Review: The Spider & The Automobile

Membership in hate groups has long been linked to economic failure. Few millionaires joined the Aryan Nations. More contentious is a theory that all human beings are prone to irrational impulses that pit Catholic versus Protestant, English versus French, white versus Black. “We are hardwired to be ethnocentric,” writes Kenneth Stern, director of New York’s Bard Centre for the Study of Hate. Stern argues we are programmed through millennia to instincts that long ago meant survival but today make no sense whatsoever. Consider the story of the spider and the sedan. He quotes social psychologist James Waller: “Automobiles kill far more people today than do spiders or snakes. But people are far more averse to spiders and snakes than they are to automobiles. Why? Because for most of our ancestral history, spiders and snakes were a serious threat to our survival and reproduction, whereas automobiles did not exist.” READ MORE

A Christmas Junket To Latvia

“Very, very busy” diplomats and regimental commanders scrambled to host a 2019 vanity trip to Latvia by former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, according to Access To Information records. Clarkson’s junket included a night at the opera, request for a field uniform and questions on whether to wear her ceremonial medals: "What is the purpose of this visit?" READ MORE

No Comment On Racist Execs

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino yesterday would not comment on an internal report documenting racist hate speech by managers in his own department. Mendicino has publicly stated all Canadians must do the “hard work” of fighting bigotry: "My message is that we are with you and we will condemn any and all examples of hate and racism." READ MORE

Web Gag ‘Completely Wrong’

The Canadian chapter of the Internet Society has petitioned Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s department to drop a censorship bill so sweeping it would ban satire or jokes, impact news gathering and blacklist free speech “on social and political issues,” it said. “It cannot be justified in a free and democratic society,” said the Society whose members include a former federal judge: "This is completely wrong." READ MORE

Feds Unsure Of Lost Ballots

Elections Canada yesterday insisted it sent a mail-in ballot kit to every eligible elector who asked for one. However Blacklock’s documented cases in which voters correctly applied for a ballot and never received it: "We have no way of knowing that." READ MORE

Gov’t Offers Lavalin A Deal

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. yesterday became the first corporation in Canada to be offered an out-of-court settlement under a provision cabinet wrote into the Criminal Code in 2018. Critics had denounced so-called “deferred prosecution agreements” as a get-out-of-jail card: "Ordinary Canadians would not have access to this type of plea bargain." READ MORE

Dep’t Managers Call Africans “Dirty,” First Nations “Lazy”

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino’s department employs bigoted managers who made derogatory remarks about "lazy" Indigenous people, “dirty” Africans and Mexicans who emigrate to collect welfare, according to an internal report. The document is dated June 23 but only released yesterday: "If the natives wanted their land they should have just stood up." READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Hon. Anne McLellan

East And West

Every province creates its own mythology about past wrongs. What makes Albertans distinctive? We are probably more self-reliant than some other Canadians. I think we are more open, diverse and inclusive than many people give us credit for. We are also sensitive to being patronized and our hackles go up pretty quickly if we think our views are being ignored or not taken seriously. I was born on a farm outside Truro. In Nova Scotia, politics is “bred in the bone.”  When I was growing up everyone knew everyone else’s political affiliation; you were a Liberal family or a Conservative family, and had been for generations. In Alberta we don’t focus on heritage in quite the same way.