Talk of the town

The Walrus - - FRONT PAGE -

I en­joyed Ira Wells’s thought­ful es­say on the re­cent Munk de­bate be­tween Steve Ban­non and David Frum (“The Night Steve Ban­non Came to Toronto,” the­wal­rus.ca). Although, as the chair of the Munk De­bates, I ob­vi­ously don’t share Wells’s skep­ti­cism about some of the goals and prac­tices of our se­ries, it was grat­i­fy­ing to see some­one rig­or­ously an­a­lyze the con­tent and tenor of Ban­non and Frum’s hour-and-a-half ex­change. Much like The Wal­rus, the Munk De­bates ex­ists to en­cour­age pub­lic dis­cus­sion of dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing ideas. The pur­pose of such an ac­tiv­ity isn’t nec­es­sar­ily to change minds. Rather, it is about sus­tain­ing a civic cul­ture ca­pa­ble of see­ing across ide­o­log­i­cal di­vides that threaten to over­whelm our democ­racy.

Rud­yard Griffiths

Toronto, ON “threat­ened sta­tus” felt by many white Amer­i­cans, im­pend­ing cli­mate-change catas­tro­phes, and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of anti-gov­ern­ment groups all sug­gest the strong pos­si­bil­ity of a break­down of US so­ci­ety. Marche’s por­trait of Canada is far more hope­ful. But he con­cludes that the coun­try’s over­re­liance on and en­tan­gle­ment with the US may threaten its sur­vival. To be sure, Canada is “af­fected by ev­ery twitch and grunt” of its neigh­bour, as Pierre El­liott Trudeau once put it. At the same time, we must also be cau­tious about eval­u­at­ing the cur­rent state of Cana­dian pol­i­tics solely through an Amer­i­can lens. There is still much work to be done in ad­dress­ing, as Marche puts it, “all our ev­i­dent hypocrisies.” Ar­jun Trem­blay

Regina, SK

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