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Pample the Moose: Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Political and the Partisan

The story about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ decision to pull Professor Strong-Boag’s blog post about International Women’s Day has continued to evolve since my post on the weekend.  The Winnipeg Free Press has published additional correspondance between the Museum and Strong-Boag.  On their side, the museum indicated that they did not want blog . . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Political and the Partisan

Pample the Moose: Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Political and the Partisan

The story about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ decision to pull Professor Strong-Boag’s blog post about International Women’s Day has continued to evolve since my post on the weekend.  The Winnipeg Free Press has published additional correspondance between the Museum and Strong-Boag.  On their side, the museum indicated that they did not want blog posts that are “used as, or be perceived as, a platform for political positions or partisan statements”.  Strong-Boag replies that she considers this approach to be both “naive and pedagogically unsound for a museum supposedly dedicated to (the promotion of) Human Rights”.  It’s worth reading both statements in their entirety. 

In the public response to the CMHR’s statement, the museum has been called out by a wide array of historians for what they perceive as its desire to try to produce a museum which is not political at all.  As Franca Iacovetta and many others point out, “human rights are, by definition, political.”  I fully agree, and at least on the face of that letter, it seems that I might have given the museum too much credit if I thought they might have accepted a balanced political post that was not overtly partisan.  A museum of human rights cannot hope to be taken seriously if it pretends that the issues it discusses are not political.  There must be political content in their exhibits if they are to be able to educate their audiences.  On that issue, I’m fully onside with the critics of the museum – assuming that they are correct in taking the CMHR’s statement that they do not want the blogs to be “a platform for political positions or partisan statements” as a complete disavowal of all things political.

And now for my qualifier.  “Political” can mean a number of different things.  It can mean discussing issues that are politicized, and it can mean presenting a variety of political stances on a given issue.  It can mean taking one specific political stance or viewpoint.  Or it could mean taking one political stance or viewpoint and explicitly tying that to why a person should support or oppose a given political party.  “Political” is not the exact same thing as “partisan”, although there is overlap.  One can take a political stand on an issue – favouring government-funded childcare, for example – without explicitly endorsing or attacking a particular political party.  So while I fully endorse my colleagues in calling for a Canadian Human Rights Museum which engages with political and politicized issues, I do ask the genuine question of whether they also think or expect that the Museum should also be partisan in its communications.  Do they expect the Museum to engage in direct criticism of the current governing Conservative Party of Canada, calling the party out by name?  Would they expect the same if the governing party were Liberal or NDP?  Would they have considered it acceptable if the Canadian War Museum had explicitly criticized the Trudeau or Chrétien Liberal governments for cutbacks to the military?  Would it be acceptable for Quebec’s Musée de la civilisation to take an explicitly separatist approach to Quebec’s history and overtly celebrate the accomplishments of the PQ and criticize the PLQ for being federalist?  How will they feel if the Canadian Museum of History, in its new incarnation, explicitly celebrates past Conservative governments for their contributions to Canada’s development, and is critical of Liberal governments for supposed missteps or failures?  The parallels are not exact, but hopefully they illustrate my point.

My worry is that the debate over the issue of partisanship has got a bit lost in our haste to insist on the need for political content at this museum, and I think it would be useful to have a sense of where the line can or should be drawn.  Because if we call for a free-for-all on explicitly partisan material, then it becomes that much easier for a museum to be manipulated to serve the government of the day and to use them as a mouthpiece to trumpet the policies of the current administration.  In other words, how far do we expect museums to go, when we ask them to be “political”?

. . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Political and the Partisan

The Scott Ross: Why Canada Needs An Elected Senate Just Like America’s

“Washington is broken.” – Barack Obama

Looking at the Canadian Senate in isolation might motivate many to question it, but compared to the American Senate, Canadians should be proud of their upper chamber.

Besides the fact that googling “Ottawa is broken” brings zero related results, the American Senate is so dysfunctional quite a . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Why Canada Needs An Elected Senate Just Like America’s

The Scott Ross: And Today Conservatives Respect Police Chiefs

Conservatives only respect police when police agree with Conservatives. In 2010 Conservative MP Candice Bergen, then Candice Hoeppner, dismissed the opinion of the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs (CAPC) when they supported maintaining the long gu… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: And Today Conservatives Respect Police Chiefs

The Scott Ross: Racial Divide Ruining America

America is a politically divided country, racial groups have picked sides and aren’t making things any better.

On January 1st the country is set to suffer a 5% cut to its economic output mostly as a result of the fiscal cliff that has loomed ever since Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on a plan . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Racial Divide Ruining America

The Scott Ross: We Need Uninformed Voters As Much As We Need Informed Ones

Just as you need a brain and a heart, a country needs voters who know the issues and voters that don’t.

As the election for the American President looms, after months, if not years of campaigning, countless ads, two debates so far (not counting the twenty or so for Mitt Romney), and four years . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: We Need Uninformed Voters As Much As We Need Informed Ones

An individual with opinions.: It’s conclusive, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is definitively leaning towards the Conservatives.

The [Manning] centre would not be another political party, but help build an “infrastructure” for existing Conservative parties federally and provincially, Mr. Manning said. (source)


As other progressive bloggers have pointed out, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is obviously partisan – slanted towards the Conservatives. You really just had to look at their board of directors,

1. Preston Manning – Reform party founder and leader for many years. Long time associates with Harper for obvious reasons.
2. Cliff Fryerscurrently the far-right party Wildrose party chairman. He was also party and campaign chairman for the Reform Party in the early 1990s.
3. Blair Nixon – no explicit connections, but tax advisor to a few natural resource companies.
4. Rick Anderson – national director of the Reform party in the early 1990s.
5. Thompson MacDonald – no explicit connections, but board member of an American mining company.
6. Gwyn Morganties to various big corporations, including oil company Encana.
7. Tasha Kheiriddin – self-described conservative, also the President of the Progressive Conservative Youth Federation during the time of far-right Mike Hudak.
8. Tom Long – involved and worked for the Brian Mulroney PCs, then campaign manager to various PC candidates federally and provincially, then President of the Ontario PCs from 1986 to 1989, helped get Mike Harris elected, and was a founding member of the Canadian Alliance – and this is just according to the bio on the Manning Centre!
9. Dan Nowlan – Vice president of banking investment group, and according to an Elections Ontario file, in 2009 was the chief financial officer for the Progressive Conservatives’ Tim Hudak.
10. Chuck Strahl – former Conservative MP, active in the early reform days.

This is every member on the board. Which makes 8 out of 10 (80%) having explicit connections to right-wing political parties (Conservative, and its father, Reform Party), and 10 out of 10 (100%) having either a connection to a political party or business. This is why it’s so obvious this organization is a front for right-wing and business interests.

***

Regardless, I compiled some more data just to make this pronouncement even more conclusive. I looked at their 2012 youtube channel, which is the msot updated, and compiled some data. There’s (as of September 21st, 2012) 12 videos – 10 of which are speeches or conferences. One of those speeches is just from Preston Manning, so I have excluded it as well. In total, we’re looking at 10 videos, and the political affiliations of those speaking and participating.

So, made a list of all the speakers in each speech, and tracked their political affiliations. Keep in mind, for this, I excluded anyone who was already a board member from this list. I also won’t be tracking business connections, as I think that’s unnecessary considering the findings. I will be tracking influential unions members, just because there’s only one, so it doesn’t really detract from the end result.

Here are my findings:

  • Six current Conservative Member of Parliament 
  • Including four current Conservative Cabinet Ministers
  • Three former Conservative MPs 
  • One former Reform Party MP (Remember, not including board members)
  • Three others with direct connections to the Conservatives (Campaign Manager, donor, chief of staff)
  • One Republican
  • One British Tory
  • One Union Leader
  • Zero current or former opposition members
  • One guy with some past connection to the Parti Quebecois



See for yourself, here is the list of links and subsequent speakers and participants:

–>
–>

Chair: Jay Hill, Former Whip (Former Conservative MP and whip)
Speaker: HON. JOE OLIVER, MINISTER (Conservative Minister)
– Dawn Farrell, Executive
– Nancy Olewiler, Economist
– Robert Blakely, Union Leader (Union)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wfJXb1WQbc&feature=plcp– March 16th
Chair: Dave Quist, IMFC
Speaker: MARVIN OLASKY, WRITER
– Michael Coren, TV Host

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p6xHAIZL4M&feature=plcp– March 16th
Chair: Nicolas Offord, Executive
Speaker: HON. DIANE FINLEY, MINISTER (Conservative Minister)
– Kate Bahen, Charity Expert
– Ray Pennings, Cardus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBKeck2fZAI&feature=plcp– March 15th
Chair: Youri Chassin, Economist
– Eric Duhaime, Commentator
– Mathieu Bock-Côté, Sociologist (activity with PQ?)
– Tasha Kheiriddin, TV Host (National Post)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3aWJEiCkN8&feature=plcp– march 14th
Hostess and Coordinator: Leah Costello, Writer
Contestants:
-Pierre-Olivier Bastien-Dionne
-Vass Bednar
-Craig Dellandrea (Conservative donor and supporter)
Judges:
– Cliff Fryers, Executive (Reform/UA activist)
– Deb Grey, Former MP (First Reform MP)
– Steve Madely, Radio Host

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zE8luHStHc&feature=plcp– March 14th
Chair: Preston Manning, Manning Centre
Speaker: HON. PETER MACKAY, MINISTER (Conservative Minister)
-Barry Cooper, Professor – Duff Crerar, Military Historian

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckDSQzsslgc&feature=plcp– March 14th
Chair: Dan Nowlan, Executive
Speaker: HON. TONY CLEMENT, MINISTER
 Bill Robson, CD HOWE (Right-wing think-tank)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGlnbCI7mvs&feature=plcp– March 14th
Chair: Nick Gafuik, Commentator
– Monte Solberg, Commentator (Conservative MP till 2008)
– Robert Sopuck, MP (Conservative MP)
– Bob Mills, Former MP (Conservative MP till 2008)
– Michelle Rempel, MP (Conservative MP)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEtKYAf-y3M&feature=plcp– March 13th
Tom Flanagan, Professor (Long time buddies with Harper, current working for the Wild Rose Party)
Travis Smith, Professor
Ian Brodie, Strategist (former chief of staff for Harper)
Andrew Coyne, Commentator (National Post)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8OYWCTtqzA&feature=plcp– March 13th

Daniel Hannan (British Tory)
David Wilkins (Republican)

 

. . . → Read More: An individual with opinions.: It’s conclusive, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is definitively leaning towards the Conservatives.

An individual with opinions.: It’s conclusive, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is definitively leaning towards the Conservatives.

The [Manning] centre would not be another political party, but help build an “infrastructure” for existing Conservative parties federally and provincially, Mr. Manning said. (source)

As other progressive bloggers have pointed out, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is obviously partisan – slanted towards the Conservatives. You really just had to look at their . . . → Read More: An individual with opinions.: It’s conclusive, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy is definitively leaning towards the Conservatives.

Jacked Up: Wow, as I was writting about the Conservative war on free press…

So as I wrote about the Conservative attack on journalism in Canada, I noticed this disturbing article.

“At a session held in early February by the Ontario Progressive Campus Conservative Association (OPCCA) and the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, campus Conservatives, party campaigners, and a Member of Parliament discussed strategies to gain funding from student . . . → Read More: Jacked Up: Wow, as I was writting about the Conservative war on free press…