Inside the Current IssueMuch of Inroads 36 focuses on elections – past, present and yet to come. Stéphane Dion examines the “what ifs” of the closely contested 1995 Quebec sovereignty referendum, while other articles look at the coming elections in Canada and Britain, recent ones in Toronto and Sweden, Scotland’s referendum on independence and Catalonia’s informal “participatory process.” Two major developments in Aboriginal Canada are also prominently featured: the controversy over First Nations education that led to Shawn Atleo’s resignation as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and the Supreme Court’s Tsilhqot’in decision recognizing Aboriginal title, whose implications for British Columbia and beyond are debated by Ken Coates and Gordon Gibson.
Ottawa’s reform legislation falls victim to competing agendas
by John Richards
Ottawa published two major Aboriginal policy reviews in the 1960s. One was the infamous “White Paper” presented to Parliament in 1969 by Jean Chrétien, at the time Minister of Indian Affairs in Pierre Trudeau’s first government. It recommended abolition of the Indian Act and phasing out of reserves in favour of complete integration of First Nations into Canadian society. The White Paper served as a foil for Harold Cardinal’s “Red Paper,” an early statement on behalf of indigenous autonomy and an expansive interpretation of treaty rights.
The other document, now largely forgotten, was a more nuanced review. The Hawthorn Report, named for the study’s director, Harry B. Hawthorn, insisted that policy not Read more
The palpable joy in NDP circles on the night of the last federal election appeared justified, the exuberant enthusiasm well grounded. Not only had the party leapfrogged over the rival Liberals to attain Official Opposition status, but it had won three times as many seats as the Liberals. Not only had it swept Quebec by winning more seats in the province than any other party had since 1980, but it had also won more votes than the Liberals, and twice as many seats, in heartland Ontario. Ontario is critical to the fortunes of all parties because it generally determines who will form the government and whether that government will be in a majority or minority position.
“If there is any logic in Canadian affairs,” Manitoba CCF leader Read more
Le français suit
Chantal Hébert with Jean Lapierre, The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2014. 320 pp.
This is a credible book. It was written by one of our most accomplished political journalists, and certainly our most bicultural one. Chapter by chapter, Chantal Hébert weaves a clear and succinct summary of 17 interviews conducted with the main actors in the 1995 Quebec referendum and some federal and provincial leaders of the time. She asked every one of those political actors the same questions: What would you have done if the Yes had won? What do you think would have happened? As I write this, none of the 17 Read more
by Patrik Öhberg
Hannes Råstam, Thomas Quick: The Making of a Serial Killer. Translated by Henning Koch. Edinburgh, Scotland: Canongate, 2014. 459 pages.
Dan Josefsson, Mannen som slutade ljuga : berättelsen om Sture Bergwall och kvinnan som skapade Thomas Quick [The man who stopped lying]. Stockholm: Lind & Co., 2013.
The story of Sture Bergwall is one that even today’s popular Swedish crime writers – Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund, Johan Theorin, Camilla Läckberg, Stieg Larsson, Åke Edwardson – could not have made up.
Bergwall confessed to 30 brutal sex murders, including of children, and even to having ritually devoured some of his victims. But Bergwall just made up his stories to please his psychiatrists Read more
A Canadian play and a Palestinian film offer similar insights about war
by Arthur Milner
In Hannah Moscovitch’s This is War, four Canadian soldiers recount and relive the events that led up to a horrific mass killing. This is a story of Canada’s participation in the Afghan war, and the soldiers, whose places of origin range from Hamilton to Red Deer, seem properly and believably Canadian. But This Is War, as one might judge from its title, is also about war. At Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company in January 2014, the staging – a patch of desert, endless shades of olive and tan, the infinite horizon – reinforced the parable-like quality of the writing.
Moscovitch is an immensely talented, still-young playwright. What makes her especially exciting is her always eccentric and brave point of view. This is War is a pretty ambitious title for a 30-something – I was not looking forward to another war-is-hell story, but Moscovitch delivers far more. This has to be the most anti-romantic view of war ever. Our Canadians are not Read more