John Turner and the demise of gentlemanly politics

Politicians like the late prime minister are sources of inspiration for public service, intelligent discourse and common decency

John Turner and the demise of gentlemanly politicsJohn Turner, Canada’s 17th prime minister, passed away on Sept. 19 at the age of 91. A lawyer by trade, he had a serious relationship with Princess Margaret and was an Olympic-calibre athlete in track and field. He served as a Liberal MP from 1962 to 1976 in two ridings, St. Lawrence-St. George and Ottawa-Carleton,…

The past isn’t a script set down in stone

Vandalizing public spaces under the delusion that such acts make yesterday a better today is sad-sack politics that fosters democratic weakness

The past isn’t a script set down in stoneFor her book Talking Stones: The Politics of Memorialization in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland, Elisabetta Viggiani mapped 157 publicly visible sites of Troubles commemoration in Belfast. Broken down, the city’s memorials alone offer a ratio of one wall plaque, garden, public tableau or statue for every 25 of the 4,000 or so people killed by the…

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues alone

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues aloneSince the brutal killing of George Floyd in May, left-wing radicals have been vandalizing and destroying historical buildings, landmarks and statues around the world. U.S. presidents (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant), and Confederate soldiers and leaders (Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Charles Linn and J.E.B. Stuart) were targeted. Statues of…

Canadian Museum for Human Rights must rediscover its mission

In order to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue, the museum needs to clean up its own house

Canadian Museum for Human Rights must rediscover its missionThe Canadian Museum for Human Rights has made news around the world for all the wrong reasons. It has been derelict in its mission and mandate. The museum has been accused of maintaining a poisoned work environment that practices racism, discrimination, a lack of gender equity and inclusion. In November 2007, I was selected by…

Don’t be too hasty to rename schools

Instead of renaming schools, we should educate students about the legacy behind their current names – good and bad

Don’t be too hasty to rename schoolsIf some petitioners get their way, Cecil Rhodes School will be no more. The Winnipeg school would still exist, but under a new name. No doubt most Canadians who hear about this have one burning question: Who is Cecil Rhodes? Rhodes was a 19th-century British politician who served as prime minister of Cape Colony, a…

May my grandchildren never hear the E-word again

It's been a long time coming, but the Edmonton CFL team's name change was the right thing to do, says Inuk writer and researcher

May my grandchildren never hear the E-word againIt’s a good day in Edmonton. It’s a good day in Canada. It’s a good day for Inuit. After all the years that I and other Inuit Canadians have complained about the name of Edmonton’s team in the Canadian Football League, it’s good to know the franchise has finally decided it will no longer be…

Louis Riel’s trial continues 135 years later

Riel's transformation from rebel traitor to cultural icon hasn't come without backlash, says U of A professor

Louis Riel’s trial continues 135 years laterOne hundred and thirty-five years ago on July 20, Canada put Louis Riel on trial for high treason for precipitating the North West Resistance (traditionally called the North West Rebellion in mainstream settler history). Today, Riel is considered one of Canada’s most popular figures, easily eclipsing the country’s founding prime minister and his nemesis, John A. Macdonald. The political metamorphosis of Riel illustrates…

Pierre would not be pleased with Justin’s folly

Judging by the amount of money at stake, and cabinet and family involvement, this may be the largest scandal in Canadian history

Pierre would not be pleased with Justin’s follyYou learn a lot about people’s ethics when money is involved. Even really rich people can take the wrong route for money. The current Trudeau family scandal may be a litmus test. Mother, brother and wife received fees from a charity that received federal government funds. This may be how Justin Trudeau will be remembered,…

Reshaping our understanding of Western Canada

U of A historian Sarah Carter’s decades of research has led to reconsideration of what it means to be Canadian

Reshaping our understanding of Western CanadaWhen Sarah Carter was a university student in Saskatchewan in the 1970s, she, like others of her generation, wondered why Western Canadian history texts were so often exclusionary, ignoring certain populations – particularly women and Indigenous peoples – while favouring conventional, male-dominated narratives. Summer jobs at Fort Walsh and Fort Battleford in Saskatchewan made her…

We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we try

If historical figures with 2020 attitudes could be found, renaming familiar streets and place names wouldn’t be so daunting

We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we tryWinnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman is determined to pursue his name game – renaming, removing and rewriting history. Among his targets is Bishop Grandin Boulevard – the mayor doesn’t like the late Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin’s attitudes. If Bowman succeeds, the next logical renaming would be St. Vital – also named after Grandin, who was an important…
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