely on today that it ignores tomorrow.” So said Trinidad-born Neil Bissoondath 25 years ago in his bestselling book Selling Illusions; a stinging critique of Canada’s misguided experiment with official multiculturalism. The statement’s even more relevant today. 

Which is why my leader, MP Maxime Bernier, this past week called for the Act’s repeal during a rally in Mississauga where he introduced the People’s Party of Canada’s platform on immigration and integration. Although the other parties won’t admit it, Canada’s becoming an increasingly difficult place for newcomers to integrate and assimilate. For the sake of keeping Canada a viable, cohesive nation, this has to change.

The Canadian people agree. A 2016 CBC-Angus Reid poll found almost 70% of Canadians want minorities to “fit in” and assimilate more. A Forum Research poll from that same year showed two-thirds of Canadians saying immigrants should be screened for anti-Canadian values. And in 2015, an EKOS poll found 41% of Canadians simply thought fewer visible minorities should be coming in order to hasten stronger integration. Meanwhile, more recent polls show much frustration over refugees and immigration in general.

These results capture the frustration citizens rightly feel when their elected leaders create laws based on hope, not reality. When the Multiculturalism Act was enshrined in law in 1988 (building on Pierre Trudeau’s earlier policies), Canada became the first nation in the world committed to “enhance multiculturalism”, and to ensure that immigrants could “keep their identities.” Even though immigrants by their very coming here show at least some willingness to integrate into a new society, by adopting the Act, Ottawa chose to elevate ethnic divisions above national unity. 

Again, to quote Bissoondath: “The [Act] is striking in its lack of any mention of unity or oneness of vision… [i]ts provisions seem aimed instead at encouraging division [and] ensuring that the various ethnic groups whose interests it espouses discover no compelling reason to blur the distinctions between them.”

By pursuing multicultural globalism (instead of bicultural nationalism) along with mass immigration (which by 1988 had tripled compared to just five years earlier), Ottawa embarked on remaking Canada into a ‘nation of nations’; relegating its national identity to nothing more than ‘diversity tolerance’ and ‘pluralistic values.’ An experiment with no clear goal or a discussion of its consequences, Canadians were indeed being steered into uncharted territory. 

But the above polls show that the Canadian public understands nations within nations never work out so well, especially when cultural distances are vast and ethnocentrism is aggressively encouraged. They know the unfortunately rich history of ethnic-based strife and secession in the world; from the Ottoman, Hapsburg, and Russian empires (as well as the Soviet Union) to modern day examples like Singapore, Pakistan, the Balkans, and South Sudan.

As the opening line from Bissoondath suggests, the Act completely failed to consider limits. As he says elsewhere, what was left out of the public discussion were important questions like “how far do we go as a country in encouraging and promoting cultural differences?” and “[i]s there a point at which diversity begins to threaten social cohesion?”

Why don’t elected leaders ever directly consult Canadians on such questions? After all, everything has limits, and Canadians have a right to national self-determination and a right to say who and how many may join the nation. Diversity without dialogue would seem to nullify those rights.

This is exactly what the People’s Party of Canada is proposing to change. We aim to respond to the Canadian people’s concerns about immigration and multiculturalism and put decisions about Canada’s future back into their hands.

Robert Stewart is the People’s Party of Canada candidate in the Toronto riding of Spadina – Fort York.