This article originally appeared in the Toronto Sun.
By Jamil Jivani, September 6, 2022
To Canada’s critical race theorists,
I’m extending this open invitation to Canadian critical race theorists in hopes that suitable members of your ideological movement will join me and some colleagues for an honest conversation on October 5.
As you are aware, critical race theory (CRT) has become a lightning rod issue in Canada over the past year. More Canadians are becoming aware of how CRT is transforming public schools, universities, media corporations and human resource departments by demanding the use of new language like “systemic racism” and “white privilege.”
It must be especially frustrating for you to see the results of the Trudeau administration embracing your ideology.
The federal government’s Laith Marouf antisemitism scandal has only heightened concern over CRT. Many Canadians await the promised review of Trudeau’s anti-racism program and what other concerning information might be uncovered.
Still, I understand that proponents of CRT often feel misunderstood and mischaracterized.
Academics at York University argued earlier this summer that “concerns about the teaching of critical race theory in public schools” are “specious.” At the University of Alberta, professors have assured the public that “there is nothing all that radical” about CRT. Two Hamilton school teachers wrote in The Hamilton Spectator that teaching CRT helps to promote “human rights and justice” in schools.
Not to mention the most common argument offered in defense of CRT: it’s about teaching “honest” history.
If Canadian critical race theorists are indeed misunderstood and mischaracterized, I’d like to give you the chance to set the record straight.
On October 5, the Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) is hosting a virtual discussion on CRT’s influence in Canada. So far, we have two panelists confirmed who are opposed to CRT.
We are looking to balance out the discussion by welcoming two more panelists who are in favour of the ideology. I will be the moderator and will ensure equal speaking time is given to all parties.
The two panelists we have confirmed are writer and community advocate Samuel Sey and university student and journalist Noah Jarvis. Sey and Jarvis each contributed to MLI’s recent essay series on CRT. They are also young Black men who come from Toronto-area communities that critical race theorists claim to represent.
We are in search of two additional panelists who (1) are Canadian, (2) support CRT, and (3) hold a position that influences the public policies that impact Black communities.
Examples of critical race theorists who would fit this criteria come from different political parties, such as federal heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez, Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce or NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Each of those men have supported the spread of CRT through public policies. Toronto Police chief James Ramer could also work, given his recent CRT-inspired apology on behalf of the police service. Or how about any of the Ontario school board trustees who are up for re-election in October?
We would also welcome journalists tasked with reporting on “race” at CBC News, The Globe and Mail or Toronto Star. This is meant to be their area of expertise, right? And, of course, there is a litany of professors who disparage Canada in academic journals and may want to test their ideas with a bigger audience.
Any critical race theorist who fits the criteria and would like to participate in an honest conversation is welcome to contact us at email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Jamil Jivani is a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and President of the Canada Strong & Free Network.