Thursday, 15 April 2010

Alberta's Eugenics Disaster:Lessons to benefit all Canadian Political Parties

Eugenics and the Firewall will be published this fall. Writing it took me on an amazing journey through Alberta’s past and political culture. I got a chance to look at Albertan’s changing attitudes toward the Sexual Sterilization Act.

The Province of Alberta’s handling of the eugenics issue during the 20th century is fascinating, and a cause for both hope and worry. The saga shows us the belief systems underlying Alberta’s political culture. (And Albertans aren’t as right wing or as homogeneous as pundits claim. )

Hundreds of lives were ruined by the public’s blind trust in a theory, politicians’ adherence to ideology and expert recommendations, and the voters’ faith in the moral rightness of the provincial government. This fascinating saga has lessons for all Canadians of every political stripe.