, 04.14.2022 11:31 AM

My latest: eliminate the Canada Council instead

Life imitates art.

The reverse is true, too. But what does it mean when those who promote art – those who are supposed to know a great deal about art – are engaged in actual lies?

What happens when all that they are “imitating“ is woke stupidity?

It’s a fair question, this week, because the Canada Council for the Arts – a federal government cultural agency that is entirely paid for by you and me – this week actually issued the following statement on Twitter:

Let’s liberate the Canadian landscape from the Group of Seven and their nationalist mythmaking: By erasing Indigenous perspectives, Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven painted a new nation into being.”

That is a quote. That is real. That is an actual tweet by an actual government agency. And it is madness. Insanity.

The government of Canada’s principal cultural agency is saying, in effect, that the Group of Seven – among our greatest artists in our history – were crypto-Nazi nationalists. That they consciously “erased“ Indigenous culture – and, one presumes, Indigenous people along the way.

They didn’t. In no way, whatsoever, did the Group of Seven “erase“ Indigenous culture. In no way, whatsoever, were they “nationalists” – in the way that Hitler’s filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, assuredly was.

The basis for the Canada Council tweet? An op-ed that had been published online – surprise, surprise – by the CBCs elflords. The op-ed‘s author is Indigenous, and he is absolutely entitled to his (misguided) perspective.

But the Canada Council is not entitled to state, as a fact, that some of our greatest-ever painters were “nationalists” who “eliminated” Indigenous culture. Because that is offensive and a lie.

But don’t just asked me, a privileged white guy who knows a little bit about Indigenous art. Don’t ask me.

Ask Norval Moriseau, arguably the greatest Canadian Indigenous artist, the Picasso of the North, who literally took up residence in Tom Thomson’s shack in Algonquin Park for weeks on end, painting. When Morriseau did that, does the Canada Council think that he was participating in the elimination of his own culture?

Or ask Emily Carr, who Lawren Harris said was indeed a member of the Group of Seven, and who painted astonishingly beautiful scenes of West Coast Indigenous life – and whose works have been showcased alongside that of the other greatest Canadian Indigenous artist, Haida Bill Reid?

Oh, wait. We can’t ask Morriseau or Reid or Carr or Harris, because they are all dead. So, perhaps, the Canada Council thought it was safe to defame them.

The best person to quote, here, is not some conservative who reflexively hates taxpayer-funded culture, or institutions like the Canada Council. The best person to quote is a person of color named Barack Obama.

“I get a sense among certain young people on social media that the way of making change is to be as judgemental as possible about other people.

“If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because ‘Man did you see how woke I was? I called you out!'”

“That’s enough,” Obama said. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you are probably not going to get that far.”

After the Canada Council published their tweet, and cast stones at the Group of Seven for something they never did, this writer got in touch with the Council’s media representatives. I asked them questions. They didn’t respond.

Their tweet, however, silently disappeared.

Ironic, isn’t it? The Canada Council alleged that the Group of Seven “eliminated“ Indigenous culture.

And then, when called out on their woke lie, went and “eliminated” their own tweet.

[Kinsella is a painter who represents first Nations across Canada.]


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Robert White says:

    I would not be surprised to see the Canada Council quit twitter entirely after this transgression. To be frank, I’d be petrified like stone if I was in their shoes right now.

    Getting a complaint for our esteemed host would be enough to make anyone frightened if they were in government. I, for one, would not want to be on the receiving end of such a complaint.

    P.S. I do like the idea of taking statues of dead white guys down given the history of white guys everywhere.
    The Group of Seven were hardly racists I agree.


  2. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Pipes says:

    If any members among the Canada Council for the fArts had any decency or self respect they would resign right now.

    Exactly how did the Go7 “erase indigenous perspectives”? What myth did they create? As far as I remember they were post-IMPRESSIONISTS.


    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Ron Benn says:

      Pipes, before we demand the resignations of the Council of the Arts, let’s ask if the person who posted the ill-considered tweet was actually speaking on behalf of the Council, as contrasted with tweeting their own (limited in capacity) thoughts. Put another way, was the tweet the official position, at least temporarily, of the Council, or did someone click post without checking with the Board first?

  3. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    western view says:

    Canada Council For The Arts and CBC are tied at the hip litter of pigs snorking at the public trough, all the while preening about how woke they are.
    There is lots of room for all types of artistic expression in Canada, but if you want government funding be prepared to toe the line.

  4. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    The Doctor says:

    It has gotten out of control. That piece on the CBC website that had the entire article was just an insane stringing together of correctoid gobbledygook and pompous academic jargon. It’s almost like parody if you didn’t know it was for real.

    They are paintings, FFS. Of nature FFS.

    It’s like the correctoid class will not be satisfied until it has shat on everything.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Derek Pearce says:

      I just don’t get it. That’s all I have to say.

  5. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    EsterHazyWasALoser says:

    I saw the original article (if you want to dignify it by calling it that) on the CBC website. The national (aka tax payer funded) broadcaster has become not only a joke, but an embarrassment. Maybe JT would like to take book from Mao’s China and start all over with a new “Year Zero”. It would appear the left and its organs such as the CBC are doing their best to get Poilievre elected as leader of the CPC, and then PM.

  6. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Scot says:

    Same old mouth breathers who have always hated the Canada Council jumping on the bandwagon. This was obviously the work of one or two idiots on the council who should be fired. I come from a family of artists who have great respect for the C@nada Council. Every organization needs to clean house once in a while.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Derek Pearce says:

      I agree this was the work of some kind of overzealous intern. Note to the Canada Council: don’t outsource your tweeting to an intern.

  7. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    ken whyte says:

    This is not an isolated act. More on the dubious politics of the Canada Council here. https://shush.substack.com/p/the-clerks-are-out-of-control?s=w

  8. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    In short, words fail me.

  9. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Sean says:

    Woke-ism is a silly trend which provides lazy affluent, cosmopolitan, young white people with an inconsequential, imaginary adventure. No better than a video game. If they can’t find racism, they just make it up.

    Wearing an orange shirt to your comfy job didn’t fix anyone’s water supply…. but it sure made YOU feel like a star didn’t it?

    If everything is racist, nothing is racist.

  10. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Paige says:

    I wonder why I`m getting this error message when looking at the comments section for every story. It`s been happening for about a week now.
    Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      It’s more than likely courtesy of the Putin Ruskies, you know, those real men, just like Putin who suffer from serious penis inadequacy. This is how these poor pathetic cretins get their jollys. In short, they can go fuck themselves to quote the Ukrainians.

  11. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Mark says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. As someone who works with Indigenous people and nations on a daily basis, and who lives down the street from the Emily Carr House in Victoria, I am ashamed that a government agency such as this would allow such egregious claims to be made. A full retraction – and a showcasing of the Group of Seven’s wonderful art – is definitely in order!!

  12. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Ronald O'Dowd says:

  13. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Pedant says:

    It’s this kind of nonsense that will make Pierre Poilievre Prime Minister.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Seriously? With all the crap that this Prime Minister has already pulled and yet he’s been returned serially to office? Pierre, Jean and Leslyn need policy breakthroughs to win à la Harper cutting the GST-HST. Something innovative, out-of-the-box creative and fresh. So far, I haven’t seen a real voter dynamo policy come out of any of them.

      Meanwhile, my candidate can’t and won’t win without Leslyn, so he had better already be concentrating the mind on that. There’s absolutely no way we’ll win this thing by memberships sold. So, it’s the road to serial alliances or we’re already dead as a campaign.

  14. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Robert White says:

    I just realized that my grandfather Franlin Fletcher Appleton was friends with Franlin Carmichael of the Group of Seven and knew him professionally as well as as a friend.

    Please read the updated history of my publisher grandfather from Toronto.


    Cheers, Robert

  15. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Katherine Omeya says:

    I’m a pompous, pious ass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.