The book Grave Error Exposes the Betrayal of Canadians by Their Elite Classes

“The problem is not Western self-criticism, which is a useful benefit of Western society; the problem is in the lack of distinction between that and pouring rhetorical acid on one’s civilizational foundations when it was those pillars that allowed for expanded human freedom and flourishing.”- Mark Milke[i]

“Ideology functions as a machine to destroy information, even at the price of making assertions in clear contradiction of the evidence”. – Clive James[ii]    

In October of 2022 Members of Parliament gave unanimous consent in favour of a motion calling on the federal government to recognize Canada’s residential schools as a form of genocide.

Leah Gazan, the NDP member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre who introduced the motion told the House after it passed:

“Today I lift up survivors, families, and communities who have sacrificed so much in order for people across Canada to know the truth; that what happened in residential schools was a genocide. I’m grateful to parliamentarians who unanimously passed my motion recognizing the truth of Canada’s history,”

Never was a false, demoralizing, near-treasonous blood libel against a country so recklessly and cynically made by that country’s own political leaders. Never was such a blood libel so indifferently reported on by that country’s somnolent legacy media, and so disgracefully supported by that country’s academic and judicial elites.

There is no underlying truth to the resolution.

A few basic objective truths in this area of  Canadian history, amongst many similar others, are that because of the collapse of pre-contact Indigenous culture, residential schools, attendance at which was limited, (only about one third of eligible Indigenous children ever attended one, and usually only for an average of three years), and voluntary, (parents had to apply in writing for their child to attend), were necessary and generally positive in experience and outcome. Deaths of students did occur in the distant past, mainly caused by disease, (the same diseases that were ravaging the rest of Canada at the time), but each one was meticulously accounted for. When medical standards improved in the country these deaths dramatically decreased. There were/are no missing or murdered residential school students. The enlightened, caring purpose of these schools, and of Canada’s 150-year assimilation policy relating to Indigenous peoples in general, was not to extinguish them or their culture, but rather was to save both.

As Chris Selley of the National Post wrote in January of 2024 about this baseless genocide resolution:

“Practically nobody in Ottawa believed it, including in the media.”

Yet they passed it.

Since then, these same elites have allowed this blood libel to transform in meaning from that of a cultural genocide to a physical genocide.

It has been a classic, shameful case of trahison des clercs: the careless betrayal by the privileged Canadian Indigenous and non-Indigenous elite classes of the ordinary Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of Canada, the betrayal of the legacy and memory of our ancestors, and the betrayal of Canada itself.

Elite classes in any country, particularly in a liberal democracy, are responsible for immersing themselves in the two major sources of good political judgment: literature and history, especially the history of their own country. This leads to a necessary sense of tragic realism- a tragic mind. They have a duty to, within the wide bounds of reason, nurture and preserve a positive national spirit. They have a duty to act in a competent, informed and responsible manner in all matters relating to their country’s long-term interests, which duty includes putting the country’s interests ahead of their own. They have a duty of creating understanding of and preserving respect for the country’s past and for the accomplishments of their dead countrymen, because of whose efforts, and now on whose shoulders, they prosperously, and, with all their privileges, stand.

They have a guardianship-like duty to recognize and preserve the excellences of their country, past and present. As Edmund Burke wrote, a good present must necessarily come from a basically good past, so their duty, certainly in Canada’s regard, is to ensure that the essences of these past and present goods are continually emphasized to the people, preserved, and passed on to those coming after us.

Healthy civic polities are necessarily hierarchical, and for them to function properly, the elites at the top of must put these unifying guardianship duties before all else. Otherwise, the entire polity, morally and intellectually leaderless, fractures, divides and weakens in Babel-like incoherence and disarray, as is now happening in America, and as shown by this genocide motion, in Canada.

The genocide motion unanimously passed by the House of Commons is an ignorant, cynical, irresponsible, ideologically hidebound, and unjustified trashing of Canada’s past.  It’s a primary illustration of the complete failure of Canada’s elite classes to carry out any of the above near-sacred guardianship duties owed to their country and to ordinary Canadians, past, present, and future. Passed with no consultation with or input from ordinary Canadians, it demonstrates their contempt for our sentiments, and their bewildering and demoralizing lack of concern for or discomfort with their complete separation from us.[iii]

These shameful failures and betrayals are the subject of the recently published book, Grave Error- How the Media Misled Us (And the Truth About Residential Schools), (“Grave Error”), a trenchant collection of scholarly essays revealing real truths about Canada’s complex historical relations with its Indigenous peoples in general, and about residential schools in particular. Grave Error is edited by Dr. C.P. Champion, editor of the Dorchester Review, and Dr. Tom Flanagan, professor emeritus at the University of Calgary. They, and the enlightened, patriotic writers of the essays in the book, exemplify right conduct of a liberal democracy’s elite classes.

In their Introduction Messrs. Champion and Flanagan point out that “cultural genocide” is a misleadingly “emotive term for assimilation or integration of an ethnic minority into an encompassing society”, which is in fact a positive, timeless and historically normal primal force driving human progress and cultural dynamism. They describe the phrase’s baseless origin in the deeply flawed Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC), it’s progress through bogus claims about “missing children, unmarked burials and even mass graves” to where it has now, with Papal approval, disgracefully resulted in a “literal genocide scenario”.

As the entirety of Grave Error amply shows, no persuasive evidence has yet been offered by anyone for the existence of any of these things.

As Grave Error shows, the only objective truth that has emerged from this whole situation is that our irresponsible elites have allowed a groundless mass, moral panic to be created. Grave Error, with its appeal to and use of rationality, objective facts and truth, bravely and responsibly attempts to quell this panic.

All the excellent articles in Grave Error touch on similar facts and arguments. Brevity unfortunately requires only selective mention herein of particular articles and parts thereof of special relevance to this reviewer’s theme of general betrayal.

The highly representative essay, In Kamloops, Not One Body Has Been Found, by Professor Jacques Rouillard, professor of history at the University of Montreal, (updated and expanded for the purposes of the book), incisively captures all aspects of these various elitist betrayals of Canadians and Canada.

Professor Rouillard places responsibility squarely at the feet of the Kamloops band leaders, (whose reckless falsehoods were endorsed by the Canadian taxpayer-funded Assembly of First Nations), our politicians, our conformist and increasingly dumbed down academia, and our increasingly culturally illiterate legacy media, for the church burnings, toppling of statues, lowering of flags, the International Criminal Court complaint, the weighing in of the United Nations and Amnesty International, and the cynical criticisms from such brutal, rogue states as China, that followed shortly after the baseless announcement of the discovery “of the remains of 215 children who were students at the Kamloops Residential School”.

He condemns the Kamloops band and Simon Fraser University for allowing an undereducated, unqualified  Anthropology and Sociology instructor to use ground penetrating radar, (GPR) an inappropriate technical means of detecting unmarked graves, to be the basis of this so-called “discovery”, and more seriously, properly condemns SFU, a public university which should be committed to transparency, for its continuous refusal, up to this day, to release this very suspect GPR report for examination by others.

He condemns the politicians who, in their rush to judgment, abandoned all sense of realism and responsibility, and hastily embraced and disseminated the lie. B. C. Premier Horgan said he was “horrified and heartbroken”.  Justin Trudeau said that the Church burnings were “real and fully understandable, given the shameful history that we are all becoming aware of”.

Following the totally unethical and harmful (to the administration of justice)  public and private interference in the RCMP’s investigation of these most serious, mass murder allegations by the former TRC Chairman Murray Sinclair, (whose conduct in his TRC guardianship position showed less than full regard for the ethical principles governing the role of both Judges and Senators), the RCMP suddenly declined to further investigate them, even though knowing that some of the alleged perpetrators might still be alive. Thus, this former Judge and Senator-having been entrusted with occupying two ultimately elite guardianship positions- made himself part of both the hoax and the coverup.

The RCMP’s specious and cowardly reasoning for suddenly ending their murders investigation was that it was more appropriate for the Kamloops band to conduct the investigation themselves, causing Professor Rouillard to comment that “this approach raises concerns about the RCMP’s abdication of its duties as a national police force…Will political parties or even biker organizations be the next non-police entities to investigate for themselves?”

Professor Rouillard details how, taking advantage of the moral panic that it was mainly responsible for creating, the Indigenous-obsessed Trudeau government reversed its long-standing legal position that loss of culture and language was not a legally compensable category of loss, and settled the residential school “day scholars” class action. This compensated Indigenous children who attended and were educated at a residential school but who went home to their own nearby homes every night. (This is but one of the many improvident Indigenous class action, cave-in settlements made by the Trudeau government.)

As Professor Rouillard wrote:

“To teach Indigenous children the public-school curriculum taught to other Canadians, it transpires, was wrong. Teaching Indigenous children how to speak, read, and write in English or French, and how to use numbers, conflicted with Aboriginal values. Ottawa’s reversal implies, as stipulated by Aboriginal leaders, that it would have been better to keep young Natives illiterate.”

A positive and informative section of Professor Rouillard’s article relates to the selfless, caring and heroic work The Oblates of Mary Immaculate performed in the service of educating Natives and at the same time, doing their best to preserve their culture. They oversaw 39 of the 45 residential schools in the northwestern Canada. They learned the Native languages to better serve. Their publications in Native languages “were predicated on the notion that highlighting positive aspects of Indigenous culture would ease the transition to modern society.”

Their Chronicles, year by year contemporaneous accounts of all the goings on at their residential schools: arrivals, departures, illnesses, deaths, recreational activities, student successes and much more, have, as Professor Rouillard points out, been shamefully ignored by the TRC and all Indigenous elites since, because they counter their false “horror story” depiction of residential schools.

Retired University of Manitoba Professor Hymie Rubenstein’s article, Digging for the Truth about Canada’s Residential School Graves, highlights academia’s increasingly counter-productive, illiberal and incompetent involvement in social issues, quoting Beverly Jacobs, a University of Windsor law professor, who seems to know nothing about due process of law, like some baying pitchfork-wielder demanding that “any church or government in Canada involved with the residential school system be immediately charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court.”

Importantly, Professor Rubenstein grants public recognition to the brilliant, deep, extensive and heroic “amateur” research efforts of Nina Green, a relentlessly truth-seeking Canadian deserving of the Order of Canada for her work in this field, who, when the TRC couldn’t or wouldn’t,  has found death certificates from government records for hundreds of students who died in residential schools, thus completely disproving that anyone was ever “missing.”

Evidencing Canada’s decaying elite classes, which prefer crass careerism over truth and the best interests of their country, Professor Rubenstein wrote:

“Green communicated all these data long ago to the relevant parties: the media, provincial and federal politicians, Indigenous leaders and activists, and academics focusing on Aboriginal issues. Only a couple bothered to acknowledge receipt of this critical material.”

Professor Rubenstein’s righteous and accurate summary of the whole “trahison” situation:

“The whole IRS student burial issue has been exaggerated beyond belief by the following parties: lazy, shock journalism reporters, including those employed by the CBC; rent-seeking Indigenous leaders…addicted Indigenous advisors, consultants, and lawyers seeking their share of the rent; “woke” humanities and social science academics; and compliant politicians using virtue signalling rather than concrete policies to solve the myriad of Aboriginal adversities and pathologies”.

Professor Frances Widdowson, fired by Mount Royal University , (MRU) for  amongst other heresies, challenging the validity of the subjective, anti-Enlightenment, alleged “Knowings” of undisclosed Kamloops band “Knowledge Keepers”, and questioning the concept of “Indigenization” of universities generally on the ground that it rejects the primacy of science and reason, in her article, Billie Remembers, puts on full display the rank, Star Chamber , anti-intellectual charlatanism of her former neo-Stalinist colleagues at MRU, and the essential rent-seeking nature of a large part of Indigenous entrepreneurialism in Canada today, “that relies upon characterizing Canada as a perpetrator of genocide”.

Writers James Pew and Jonathan Kay, the latter a professional journalist who initially fell for the Kamloops hoax, try to explain how and why the legacy media has so failed Canadians. Mr. Pew theorizes that “the opportunity to perform virtue through self-loathing is too tempting for many to resist.”

But it’s the obligation of professional journalists to resist.

Jonathan Kay, in his article A Media-Fuelled Social Panic Over Unmarked Graves, attributes this spectacular failure of the Fourth Estate to “the herd behaviour of Canada’s intellectual class”. In this scenario, the Fourth Estate is no longer a check on the first three Estates. Rather, certainly on Indigenous issues, it’s a rubber stamp for them.

Worse, as Mr. Kay points out, now that the truth is known, “no single media outlet has any interest in walking back its previously published misinformation.” Again, careerism and coverup is preferred over truth. Canadians see this and lose faith in the mainstream media’s integrity. Admitting mistakes is fundamental to maintaining trust.

Mr. Kay recounts the intimidating, free speech suppression efforts of Trudeau Cabinet Minister Marc Miller, so contrary to Canadian values, in characterizing Professor Rouillard’s “Not One Body has been Found” article (above) as “ghoulish” and as representing “denialism”. Minister of Justice David Lametti, having the duty of representing Canadian law and values to his countrymen and to the world, shamefully used the same ignorant, illiberal term. Mr. Kay recounts the illiberal efforts of the virtual Pretendian and anti-“White” Jesse Wente, Chairman of the Canada Council of the Arts, to prevent an interview of a journalist who, it was thought, was going to  “break ranks” in the interview with the aforesaid “horror story” orthodoxy/ideology. These are all public servants betraying their guardianship obligations to those they were entrusted to serve.

Jonathan Kay partially excuses the legacy media’s slovenliness here on the basis that “journalism is history’s first draft, produced on deadline”. This can be no excuse.

Clive James wrote:

“Even the most fleeting piece of journalism should be written as if the writer might need to defend it on the day of judgement- and for any craftsman proud of his work, the day of judgement is always today. Ce jour– journalism. In French the connection is obvious. In English, we tend to forget that journalism means today, and we are seldom encouraged to remember that history is made of nothing else except one day after another”.[iv]

Some of the articles in Grave Error are written by professionals writing “out of their field”, or by true “amateurs”, such as Nina Green and James Pew, and on this irrelevant basis are attacked by snobbish, insular and insecure academic and political elites.

But as Austrian historian, philosopher and polymath Egon Friedell wrote in his brilliant and provocative book, A Cultural History of the Modern Age:[v]

“As regards dilettantism, it is to be borne in mind that vital energy dwells in any activities only so long as they are practised by amateurs. It is the amateur, happily so named, who alone stands in a really human relation to his objects; only in amateurs do the man and his professions collide. That is why an amateur can pour his whole self into his activity, saturating it with the essence of his being; whereas things which are practised as a profession have invariably a touch of the worse sort of lovingness, whether it takes the form of a particular one-sidedness or limitation, of subjectivity or narrowness of outlook. The expert is too tightly wedged into his professional circle and is almost never in a position to bring about a real revolution. He has grown up with tradition and respects it in spite of himself. Also, he knows too much of the detail of his subject to see things simply enough, and losing that, he loses the first essential of intellectual fertility. Thus, the whole history of the sciences affords a continuous example of dilettantism”.

True “amateur” Michael Melanson, in most intellectually fertile fashion, (like James Pew, Nina Green and many others in Grave Error), in his article The Banality of Genocide, Made in Canada, focussing on the requirement of intent to properly establish any kind of genocide, totally demolishes the notion that any aspect of residential schools or of Canada’s history with Indigenous peoples in general was in any way genocidal.

Throughout Canadian history the Canadian intent towards Indigenous peoples has always been liberal, conscientious and ameliorative. This is convincingly shown in articles by Pim Wiebel and Professors Ian Gentles and Rodney A. Clifton, which put positive flesh and bones onto the day-to-day experiences of residential school students.  

Mr. Melanson’s views on the complete absence of genocide in Canadian history are more than seconded by distinguished Vancouver lawyer D. Barry Kirkham’s article, Neither Truth Nor Reconciliation, a thorough deconstruction and takedown of the TRC and its deeply flawed and biased Report.  This valuable article is a book review of a book that should be regarded as an essential companion book to Grave Error, Rodney Clifton’s and Mark De Wolf’s From Truth Comes Reconciliation: Assessing the Truth and Reconciliation Report, the breakthrough book which was the first to shed truth and positive light on residential schools. All mention Tomson Highway, the embodiment of the worth and accomplishments of residential schools.

Our elites have wilfully driven Canadians away from the truths revealed in Grave Error. In so doing they have betrayed us, divided us and harmed our country.  

This must stop.

As the editors of Grave Error write in this regard at the conclusion of this great book:

“The flight from truth makes true reconciliation impossible, Why will Canadians want to extend the hand of friendship to Indigenous people who continue to call them criminals and murderers? Why will Indigenous people want to engage in mutual cooperation with people whom they have been led to regard as criminals and murderers?

Recovering a more balanced picture of residential schools is the only road to genuine Reconciliation”.

Peter Best

February 1, 2024


[i] From The Victim Cult- How the Culture of Blame Hurts Everyone and Wrecks Civilizations, Thomas & Black Publishers, 2019

[ii] Clive James, author, literary critic, polymath, in his essay on French political writer Jean-Francois Revel, in Cultural Amnesia- Notes in the Margin of my Time, Picador paperback, London, 2012

[iii] “Once again the intelligentsia found no discomfort in its separation from the people”. Clive James, in his essay on Chris Marker, in Cultural Amnesia (above)

[iv] From his essay on Jean-Francois Revel, in Cultural Amnesia (above)

[v] Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York, 2017 (originally published in German in 1930)

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