Last February the Sudbury branch of Chapters abruptly cancelled an upcoming book-signing event. A clue to their decision may be found in the politically incorrect title of the book in question, by area lawyer Peter Best: There Is No Difference: An Argument for the Abolition of the Indian Reserve System and Special Race-based Laws and Entitlements for Canada’s Indians.
Best is one of my free-speech Canadian heroes (full disclosure: I not only considered Best’s book a trenchantly-argued and comprehensively researched dissertation on this most important of national themes, I wrote a positive blurb for the cover).
Few and far between are disinterested scholars of Canada’s aboriginal history who have the tough hide and principled will to publicly depart from the approved Indigenous “nation-to-nation” narrative that keeps the guilt and money flowing, but perpetuates a dysfunctional status quo on many reserves.
Most of the dissenters are university academics. But Best is simply an intelligent man with a passion for his subject, a deep impatience with political correctness, and unremitting determination to weather whatever storms afflict him as he shepherds his views to a public market.
I’ve written before in these pages and elsewhere about Best’s lonely battles with our society’s forces of repression. There Is No Difference began its public life as a post on a dedicated online site in 2014, copied to his legal firm’s. Shortly afterward, complaints were filed against him with the Law Society of Upper Canada (now the Law Society of Ontario), asking that Best be “disbarred or suspended” and that he be forced to apologize for using his law practice “to disseminate racist materials.”
For the rest of this column: https://www.thesudburystar.com/news/local-news/column-defending-a-free-speech-hero-in-sudbury