The Politics of Fear?

Photo from MacLean's

Photo from MacLean’s

Lately, we have been speaking about the politics of fear with our recent investigation into Bill C-51. MacLean’s Magazine has recently created an aggregate page looking ta last week’s national discussion on the Niqab and whether or not a state has the right to take away someone’s right to wear what they want a certain ceremonies. You can listen to an interview with Minister Jason Kenney below:

Here is an editorial from the Toronto Star which counters what the Minister states: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/03/14/harper-should-follow-our-secular-law-on-niqab-siddiqui.html?app=noRedirect

Here is Nadia Kidwai, parent of SJR students, in the Winnipeg Free Press: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/muslims-are-canadians-and-vice-versa-296404181.html

Here are the comments from CPC MP Larry Miller:

What do you think? Should the state be able to restrict the civil liberties of citizens, or does this have to do with another issue?

Let’s use our historical thinking skills to help us understand Canada’s history with restricting civil liberties. Below is a photo of the legislation signed by then Justice Minister Louis St. Laurent designrf to segregate Japanese citizens. St. Laurent would become Prime Minister

Picture1

Here is also a fantastic article on the War Measures Act, both in 1914 and 1970, and the alien exclusion legislation (the fastest created in history) created during the Winnipeg General Strike: http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4774484-war-measures-act-eroded-civil-liberties/

What do you think? Should women be denied the right to wear a Niqab in Canada? How has Canada defended and restricted civil liberties in history and is this important for our current discussion?

Please use #CCW2015, #SJRLaw and #SJRCanHis to respond, or use the space below. Be concise, courteous , and smart.

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Boys & Homework: Why & How we Learn

zullmodelgif1On Monday morning, I woke up as usual to CBC Information Radio. Whilst making lunches, forcing young children to practice violin, and sorting out who gets to use which spoon, a segment caught my attention related to a recent OECD study which looked at how sex might determine how and why we learn, be it through intrinsic (internal) or extrinsic (external) forces.

Here is the segment on CBC Information Radio:

My colleague, Ms. Ragot, produced an article from Saturday’s Free Press via the Economist looking at the same issue: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/female-genius-finally-has-chance-to-shine-295462041.html

This got me thinking about how we learn, regardless of sex, gender or other criteria. It also got me thinking about what sort of baggage teachers bring into the assessment process.

It also brought me back to James Zull, author of The Art of Changing the Brain, and what he suggests learning is about: changing the chemistry of the brain: http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el200409_zull.pdf

So here are my questions: 1) How do we learn and what do we mean by learning? And 2) Do teachers gear courses and learning experiences for a particular sex?

I invite you to ask your questions and to respond via Twitter using #CBCStudentVoice or via a comment below. Be precise, be courteous, and be smart.

R.B. Bennett: Significance, Judgement, and Perspective

Photo from CBC

Photo from CBC

Last Saturday, I spent a great deal of time in my car driving kids to violin lessons, water polo practices, and picking my partner up from the airport. En route to one of these activities, I came across a report on the CBC hourly news from Newbrunswick of a statue being constructed or sculpted at the request of the speaker of the Senate.

The speaker, among other Newbrunswickers, is trying to have a likeness of R.B. Bennett, Canada’s Prime Minister during the Great Depression, placed on Parliament Hill adjacent to the other honourees who loom in bronze. Here is the CBC piece via the website. (I apologize for not getting the audio, but nobody from CBC Newbrunswick will get back to me.): Newbrunswickers Pushing for R.B. Bennett Statue

The CBC asked an historian to weigh in. Dr. David Frank from UNB is quoted in the article. This prompted me to email him and ask his opinion on Bennett, significance, ethical judgement, and historical perspective. Here is our correspondence: https://www.evernote.com/l/AI9IUY6VjJtJ3LOXmg5ps4n-Kj7NrJoAiYM

Dr. David Frank (Photo from UNB)

Dr. David Frank (Photo from UNB)

He pointed me to a review he did of P.B. Waite’s biography of Bennett: https://www.evernote.com/l/AI9YsbYOwAdBCoItZXSjBlE2o-x-3_7CgO4

As you can see from the comments on the CBC article, this has caused a bit of a stir. Even the artists’ own mother was appalled by the idea. So who is this guy who conjures such debate in Canada?

Here are a few resources which I found handy:

Biographer John Boyko who shares a different perspective than Waite:

Boyko in the Winnipeg Free Press: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/stephen-harper-is-our-rb-bennett-95245904.html

Donald Benham’s review of Boyko’s book: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/books/theres-much-to-admire-in-nasty-tempered-rb-bennett-94646494.html

Excerpt from the Prime Ministers, edited by Chevrier: https://www.evernote.com/l/AI8WEwtPcZhMrZMuQi23QYWe3vQ1gEZtXRQ

Listen to Bennett himself as he addresses Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/politics/prime-ministers/prime-ministers-general/rb-bennett-triumph-in-canadas-great-dark-days.html

Here is the Library and Archives Canada flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/sets/72157630058610173/

What do you think? Does Bennett warrant a statue? Can you use your historical thinking concepts to develop an argument? What evidence can you cite? Tweet using #SJRCanHis #Bennett or comment below. I am interested in your thought and reflection. Be clear, be courteous, and be smart.

CBC Student Voice: Not Criminally Responsible or Dangerous Offender?

Photo taken by John Woods, Canadian Press

Photo taken by John Woods, Canadian Press

Over the past few weeks, Winnipeggers, Manitobans, and Canadians have been debating whether or not Vincent Li, the man who killed Tim McLean in 2008 but was found not criminally responsible, should be given greater independence and within the city of Winnipeg. Throughout this debate, there have been many misunderstandings of the concept of NCR, mental illness, schizophrenia.

Here is the report from CBC Manitoba describing the Criminal Code Review board’s decision to allow Li greater access and also the Federal Government’s response: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/vince-li-granted-unsupervised-outings-1.2554175

Shelly Glover, Manitoba’s most senior Member of Parliament, weighed in on February 28th: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/vince-li-s-new-freedoms-outrage-manitoba-mp-shelly-glover-1.2555600

But do our government and outraged members of the public understand the true nature of mental illness and the idea of NCR?

Here is Chris Summerville speaking about mental illness and schizophrenia at the most recent TEDxManitoba:

Here is a fascinating documentary form the CBC’s Fifth Estate on NCR: http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2013-2014/the-man-who-hears-voices

Based on what you have read, heard, and watched, what do you think justice is in this particular case? Should Vincent Li be reintroduced into society or should he be locked up? Respond via Twitter using the hashtag #CBCStudentVoice and #VincentLi. (If you are in Mr. Henderson’s class, please also use #CCW2015 or #SJRLaw.) If you do not use Twitter, please leave a comment below. Be clear, use evidence, and be courteous.

Other Resources

CBC Manitoba: Offenders Deemed NCR Not Likely to Reoffend

Mary Agnes Welch (Winnipeg Free Press) Op-Ed

Dan Lett (Free Press) Op-Ed

Other Notable NCR Cases