Thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. I hope to use it to update you on what I’ve been thinking and speaking about, where I’m speaking next, and people and issues that have caught my attention.
Since my last update, I have returned my focus to the classroom, so my blogging rate has slowed significantly.
In June, I did post about my disappointment in Andrea Horwath's decision to run for mayor of Hamilton (actually, my blog simply expressed hope that she wouldn't - so much for that...), as well as how difficult it will be to get Canada's susceptibility to money laundering under control. In July, I criticized Conservative leadership candidate Scott Aitchison's promise to unilaterally recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state. I also defended Ottawa's decision to return six turbines to Russia in circumvention of its own sanctions regime. I was only able to blog once in August, about the blatant unfairness of demanding that Ottawa be increasingly efficient and yet also fully accountable at the same time. I hope to get back to blogging twice per month as I settle back into a teaching routine.
I did manage to produce two guest blog posts: the Canadian Eyes Only website released my short piece about the lack of attention to history in the Trudeau government's Indo-Pacific strategy; and the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy released a brief essay I wrote about Canadian national interests that I am trying to expand into something longer.
Although the public speaking circuit tends to slow a bit in the summer, I very much enjoyed the opportunity to speak to a masked group of East York Probus Club members about Canadian history.
The next few months will be busier. Next weekend, I'll be commenting on a paper about the Ottawa Process to ban anti-personnel landmines at a conference about Jean Chretien's foreign policy legacy organized by the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History. Bill's recent passing is a great loss for all Canadians. I have an online lecture on managing Canada-US relations scheduled to be given to a terrific group at Lifelong Learning - Thornhill; an online lecture on Canadian defence policy to another receptive group at Third Age Learning - York Region (Aurora); and one on Canadian foreign policy to a newer group at Third Age Learning Burlington. If you're interested in having me speak, please contact me through my website.
I have been a fan of Elamin Abdelmahmoud's writing for a number of years, and he has been a terrific guest in my Canadian government course, so I made a point of reading his new memoir, Son of Elsewhere, not long after it came out. It's a great book - thoughtful, touching, and genuinely moving. I also finally read Michelle D. Miller's Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology, which I had intended to look at when the pandemic first hit. It offers an excellent summary of the most recent literature on teaching and learning, and I found Miller's advice and insights just as relevant to the in-person classroom. Finally, for those interested in military history, I was able to get a look at Tim Cook's latest book, Lifesavers and Body Snatchers: Medical Care and the Struggle for Survival in The Great War before its release next week. As per usual, Cook has taught me something new while demonstrating his extraordinary skill as both a historian and a writer.
Around the time that my sabbatical came to an end, Asa McKercher and I finally submitted the manuscript for our case-study textbook on the history of Canadian foreign policy. We haven't written a conclusion yet (we're saving that for the last possible moment), but it nonetheless feels like an accomplishment to have the manuscript in someone else's hands for a while. Craig Stone and I have also all but finished revising an academic writing textbook that we first wrote for our Canadian Forces College students over a decade ago.
Finally, I'm writing this update not long after our deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, was accosted and verbally assaulted by an unrepentant bully and an enabler who did the filming. Neither the media reports nor the short excerpts of the incident circulating on TikTok do justice to how horrible and frightening the assault really was. The four-minute version that I saw on Twitter left me shaken. I recognize that the idea behind red flag laws is controversial right now, but surely there should be some sort of way to ensure that anyone who openly threatens an elected official (or enables another to do the same) does not have access to a gun. Otherwise, I fear that the former Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael's Wernick's warning that it is only a matter of time before a member of Parliament gets shot will end up being prophetic. As Canadians, we simply have to do better.