Wayne K. Spear
Wayne K. Spear is a National Post and Huffington Post contributor, as well as an entrepreneur working from his home in Toronto. His forthcoming books include Residential School, A Children's History (with Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden) and Full Circle: a story of the Indian residential school legacy, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and reflections on the work of hope, healing, reconciliation and change.

Your correspondence is welcomed at wayne.k.spear@gmail.com. Please visit waynekspear.com for the full archive of writings and The Roundtable Toronto for a bi-weekly podcast. On Twitter: @waynekspear.

Entries by Wayne K. Spear

Nirvana's Musical Legacy 20 Years After Kurt Cobain

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2014 | 2:17 PM

Kurt Cobain was not a generation's representative, a spokesperson, or even a rock star. Many tried to press him into these and other molds, much to his frustration, but it happens that he was a songwriter always on the search for a new sound. When he died, by medical estimation...

Read Post

Wanting Fred Phelps to Burn in Hell Makes You No Better

(15) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 8:38 AM

According to a Facebook post of his estranged son, Nathan, Fred Phelps Sr, the founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, is dying. There's an undeniable aesthetic appeal in the prospect of Mr. Phelps soon meeting his Maker, but this indulgence presumes far more than I can manage. My own...

Read Post

Can Slick Mr. Péladeau Sell Nationalism?

(5) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 1:01 PM

The Quebec election campaign became a bit more interesting this week with the entry of Pierre Karl Péladeau, of Quebecor Inc., Quebecor Media Inc. and Sun Media Corporation. Mr. Péladeau is well-known as the owner of a global telecommunications empire that includes many assets, both within and without Quebec. Now...

Read Post

When Porn Comes Up Against Puritans

(4) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 4:13 PM

In an xoJane article, headlined "I'm Finally Revealing My Name and Face As the Duke Porn Star," the 18-year-old college freshman Miriam Weeks concludes with a reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter:

The truth of the matter is this: I am one identity...

Read Post

Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill Is a Genocide in the Making

(3) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 4:42 PM

The delusion fueling Uganda's homophobes is nicely summarized by Douglas Foster, in a Los Angeles Times editorial headlined "Black, gay and indisputably African."

The theme of homophobic African politicians is that gay identity is a perversion imposed on black people by white oppressors. The historical fact is the...
Read Post

First Nations Need Tobacco More Than Harper's Law and Order

(6) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 4:33 PM

Much of the Indian Country coffee-shop chat in southern Ontario these days concerns Ottawa's Bill C-10, "Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act," introduced by the Canadian Government in November 2013. Vocal champions of this bill (apart from the government) include the Canadian Convenience Stores Association and the Retail Council of...

Read Post

Your "Feelings" About Sex Work Shouldn't Be Laws

(8) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 8:01 AM

Here's how I imagine it working: The Supreme Court of Canada has declared three Criminal Code provisions unconstitutional, giving the government one year to re-draft its prostitution law. The Conservatives think their law is just dandy, and they figure that if they game a consultation by offering Canadians loaded and...

Read Post

The Fatwa on Salman Rushdie, Twenty-Five Years On

(11) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 4:20 PM

On February 14, 1989, precisely 25 years ago, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini called upon "all brave Muslims of the world" to murder the apostate Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, a novel condemned as blasphemous. Less noted was the breadth of the fatwa, which included:

"All the editors and publishers...
Read Post

Time to Get Our Indian Act Together for First Nations Students

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 7:26 AM

The Israeli diplomat, orator and polyglot, Abba Eban, is today memorialized in the truism that men and nations behave wisely only once they have exhausted all the other alternatives. In the case of Canada's exhausted Indian Act policies, the alternatives to a wiser course have been many as well as...

Read Post

Insulting Veterans Is Just the Latest in a Long Line of Fantino Faux-Pas

(12) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 11:26 AM

It can be no mere coincidence that Julian Fantino's 2007 hardboiled memoir, Duty: The Life of a Cop, is an as-told-to composed by the PR consultant Jerry Amernic -- a self-described "developer and executor" of "strategic public relations programs designed to introduce an organization to the media and...

Read Post

Want to Know About Residential Schools? Talk to Survivors

(1) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 11:17 AM

The repulsive St. Anne's Indian Residential School at Fort Albany is again in the news. Ontario's Superior Court Judge Paul Perell has ruled that files in the possession of the Ontario Provincial Police, related to their investigation of crimes at this institution, should be turned over to the...

Read Post

Ariel Sharon's Life of Vigorous Inertia

(2) Comments | Posted January 11, 2014 | 4:02 PM

A settlement, John Kerry said this week, is better than settlements. Yet for years now, a practical sublation of this withdrawal versus occupation dialectic has been in place, involving the concurrence of ongoing peace talks and settler expansion into the West Bank.

As I write this, news arrives both of...

Read Post

Chuck Strahl, Stephen Harper and the Oily Politics of Contempt

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 11:26 AM

For far longer than it was defensible to do so, the rabble and occupy elements of the opposition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper maintained the paranoid trope of an extreme and hidden agenda, whose reform agents awaited the propitious moment to conquer the duped public by stealth.

Eight years...

Read Post

Rob Ford Is the Greatest Defence for Elite Politicians

(13) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 8:31 AM

Rob Ford, henceforth the pro forma Mayor of Toronto, delivered a short statement just before Toronto city council moved to deplete his staff, privileges, budget and authority. After a brief introductory flourish, congratulating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for their recent victory, came a patchwork of personal anecdote, Bible verse and self-justification...

Read Post

Harper's Throne Speech Was a Little Like Jell-O

(1) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 11:53 AM

Roughly three years ago, on a visit to the office of then Senator Consiglio Di Nino, I was shown a voting card signed by the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance members who on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 created the Conservative Party of Canada. Acknowledgement of this anniversary --...

Read Post

We Shouldn't Have to Defend Science, But We Must

(19) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 12:24 PM

I've known since the age of eight that I would be a writer, but biology was the subject which came in at a close second. The first book I read in college was Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker, for a first-year university biology course. To many Dawkins is the...

Read Post

TIFF Film Review: Jeff Barnaby's "Rhymes for Young Ghouls"

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 9:16 AM

We are informed by the Oxford English Dictionary that the word "ghoul" derives from an Arabic root whose meaning is to seize. More specific, the term refers to an evil spirit said in Muslim countries to prey on human corpses exhumed from graves. In this case, however, the seizing and...

Read Post

America's Syria Plan Considers Everything Except the People Living in Syria

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 6:03 PM

One decade ago, the French distaste for war against Saddam Hussein inspired Freedom Fries, the conventional name for this ubiquitous side-dish having been removed from Congressional cafeteria menus at the direction of Republicans Bob Ney and Walter Jones. On U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit to Paris, to...

Read Post

Trudeau's Speeches Aren't Worth the Money

(30) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 12:09 PM

It was a separation from his wife which in 1974 brought the Welsh political columnist Alan Watkins to the first-floor Islington flat of his son, and thereby to the acquaintance of the Telegraph columnist Frank Johnson, who occupied the floor below. Out of the friendship between this witty pair came...

Read Post

Do Not Tell Women They Will "Make Good Wives"

(32) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 8:00 AM

Last week, the Conservative Party of Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Keith Ashfield, improvised some lines in an otherwise scripted event staged to cheerlead the 2013 federal budget. At the Morena family home in Fredericton, he complimented eldest daughter Grace, observing that she is "a great cook" who will...

Read Post