Deconstructing High School Economics

By Yarema Kelebay and William Brooks

Originally developed as a presentation to the 1987 Canadian School Trustees Association in Charlottetown, PEI, this paper was later published in The McGill Journal of Education Vol. 26 No. 1 (Winter 1991)

Abstract: When economics was implemented as a compulsory subject in Quebec high schools during the late 1970s, the then reigning demand-side Keynesian assumptions were written into the new curriculum. With the coming of the Austrian School’s supply-side revolution in the early 1980s, the government set economics curriculum was ideologically inhospitable to supply-side insights. This has left the current economics curriculum outdated and an obstacle to quality economics education. Curriculum reform is recommended.

The introduction of economics as a compulsory subject in Canadian high schools has occurred over the past five to ten years and it has happened at a very dynamic and volatile period in the intellectual history of the western world. So before considering what is actually taught in economics classrooms, it might be useful to consider the intellectual trends which have influenced teaching over recent decades?

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Serious thinking needed on the real conflict in Quebec

By Yarema Kelebay and William Brooks

This article was first published in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Thursday, March 13, 1980 under the headline: “Serious thinking needed on the real conflict in Quebec.” It was also published in the Ottawa Citizen on Wednesday, March 26, 1980 under the headline: “Canada’s a nation divided by ideology not culture” Translated into French as: “Conflit de peuples ou d’ideolgies?” it was published on the editorial page of Le Monde, Paris, Friday, May 6, 1980. Four articles from Canada where featured in Le Monde on the eve of the forthcoming Quebec referendum. Two were for and two against the Quebec independence movement.


Over the next few months Canadians will be doing some serious thinking about what our pundits call the “French – English conflict.”

Lord Durham’s description of “two nations warring in the bosom of a single state” has been kept alive by generations of authors, poets, playwrights and politicians. On the eve of the Quebec referendum most Canadians still accept this nineteenth century image of a struggle between two adversary peoples; the English and the French.

We continue to be preoccupied with a cultural dualism expressed as “two solitudes” and fundamentally grounded in language differences. There is, however, some doubt as to whether or not this is an accurate description of our predicament.

Undeniably, there are stylistic differences between French and English Canadians. The question is: Do they amount to insurmountable barriers which justify fracturing Canada?

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“The English fact in Quebec” examined

By Yarema Kelebay & William Brooks

The following article review was published in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Thursday, April 24, 1980.

An English edition of “le Fait Anglais au Quebec” by Sheila McLeod Arnopoulos and Dominic Clift was published by McGill-Queens University Press. On the eve of the Parti Quebecois independence referendum the book set out to define the Quebec Anglophone community in terms of its past, present and future perspectives.

According to reports Arnopoulos and Clift were to share the 1979 Governor Generals award for non-fiction in French. In the following review Kelebay and Brooks offer readers a second opinion on the book’s merits.

Under a timely title: “The English Fact in Quebec” Arnopoulos and Clift offer a rather tired thesis to Canadian readers.

Relying on highly tendentious sources, such as Canada’s senior Marxist historian, Stanley Ryerson and Montreal’s clever young iconoclast, Tom Naylor, they direct a steady stream of criticism at what they call “English economic behaviour.” For this read Canadian capitalism. Given sources of this tenor their version of history and economics is somewhat predictable.

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History experts make case against the new “Histoire Nationale”

By Yarema Kelebay and William Brooks

Following the publication of a green paper on education, the Quebec Ministry of Education decided to revise much of the province’s public school curriculum. One of the most controversial programs then under revision was the compulsory Canadian history course given at the Secondary IV level. The following case against that program was first published in the West Island News and Chronicle on Tuesday, November 15, 1979. It was later published as a cover story in Teaching History by the (British) Historical Society, London, UK, October 1980.

The Case: `Where is freedom when you cannot protect your children against Marxist and separatist teachings by some professor and your children are told you are a foul bourgeois and an exploiter?” – Roger Lemelin, President and Publisher of La Press, Montreal.

Recently the Quebec Ministry of Education has produced a combination of documents which amount to a detailed outline for a new history course. Since the new “Histoire Nationale” will be compulsory for all Quebec students wishing to obtain a high school leaving certificate, it would be valuable for all citizens and parents to know what it proposes to teach.

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