Today's discussion:

Canadians aren’t actually ‘woke’

Culture war issues are far less settled than a lot of mainstream commentary would have Canadians believe. Polling irrefutably shows that Canadians are as inclined as Americans or Britons to disagree with a lot of the woke shibboleths that are present in the media, universities, and other major institutions.

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Comments (19)

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Mario Paolucci

Reassuring polling but not surprising. The illusion of woke dominance persists because, at present, ideologues of the extreme left have the microphone. They are indeed loud but small in number. Politicians and societal leaders please take note. Voices of compassion but also of reason, desperately need to be heard in the public square today!

16th February 2024 at 7:48 am
Grant Woodward

Once again, data to the rescue. Such a gap between perception and reality, and such influence being granted to a small minority. Hopefully this will embolden institutional leaders to voice their true opinions and to make decisions reflecting the values of the vast majority.

16th February 2024 at 8:11 am
Paul Attics

The results of this survey is certainly reassuring. The overblown culture war topics seem to be played out among the margins, by the zealots and disingenuous attention mongers. Politicians should feel more confident in pushing back.

16th February 2024 at 7:28 am
Michael F

What if it is an attention seeking disingenuous zealot politician that stokes up the culture wars for their own cynical ends?

16th February 2024 at 7:35 pm
Paul Attics

Any dominant ideology that vigorously prevents and punishes good faith discussion and ideas is a societal dead end, certainly an unprosperous one, and likely a destructive one.

16th February 2024 at 7:31 am

For far too long, while we were busy making the economy tick and generally making life better for us and upcoming generations, we let the left look after education, since for the most part they are not much use in running an economy. Turns out that they are not competent to look after education without oversight either. It is refreshing to know that we are not in as bad a condition as daily doses of extreme left media would have us believe.

16th February 2024 at 9:20 am
Al Raftis

I was beginning to wonder what had happened to my country. These results are encouraging. I’d like to know what makes up the 10 – 30% that hold “woke” views. I suspect they are mostly university aged folks heavily influenced by our left wing Professors.

16th February 2024 at 2:32 pm
Phyllis Chubb

Wow! Talk about pushing narrow thinking, you win. As a voice for Conservative ideas, you win. May Canada ignore such twisted self-centered thinking and continue to grow in respect for all.

16th February 2024 at 9:51 am

Great article Eric Kauffman. I think you are on to something. I am a progressive policy advocate, generally enjoy centrist thinking about policy problems and like the Liberal Party and Progressive Conservative Party approaches historically to finding common ground and less ideological religiosity. Canada, the US and the UK have built societies with well entrenched constitutions and rights that have enabled marginalized groups to promote and attain political equality. Political equality does not necessarily mean that racism is gone but as we have learned this morning we can dissent whereas Navalny could not and paid a steep price. We have many structural inequalities and it is not hard to see where they are in terms of postal codes and municipal services, schools and who gets what etc in politics. In some respects, it was set up this way based on political equality and why it is important for those structurally marginalized to organize and vote in governments that tax and spend at the expense of those with property and capital and vice versa. What troubles me about the Woke movement is that its leaders are very similar to Trumpian neo-fascists but of the Leninist ilk. They are trying to destroy free speech which fundamentally is comedy and political satire and political criticism and our institutions that promote free speech at universities where political and technological innovation has created ture liberal democratic societies worth storming beaches and parachuting into war zones. We are not what our forebearers have fought for over a thousand years without the ability to have a university course that discusses racist words or or whether Pluto is or is not a planet. I have no issue with a Transgender person reading a book at Chapters or at a school but parents should be able to consent and speak comfortably with institutions about what their kids are and not exposed to until their kids are legally independent based on the laws adopted by our political institutions which have achieved political equality but must respect enshrined rights. Hope this makes sense. Have a great weekend Hubbers.

16th February 2024 at 10:28 am

I read that…thanks for wasting my time!

17th February 2024 at 11:49 am
A. Chezzi

It is not surprising to read that many Canadians think that Canada is not racist. I don’t think that POC and Indigenous people would agree. Were they included in the survey or were predominantly white people involved?
The original meaning of “woke” is to be empathetic. If we could get back to that and stop politicizing it, we would fare much better as a country. The survey indicates that on some matters we are not much different from the U S and that is something we need to work on. The U S is so fractured that no party, no one leader will bring healing and reconciliation. I don’t think that is the path we as Canadians want to go down.

16th February 2024 at 9:04 am
Robin Baranyai

The phrasing of statistical questions here is reminiscent of the cheap mailers from MPPs asking constituents: Do you support locking away criminals for life, or do you support more gun crime? Being “woke” isn’t a question of believing Canada is *more* racist than other countries; only acknowledging systemic racism is real and requires an urgent response. There may indeed be a majority of Canadians who oppose removing statues of Sir John, but you are presenting a false and inflated consensus when you ask if people agree activists should be able to remove them. (Many folks believe in preserving statues as important pieces of history, with appropriate contextual signage, and more sensitivity in choosing the sites and manner in which they’re displayed – not just toppling them.) And can you really say with any intellectual honesty that LGBTQ-inclusive teaching requires schools to abandon biology, rather than teaching both biological sex and gender identification as elements of identity? Gender and biological sex are two different concepts and not mutually exclusive. The way you have framed this opinion piece deliberately and cynically places “woke” beliefs on the fringe of credibility instead of a true representation of progressive beliefs, while lumping in anti-woke zealotry with moderate centrism. If you really have a point to make about Canadian attitudes, do it with some intellectual honesty.

16th February 2024 at 8:44 am

Your attempt at shooting the messenger has missed the mark and discounts the increasingly belligerent nature of a small segment of society intent on seeing their views dominate the public discourse. It will not work. This article merely reflects what many Canadians have quietly felt and may have been too timid to express, out of a fear of being labeled something they are not or, worse, attacked for speaking out.

It is more than the desecration and toppling of statues. Politicians find themselves confronted for engaging their constituents in an effort to reach some form of consensus that runs counter to the narrative of extremists. There are also the acts of arson destroying churches across Canada, many of these crimes still unsolved, which point to a repressive ideology intent on using violence to achieve their goals. Removing statues, lowering flags, and renaming buildings, streets, and public institutions will only embolden, not appease them.

Those who take to acts of intimidation to advance their “woke beliefs” are the ones who have placed themselves on the “fringe of credibility.”

16th February 2024 at 10:37 am

I can neither agree or disagree with you as I find it hard to know what your beliefs are.I have hard core beliefs myself. I see a huge change in people especially the younger generation whom as an 80 yr old I find it almost impossible to speak my mind without getting blasted or ignored.I don’t know if you have a name for this behaviour but I call it rude. Politeness and respect are what I find missing in todays world.

16th February 2024 at 11:08 am

The above reply (Lynns) was meant for Robin B not RjkWells.

16th February 2024 at 11:15 am

Robin, the way you have framed your opinion deliberately and cynically places “woke” beliefs as a true representation of progressive beliefs. Have a read of “What’s Wrong with the West” to see another side of progress. The extent of “intellectual honesty” is on full display in recent issues of The Harvard Crimson, and at the York U student union. A squared + B squared = C squared. There is no D squared.

16th February 2024 at 1:33 pm

Wrong….it is pretty clear how Premiers Like Danielle Smith and her sycophantic underling Scott Moe, use the inaccurate optic that ‘wokeism’ is rampant to rile up the poorly informed hate filled base…as does Peepee!

17th February 2024 at 11:47 am

I believe there should be no statutes at all. A very silly custom.

16th February 2024 at 10:32 pm

You are using that word incorrectly!

17th February 2024 at 11:50 am