By John Carpay
In August of 2023, the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity filed a court application seeking to strike down Saskatchewan’s “Use of Preferred First Name and Pronouns by Students” policy. The policy requires parental consent when children under the age of 16 wish to use opposite-sex names and pronouns at school, referred to as “social transition.” This “social transition” can lead to children receiving puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones, and eventually life-altering surgeries that will render them permanently infertile.
In September, UR Pride persuaded the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench to grant an interim injunction to suspend the policy pending a full court hearing, which would not take place until February of 2024. UR Pride claims that the parental consent policy will violate children’s charter rights and will irreparably harm them.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has introduced Bill 137, which uses Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the notwithstanding clause, to keep his government’s parental rights policy in place, following the September court decision to suspend the policy temporarily, or any future court rulings to strike it down. Section 33 gives our federal Parliament and provincial legislatures the ability, through the passage of a law, to override a judge’s interpretation of certain charter rights for a renewable five-year term.
Opponents of Section 33 argue that politicians should not be allowed to violate our rights and freedoms. However, Section 33 is not all that different from Section 1 of the charter, which allows judges to override our charter rights and freedoms in much the same way that Section 33 allows politicians to do so. Section 1 empowers judges to approve and endorse the government’s violation of constitutional rights, if a judge in his or her personal opinion deems the violation to be reasonable and “demonstrably justified.”
In theory, Section 1 requires judges to force governments to justify any violation of charter rights and freedoms “demonstrably,” with persuasive evidence. According to the test laid down by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Oakes (1986), governments must show that their violations of charter freedoms are actually doing more good than harm. Theory aside, judges have repeatedly used Section 1 to rubber stamp the government’s lockdowns and vaccine passports. This necessarily raises the question: who is more competent to understand, interpret, and protect our rights and freedoms—politicians or judges?
In striking down the Saskatchewan policy, the court seems to have assumed that all parents are somehow dangerous, abusive, and untrustworthy. The court believes that all parents should be kept in the dark when their own children embark on a dangerous and futile quest to become the opposite sex.
The court also assumes that the best way (or the only way) to help gender-confused children is to affirm any and all steps that a child may wish to take to adopt opposite-sex pronouns, names, clothing, etc.
This completely ignores the success achieved by Dr. Kenneth J. Zucker, who helped hundreds of children and teenagers to accept their biological sex while working for decades at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as head of its Gender Identity Service. The vast majority of gender-confused children, when protected from political activists and ideologues and when supported by their parents, will be at peace with their sex by the time they reach the age of 18. Dr. Zucker saved these children from a lifetime of drugs and surgeries that would need to be administered in the futile quest to acquire a biological body of the opposite sex.
UR Pride claims that Saskatchewan’s new policy violates the rights of gender-diverse students under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But in fact, children do not enjoy privacy rights vis-à-vis their own parents. Because children are not adults, they legitimately have no right to drive, vote, get married, join the military, purchase liquor, get a tattoo, etc. Children are entitled to the love, support, guidance, and nurturing of their own parents. When parents are kept in the dark, they are severely hindered in providing these necessities. Claiming that children have adult rights is a perversion of the charter.
Placing great reliance on testimony from Dr. Travers, a Simon Fraser University sociology professor who uses “they/them” pronouns, the court appeared to embrace fear-mongering that children who are not “affirmed” in their “social transition” are at risk of suicide. This ignores a comprehensive Swedish study showing that “fully transitioned” transgender adults, after having had healthy body parts removed and new artificial ones created, have higher suicide rates than the general population.
The court considered irreparable harm to children only in relation to the very small number of children who might have truly abusive parents. Sadly, the court ignored the irreparable harm that is likely to result from keeping all parents in the dark, disregarding harm to children who are pressured, manipulated, and misinformed by political activists at school.
All in all, the court provided no compelling reason as to why or how it benefits children to keep all parents (not just the very small number of abusive ones) in the dark about their own children.
The Saskatchewan government should be applauded for using charter Section 33 to opt out of this court ruling.
Trudeau’s C-63: The Criminalization Of “Harm”
Our Boomer generation arrived just a little late for the onslaught of Daycare Reality. In the days when we walked to school uphill both ways, the oppressive regime of mothers being our primary caregivers was the norm. For better or worse, she provided the Rules of Behaviour. In a housecoat. With a flyswatter and a jar of cookies.
Then daycare became the place where society civilized its children while Mommy and Daddy underwent DEI programming at work. None of that messy variation from home-to-home on matters of civility, discipline or faith. With the state involved it was one-stop shopping.
“Billy. We don’t use violence to solve bullying.” “Jane, we must respect others’ workspace” and that classic, “Ms. Miller will conduct a struggle session to resolve this squabble.” Okay, “struggle sessions” didn’t have a name yet. But their insertion of an authority figure into every squabble was very real.
If not, pharmaceuticals were employed.
Fast forward a generation, and the products of early daycare were spilling out into society. Most were polite, reserved and, most important, deferential to authority. Sure, some dabbled in rebellion, but most accepted the essential tenant of the state being central to calming their fears of the boogey man. (That’s how safe spaces were invented.)
One of their fears, they were told, was Hate Speech. What began as an earnest attempt to silence Ernst Zundel’s #Nazi ravings has morphed into a Department of Daycare deciding whose speech is hurtful and whose is transcendent Happy Ways positivism.
Speaking of Happy Ways positivism, Svengali Justin the Munificent has introduced legislation C-63— the risibly named Harms Bill— creating an innocent little department of his government to regulate speech. The idea being that gender and race post grads will arbitrate whether your online speech is icky, especially to people in elected office (Calgary has already introduced a law banning the razzing of mayors who declare a climate emergency on their first day in office.) It will also guess what your future harms might be and award you an ankle bracelet.
Its reach has left foreigners gobsmacked. What was hunting porn and pedos is now hunting dissidents. This “expert” on turning society into a thought experiment was very chuffed about the possibilities of construing rude as criminal. (And bloating the bureaucracy even more) Now, smiling Princess Vapid is achieving ecstasy, because unelected bureaucrats will decide what is naughty speech and what is not.
You can’t blame Justin for pushing ever further into the suppression of speech. Using the slobbering servitude of the NDP as a crutch, he has already bribed most of the failing media companies in the country into toeing the line on policies— while they went light on stuff like the RCMP giving him a hall pass on the SNC Lavalin shenanigans. In lockstep with CBC, they get the money, his mistakes go in the round file.
Never mind that the population is fleeing media fossils like CBC or the Toronto Star for non-Canadian content that they (gasp) enjoy. In the interest of having dedicated government wind therapists, tax money will go to specials on imminent climate-change destruction, Islamaphobia or “Pierre Poilievere Is Donald Trump” exposés.
There is no corner of Canadian society too small for the Church Ladies to ignore. For instance, the new legalized sports gambling industry. To paraphrase the old beer ad, “Those who hate it, hate it a lot”. Here CBC has the vapours over the world’s second-oldest industry. Commercial insertions, a flurry of statistics and some dubious spokespeople are among the complaints. So is the retrograde effect of gambling addiction, which was always beneath the surface when sports betting was illegal or offshore.
Another thing irritating the betting haters has been the presence of famous athletes like Wayne Gretzky, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid (among others) in advertisements pitching the joys of parlays, teasers and side bets. The thinking goes that this star worship is ruining the youth of the nation, even though betting is illegal till 18 years old. While tempting adults who might otherwise be wasting disposable income on political donations.
With Ontario’s legalized betting market among the most competitive in the world— and Alberta making noise in this week’s budget about its about-to-open market— the guardians of decency have weighed in with something called “Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming”. It bans the use of sports stars in advertising for a legalized product. As Steve McAllister of Gaming News Canada reports, “there’ll be no more Gretz, no more Gronk, no more Jamie Foxx/Kevin Hart/Vince Vaughn/Vanessa Hudgens, no more Auston Matthews, and no more Mitch Marner/Leon Draisaitl/Chris Pronger on the Canadian airwaves, billboards, subways and/or social media platforms.”
Sports Interaction, the most prominent betting site on Hockey Night in Canada, deep-sixed their Marner/Draisaitl/Pronger ads on last Saturday’s HNIC game, replacing them with the “Americans-don’t-know-diddly-about-hockey spots”.
That should take care of that! Except that Americans haven’t applied a fatwa on sports stars shilling for casino gambling. So Canadians who want their guilty pleasure of hero worship will still be able to see Gretzky, Gronk and Jerry Rice on their cross-border U.S. channels. Or on websites that cross the border like Venezuelans sneaking into America. Unless the dutiful CRTC tries to substitute Canadian advertising standards on those broadcasts where Gretz has a pulpit. But let’s not give them new ideas for mischief.
None of this would be happening now if Canadian governments hadn’t spent the past decade forgoing wagering revenues that went offshore or into the black market. But it’s such a cash cow the industry can now run competitive sites, distribute money to Gambling addiction sites and still have lots left to give government for their hobby-horse progressive causes.
Which are now being ladled out to gullible students by activist educators or poured into the foreign adventures of people like Agriculture minister Lawrence “I’ll Order Lobster” McAulay. And don’t we all feel better about that? We know you do.
“Johnny? Stop looking out the window and start saluting Mr. Trudeau’s picture!”
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via brucedowbigginbooks.ca.
Canada’s struggling private sector—a tale of two cities
From the Fraser Institute
” the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress. “
According to almost every indicator including economic growth, business investment, entrepreneurship, and the employment and unemployment rates, Canada’s private sector is struggling.
A novel way to think about the sorry state of the private sector is to compare income levels in “commercial” cities (basically, cities with little to no provincial or federal government activity and largely characterized by private business activity) with income levels in capital cities, which are dominated by government.
Since the beginning of COVID (February 2020) to June 2023, government-sector job growth in Canada was 11.8 per cent compared to just 3.3 per cent for the private sector (including the self-employed). Put differently, the government sector is booming while the private sector is anemic.
The marked growth in employment in the government sector compared to the private sector is also important because of the wage premiums paid in the government. A 2023 study using data from Statistics Canada for 2021 (the latest year of available data at the time), found that—after controlling for factors such as sex, age, marital status, education, tenure, industry, occupation and location—government workers (federal, provincial and local) enjoyed an 8.5 per cent wage premium over their private-sector counterparts. And this wage gap does not include the more generous pensions typically enjoyed by government workers, their earlier retirement, and lower rates of job loss (i.e. greater job security).
According to a separate recent study, five of the 10 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick) have a distinct commercial centre other than the capital city, and in all five provinces in 2019 (pre-pandemic) the median employment income in the capital city exceeded that of the commercial centre, sometimes by a wide margin. For example, the median employment income in Quebec City was $41,290 compared to $36,660 in Montreal. (The study used median income instead of average income to control for the effect of a small percentage of very high-income earners that can influence the average income for a city.)
Remember, the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress.
Equally as telling is the comparison with the United States. Twenty-three U.S. states have a capital that’s distinct from their main commercial centre, but among that group, only five (North Dakota, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky) had capital cities that clearly had higher levels of median employment income compared to the main commercial centre in the state. This is not to say the U.S. doesn’t have similar problems in its private sector, but its commercial centres generate higher median employment incomes than the capital cities in their states, indicating a potentially better functioning private sector within the state.
Many indicators in Canada are flashing red alerts regarding the health of the economy. The comparative strength of our capital cities compared to commercial centres in generating employment income is yet another sign that more attention and policy reforms are needed to reinvigorate our private sector, which ultimately pays for the government sector.
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