Canada’s economic situation (Critical Commentary)
From mid September until early November, students are required to track newspaper/magazine/internet reports/articles/editorials/commentaries around one current, contentious issue in Canadian politics of their own choosing. Students may select any topic related to Canadian politics (the scope is very broad: i.e., from trade, environmental and security concerns or Canada/US relations to Aboriginal or multicultural claims; from developments within the political parties to political scandals; and from Senate reform to the status of Supreme Court appointments and decisions; or various forms of broader political mobilization (women, racial, ethnic, religious minorities, GLBTQ, immigrants) to the impact/influence of a particular Canadian politician (the Prime Minister, leader of the Opposition, the leader of a “third party” etc).
Decisions on topics must be made in the first few weeks of the fall term, given that students will begin assembling a file folder in which they will collect, on a weekly basis, newspaper/magazine clippings and/or Internet news items/ articles on their chosen issue. Then, based on what they have gathered in their folders, students will be required to write a short paper This paper will review the nature and effects of the subject chosen, and will offer a critical analysis of the issues in question and how they are portrayed in the press.
This assignment has two objectives. First, it prompts students to follow and consider their position on a contemporary, controversial issue in Canadian politics. This is meant to inspire students to critically assess problems arising from Canada’s current political context. Second, students have an opportunity to develop their writing skills in this assignment. This writing exercise encourages students to craft a concise essay that has a well-defined and persuasive point of view.