I had a great time at the Eglinton Grand in my home town of Toronto last night, and was glad to see so many readers, viewers and listeners there - some who'd come a long way, from Vancouver and Victoria. My thanks to you all.
Several old friends from Steyn shows past have been making headlines in recent days, so, if you've missed these interviews, I thought you might enjoy catching up.
First up is Lindsay Shepherd, the young teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University who made the mistake of showing her students a clip of a TVOntario show including a brief glimpse of Jordan Peterson. Miss Shepherd is now suing Laurier for $3.6 million:
Wilfrid Laurier University investigated a graduate student for provoking the ire of a transgender activist (below) who previously dressed up as a "giant vulva" to protest a member of Canada's Parliament.
This is only one of the colorful allegations in Lindsay Shepherd's $3.6 million lawsuit against the Canadian university for the harassment, "bullying" and "intentional infliction of nervous shock" she has endured because of the school's actions since last fall.
There are no giant vulvas in this edition of The Mark Steyn Show, but Lindsay and I do discuss free speech, the corruption of higher education, and the wider climate that has led to her lawsuit. Click below to watch:
Next up is Lionel Shriver, the American novelist who's found herself in hot water on "cultural appropriation" and related issues. A week ago she wrote a column on the new "diversity" policies of Penguin Random House:
'We want our authors and new colleagues to reflect the UK population taking into account ethnicity, gender, sexuality, social mobility and disability...'
The accompanying questionnaire for PRH authors is by turns fascinating, comical and depressing. Gender and ethnicity questions provide the coy 'prefer not to say' option, ensuring that being female or Japanese can remain your deep dark secret. As the old chocolate-or-vanilla sexes have multiplied into Baskin Robbins, responders to 'How would you define your gender?' may tick, 'Prefer to use my own term'. In the pull-down menu under 'How would you define your sexual orientation?', 'Bi' and 'Bisexual' are listed as two completely different answers (what do these publishing worthies imagine 'bi' means?). Not subsumed by that mere 'gender' enquiry, out of only ten questions, 'Do you identify as trans?' merits a whole separate query — for 0.1 per cent of the population.
As a result of that piece, Ms Shriver no longer checks any of the right boxes:
Debbie Taylor, editorial director and founder of Mslexia, said that Shriver's comments in a piece for the Spectator magazine were "not consistent with Mslexia's ethos and mission" and would "alienate the very women we are trying to support". Consequently, Shriver would no longer be a judge on their annual short story competition, she said.
"Since our launch in 1999, Msxlexia's raison d'etre has been to provide a safe space for all women writers – whatever their circumstances – to develop their craft. We actively encourage submissions from marginalised writers and frequently draw attention to the issues they face," Taylor said.
The literary world is an increasingly unsafe space for Lionel. In the show below she and I talk through "cultural appropriation" and related controversies:
Finally, Maxime Bernier is the Canadian Conservative who at one time looked a shoo-in for Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Then, in a last-minute surprise to the interminable Tory leadership campaign, Andrew Scheer snuck through and took the prize. M Bernier has now become collateral damage in the Trump/Trudeau trade war on 270 per cent dairy tariffs to appease Quebec. Bernier's opposition to that all too sacred cow cost him the leadership - and have now cost him his shadow-cabinet post:
On June 5, amid U.S. President Donald Trump's latest attacks on Canada's supply management system, Bernier quietly added the chapter to his personal website, where it can be downloaded.
In April 2017, during the party leadership campaign, Bernier penned an open letter to Trump in The Globe and Mail, thanking him for raising the issue of supply management and agreeing with him that "this protectionist system is unfair for the farmers in Wisconsin and other states, who cannot make a better living by selling their products to their Canadian neighbours."
Bernier remains a hero of Canada's libertarian right - Mad Max, "the Albertan from Quebec", as he became known. Here Max and I talk about Canadian-US relations, and the trials and tribulations of being a conservative francophone in rural Quebec:
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