The (Right) News Rundown
- The article further reads "The rewriting of Alberta’s Social Studies curriculum is turning into an educational travesty."
- The rework to the social studies curriculum will put in place an emphasis on social change and activism.
- A spokesperson has outright stated that one of the goals of the new curriculum is to turn students into "agents of change."
- In grade 3: How can we create change?
- In grade 4: In what ways have individuals and groups in what is now Canada taken to affect change?
- The author of the article (David Staples) brings up a very good point. What if a social conservative wrote these core objectives? Replacing the previous questions with ones such as "How can we create respect for tradition?" and In what ways have individuals and groups taken action to respect our traditional values?"
- This is the key problem with this curriculum rework. It focuses on the NDPs ideology bringing it from the Legislature into schools and then into the homes of our families. This is what the NDP has set out to do, change Alberta.
- This is alarmingly evident in the grade 9 through 12 curriculum focus:
- 9: How and why do citizens participate in local and global movements?
- 10: To what extent have understands of diverse Canadian identities and issues strengthened communities?
- 11: To what extent have citizens played a role in shaping social, political, and economic systems?
- 12: To what extent do ideologies shape how and why citizens take action in response to local and global issues?
- Through grades 10 to 12 the words "to what extent" imply that the content being taught is a foregone conclusion and therefore true. When writing the manual for instruction, one who uses "to what extent" implies that the effect will always be there, the magnitude will just vary.
- The document goes on and on focusing on things such as "active citizenship", "diverse historical narratives", and "collective responsibility". While these are all noble goals within society itself the wording and language used by the government in creating this draft documentation smells of NDP ideology. Ideology should not make its way into school classrooms.
- The core teaching in social studies should focus on history of the world around us and how we got to that point and what it means for today.
- Prior to this rework of the curriculum the social studies section of school has already tilted to become watered down. While students may learn of what happened in far away conflicts or how China came to be, there should of course be an emphasis on what makes us Canadian. What makes us Canadian in terms of our values and how we arrived to the point where we can say we have a set of western values that makes us who we are.
- The government is running a survey for the new school curriculum that runs through June 2nd. The survey utilizes the same generic questions for all areas of study with an option to fill in further comments unless you want to complete an hour long survey.
- After absentee ballots were counted, the NDP lead in Courtenay-Comox grew from a mere 9 votes to 189 votes. This led to a "hung parliament" where the governing party was not immediately made clear. 43 Libs, 41 NDP, 3 Greens.
- Green Party has been in discussion with both parties, and negotiating has been ongoing since election day, but as of recording, no results have been confirmed.
- As mentioned last week, Andrew Weaver is trying to get electoral reform without a referendum as well as campaign finance reform, with Green Party official party status, but he also opposes the Site C dam project, and expansion of pipelines, which could make dealing with the BC Liberals troublesome
- John Horgan is presenting himself as the "natural choice" for the Greens to work with, but even their platforms aren't completely similar.
- At this point, anything can still happen.
- What's scary for many British Columbians is that the Green Party, who won just 330,000 votes and 3 seats in the legislature, could determine how government functions, what policies are put in place, and even who the Premier is. And who knows how long the negotiating will last. Uncertainty is not good for the province.
- In other BC news, it was found that Andrew Weaver sought a $30,000 big money donation from a member of a Vancouver development company, despite describing himself as "the only person/party with clean hands on the issue of Big Money donations"
- It further shows that Weaver, who portrays himself as an outsider to the politician campaign games, is willing to speak out of both sides of his mouth on the issue. To campaign so vehemently on an issue and take the high road, and then later become a hypocrite, should be quite astounding. With the apparent fluidity of his morals, we should be concerned about how the "kingmaker" decides to shape BC politics.
The Firing Line
- "Foreign money funnelled towards Canadian political advocacy groups affected the outcome of the 2015 federal election"
- A 36 page report entitled: Elections Canada Complaint Regarding Foreign Influence in the 2015 Canadian Election states that third parties may have worked with each other and bypassed election spending limits.
- "The Canada Elections Act states that “a third party shall not circumvent, or attempt to circumvent, a limit set out . . . in any manner, including by splitting itself into two or more third parties for the purpose of circumventing the limit or acting in collusion with another third party so that their combined election advertising expenses exceed the limit.”"
- "Electoral outcomes were influenced"
- The number of third parties active in the 2015 election were 114 compared to just 55 in the 2011 election.
- The US based Tides Foundation donated $1.5m USD to Canadian third parties in the election year.
- Leadnow was one of these groups funded by these third parties and they ran a campaign called "Vote Together." "Vote Together" targetted 29 Conservative seats and ran get out the vote campaigns in those areas to encourage people to vote for the candidate who was most likely to beat the conservative.
- While third parties can campaign in an election, their spending is only monitored when it comes to ad buys (print, tv, online, etc.) They are free to organize, lead voting movements, and mobilize voters without limit by using foreign money. Leadnow was funded by the US based Tides Foundation which of course means that US money had a role in the 2015 election.
- Leadnow boasted that "The Conservatives were defeated in 25 out of 29 ridings."
- Leadnow used this money to fly staff members across the countries, organize Facebook postings, and organize photo ops all while distributing fliers and putting up signs. Leadnow also commissioned 57 local polls through 37 different ridings just to determine who was ahead. They used this to urge citizens to vote strategically.
- Once again, I'll say all while this was happening it wasn't clear that the Tides Foundation was actually behind this campaign effort.
- A maximum of $8,788 may be spent per riding. The NDP and the CUPE union even complained about Leadnow's activities.
- Joan Crockatt who is a directory of the group who commissioned this report says, “Foreign money meddled in a big way in our election and that’s not right,” she added. “Americans are rightly concerned about Russia hacking into U.S. government emails. Well, this appears to be much worse — foreign money, in many cases by very wealthy people — was donated and arguably changed the outcome of our Canadian election. It needs to be taken seriously and investigated.”
- "In the 2015 annual report of the California-based Online Progressive Engagement Network (OPEN) where Ben Brandzel, one of Leadnow’s founders, currently works, he said: “We ended the year with . . . a Canadian campaign that moved the needle during the national election, contributing greatly to the ousting of the conservative Harper government.”"
- "The threat to Canadian election sovereignty is real and must be eliminated by the Commissioner as quickly and decisively as possible”
- "Cote admitted during an April 13 Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee that an investigation needs to be launched following questions by Conservative Senators Linda Frum and Bob Runciman."
- "Senator Frum is planning to introduce a private member’s bill updating the Canada Elections Act to prohibit third parties from accepting foreign funding for domestic political activity."
- "Canadians can only donate $1,550 to political parties and candidates. Union and corporate donations have been banned completely, and yet in the Senate hearing, Commissioner Cote said that as long as foreign money is donated to a third party six months prior to the election writ being dropped, the amount that can be donated is endless."
Word of the Week
Unity - the quality or state of being made one, a totality of related parts, a condition of harmony
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Scheer Unity
Teaser: The long Conservative leadership race is finally over with a surprise victor: Andrew Scheer! Also, reforming the social studies curriculum in Alberta, continued uncertainty in BC, and foreign campaigning and financing in the 2015 federal election.
Recorded Date: May 27, 2017
Release Date: May 27, 2017
Edit Notes: None