Canadian Museum of "Human" Rights censors prominent women's historian in honour of IWD

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Canadian Museum of "Human" Rights censors prominent women's historian in honour of IWD



Actions like this have become commonplace under Harper's dictatorship, though he is never held to account. In this case, his attack was launched via his instrument, the phoney Canadian Museum of "Human" Rights.

[url=]Berks President Alarmed By the Silencing of Feminist Historian on IWD[/url]


In anticipation of IWD, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights quite rightly invited Veronica Strong-Boag, one of Canada’s most distinguished and best known historians of women, the author and editor of many scholarly books and articles, and former president of the Canadian Historical Association, to write about IWD. She did so in her characteristically informed and impassioned way. It was posted on the museum IWD blog on March 4th, but then almost immediately withdrawn as ‘Communications’ at the Museum deemed her one-line comment about the current federal Conservative government’s anti-women’s record unacceptable as written. The offer of a substantive footnote and illustrative example from the author brought no reply.

But you can read the post at, which appreciated the time-sensitive nature of the piece and published it immediately.

And I ask you to show your support for Strong-Boag, by commenting on the blog, our own 2014 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women’s blog, or writing directly to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

On IWD Day, we should also ask: why is a historian who has good reason (and sound historical evidence) for her criticism of the federal government considered dangerous enough to be silenced by a supposedly arms-length institution?

ETA: I have not seen one single word about this grotesque attack anywhere in the MSM. If anyone can find something, please post. This must be widely publicized and opposed.


Well I've done my little part to get FB buzzing. Thanks Unionist.


Well the CBC finally picked up the story (and closed commenting after 607 comments!!):


Female historian says human rights museum censored her [/url]

And so did another media outlet called (basically reprinted her original post plus the additional detail she supplied):


Women's Day blog censored by Canadian Museum for Human Rights, says author [/url]

The museum administration considered it "partisan" to point out that the Harper government has carried out various attacks against women's rights. I wonder if they will apply the same "non-partisan" rule in the rest of their operation (don't slam the National Socialists in the Holocaust display, an example that springs to mind).



Oh, and the Winnipeg Free Press picked it up too! I just have to quote Prof. Strong-Boag's reply to the museum bureaucrats who banned her blog post:

Prof. Veronica Strong-Boag wrote:

Dear Ms Cassie,

I have read your effort at explanation with interest and incredulity. Your suggestion that guest blogs ought to "consist of anecdotal accounts of first-person experiences that illuminate human rights themes, and that they include "rich media" relevant to the story" and that they "not be used as, or be perceived as, a platform for political positions or partisan statements" is both naive and pedagogically unsound for a museum supposedly dedicated to (the promotion of) Human Rights.

It suggests that Human Rights are almost purely about entertainment and that authors can pretend impartiality in dealing with them. Surely this is not the case with the Nazi Holocaust or similar treatments of the world's indigenous or GBLT peoples or, as in this instance, with the continuing oppression of women and girls around the world?

In fact, my contribution was very much both a personal and a scholarly statement, one strongly rooted in the evidence of researchers and activists and my own commitment to a better day for all. It was not intended for entertainment (although I deliberately made it accessible) but for instruction and a reminder that gender inequality needs to be battled.

Since museums and institutions of public memory are not normally intended to imitate Disneyland but to provide serious, although engaging and accessible, observations on the world, I have been a long time supporter of a Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Your letter has been extremely disheartening.

My observations about the federal government are hardly new or unique. In fact, there is a widely held consensus among scholars that the present Conservative administration has been a disaster for human rights of every sort in Canada and abroad. It would have been completely unprincipled for any serious blogger to ignore the link between IWD and unaddressed issues such as Missing and Murdered Women in this country.

Your attempt at an explanation for censorship suggests the Museum needs to engage in some serious self-reflection about its mandate and its apparent subordination to political masters.

Veronica Strong-Boag, Ph.d., F.R.S.C.
Historian and Historical Consultant

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