An Obligation to Explain Textbook Censorship

It’s out finally, an updated history of how the Government of Ontario misused its responsibility for public and Catholic school textbook evaluation to influence curriculum. I’m calling the new book Canadian Mockingbird: Exposing Censorship and Textbook-Mediated Social Engineering for the similarity seen between the Province’s expert and covert use of one media form in shaping the opinions of Canadians and the CIA’s secret manipulation of the press using friendly journalists, which was called “Operation Mockingbird.” Much has been written about the American conspiracy. You could begin reading details in Carl Bernstein’s 1977 report for Rolling StoneThe CIA and the Media.” Please do. More information about this new book is available from its website It’s available for purchase from large and small retailers.

One major difference in Canadian Mockingbird is the focus on children. Instead of Canadian mainstream media, Ontario used its schools, authority for textbooks and inspectorate to obtain influence. Municipalities acted unseen as censors also, but this further restricting was after the provincial Ministry of Education’s work. What federal involvement I saw followed a threat to national unity.

Ontario’s resources allowed this largest province to act with quasi-national influence for English Canada. Almost half of English speakers attended schools in Ontario. Its Circular Fourteen annual guide, summarizing the bureau’s activity evaluating submissions and listing hundreds of textbooks into subjects, was distributed across Canada. Some other provinces had their own evaluation process, but in some cases that meant using Ontario’s publication. This is problematic because they too were pushed away from the pile of material Ontario chose to censor. Did Canada only agree to international laws guaranteeing freedom of thought and speech because it was polite, rather than because of the consequences of not doing so?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights. December 10, 1948


Whose problem is it that at the United Nations seventy-five years ago Canada’s delegation pledged “by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms” but then didn’t? Maybe this all reads kind of earnest. Do we really believe a level playing field is going to be permitted? Really, really? Just to be clear, other consequences may arise if those pretensions become more rare.

Canadian Mockingbird provides a history of how this happened and, I hope, offers readers a fuller understanding of how our so-called Western democracy actually uses public education. This is a nonfiction story on the education of Baby Boomers and Generation X, mostly from the 1960s to 1990s. To me Catholic schools are public schools involving the church. The Vatican censored books, and produced a list of banned books, but Catholic schools were also subject to Circular Fourteen. Canada is home to private tuition-paid academies whose students are subject to other curricula. I can’t document how different they are right now.

But for schools subject to Ontario’s authority, or using its printed guide, a regular stream of teachers and other subject specialists were paid to evaluate textbooks. The panelists’ decisions were counted. However even when unanimous majorities were reached, if a Ministry of Education bureaucrat didn’t agree then the book could be rejected, in letters that suggested the panels were decisive.

This means decades of fraudulently denied authors and publishers not winning as much of a living performing their role sustaining Canadian and Indigenous cultures as they were entitled. A backdoor attack on authenticity and what many of us could ever have hoped to become. Canada agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in December 1948. This meant hundreds of covertly censored textbooks from 1960, when Ontario began accepting submissions from publishers. Our education system, that entire time a sort a mind control apparatus. Stable, caring families, especially those who read widely without permission, still raised capable children. What else is the paid advertising young people are commonly exposed to on television and radio if not a form of persuasion?

My editor recently asked me what I was doing about a book release event. Probably I’m not doing enough for a marketing professional. Maybe I’ll become more involved promoting the book, at festivals. I’m not going to be flogging it door to door, like you would selling Kirby vacuum cleaners or long distance minutes. I’m speaking from experience. My obligation to Canadians, I feel, was the explanation of how their education was used against their best interests. If I’m never involved in something so significant again, it’s all been worth it. Canada, the people, have given me everything.

Two books have now been produced on this subject. After locating the unique fonds containing the censorship details, and then being granted freedom of information (FOI) access in 2007, I knew there was an obligation. All along authorities and publishing specialists have helped geting this story out, vetting and polishing. I didn’t want to become a public enemy needing to remain in Russia, as much as I want to visit Russia.

Some time after the publication of first book NO SCHOOL FOR SUCKERS critics, intellectuals and academics began commenting. I’m eternally grateful, and used that feedback in producing the second book. The new release has subject tables permitting quick insights into the censored books, authors and publishers. It covers a subset of of the secretly censored books. Not all records survived, yet another problem from an archivist’s perspective.

After graduate school, I worked as a corporate librarian first in Toronto’s lobbying industry and then for the strategy department (i.e. mergers & acquisitions) of a large telecommunications company, until physically unable. After leaving my career in 2010, this obligation gave life meaning. Now other projects are developing. Trent University Computer Studies Professor Emeritus Stephen Regoczei, a favourite undergraduate influence, is writing a book on Schrödinger’s entropy and negentropy and I’m helping to facilitate that publication.

Art & Commodity will provide updates. Canadian Mockingbird is only a seven-chapter 225 page book. Reviews of the censored books will be enriched by the restricted government commentary. I’ve become a book collector and have acquired many of the historic and censored works discussed. Readers will see more detail on what bothered government bureaucrats. Art & Commodity also hopes to introduce another contributor soon, a talented Jamaican writer with a similar concern for education.


*Updated April 30, 2024, 6:34 pm.