Censorship 1979

You can’t understand censorship if you don’t know it exists.

1951’s False Choice

Ontario, Canada’s largest PS textbook buyer working through its school boards, censors large numbers of books. Since 1951, when the province began authorizing multiple textbooks for single courses, Ontario has rejected hundreds of books following consensus approval by up to seven Ministry-paid expert reviewers. Ontario censors books for mentions of sex and drugs (inc alcohol), policing and laws, politics (esp Marxism), unionizing, civil disobedience, business strategy, environmentalism and for alternative (and marginalized) historical explanation.

The View from 1979

In 1979, Ontario’s Circular 14, a government serial listing authorized books, recorded 136 English and 72 French new titles in the first of three instalments. 167 books were rejected. Among the English-language rejections, at least 18 PS textbooks were censored in 1979, including books from well known authors such as Margaret Atwood, June Callwood and Max Braithwaite. Government took steps to disguise its activities, first and foremost by providing misleading rejection letters to publishers. Sources available at the Archives of Ontario (RG 2-243-4, 2-243-3) following FOIA approval.

Curriculum Support

Teachers, please feel free to print the following infographic on censorship. It could serve as reminder, in case you ever forget, that were a teacher to rely disproportionately on prescribed textbooks, without external ancillary materials and perspectives, students would be learning from a politically managed curriculum.

[Updated July 31, 2020 to include note to teachers and correct typos.]