• We know for sure that well over a 100 Canadians have served with Islamist terrorist groups overseas. We know that at least 60 have come home. And we know that exactly one has been convicted and jailed. This suggests one of two things: either the federal government’s “deradicalization” strategy, which emphasizes support and counselling over investigation and prosecution, is working like a charm; or it’s only a matter of time before an unreconstructed jihadist goes postal or radicalizes his friends to do so. Anthony Furey considers the odds.

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  • The opposite of free speech is compelled speech, which last year was enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to ensure transgendered folks get the pronouns they deserve. Compelled speech is a totalitarian cousin of forbidden speech, lately asserted in various skirmishes over “cultural appropriation”. All this bickering over words – who can use them and what they mean – strikes Barbara Kay as rather surreal and menacing, and reminds her of Humpty Dumpty, the pompous egg-head who lectured young Alice on language, the Catholic Church at its most Inquisitive, and the Arab word for coerced language and behaviour called “Ketman”. What it does not remind her of is anything resembling reason and tolerance.

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  • Somewhere in an Ontario long-term care facility today, a LGBTQ senior may be facing bullying and discrimination. We know this from a recent CBC news report that broke our current ageist fixation on the rights of LGBTQ schoolchildren. The story inspired Fred Litwin to imagine how Ontario’s new Conservative government might deal with this neglected social justice issue, in a hypothetical bureaucratic memo to Health Minister Christine Elliot. Laugh if you dare.

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  • Nationalism is in foul odour these days, tainted by its association with Donald Trump’s clumsy protectionist economic and immigration policies, the Brexit mess, and various truculent populist movements in Europe. But did you hear Chief Justice Richard Wagner of the Supreme Court of Canada the other day, talking about Canada as a “moral values” superpower? The ink on the SCC judgement against religious freedom in the Trinity Western University case was hardly dry, and he was boasting about his nationalistic pride in Canada’s secular, progressive superiority. In TWU, Wagner and a majority of his colleagues imposed their own beliefs about what they see as the “public interest”, writes John Carpay, which is at least as arrogant – and ominous – as anything being undertaken by nationalists outside of Canada.

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  • Ah, summer. Lazy days in the adirondack chair at the end of the dock, catching up on all those books recommended by reviewers and friends whose literary tastes – and politics – you trust. But here’s a suggestion, and a challenge, from someone who dared to “read my enemies”. Robert Grant Price was a comfortably smug liberal until a close encounter with Harper Derangement Syndrome made him realize how cloistered minds can be. So to test his political convictions – and intellectual honesty – Price willed himself to read Scruton, Reno, Krauthammer, and many other conservative literary lions. The result was liberation from the partisan prisons that divide us all.

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  • What a year 2015 was for female political empowerment! Women ruled the big provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, and feminist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a majority government promising a gender-equal cabinet. When asked why, Trudeau imperiously replied, “Because it’s 2015”. It felt like the dawn of a Gelded Age – until Donald Trump, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Patrick Brown and a bunch of other men defeated women in high-profile electoral contests. The male resurgence climaxed in Ontario’s just-passed election with the crushing defeat of Kathleen Wynne by the big lug Doug Ford. As the Liberal campaign tanked Wynne’s team tried to play the gender card, writes Josh Dehaas, but it was a bust.

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  • The practice of opening public events with a statement acknowledging that the event is occurring on land covered by an Indian treaty really took off after the 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Among its 94 “calls to action” is a demand to “repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands”. The rite has become ubiquitous in Canadian public life, and now often refers to “unceded” land, even though treaty land was, in fact, ceded to Canada by the chiefs who signed the Treaties. Far from advancing “reconciliation”, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, this fiction is fueling division between those who are constantly told Canada is theirs, and everyone else.

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  • The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was approved after a lengthy legal regulatory process and has so far won 14 out of 14 court challenges against it. But none of that matters to the ever-growing mob of protestors who oppose it. They have decided the law is wrong and they are right, a position implicitly endorsed by the Government of British Columbia and explicitly by other lawmakers including convicted protestor Elizabeth May. Contempt for the law is a growing pathology in Canada, writes Peter Stockland. Everyone from potheads to pirate ride-share companies to indigenous land claimers does it in the name of their boutique brands of justice. But laws are a product of the democratic process. If they go, it goes, and anarchy rules.

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