“The Right to Live and Die,” a Covertly Censored Textbook

Make it make sense.

One of Canada’s many covertly censored textbooks is titled The Right to Live and Die, an edited volume by John Eisenberg and Paula Bourne. The book is one of the so-called “Eisenberg books” or “OISE books,” as they were referred to at Ontario’s Ministry of Education. Publication was in 1973 as part of The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education’s Canadian Critical Issues Series. The series project began in 1969 and received Ontario government funding.

OISE is an educational faculty at the University of Toronto. Future professors of education graduate from the faculty. Its roots can be traced back to the establishment of the Provincial Normal School in 1847.

John Eisenberg and Paula Bourne both taught at the school. Journalists seek out Bourne’s explanations on gender issues. She’s originally from Leeds, has an international teaching and consulting career outside of Canada. Eisenberg taught at OISE for 31 years, and wrote regularly on moral issues, law and creativity. Professor Malcolm Levin was also a series editor.

First chapter “Euthanasia” tells the story of Jack Strom, a Vancouver finance executive who fell into a coma with treatment for a brain tumor. After six months being unresponsive, Strom began to experience bouts of pneumonia as well a cardiac arrest.

After visiting her husband daily and discussing the matter at length with their children, Mrs. Strom asked the attending physician to undertake a final treatment to end Jack’s life. Dr. Harrison considered the family’s words and wishes and discussed the matter with a priest.

Following consultations with the hospital administrators, who relayed that hospital facilities were “overtaxed” and many patients waiting for beds and care, the doctor requested the switching off of Jack’s pacemaker and respirator. The second nurse asked complied after the first, a Catholic woman, refused. Euthanasia was against her moral and religious beliefs.

Other textbook chapters featured religion and death, abortion, sterilization and capital punishment. Each was followed by extended summaries of the issues involved and questions.

The series was covertly censored by Ontario’s Ministry of Education end of year 1972, in conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Canada’s Bill of Rights, after majority recommendation by the experts hired and paid for panel evaluation.

Don’t Teach That, Foreign Ownership, The Law and the Police, Rights of Youth, Native Survival, Crisis in Quebec, On Strike, The Right to Live and Die

Only Native Survival was found in the annual list of authorized texts, Circular 14, distributed across the country. Premier and former Education Minister Bill Davis was involved directly. Why? Controversy. According to one bureaucrat pushing for their listing, the issues were

1. Ministry encouragement, partially financial, was given in the early stages of development, before the project took on its emphasis on the controversial.

2.The rejected books were turned down after much discussion and for a variety of reasons, including American authorship, the controversial (and even inflammatory) nature of the material, and the fact that some of the books did not relate directly to guidelines.

3. Some of the books would have relevance in the study of moral issues but would require sensitive handling. The Right to Live and Die for example deals with Euthanasia, Religious views of life, abortion, sterilization and Capital Punishment.

With the end of religious education in mainstream public school, and prior to the comparative religion option, the Ministry let students drift. It often appeared government didn’t want students to have opinions or to know what their rights were. Just do what you’re told.

“You will die when we say!”

Public education about choices to die intentionally, whether suicide or euthanasia, has never been more relevant.

Canadian government decision making on euthanasia, and especially its marketing of MAiD (Medical assistance in dying), has left many Canadians bothered and feeling like the butt of the world’s jokes.

Adults who had benefitted from an education on the moral issues surrounding elective dying, the chances for possibilities in recovery and everlasting life after physical death, would make more informed decisions.

Please stay tuned for announcements on Canadian Mockingbird, the forthcoming book discussing the hundreds of the majority recommended Baby Boomer and Generation X era textbooks secretly censored.