MEDIA BITES

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Wanting a Perfect Education Act Will Leave First Nations Waiting Forever

It is exceedingly difficult to find much fault with the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, particularly if one views it for what it is -- a negotiated deal. But it's becoming increasingly clear that a growing faction of what Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard so accurately dubbed Canada's "aboriginal industry" value practical improvements to the lives of native youth a great deal less than dogmatic adherence to some fantastical, idealized, and utterly impossible conception of how aboriginal-Canadian diplomacy is supposed to work.
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Why It's OK to Criticize the Supreme Court

At a time when the Prime Minister's public feud with the Chief Justice is prompting Harper-haters in both press and parliament alike to offer blind, slavish adulation to some mythical idea of a Supreme Court that is both never wrong and beyond criticism, it's worth recalling just how arbitrary and disputable many of that court's recent rulings have been.
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Having the Richest Middle Class Isn't a Good Thing For Canada

For years, Canada's politicians have wondered who the middle class are and what do they want. This week, we add a fresh question -- are they satisfied with being number one? So now it's our middle class that "appears to be the richest," in the satisfied words of the Globe and Mail. Yet regardless of how sustainable it may be in the long term, having the richest middle class in the world could still prove deeply disruptive for Canada's increasingly middle class-centric political debate -- which exists in no term but the short.
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"Let Them Learn French": Canada's Bilingual Elite Hold All the Power

To be prime minister of Canada you have to know French. To be governor general of Canada you have to know French. To be chief justice of the Supreme Court you have to know French. This is an awful lot of power to concentrate in just 17 per cent of the population. There is a Marie Antoinette-like bit of victim-blaming ("Let them learn French!") popular with segments of the Canadian elite who simply can't fathom why more peasants can't find the time to study an exotic dying language utterly irrelevant to their daily lives.
CP

Blurred (Party) Lines Are Ruining Canadian Politics

In the fight against Quebec separatists, its often insisted that Canadian politicians need to "speak with one voice." And that might be true. Everywhere else, however, politics would improve immensely if we could choose between two clear ones. Canada is long overdue for a fundamental re-calibration of provincial politics. Perhaps at the next Manning Centre Conference, all of Canada's supposedly "right-of-centre" politicians   can get together and agree to forge a new provincial political brand (say, the "Conservative Party") that's present in all provinces. And then maybe all the left-wing people can meet at, I don't know, David Suzuki's next garden party or something.
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Media Bites: Canadians Might Not Ask Quebec to Stay This Time

With Quebec now facing an election where it looks increasingly likely that the separatist party will not only win a second term, but a majority government to boot, Anglo and Franco relations are being strained like never before. Separatism is poised to make its third great comeback. The question is whether any Canadians will be willing to carry the flag this time.
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Why Putin's Attempts to Annex Crimea Would Never Fly in Canada

You can argue -- as I do -- that Canada's too immigrant-friendly and too multicultural, but the reality remains that ethnic diversity is now a basic Canadian fact of life. Upholding this nation's territorial and political integrity therefore requires a staunch commitment to the principle that national governments have a right to govern multicultural populations, and even stauncher opposition to any notion that foreign nation-states possess a right to infringe the sovereignty of others in order to protect "their" people living abroad. Canada is a country that worries about foreigners. But it's also a country that has a right to worry about itself.
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Media Bites: Watch Out Liberal Party, Voters Don't Like Elites

Canadians do not want to be ruled by rich snobs. Such was the conclusion of a big survey commissioned by the Tory government last summer, but only revealed last week. The results exposed a Canadian public deeply critical of what they perceive to be an out-of-touch Ottawa elite comprised of "rich politicians" feathering their nests with perks and privileges "while taxpayers personally struggled to make a decent living." Unfortunately for the Liberals, Canada's got an awful lot more suburbanites than bigshots, and the polls suggest the two tribes aren't exactly on good terms.
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Media Bites: Justin Just Reformed the Senate in the Wrong Direction

Justin Trudeau thinks Canada's Senate has become irreparably corrupted through "extreme patronage and partisanship," and is trying to set a good example by opting-out of at least half of that equation. It's an exceedingly open question if Canadians even want the sort of reformed, "effective" Senate Trudeau's promising amid such great fanfare. The closer you look at the whole plan, in fact, the closer Trudeau's fix begins to resemble the classic solution in search of a problem.
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Media Bites: Harper Defines the New Anti-Semitism

Stephen Harper's first-ever trip to the Holy Land wrapped up this weekend, and the reviews were basically worse than I, Frankenstein. But if one specific outrage loomed above all others, it was the PM's January 20 address to the Israeli parliament, during which, in the words of Warren Kinsella, "Harper, a Gentile, literally took it upon himself to redefine anti-Semitism."