Written by guest blogger, Patrick Lacroix.


Portrait of Louis-Prosper BenderLouis-Prosper Bender. Photograph by J.E. Livernois (c. 1880)

Everything about Prosper Bender (1844-1917) seemed to suggest that he would be noticed and remembered—everything down to his name. He left a life of comfort to serve as a physician in the U.S. Army in the final year of the Civil War. He bucked the Canadian Medical Association by practicing homeopathy. He made his home the centre of Quebec’s literary life in the 1870s. He sought to bridge Canada’s two dominant cultures when few others could or would.

Bender did all of this in the span of two decades—and then left. Indeed, the most interesting part of his life may be his abrupt move to Boston in the 1880s, a decision that undermined his burgeoning fame as a Canadian littérateur and helps to explain why he has vanished from our historical consciousness. At the same time, the move highlights a constancy of principles that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Had he remained in Quebec City, Bender might have earned great fame as a writer; the works he penned and published presaged as much. But, in 1882, he began a transnational journey that would last some twenty-five years. Personal reasons for the move are easily found. He failed to make the first slate of members of the Royal Society of Canada, while Boston was home to a thriving literary and artistic scene and seemed to promise new professional opportunities.

In retrospect, it is Bender’s politics that stand out most. Interethnic suspicions, graft, and a languishing economy had turned Canada into a sick nation, Bender argued through most of the 1880s. Confederation had not yielded its expected fruit. Awed by American industrial power and the spirit of republican values, the expatriate began to plead for Canada’s annexation by its mighty neighbour.

Bender nevertheless remained true to his principles and to his own bicultural heritage. He continued to promote a better understanding of French-Canadian society and culture—on both sides of the border—among their English-speaking neighbours. He defied the nativism that afflicted budding Franco-American communities and the angry rhetoric that sprang in the era of the Riel controversy. Adroitly, he crossed cultures and borders without succumbing to the more profitable tide of prejudice.

As our own times show, fear mongering and scapegoating easily drown out voices of moderation and understanding. When Bender died in early 1917, his home country was about to experience animosities not seen since 1885; little came of his efforts. That too may explain, despite the numerous columns he penned in Quebec newspapers after he returned to the province, the obscurity that awaited him.

Bender’s life sheds light on the possibilities of Canadian and French-Canadian nationhood in the late nineteenth century. But we stand to gain more by remembering his work as an intercultural broker, who may yet inspire those who would counter the “[f]anatics [who] have always been numerous enough . . . to supply subjects for quarrels, as well as disputants at short notice, to the danger of the public peace.”

Learn more about Bender, the literary scene of his time, and his work as a mediator of cultures in the latest issue of the Journal of Canadian Studies (52.2).


Patrick Lacroix, Ph.D. is an instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, N.H.). His article “Seeking an ‘Entente Cordiale’: Prosper Bender, French Canada, and Intercultural Brokership in the Nineteenth Century” is free to read for a limited time in the latest issue of the Journal of Canadian Studies. Click here to read it online.

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Written by guest blogger, Ben Gilding.


CHR Latest Cover Image

It is timely, even more so than I could have possibly intended, that my article emphasising the role of the British Colonial Office in defining the features of Canadian Confederation should be published in the Canadian Historical Review at a time when the constitution—albeit a newer section of it—is once more making headlines. I am, of course, referring to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to invoke the ‘notwithstanding’ clause in order to push through his reform of Toronto’s municipal elections. The Ontario Superior Court ruled that Ford’s bill violated freedom of expression under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which was entrenched in the constitution during its repatriation in 1982. To combat the Court’s ruling, Ford invoked the ‘notwithstanding’ clause, which allows governments (provincial or federal) to temporarily override rights and freedoms outlined in sections 2 and 7-15 of the Charter. These include freedoms of religion, association, and expression, among others. Since then, it has been revealed that the new Premier-designate of Québec, François Legault is threatening to make use of the same clause to ban the wearing of religious symbols by provincial civil servants, leading the Premier of B.C. to remark on the appearance of a ‘domino effect’ on the use of the controversial clause.[1]

Constitutional debates pitching courts against politicians are, of course, nothing new in Canadian history. This is not to say that the current case involving Ontario’s use of the ‘notwithstanding’ clause is in any way justified by historical constitutional jurisprudence. Rather, it is simply to point out that the courts have decisively intervened at various stages in Canadian history through the interpretation of key clauses of the constitution.[2] This, of course, gave rise to the disputes between originalist and ‘living tree’ interpretations of the Canadian constitution which have oftentimes been falsely perceived as dichotomous. Originalists, in short, attempt to uncover the original meaning of the constitution through the intentions of its framers. The advocates of the ‘living tree’ doctrine, on the other hand, argue that the constitution ought to be seen as an organic structure that is adaptable over time. That these are not mutually exclusive attributes of a written constitution with a formula for amendment is not only self-evident but also admitted by Lord Sankey, the founder of the ‘living tree’ metaphor. In 1931, he declared that, ‘[i]nasmuch as the [British North America] Act embodies a compromise under which the original Provinces agreed to federate…the process of interpretation as the years go on ought not to be allowed to dim or whittle down the provisions of the original contract upon which the federation was founded.’[3]

Ontario’s recent controversial use of the ‘notwithstanding’ clause has prompted a response from several of the framers of that provision (former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, and former Chief Justice of Ontario, Roy McMurtry). These three, famously involved in the so-called ‘kitchen accord’, argued that the ‘notwithstanding’ clause “was designed to be invoked in exceptional situations, and only as a last resort after careful consideration.”[4] The assumption behind the release of this joint statement, and much of the commentary in the press and on social media surrounding this controversy suggests that the intentions of the framers matter in constitutional jurisprudence. Not that they ought to rule supreme and fossilize archaic notions into the structure of what would thereby become an increasingly obsolete document; but that they ought to be considered and accounted for in a rational debate concerning the principles that define the national character and the institutions of state.

Upon this assumption—that the intentions of the framers matter in constitutional jurisprudence—my article examines the ideas and motivations of what I term ‘the silent framers’ of Canada’s original constitution. These were the political and permanent staff of the British Colonial Office who, alongside the already-familiar “Fathers of Confederation,” drew up the provisions of the British North America Act that continue to shape politics today. Notwithstanding the Confederation debates, the recent furore surrounding Ontario’s use of the Charter’s overriding clause suggests that Canada’s constitutional legacy is still far from settled, 151 years after its inception.

 

[1] Richard Zussman, “B.C. premier surprised by ‘domino effect’ of use of notwithstanding clause.” Global News, 5 October 2018, https://globalnews.ca/news/4518008/bc-premier-horgan-notwithstanding-clause/

[2] See John T. Saywell, The Lawmakers: Judicial Power and the Shaping of Canadian Federalism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002).

[3] Privy Council Appeal No. 38 of 1931, p. 7. <http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/1931/1931_93.pdf>

[4] “Chretien, Romanow and McMurtry attack Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause.” Maclean’s, 14 September 2018, https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/chretien-romanow-and-mcmurtry-attack-fords-use-of-the-notwithstanding-clause/


Ben Gilding is a PhD candidate at Christ’s College, Cambridge. His research currently focuses on domestic responses to imperial crises in the British Empire in the “age of revolutions” (circa 1765–95). His article “The Silent Framers of British North American Union: The Colonial Office and Canadian Confederation, 1851–67 ” is free to read in the latest issue of the Canadian Historical Review. Read it here!

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Written by guest blogger, Jonathan Petrychyn.


If asked to guess where Canada’s oldest and longest-running queer film festival is located, most people wouldn’t think to start guessing cities on the Canadian Prairies. Most would guess Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver. But in fact, it all started in Winnipeg in 1985 – a full two years before Montreal, three before Vancouver, six before Toronto.

This fact comes as a surprise to many. The prairies are typically conceived as a very conservative region of the country, deeply hostile to queer people. But, as my own research and the research of other scholars has shown, there have been queer people on the prairies – and these queers have been screening, making, and distributing film for as long as their peers in bigger cities.

In my article for the Canadian Journal of Film Studies, I tell the history of expanded cinema and performance art at Queer City Cinema, Canada’s longest-running (and, until the Toronto Queer Film Festival emerged in 2016, its only) experimental queer film festival. Located in Regina, Saskatchewan, the festival has been organized and curated by performance artist Gary Varro since 1996. Like many other queer film festivals that emerged in the 1990s, the festival initially focused on screening just film and video. But, as popular acceptance and interest in queer films, videos, and television programs grew in the mid-2000s, Canada’s queer film festivals found themselves at a crossroads. Once the only place queer cinema could be reliably screened, queer film festivals were now competing for space with television and the multiplexes. Some responded to this by reorienting their festivals as industry hubs, focused on nurturing the next generation of queer filmmakers. But Varro expanded Queer City Cinema’s curatorial mandate and made a space where queer artists could experiment and push the boundaries between film, performance, media and art.

Queer City Cinema remains on the vanguard of queer film festival curation in Canada. In 2006, Varro brought on Deidre Logue to curate Queering Plunder, the festival’s first expanded cinema exhibition, which included Aleesa Cohene’s Ready to Cope (pictured above). In 2017, Varro curated an all-John Waters festival featuring a campy mix of new performance art, classic queer Canadian short films alongside all of Waters’s features. This year, the 22nd year of the festival, is devoted explicitly to work by QTBIPOC (queer, trans, Black, Indigenous people of colour) and is dedicated to the memories of Tina Fontaine and Colton Bushie. Queer City Cinema is the first queer film festival in the prairie region – and indeed, perhaps in Canada – to devote an entire festival’s programming exclusively on QTBIPOC filmmakers since the Calgary’s The Fire I’ve Become ended in 1996.

Queer City Cinema – and the history of queer film festivals on the prairies that I’ve intimated in this short post –­ is living proof that scholars of queer cinema and of sexuality in Canada need to pay closer attention to the prairie region. Exciting, important, and politically necessary work is being done in the region; in many ways, the prairies are truly Canada’s new avant-garde. Those of us located in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver have much to learn from their organizers and activists.

PhotoAleesa Cohene’s Ready to Cope in Queering Plunder, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, 2006.


Jonathan Petrychyn is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow and PhD Candidate in Communication & Culture at York and Ryerson Universities in Toronto. His article “Film Festivals in the White Cube: Queer City Cinema as Artistic Practice” will be free to read in the upcoming issue of the Canadian Journal of Film Studies. Sign up for the CJFS mailing list to be notified when the issue goes online.

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Written by guest blogger, Elizabeth A. Stone.


Class of 1950 stained glass window, Ontario Veterinary College

‘‘Abandon the unrealistic concept of the universal veterinarian who can minister to the health needs of all creatures great and small.”

Dean William Pritchard, 19891

Each of the three major planning initiatives undertaken by the veterinary profession in the last 30 years has included a version of this recommendation. During this time, veterinary schools have begun to embrace this perspective as shown by a survey of deans, previous deans and academic associate deans of accredited veterinary schools. Seventy-one percent of the survey participants agreed that “at our school, tracking (e.g., emphasis areas, focus areas, streaming) where students focus on a class of animals or a discipline area begins in either year one (2.6%), year two (15%), year three (35%), year four (39%) or year five (6%).”2

Veterinary school leaders want to ensure that their students achieve entry level competencies by the time they graduate, which is a Herculean challenge even for one class of animals or discipline area and most likely impossible for “all creatures great and small”. The visionary, Dean Pritchard, recognized this conundrum in the 1970’s and worked to implement the first tracking curriculum at UC Davis.  Since that time the knowledge explosion and emerging new disciplines within veterinary medicine and biomedical science as a whole have made the possibility of educating  ‘the universal veterinarian’ even more remote.

One argument against tracking has gradually lost its validity, i.e., that tracking decreases the ability of graduates ‘to change careers in the future’. Given the rapid pace of discovery, we are fooling ourselves if we think that the facts and procedures we currently teach our students, whether they track or not, will prepare them for a major career change 5-10 years from now. Instead, we can focus on helping them learn how to learn, to solve problems, and to develop their own career goals and plans to achieve those goals now and in the future.

If as a profession we can move beyond the arguments about whether or not tracking is a good idea (since most schools are already doing it), we can make more progress figuring out how to ensure that all veterinarians, no matter what their focus, master the essential ‘veterinarian competencies”. What might these be? My starting list would include the following: Be able to 1] provide informed opinions and discuss with the general public such topics as modern food production; key welfare issues; responsible use of antibiotics; importance of translational biomedical research; 2] effectively collaborate with public health and medical professionals within their communities; 3] work in a team environment as an employee, colleague and leader; and 4] monitor and sustain one’s own self-awareness, personal health and well-being.

What would be on your list?

Then the next question is: how do we incorporate these and other critical learning areas into the curriculum so that all students become competent and successful veterinarians?

 

1 Pritchard WR. Future directions for veterinary medicine. Durham, NC: Pew National Veterinary Education Program, Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs, Duke University; 1989.

2 Stone EA, Reimann J, Greenhill LM, Dewey CE. Milestone Educational Planning Initiatives in Veterinary Medical Education: Progress and Pitfalls. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 2018;45(3):388-404.


Elizabeth A. Stone, DVM, MS, MPP, DACVS, is the previous Dean and a Professor in the Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1 Canada, and an Emeritus Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607 USA. Her research interests include leadership development, educational innovation, and the role of veterinarians in society. Her article “Milestone Educational Planning Initiatives in Veterinary Medical Education: Progress and Pitfalls” is free to read for a limited time: http://bit.ly/jvme453k

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Written by guest blogger, Daniel McKay.


Still from Full Metal Jacket, see details in text

Take a look at the picture above, a portrayal of South Vietnam in 1968.  It’s a still from Stanley Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket (1987), in which a Vietnamese prostitute (played by British-Chinese actress Papillon Soo Soo) solicits the U.S. Marines Joker (played by the American actor Matthew Modine) and Rafterman (played by the Canadian actor Kevyn Major Howard).  How problematic is this image?  Let me count the ways.  As a derivative of casting decisions that collapse the difference between Asians living in Asian countries and, say, British-Born Chinese?  Check.  As a portrayal of relations between overseas servicemen and local women that reduces the latter to sex objects?  Check.  As an example of a racialised ‘gaze’ that sees ‘Asian’ women as hypersexual?  Check.  The list goes on.  As against that, however, there remains the disquieting fact that the war in Vietnam did bring servicemen and prostitutes together in large numbers.  So is the image historically inaccurate?  Alas, no.  By the end of the war, the issues, so to speak, were readily apparent.  South Vietnam had so many children of mixed-race parentage that evacuating them became part of a military operation in itself.

Fast-forward to the Iraq War and no similar operation has been necessary.  On the contrary, the presumption among many civilians is that U.S.-led coalition forces brought about or inhabited a culture that denied them sexual encounters with local women.  Iraqis would not ‘love them long time.’  Furthermore, women of East or Southeast Asian descent are no longer expected, by that fact alone, to be foreign rather than domestic.  Take the following advertisement, for example, which was commissioned by Apple Inc. during the Iraq War:

After watching this a good few times, I decided that there was more going on here than schmaltzy marketing.  While it would be presuming too much to assume that images such as Stanley Kubrick’s are no longer being produced in dominant entertainment media, a shift, at least, appears to have taken place.  This led me to enquire into the ways in which today’s writers of Iraq War literature have rethought the old stereotypes of East and Southeast Asian women.  Of course, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan are located in those regions, but that’s precisely the point.  Might the most recent wars have provided an occasion to rethink the cultural legacies of older ones?

Assuming that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were interruptions in the social and sexual norms that American servicemen had come to expect, I’m interested in how fiction writers, in turn, have seized the opportunity to break free of those norms when it comes to the craft of storytelling.  My chosen sources, Phil Klay’s short Story “In Vietnam they had Whores” (2014) and Atticus Lish’s novel Preparation for the Next Life (2015) come from two of the best-known Iraq War writers today.  Both are U.S. Marine Corps veterans and both feature increasingly in discussions of the new canon of writing that is emerging on the Iraq War and its associated episodes.

Sources


Daniel McKay is an Associate Professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. His article “Pivot to Asia: Iraq War Literature and Asian/American Women” can be found in the latest issue of University of Toronto Quarterly. Read it online here (open access for a limited time).

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National Indigenous Peoples Day: June 21st, 2018

June 18, 2018

On June 21st, we’re joining our fellow Canadians to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD), a day to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Our journals are filled with thoughtful articles on everything from Indigenous history to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, from […]

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Horse Pills: A New Therapy for Those Suffering from PTSD

June 15, 2018

Written by guest blogger, Ellen Kaye Gehrke. Although we just had our paper published in the Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, it really does not address the deepest issues around PTSD and what horses can do to instigate and sustain healing from trauma. We did capture some great quantitative information and demonstrated that […]

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UTP Journals Launches CASA: We’re bringing your campus library to you!

June 6, 2018

University of Toronto Press Journals is pleased to announce that Campus Activated Subscriber Access (CASA) is now available for all UTPJ subscribers. We’ve launched a new partnership with Google Scholar, which allows users who are off-campus to access UTP Journals Online as though they were still connected to their university network. Students and researchers will […]

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World Environment Day: June 5th, 2018

June 4, 2018

Celebrated in over 100 countries since its beginning in 1974, the UN’s World Environment Day (WED) has developed into a global platform for encouraging awareness, action and, of course, learning. This year’s timely theme pledges to show the many ways that we can help beat plastic pollution. Over the years, journals from across our collection […]

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Moving to Online Publication: Canadian Journal of History / Annales canadiennes d’histoire

May 28, 2018

For over fifty years, the CJH / ACH has produced first-class historical scholarship that reaches a wide audience. That audience is increasingly accessing our content wholly through digital platforms. Last year alone, 10,000 readers downloaded articles and book reviews. In response to this reality, and to rapid changes in academic publishing, our Editorial Board has […]

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