Pushing back against illiberalism in Canada, with James Pew

In Canada there are certain ideas that have seemingly come out of nowhere to dominate much of the political landscape. These ideas have to do with identity, race, gender and use terms such as “critical race theory”, “post colonialism”, “white supremacy”, “systemic racism”, “microaggressions”, “diversity equity inclusion”, “anti-racism”, “cis-normative” and “oppressor/oppressed”.

The list goes on and, by now, you will have seen and heard these terms used all over the place. Colloquially called “woke” by some, it’s a way of looking at the world that ten years ago would only be found in arcane academic disciplines. They have now hit the mainstream and are very popular with the professional-managerial classes, educators, media, and policy makers in Canada.

For Canadians who graduated before these ideas were de rigueur in school, or for those who are just going about their day paying the bills and looking after the kids, these terms can all be a bit vague and disorienting.

But, maybe more importantly, are these good ideas? Will they make Canada a better place? The claims being made by adherents of these ideas suggest this worldview will lead to a better, more just society.

My guest in this episode, James Pew, doesn’t think so. He founded Woke Watch Canada to investigate and provide a rigorous counter-point to what are now mainstream narratives. Working with a team of writers (many of whom are teachers and academics) they publish regularly on how wokeism, and critical social justice and how it is rolling out in Canadian institutions. From their website:

We are concerned citizens, parents and teachers pushing back against divisive radicalism in schools & culture. Share your examples of woke indoctrination with us. Read the newsletter at https://wokewatchcanada.substack.com/

Woke Watch Canada website

I met with James Pew in my home in downtown Toronto. We talked about his inspiration for founding Woke Watch Canada, discussed what he means by “woke”, how it has become a part of K-12 education, his thoughts on liberalism, and more. It’s a great conversation for anyone who wants a different take on these ideas. 

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