Articles Canadian Politics

  • Horowitz’s Red Tory

    eorge Grant’s conservativism derived from skepticism about the religion of progress. He took issue with the doctrine that technological progress requires more educated and civilized participants in a global economy. Politicians no longer talk of progress. The current cliché is “moving forward.” To examine Grant’s writings in the 1960s, brought together in Volume 3 (1960-1969) of his Collected Works (Arthur Davis and Henry Roper, eds., University of Toronto Press, 2005) and ably edited by Art Davis and Henry Roper, is to gauge how much we have moved forward in the last forty years.

  • The Horowitz Paragraph

    Dear Jack,

    I see that you have lined up with Harper (and Martin) behind the brutal (and stupid) Yankee practice of minimum sentences for crimes involving guns (and what next?). The right-wing editors of the Globe condemned you all on January 13 for pandering to law ‘n’ order hysteria. Are you not embarrassed? I suppose not. A social democrat has gotta do what a social democrat has gotta do. And a naive, unrealistic, soft-on-crime small-c communist has gotta write you this Dear Jack letter. Don’t bother answering, I know you’re very busy trying to win as many seats as possible at any cost, and I know what you’ve gotta say.

  • Selling the Tory Majority

    Okay, here’s the ugly truth. I refused to vote in the federal election. I turned my back on my ballot. I skipped the whole thing. When all was said and done, it felt like the only responsible thing to do.

  • The New Secularism

    I always learn something from going on right-wing U.S. talk shows like Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox. Once he introduced me as a columnist for “a left-wing Canadian newspaper.” I said I hated to use the pittance of time I was given between his long diatribes to defend the Globe & Mail. But I couldn’t let what he had just said stand: the Globe is in fact a conservative, business paper. He scoffed: “It’s a secular paper!” That’s what I mean by learning something. Alongside Afghanistan under the Taliban and the Iran of the mullahs, the U.S. is that rare nation that defines the left-right political spectrum in terms of the secular and the religious.

  • The Perils of Faith-Based Multiculturalism

    The controversies over decisions by the Ontario government to allow and then ban the use of Shari’a (and other religious laws) as the basis of arbitration are not over. Religious groups and their supporters continue to push for minority religious rights. In Canada, as in other parts of the world, religious sentiments are on the rise. Conservative religious leaders have become more vocal and demanding, and governments are giving in to their demands without much regard for the serious consequences for democracy and citizens’ rights.

  • The Politics of Money

    Since the U.S.-backed overthrow of progressive Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the severe level of political repression launched by the new government has left tens of thousands of Lavalas (Aristide’s political party) supporters the victims of rapes, incarcerations, firings and murders. One tragic aspect of this story is the extent to which Canadian federal government money has been able to buy the support of supposedly progressive organizations and individuals. Today they continue to align themselves with Canada’s brutal pro-coup policy.

  • Strategic Choices for the Quebec Left

    Is it in the interests of progressives to put their energies into the big neoliberal parties, trying to influence them? Or is it better to patiently build an alternative party? Quebec’s autumn political scene offers the occasion to see the fruits of both strategies. On the one hand, the PQ shores up its coalition with trade unionists and progressives for a Free Quebec (SPQLibre). On the otherhand, we have the emergence of a new autonomous party on the Left, as the Union des forces progressistes (UFP) and Option citoyenne (OC) pre-pare for their upcoming fusion.

  • Privatizing Canada’s Public Universities

    Perhaps the most obvious kind of privatization of the university is the growing reliance on individuals rather than the collective to finance university operations. As students are all too well aware, university tuition and other fees have been skyrocketing in recent years – as have student debts. Between 1990-91 and 2000-2001, tuition fees in Canada rose by 126 per cent, while average student debts rose from about $8,700 to $25,000. This is because students are paying a far larger share of the costs of postsecondary education, from an average of 17 per cent of operating costs in 1992 to 28 per cent of operating costs in 2002. As well, a growing number of university programs are slated to be, if they are not already, almost fully financed by students. Not long ago, for example, the University of Toronto announced its intention to increase its law school tuition to $25,000.

  • Academics in the Service of War

    In Canada, we have guidelines that strictly regulate the use of human stem cells and assisted human reproduction. Both Bill C-6 and the Guidelines on Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research came about through public consultations with scientists, faith groups, the Canadian public and scholars in bioethics, sociology and law, among others. These instruments established guidelines for ethical research into and use of technologies with potentially profound life-saving medical benefits. Furthermore, the Guiding Principles include the notion that “Research undertaken should have potential health benefits for Canadians” and that the research should “Respect individual and community notions of human dignity and physical, spiritual and cultural integrity.”

  • Who’re Ya Gonna Call? Not the Corporate University

    You’re wondering about the safety of genetically modified food, or its harmful environmental impact; you’re confused about whether to continue taking Vioxx for severe arthritic pain; you’re mystified by the apparent scientific controversy concerning climate change; you’re apprehensive about the cloning of Dolly the sheep and wonder whether catastrophe beckons when this new technology is used to create a clonal human being.

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