Reviewing “1986’d, or the Cheapening of Canada’s English Language Textbooks”

Last Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, Canadian Mockingbird: Exposing Censorship and Textbook Mediated Social Engineering was officially published. This second book on the theft of Canadian public education textbooks, and identity, is organized into three sections.

Part 1, BRITISH INVASION is a two chapter history of public education in British America and Canada. Included is a focus on three of the four elected premiers that comprised the Progressive Conservatives’ (PC) dynastic political control of Ontario between 1943 (George Drew) and 1985 (Bill Davis).

Part 2, TEXTBOOK RACKET: 1960s-1980s is the centrepiece of the monograph. Ontario, Canada’s largest province, where half of English Canada is educated, announced that as of 1960 textbooks would begin to be selected objectively by panels of subject experts. But this openness actually was never delivered, following panel majority (even unanimous) selections of texts by panelists. When Ontario’s Ministry of Education didn’t like a book, it would covertly censor the title and write a fraudulent rejection letter to its publisher.

With Ontario being the largest book buyer in Canada, whose annual Circular 14 directory of “acceptable” textbooks reached across the country, if publishers suspected unconstitutional censorship, ministry archives suggest they kept their disappointment to themselves. (With the exception of at least Mel Hurtig.)

Part Two features tables of censored textbooks organized by subject.

Part 3, SNEAKY MEDIA is composed of just one chapter that compares Ontario’s Ministry of Education censorship with other censors, discusses the privatization of textbook evaluation, and shrinking of Canadian textbook production.

The final chapter accomplishes a lot. But it’s a revision. A predecessor version titled “1986’d” was revised, some of its contents placed elsewhere inside the final Canadian Mockingbird, including the book’s Afterword. This revision would have been in cooperation with my editor, former newspaper reporter and editor Eric Mills.

To assist in introducing the new title, this former chapter has been divided into three parts and will be shared here over the new three weeks, beginning tomorrow.

The content is organized as follows:


Week 1

  • Where did the name Canadian Mockingbird originate?
  • Private sector censorship
  • The relationship of ad-sponsored media to subscription price and editorial content


Week 2

  • Privatizing textbook evaluation under Bob Rae’s New Democrat Party & Mike Harris’ Common Sense Revolution
  • Curriculum Services Canada, Ontario’s private evaluation partner, files for bankruptcy and then emerges as Curriculum Matters.
  • Consolidation of Canada’s textbook publishers


Week 3

  • The Harris Conservatives’ multi-forum assault on Indigenous people in Canada
  • Government secrecy in textbook evaluation harms education and free speech


Following the release of all three parts, the chapter will become available in other formats.