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Backlash: A Telltale Sign

(by Eric Blair)

Sometimes, the truly important news is to be found buried somewhere inside the back pages of the daily newspaper.

Sometimes this is done unintentionally: the paper's editor having failed to realize the importance of a news item. Sometimes, this happens deliberately: the editor, having realized just how truly significant the unwelcome item is, reacts by downplaying it and/or by burying it somewhere in the middle of a mass of news items.

Of course, this sometimes happens because an item may send up a red-hot flare that signals a piece of unpalatable politically incorrect "bad" news.

This ambivalent reception was evident in the treatment given to a story generated by Canadian Press out of Hamilton [Ontario], sometimes nicknamed "Steeltown" for its blue-collar ethos. The news item appeared in several Canadian dailies on Friday, May 24th. It was played down, if anything.

The gist of the story was this:

A high school in Hamilton had spent nearly nine months preparing for a day-long conference intended to convince its students of the virtues of multiculturalism and, conversely, the evils of racism. However, when the big day arrived, some 500 of its 1,000 students - the majority, apparently, with parental approval - decided to give the special event a miss.

Here's how it was (in part) reported by a major Canadian daily [The Calgary Herald]:

"Half the students at Sir Allan MacNab high school played hookey Thursday, skipping a day-long multicultural and anti-racism conference in the works since September. Principal Trish Fulton said students - and their parents - will have to account for the terrible showing.

"'They (parents) are condoning young people not coming,'" she said Thursday. "'It seems there's a backlash against racial equity'" [sic].

The principal noted that a number of concerned parents had called up the school to inquire about the conference or, alternately, to politely inform its administration that "they didn't want their children attending a mandatory multicultural conference." I say "politely" because the report makes it clear that "none [of the parents who phoned the school] "raised [any] racist concerns openly..."

The CP report describes the conference as consisting of several "muticultural workshops" and "seminars" on various ethnic cultures, as well as including a component that dealt with both "history and anti-racism education."

By "history," did they mean "the Holocaust," I wonder, and all that word implies relative to "tolerance" and "understanding"? Would anyone reading this be very surprised if it did?

More likely, they'd be very surprised if it didn't, I should think.

One of the invited speakers was a Sgt. Eric Girt of the Hamilton-Wentworth regional police who very thoughtfully took it upon himself to "warn teenagers about right-wing organizations looking for high- and middle-school recruits." For it seems that "such racist groups as the Heritage Front are reaching into city schools."

The article I have before me includes a reference to the Heritage Front but says nothing more than that. So, naturally, I'm left to wonder. Wonder, for example, what this speaker may have told the 500 or so students who met for the day to attend the lectures and seminars extolling our multiculturalist policies about the Heritage Front.

Did he tell the students the truth about Grant Bristow and his CSIS-directed operation? Did he even mention Bristow and CSIS while warning students to be wary of Heritage Front recruiters?

Did any of the invited speakers who addressed the students at Sir Allan McNab High School in Hamilton that Thursday ever tell them how CSIS, the intelligence-gathering arm of the Canadian government, provided CSIS operative Grant Bristow with the necessary, critical funding to establish the "racist" and "neo-Nazi" Heritage Front back in the early 1990s?

More importantly, I am wondering: Were any students told how CSIS mole, Grant Bristow, then far exceeded his mandate by urging his Heritage Front comrades to engage in patently illegal acts of harassment against their opponents?

My hunch is they didn't, for that would be the same as implicating the Canadian government in acts of criminality. I bet that slice of bitter truth was just ignored; or, better still, consigned to an Orwellian memory hole.

After all, when indoctrination is the name of the game, you don't want students posing "difficult" questions, do you? Nor do you want to confuse the idealist, well-meaning students with mixed signals and blatant contradictions.

Finally, recall that the high school principal said no parents had "openly" voiced any so-called racist sentiments. What they did instead was to adopt what psychologists call a passive-aggressive stanceÑan attitude of sinning by omission, as it wereÑagainst the canon of official multiculturalism. In genteel old Canada, it appears the backlash against one of many unpopular government policies has taken the form of a studied indifference, a conspicuous absenteeism.

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