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Heather-jane Robertson

What the Right has done right, and what the Left can learn

Date Recorded: Nov 16th, 2008
Recorded At: Parkland Institute’s 2008 Fall Conference, Edmonton, AB
Recorded By: Mark Koeppen
Duration: 59:30

Topic Background
This lecture, packaged into a one-hour programme with a talk by Murray Dobbin on Medicare, was recorded at the Parkland Institute’s annual fall conference, in Edmonton, Alberta , in November, 2008. They are set upon the backdrop of one of the conference’s themes, strategic frame analysis, a social science research method used to analyze how people understand situations and activities. The title of this year’s conference was “ The Moral of The Story: Art, Culture, Media and Politics”. More information on the Institute at

Heather-jane Robertson contends that The Right has successfully forged a synergy between voters and their subconscious yearning for the simple, the familiar and the safe, and that when the real issues are complex, unfamiliar and risky, the Left faces a disadvantage that is difficult to counter through reasoned debate. She explains that although ‘framing’ issues in ways that resonate with hopes and fears may have debased political discourse, that it has translated into votes. In this talk she asks whether the left should also go-for-the-gut?

Speaker Biography
Heather-jane Robertson is an author, educator and activist who has been at the forefront of public education debates for three decades. She has contributed to many scholarly and popular publications dealing with education and society, and addressed audiences around the world on the vulnerability and resiliency of public education. She is the co-author (with Maude Barlow) of 1994’s best-selling book, Class Warfare: The Assault on Canada’s Schools, author of No More Teachers, No More Books (1998) and Great Expectations: Essays on School and Society (2007) She is the mother of, in her words, “two deeply subversive adult children”, and is Currently Vice-President and Treasurer of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Ottawa.

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