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‘Reprehensible and Disgusting’: Key Author of Jason Kenney’s Education Curriculum Under Fire Over Tweets About Residential Schools

Right-wing history journal trolls academics with bizarre and inflammatory tweets about Canada's residential schools program

An obscure right-wing journal run by a top adviser to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney won’t explain its bizarre and inflammatory series of tweets earlier this week relating to Canada’s residential schools program.

The Dorchester Review, which describes itself as a “semi-academic” history journal, is edited by Chris Champion, a former Kenney staffer from 2007 to 2015. During that time, Champion was responsible for overseeing the Harper government’s controversial citizenship guide.

Most recently, Champion authored Alberta’s new social studies curriculum which has faced a fierce backlash from parents. Among the most common criticisms of the new social studies curriculum is its portrayal of colonialism in Canada.

Champion personally faced calls to be fired last summer over statements about Indigenous issues and residential schools.

Shortly after news broke this week that the remains of 215 Indigenous children had been discovered in unmarked graves at a residential school site in Kamloops BC, Champion’s journal began haranguing academics and activists with bizarre tweets.

One University of Manitoba academic received an unsolicited reply from the Dorchester Review’s official Twitter account dismissing the deaths as probably “tuberculosis or some other disease.”

That promoted Alberta NDP Deputy Whip Janis Irwin to respond that it was “reprehensible and disgusting” one of the key writers of Alberta’s social studies curriculum would “minimize the finding of a mass grave of 215 Indigenous children.”

Champion’s right-wing history journal apparently spent days sending unsolicited or inflammatory responses to Twitter users discussing residential schools.

In one exchange, The Dorchester Review Twitter account claimed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was influenced by “politics and cashola” and asserted that Indigenous children went to residential schools because “in many cases their parents wanted them there.”

In another exchange, the journal characterized the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s activities as “cash for anyone who spins a tale.”

“The facts are on our side,” the Dorchester Review account added. “Parents wanted children to learn English and acquire skills so they could make their way in the urbanizing world.”

“The truth will come out someday.”

One Anishnabe Twitter user lamented the Dorchester Review’s “revisionist BS by genocide deniers” and expressed hope that they get their “just desserts.”

The journal, edited by Alberta’s social studies curriculum author, replied asking if that implied getting “scalped.”


In other tweets, Champion’s journal is seen engaging in name-calling directed at university history professors.

The Dorchester Review did not respond to PressProgress when asked if the tweets about residential schools were personally authored by Champion.

The journal’s website lists Champion as the Dorchester Review’s Editor alongside a number of contributors. The website does not indicate that there are any full-time employees apart from Champion nor does it identify who runs its Twitter account.


Champion, who reviewed Kenney’s draft K-4 curriculum rewrite, once called the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives a “fad” and claimed an exercise that teaches students the effects of colonialism “brainwashes children.”

The K-6 Draft curriculum has been rejected by three of Alberta’s four largest school boards, with others following suit.

In April, the Sovereign Nations of Treaty 8 wrote to Kenney asking for curriculum revisions. Lubicon Lake Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan, who was brought on to consult on the curriculum, recently told reporters he felt “betrayed” by the process.

 

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