Is Canada the Stepford Nation?

Okay, so Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant, Kate, and Kathy and other writers are being hounded for daring to presume a freedom to express themselves in a country that has fixated on “being nice” over being “sensible” or “honest” or “provocative” or even “cranky” if one wants to be cranky.

We already know that extremely liberal, extremely “nice” Canada claims authority over the public utterings and mutterings of its people (unlike, for instance, the “fascist” regime down in DC who, belying their “fascist” title, pretty much allows anyone to say anything, write anything, draw anything or film anything they want about the head fascist or about anyone else. (Others, purported to be “liberals” and not fascists, are much more suppressive than the so-called “fascists” but I really must stop expecting consistency on the issue of labels and ideological rhetoric, mustn’t I?)

But now, not content to monitor speech, the Canadian government – and the courts – feel quite comfortable usurping parental authorities, sometimes because a parent invites them to do so, or because a “psychic” has tipped them off.

“The teacher looked at me and said: ‘We have to tell you something. We have to tell you that Victoria’s EA went to see a psychic and the psychic asked her if she works with a little girl with the initial V. When the EA said yes, the psychic said, ‘Well, you need to know that this girl is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.’”

The school officials then gave Ms. Leduc a list of behaviours that Victoria was exhibiting.
“The principal looks at me and says, ‘We’ve called CAS.’ Then I got sick to my stomach.

“I challenged them and asked if the other children in the class with autism exhibited these behaviours. They said, ‘Oh yes, all the time.’ But they were not reported to the CAS because they didn’t have the psychic’s tip.” [emphasis mine - admin]

If you put it in a script, they’d think it was satire.

As to the parent inviting the courts into things, it seems a mother and father in Quebec disagreed as to whether their 12 year old should go on a school’s year-end trip. Mommy said yes, Daddy (who had legal custody) said no.

The extreme measure of taking the case to court, which the girl’s lawyer defended as a necessary move to ensure the child was not denied a significant rite of passage, was upheld by the judge in a surprise ruling last week.

“This was something that would never happen again in the child’s life,” said Lucie Fortin, the lawyer for the girl, who cannot be named.

“And for me that was really important, because it was the end of elementary school, it was the end of a stage in her life.”

WHAT? A school trip is a “significant rite of passage”? So “special” that it should usurp a parent’s privilege assent or denial?

The dispute between father and daughter began when he cut off her Internet access over her misuse. When she continued to find a way to use the Internet, he told his daughter she couldn’t go on the three-day school trip.

The girl’s mother allowed her to go on the trip, but because the school wouldn’t allow the girl to go unless both parents consented, the girl, with the mother’s support took legal action against her father.

According to Ms. Beaudoin, the judge ruled that denying the trip was unduly severe punishment. [emphasis mine - admin]


The kid sneaks to get around what appears to be a reasonable punishment; the father deems her to be too untrustworthy to go away for three days with many peers and the limited adult supervision that goes hand-in-hand with chaperoned school trips. And someone else wholly unconnected with the family gets to decide that his decision as a parent does not stand?

Look, whether the father was right or wrong in his decision, he made a judgment that in no way endangered this kid or subjected her to a cruelty beyond having to endure the word “no” and not getting exactly what she wanted. The repercussions of that “no” would have affected the dynamics of a family relationship, in either positive or negative ways, as these things tend to do in families. My own experience as both parent and child suggests that sometimes a stern “no” over something big manages to teach everyone a lesson, if they’re willing to learn it.

But the only lessons learned here are that a parent dare not deny his little darling anything, lest the court decide he’s been too harsh.

The father, who is appealing the decision, was “devastated” by the ruling, and is refusing to take his daughter back “because he has no authority over her.”

I don’t blame him. The child (and mostly her mother) have harmed that relationship much more than a no and a missed trip ever could have. They’ve emasculated the father and completely deconstructed notions of family matters, parental authority and discipline.

The Canadian Senate has passed a bill outlawing spanking. There are arguments to be made for and against on that issue, and one can see both arguments, but it does seem to me to be a slippery slope both ways. I’m all for protecting children from abuse (I happen to think verbal abuse and screaming is more traumatic to a child than a swipe on the bum) but, as we see in the Steyn and Levant cases, it’s too easy for a law full of good intentions to become prosecuted too zealously.

In Canada, right now, you may not speak freely, or write your opinion without fear of prosecution (and the conviction rate is 100%!); you may not spank your child for painting his brother red, and – for some judges – you may not tell your 12 year old daughter that no, she may not go on a field trip, because she’s been misbehaving. And, while no details are contained in this report, you can’t get too excited at a kid’s lacrosse game, either.

Feel strongly about nothing. Be nice. Don’t speak up. Don’t get passionate. Don’t say no. Only say yes. Be nice some more. Aren’t we all happy, now? How nice.

It’s like a Stepford Nation. And it seems to be heading our way.

Hot Air has more on the issue of free speech and Jonah Goldberg writes here on the intellectually dishonest NY Times piece they mention in the video.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • KIA

    I’ve been praying for Canada for a long time. The last time I was in Montreal, I felt like I was in hell walking down St. Catherine’s street. I can’t ever remember feeling such a presence of “separation.” I even asked one guy for directions and he just said “no, I don’t want to help you.” Many of the beautiful churches are now pot smoking “front porch” gatherings or used for some commercial use.

    It broke my heart. For the most part, Canada lost God long ago, and I remember thinking that this is what America can look like someday. It’s even illegal to pray in front of an aboriton clinic.

    Of course the “free speech” issue has to go hand and hand with God, at least all free speech in “truth.” Perhaps the Eucharistic congress in Quebec will be the fruit of extraordinary graces for a very lost county.

    I think the real downfall was when the bishops (not all of coures) signed the Winnipeg act/statement which was for the most part, a boycott of Humane Vitae. Sadly, even the “church of Canada” i.e, dissenting bishops, were against the “free speech of the Pope.”

    I trust the Eucharistic Congress will leave from fresh and beautiful fruit.

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  • TNP

    Have you read The Giver by Lois Lowry?

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  • jill e

    Earlier in the year, Canada started looking at Catholic Insight for comments on homosexuality:

  • MaxedOutMama

    That story about the school trip is one of the spookiest things I’ve ever read. I guess in a way a nanny nation would logically extend to this, but….

    That mother should be spanked! What a lesson she is teaching her child. Good Lord.

  • Terrye

    If I had gotten my father sued I swear he would have put in my room until I was 21.

  • cathyf

    One little detail that you didn’t mention: the girl’s “misuse of the internet” consisted of posting her bio and picture on an internet dating site. This is not just playing computer games before homework/chores are done — this is a 12 year old doing something that could easily get her raped and/or murdered!

  • Peregrine John

    a law full of good intentions
    …is an asphalt paver for the road to hell.
    The Law of Unintended Consequences applies so consistently with such things, it makes me wonder if they’re so unintentional after all.

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  • Bridey

    Peregrine John is quite right: There may well be a great deal more behind this trend than any real fear of injured feelings. That the truth of the allegedly (or, indeed, genuinely) offensive observations is no defense in the Canadian Court of Niceness is especially chilling, and obviously very useful for a government with repressed (so far) fascist ambitions.

    Or, on the other hand, maybe it really is all about making nice, and just the logical extension of the current obsession with ensuring there is never even a whiff of disapproval directed at the currently officially favored populations. (Nobody worries whether, say, evangelical Christians’ feelings are getting hurt.)

    Trading away civilization, in the name of civility — it’s very Canadian, isn’t it?

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