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.

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