Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Review of Anne Westhues (Editor) and Brian Wharf's (Editor) Canadian Social Policy, Fifth Edition: Issues and Perspectives (2012)

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I had the privilege of teaching SOC292 Social Policy last semester at Bishop's University. This course is an introduction to the sociological study of social policy in the Canadian context. The course examined civil society in relation to a rapidly changing policy context. The development and outcomes of policy was investigated from a number of theoretical perspectives. Thus, students acquire a broad understanding of Canadian social policy in the context of a “globalized” world. In so doing, they explored what is social policy and policy analysis; how social policy is made; current social policy issues; and the limitations of social policy and policy analysis. Thus, choosing Canadian Social Policy, Fifth Edition: Issues and Perspectives was a logical choice.  Anne Westhues (Editor), Brian Wharf (Editor) have put together a variety of chapters from authors that helped shed light on a variety of issues in current Canadian social polices. Whilst my personal favorite was Chapter 5 Indigenous Wholistic Healing in Social Policy: Rethinking, Reframing, and Re-presenting Policy Development for Indigenous People by Mac Saulis, each author made a compelling argument for their respective topics. This edition facilitates the use of guest speakers. Our class had the pleasure of having Mr. Kim Reid – Founder/Operator of On Rock Community Services give a talk this semester whilst linking his class visit with Chapter 9: Child Poverty and The Canadian Welfare System  by Garson Hunter and Chapter 18: Housing Policy by Jill G. Grant and Tonya Munro. Keep in mind that this edition does away with various chapters of previous editions. Thus, should you assign it, insist that your students use this edition as they will not have access to all of the material for the term. Finally, allow my students to share with you their impressions of the textbook instead. 😊


Student Reviews


The book Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives (5th Edition) by Westhues and Warf (Ef.) (2012) provides and overall strong understanding about the aspects of Canadian Social Policy. It works well as a guide to learning the basics of Social Policy from how they are created to whom they are created for. The chapters of the book are organized into sections of understanding and compatibility. The book walked us through social policies impacted various types of Canadians. It starts off in Chapter 5, with looking at the policy developments for indigenous people. As we know the indigenous people deal with a lot of hardship from poor living conditions in remote places, lack of land and stereotyping by society which make it hard for them to enjoy where they live and thrive in their surroundings. This chapter gives an insight about the social policy and social welfare paradigms they need in result to the lingering effects of colonialism they still arise. (Westhues & Warf, pg.80, 2012) An important component in the indigenous world is the notion of wholistic thinking. (Westhues & Warf, pg. 83, 2012)  The components of this way of thinking include: mental information, spiritual expressions, emotional experiences and the physical understanding of reality. Through this view comes the social welfare responsibility, which is to ensure that everyone has enough resources to live. (Westhues & Warf, pg.83, 2012) This view looks towards working together as a community in unity to make sure that everyone is provided with the aspects they need. This nurturing is important to the indigenous communities as it expands from families to distance relatives to friends to the country to the universe. (Westhues & Warf, pg.84, 2012) Social policy creations in Canada need to express commitment to protecting the traditions, beliefs, health and wholistic views of the indigenous people. The guiding principle behind indigenous-based Wholistic Healing social policy is to honour the Creator’s concern as in the same type of concern we have for the people in these developing societies. (Westhues & Warf, pg.90, 2012) The purpose of policy surrounding the indigenous is to preserve their beliefs and traditions yet still provide them protection and support they need. As shown on the Social Policy Medicine Wheel (Westhues & Warf, pg.92, 2012) the North focuses on mental healing. These are the cognitive aspects that focus on reconnecting ideas back to the wholistic worldview. (Westhues & Warf, pg.92, 2012) The south focuses on emotional through social policy directly addressing decolonization effects and valuing the wholistic worldview as legitimate knowledge. The east focuses on social policy development and the interrelationship of the Creation and the people through their support systems. (Westhues & Warf, pg.92, 2012) The west considers basic human needs through looking at policy towards increasing opportunities the people have in their lives. (Westhues & Warf, pg.92, 2012)  It is important for policy to recognize all aspects of the Creation and regard them with creating a fruitful life for people. The oppression the indigenous people have faced in the past is something that should not be ignored by Canada, or deemed okay through compensation. Rethinking needs to be done in order to assist them with the means they need to succeed and be protected in Canada. In addition to their protection comes the aspect of respect in terms of their wholistic thinking beliefs and nurturing strategies. The indigenous people work towards helping one another achieve the things they need and assure their needs are met. This is something that all human beings can actually learn from as we live in a society where competition between one another is valued. Through the indigenous wholistic thinking approaches and healing theories Canadians could learn to be more compassionate and nurturing towards one another to accomplish goals rather than knocking each other down at any opportunity they may see. This chapter leaves me wondering if the government would ever work on adapting social policy to fitting both the indigenous and rest of Canada, creating a type of social integration policy? How does the effects of the past colonialism still effect the relationship between social policy and indigenous people today? Is this on a federal level or do different provinces or municipalities have their own social policies that they implement? Are some provinces better than others in terms of indigenous social policy or living standards? It is important for the past of Canada to help influence the future and build a better tomorrow. It is important for Canada not to just compensate and protect the indigenous but works towards including them in the learning of the past and incorporation for future policies. An interesting policy adaptation would be to see Canada work towards the production of inclusion between indigenous people and the rest of the Canadian population to close this boundary that is still very much present today. 
- Nicolette Tsavdaris

Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives (5th Edition) by Westhues and Wharf (Ed.) is a textbook which aids its academic reader on getting a stronger grasp on the inner workings of social policy and its effects on different aspects of Canadian society. In the first section of the book, Westhues and Wharf argue that the social policy is dependent on those who are in charge of making it. Though analysis may be research driven and unbiased, those who make the final call on what social policy will be implemented are not. This argument is an interesting one as it makes the reader question just how much of a say they have in their country’s policy. As taxpayers, citizens of democratic nations assume that they have a great deal of say in what their country implements as it is them who elected the government – but is this really true? All chapters are back with statistics and real life policy examples and the book is read as an informational guide. However, because of the first section, I could see that underlying all the facts was a message that government, though it may be helping you, isn’t always doing it for the right reasons. It begs to ask the question of how much social policy is based on ulterior motives better than the greater good? Why do nonprofits even exist? Should governments be the only nonprofits we need? Aren’t they supposed to be using the money we give them for no other reason than “social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure and recreation and any other purpose except profit.” ?(Canada Revenue Agency, 2012) It is understandable that the government cannot spend all of its funds on social policy as we need this money for other things such as trade and defense; but perhaps the way in which the decisions are made on where to spend the money should be more focused on the issues that involve the 4.9 million people in Canada living in poverty? (Canada Without Poverty, 2016) This textbook has left me asking these questions; which to me is a sign that it was helpful in evolving a student’s knowledge on the issue it discusses. This, therefore, makes it a good resource for anyone wanting to better understand the social policy realities within Canada. 
- Dana Myers

Although I enjoyed all the chapters within the course book Social Policy in Canada: Issues and Perspectives (2012), nonetheless one chapter really sank in and challenged my thinking as I wanted to learn more. This chapter was Indigenous Wholistic Healing Social Policy: Rethinking, Reframing, and Re-presenting Policy Development for Indigenous People (2012) by Mac Saulis. The reason I enjoyed this chapter is because last year I took the course Advanced Post-Colonialism with Mary Ellen who introduced Homi K. Bhabha, who studied the location of culture and colonialism. With the use of Bhabha, Mary Ellen incorporated writings about Indigenous culture where I realized my interest in Aboriginal studies. By reading this chapter, it only enhanced my interest and deepened my understanding of Aboriginal studies and their wholisitc world view.   In order for the reader to understand the purpose of this chapter Saulis (2012) introduced the indigenous worldview and presented the key concepts of their world view: wholistic, healing, and ceremonies (79). With the use of the wholistic world view, Saulis (2012) explained that this way of living has helped give value to the Indigenous peoples because the Indigenous world view continues to endure the devaluing effects of colonialism (80). The post-colonial society also continues to have harmful effects on the relationship of both Native and non-Native people (Saulis, 2012, 80). This negative relationship has maintained the constant marginalization Native people face every day. However, Saulis (2012) did not want to spend much of the chapter on this marginalization rather he wanted to rethink the wholistic worldview by accepting his identity (82). Saulis (2012) stated “I have decided to embrace my inner indigenous identity in order to be strong enough to stand with this knowledge and world view” (82). He goes on by defining what Indigenous means and how indigenous people value their relationship to Creation (Saulis, 2012, 82). By introducing this relationship with the Creation it becomes clear that the indigenous world view is dependent on Creation. With Creation being the base, Saulis (2012) explains the four parts that help envision the meaning of wholistic, the four parts being: mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical (83). Using these concepts within the indigenous wholistic world view, the reader can understand social policy how they do. “Social policy is created in order to nurture all people in mind, spirit, and emotions and in their physical needs” (Saulis, 2012, 84). It is important to understand that these four parts are important because society is sustained by how each part is wholeheartedly maintained with regards to society and its members. Saulis (2012) goes further by defining and explaining seven different teachings that establish the wholistic worldview of humans and the relationship each has to the Creation (88). With this comprehension, Saulis (2012) explains how these teachings can be linked to developing a social policy (90). The teachings are all linked with the Creation and the need to maintain a healthy, spiritual and aware community where all members are considered important in order to sustain the wholistic worldview. To help understand this, Saulis (2012) provided an example of what is called a Social Policy Medicine Wheel, where the four parts, mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical are in a circle connected in the middle where their purposes are to sustain the Creation for the good of people (92). By separating each part with consideration to society and each member this allows for the Social Policy being created will meet the “wholisitc needs of all the world’s people so that Creation is nurtured and sustained” (Saulis, 2012, 92). What Saulis (2012) provides the reader is a vision that Indigenous people give, valuing all human life and the nature in their worlds (92). This approach of a wholistic worldview is one I agree with because a social policy should value all human’s needs, after all humans belong to one race and each life matters.
- Laurence Fontaine-Morin

I think Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives is a great book that gives a comprehensive overview of many areas of concern in Canadian society. The book does a great job describing the processes of social policy building, and also does a good job in describing how the contemporary Canada measures up in terms of progressive social policy. In many of the chapters, it gives a brief overview of historical implications for current social policy targeting specific areas, contrasts the Canadian system and policy against other social policies in the world, and then usually offers recommendations or areas to focus on for future reference.   The book is written in a way that is easy to understand, easy to research, and each chapter does a good job of building on what we learn about social policy in the early chapters. The book is not hard to understand, and is a good tool both to people who have little experience or little to no understanding when it comes to social policy, and those with more advanced levels of understanding who are looking for a clear and organized way of interpreting various subject matter in social policy.   The only criticism of the book I might have is that, because it is so direct and to the point, it glosses over certain components of a subject matter without really offering more than a single perspective, which often follows very liberal values. For example, in chapters discussing current health care social policies, it continually brings up the fact that the current system requires drastic change, without being specific about how that change should occur, and how economically viable it would be over the short term(Neysmith, 2012). Another example of the way this book might gloss over significant topics could also be found in chapter 11 (Parental Benefits Policy in Canada and Quebec: Sharing the Caring). Evans (2012) introduces the very important, and some might even consider controversial, gender labour market segregation (Evans, 2012, 223). This phenomenon is heavily referred to by Evans (2012) in the chapter to identify many of the persisting issues related to parental leave policy. Despite the importance of this phenomenon, the chapter fails to explain it or identify much research related to it. Gender roles were claimed to have been causing persisting issues, but very little is given to us to understand how gender roles are materialized in society. The book does a great job in providing us with comprehensive overviews, but does not intimately examine specific phenomena related to some of the subjects it discusses.   Despite this, I think the book was a great teaching tool, and really helped me understand the current position Canada is in regarding many important social issues. I would recommend it for teaching, particularly for students that are in the early process of learning about social policy. The information provided in it is extensive, and the way issues are presented is accessible. 
- William Hebert-Vendramini

This will be a review of Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives (5th, Edition), as edited by Westhues and Wharf and in specific chapter twelve Mental Health Policy in Canada, by Nelson (2012).  Over all as a general statement about the book, I found that it was a interesting read with reliable and viable information. What did bother me is how one section was larger than the other, for example; section I- 1 chapter; section II - 6 chapters; section III - 12 chapters; section IV - 1 chapter, (Westhues and Wharf , 2012). As a result one section had more focus then another and this meant an offset discussion and argument. An argument for and against the book was that the chapters gave much information about the topic at hand and its history, which allowed the reader to created his or her own opinion of what the future might hold, however this was also a downside as educational guessing and theorizing about future social policies and their effect/affects were not generally discussed by any author in particular.   In chapter twelve of the book Nelson discusses the Mental Health Policy in Canada. He raises very relevant information of how the policy came to be, and what have been the social side effects of stigmas, and stereotypes surrounding those who have a mental health disorder. Although Nelson does not specifically express what a future policy shall resemble he does such a great job of the history of the policy and how it was created that the reader is able to deductively theorize what the future Mental Health Policy may resemble. For example and written above in Section I Question , Nelson has found  great example of what a province such as Quebec has done in the midst of Mental Health Policies by funding "100 alternative supports and advocacy groups" (Nelson, 2012, pg. 235) on the issue. Although this is great to hear, Nelson sweeps it to the side and does not follow up on what these 100 alternative supports are. Nelson did give examples of what some alternative supports are in general and not in reference to the province of Quebec and as such it leaves the reader questioning; What has Quebec actually done?;  What alternative supports were funded?; How much funding was given? and; Is this a politic statement or scholarly as the author does not go in depth on the explanation. Nelson leaves the reader to make up their own theories which could lead to misunderstandings as although I believe Nelson thinks that Quebec should model New York City's Pathways program which has used the ACT program (a hybrid program) (Nelson, 2012, pg. 238 - 240); a model that is focused on meeting the needs of a voluntary client, the client is put in the driver's seat and is allowed to choose the "type of intensity of services or refuse them entirely" (Nelson, 2012, pg. 238);  I cannot for certain prove this.   Although the 5th edition of this book is great to get a beginner associated with the content surrounding Canadian Social Policies, I do not believe it provides advanced knowledge surrounding the topics at hand. Re-working of the book must take place; creating equally weighted sections, proper future development discussions, and authors to state exactly as they feel and not simply fact heavy. 
- Jake Rose

The topics of the chapters were actually very interesting, I never felt like I had wasted my time reading after acquiring the knowledge and understanding the views of the writers.  Chapter 1 was my favorite for that reason.  I was very satisfied with the knowledge most chapters provided me with, and it was neat to have a compilation of views from several authors.  The chapter on the Social Welfare State in Canada however was my least favorite, because after taking the time to reading and understand it all, it turned out that it was all out of date and new governmental programs had replaced the ones it discussed.  For example, the CCTB has been replaced by the CCB, so this chapter was a poor reflection of what the government is doing to alleviate child poverty.  I would advise not using that chapter to save students the disappointment I experienced.  The income tax act is the largest act in Canada with over 2000 pages, plus additional regulations, written in a very legalistic style.  There are tools available to help people understand this and the programs under it, but I did not find the chapter provided by the textbook to be helpful in that domain.  It was quite the challenge understanding how poverty is measured using the textbook, and the even more complicated outside sources.  Personally I had a very hard time understanding it, and was very discouraged until I later learned that others students had the same problem as I.  The density of the information in the chapter did not seem to be a fair reflection of what we learned in class either, which made it even more difficult.  Overall I feel the book can be well utilized, as long as in class the chapters are more thoroughly discussed to solidify the information in the book. Ideally this would allow students to be more critical of the policies themselves, with the book as a good point of reference. 
- Lisa Robertson

The review will focus chapter 2: The Policy-Making Process and the section on Policy Scale by Anne Westhues and Carol Kenny-Scherber in the textbook Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives (5th Edition). The policy scale in Canada is divided into multiple scales, from federal, provincial, territorial, municipals and the international scale (Westhues, 2012, p.23). The responsibility for social policy is split up between federal, provincial/territorial (Westhues, 2012, p.23). The provincial or territorial responsibilities lie in maintaining, and managing the programs, for example the provincial government would be in charge such as prisons, hospitals, charities and any other institutions. (Westhues, 2012, p.23).  Although this back and forth or sharing of responsibilities of social policy between federal and provincial/territorial governments creates tension on that is responsible for funding, monitoring and who is responsible for bring forth the programs (Westhues, 2012, p.23). With that said, federal government can have a big or small role in policy making depending on the situation, for example the federal government can influence funding but not pass legislation of child welfare, would be a good example (Westhues, 2012, p.24). This seems to be a large issue when it comes to policy making because this confusion in who does what and where they do it, is clearly causing issues that can slow down the policy making process. This can have negative consequences on many people in Canada. The longer each policy takes because of unorganized or miscommunication and debates behind policies the less likely people in need will get the attention they have been waiting for.  On top of this, there is the municipal and regional government that come into the mix, which have limited jurisdiction when it comes to social services in there respected province (Westhues,2012, p.25). For example the municipal and regional governments hold responsibility in the following areas; water, roads, libraries and recreational programs (Westhues, 2012, p.25). Although, municipalities amongst provinces like Ontario and Nova Scotia have some saying in funding and ability when it comes to social services, (Westhues, 2012, p.25).  When provincial governments don’t take in consideration municipal governments, deficits are possible. For example in Ontario, the provincial government in 1995 had increased the funding by local governments by 50 percent and this cause taxes to increase and ended up creating municipal governments to have large deficits (Westhues,2012, p.25).  This is another great example of how provincial government and municipal governments confusing responsibilities and how policy making and organization needs to be more clear and concise for each level of government to follow. To reduce the confusion behind which level of government is responsible for which part of the policy.  Additionally, there is the international scale of policies, which seems to create even more complex process in polices. For example the international scale of policies can be legal, although some are not for example the UN convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous peoples (Westhues, 2012, p.26).  Canada tends to use these international polices to frame a lot of their federal and provincial policies and they follow the UN conventions on the Rights of Children (Westhues, 2012, p.26). This is good on an international and federal level for Canada because it gives Canada guidelines to work with to better protect the children. Although the process of policies going through multiple scales of government raises questions like, does this cause confusion or mishaps when it comes to creating effective polices at the lower government levels. These international and federal scale polices may not match up to municipal government issues. For example what the UN sees as a problem on international scale for child welfare may be different for these municipalities or indigenous communities.  I think this section Policy Scale in the Chapter 2: The policy making process, discusses the amount of steps in policy making in an effective manner and shows how many scales of government a policy can go through and at which levels certain responsibilities lie. Although I think with all those scales it brings problems that can affect the policy making process, because of the overwhelming number of policy scales there can be. As discussed earlier, responsibilities can create tension (Westhues, 2012, p.23) and these tensions can in a positive way help with debates on how policy is made in the proper and most beneficial way possible. It can also create confusion and negative consequences on timelines where policies are needed for people in drastic need, like children in poverty and the growing amount of indigenous people in Canada that need basic living assistance. 
- Adam Rand

Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives edited by Westhues and Wharf (2012) takes into account multiple issues in Canada, and the social policies that go along with it. Part two of the book focuses on who creates and controls social policies. The textbook was a good choice for the class because it covers social policy in an understanding, yet critical way. A particularly interesting chapter was The Policy-Making Process written by Anne Westhues and Carol Kenny-Scherber, it allows for one to understand the actual processes that need to talk place in order to create policy, and the different levels the policy must travel through. The textbook was a good choice for the class because it covers social policy in an understanding, yet critical way. The chapter brought forth the scales, whether federal, provincial/territorial, municipal, or organizational, and court rulings that may have an impact on the policies. It also brings forth the purposes of the policies, whether it be strategic, legislative, program, or oppositional. The chapter goes on to discuss how the political parties may have a say in the policies that are put in place based on their interests. The chapter provides a clear and concise understanding of how social policies are made; again a very good choice for a university level course. 
- Laura Battley

The sections about social policy in general, while informative, were not the most interesting to read. They were, of course, important to read due to the knowledge provided, but the topic itself is not very exciting.  The chapters about specific policies in Canada were much more engaging. They showed us the current situation in our country, the issues with current policies and ways to improve them, as well as the arguments of those opposed. I found it very illuminating, since I never knew very much about the specifics or the history of Canadian social policies. The main issue I saw was that many authors completely discount any opposing views and tout their ideas as the absolute best methods for repairing policy issues.  The chapter I read the most was Canadians with Disabilities by Dunn (2012). He offers many radical but interesting ideas that people do not necessarily think of, such as disability being a social concept. However, it is a pretty radical take on the issue and is written as though it is for people who already have knowledge of the issue and the unique terms he uses. For example, constantly referring to people with disabilities as consumers. It is hard to tell what that means or what he is really talking about with all the confusion. Regardless, this new take on the subject is sure to get people thinking about it and could change many people’s minds. 
- Kathleen Collins

I will be reviewing and investigating Barbara Waterfall’s chapter “Native Peoples and Child Welfare Practices: Implicating Social Work Education” in the textbook Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives (5th Edition) by Westhues and Wharf (Ed.) (2003). By analyzing the information within the chapter and using outside knowledge I will be able to develop a perspective on the current Native people and child welfare practices. I will also attempt to understand the practices and belief systems that have been in place and developing over time and how they have influenced the progression to the current situation today. For one, the chapter analyses the progression of colonialism throughout history and how it still influences social and political practices. Waterfall identifies the need for change in social and political policy and belief systems, she emphasizes the obligation of society as a whole to take action to make a difference. “I am arguing that schools of social work have an ethical and professional responsibility to create centred spaces for the articulation and development of Native systems and methods of helping” (Waterfall, p.223). The use of anti-colonial, feminist and matriarchy perspectives for policy formation is essential to support the traditional cultural practices and views of the First Nation people. “I am employing a feminist, anti colonial discursive framework to guide this discussion on the relationships between child welfare practices, social work education, and Natives peoples” (Waterfall, p.224). Waterfall went into depth in description of the oppressive history the First Nation people have faced with colonialism. The consequences of history and legislation like the Indian Act have had major negative consequences on both First Nation people of that time and people still today. First Nation people throughout history have been forced to give up their own cultural practices and values and adopt new Euro-western practices and values. “The effects of the residential school system severely disrupted the traditional Native way of life” (Waterfall, p.231). Waterfall identifies the wrong doings of the past and how they continue to affect the first nation people and even approaches today are still influenced by colonialist views. She argues that now is the time to make a difference and find an approach that benefits the aboriginal people to the fullest extent and allows them to embrace their cultural practices and views. “I define feminist anti-colonialism as committed to a future with the absence of colonial imposition and colonial influences, with the agency to govern oneself, and the practice of such agency based on gynocentric and gynocratic Native traditional practices” (Waterfall, p.224). She continuously discusses eurocentrism and ongoing colonial processes that negatively affect the first nation people. She emphasizes social workers need to support native peoples practices (traditional, life-sustaining, axiological, ontological, and epistemological). There is a need to set a standard and criteria for social work education to ensure the needs of First Nations are met. “It is also my aspiration that this work will stimulate further discussion, and in particular creates space for native voices that have been marginalized and silenced through colonial oppression” (Waterfall, p.224). Throughout the paper, Waterfall discusses Native self-determined agency that goes outside of the parameters of the Canadian state and is embedded in the foundational wisdoms of native ancestors (Waterfall, p.224). She states “The Canadian constitutional agenda is counterproductive to a feminist, anti-colonial objective for Indigenous people” (Waterfall, p.224). A feminist anti-colonial course of action does not look to Indian Act or other colonial policy. Native self-determined agency builds upon Indigenous traditional networks and methods of practice. The generalized understanding of Natives “traditions” needs to be reassessed for issues with the negative influence of patriarchal and other colonial values. “Eurocentric thought informed the theories, the opinions, and the laws that relate to Native peoples” (Waterfall, p.225). The colonial agenda was justified by Eurocentric beliefs, it influences research and policy development. An example is Turtle Island, the main colonial objective is to gain access and control of territory and resources. Native populations are viewed as a threat in acquisition of resources important economically.  Diffusionism, the idea that people are uninventive and those who are inventive should be the main practitioners and leaders for cultural change and progress. Eurocentrism on the other hand views europeans as superior and inventive therefore making them in charge. Waterfall wanted to make a difference by working with a native elder to create a culturally appropriate method of teaching of medicine, facilitated the development of native practices. Originally, colonialism meant that the colonial people had complete control over Native people, systems, and lands. Throughout history, with resistance from the Native people after world war 2, neo-colonialism was created and partially still remains today. Neo-colonialism allows Native people to be in control of the administration of different social programs like child welfare, income assistance, job training, health, education, and maintenance of Indian lands and Metis villages. But they must refer to the government since they have all the control of finances. Economically speaking there are only a few Natives that benefit from neo-colonialism because of the lack of jobs and financial support. The elite class in the aboriginal community are therefore working from the colonial influence, not for the will of their people. The government implemented the colonialist agenda with constitutional acts that deceived the First Nation people. Negotiation were done with the First Nation people to create treaties that they were uninformed about, they were made verbal promises that contradicted what was written in the official documents and Treaties. They were ultimately tricked due to language barriers. Without knowing it the Native people signed away all rights, titles and privileges to lands and resources. Today, this colonialism  still continues over natural resources in whats left of the native peoples reserves. Children need to be taught traditions, heritage, and language in order to keep the traditions ongoing. They raise their families to focus on generosity, mastery of survival skills, and autonomy, with the proper teaching practices by their own people of course. Their motto was peace and good order within Native community but colonial interference made it difficult to accomplish this.  Overall, the release from dependency on colonial states is necessary for the good of their people. They have already been put through enough damage for their people, including residential schools for examples. The colonial oppression onto their children made it very different for these people to ever trust us again. They need to regain indolence and run their communities their own way. Education and social work must be taught by members of their community in order for their traditions and practice to remain alive. They should be paid equally as all the other social workers who are caring for the children as well. 
- Gina Lavallee Patenaude

In whole, the textbook is generally reliable and adequate. Most of the information provided is referenced. Case studies and statistics are provided throughout the entire textbook, to strengthen the authors’ point of view in relation to social policy. Referenced work added to the relevance, validity, and reliability of the textbook. The textbook did use charts as support. However, visual timelines and graphs were not included. Many past events were used to illustrate the making of social policies. The use of a visual timeline for the Chapter 7, the Quebec Model of Social Policy, Past and Present, would have been appreciated. A short description of these events should have been included in the textbook, right before expanding on the social policy-making. These potential short descriptions would have given marked the author’s perspective on these events, rather than relying on brief mentions throughout the textbook, despite the author’s will to remain as neutral as possible on the subject. In addition, certain events may be vague to certain readers. Reading the chapter on Quebec gave the impression that the reader must know about Quebec’s historical events. Adding this timeline at the start of the chapter, the beginning of the textbook or at the end would have enabled a better understanding on the discussed material content. This would diminish the overwhelming information dump.  In addition, certain laws and policies should have been defined with their original description, rather than summarizing what they are. Summarizing laws and policies may be prone to bias, since summarizing is constructed under one’s interpretation. The authors also provided a various amount of definitions for specific words or topics. This technique allows different perspectives to be taken into consideration. However, this technique was used throughout the textbook many times, often unnecessary. It sometimes brought confusion to which definition the authors used for their discussed material. They were sometimes indirect with their definition used.  Another interesting aspect of the textbook if the use research and studies of different authors used for the chapters. For example, in chapter 5, personal life experiences are applied to the related research. The shift from neutral expansion on information initiated interest in learning more about the matter. It also enabled a form of personal identification with or compassion for the author of that chapter. They also use subject-specific and academic vocabulary. With the heavy content of the textbook, some chapters can be somewhat difficult to read, and sometimes difficult to understand. This can be due to political implications of the many discussed material in relation with social policy. 
- Sara Poirier

The review for this part, focuses especially on chapter 5: Indigenous Wholistic Healing Social Policy. As a whole, it is pretty clear and straightforward. An interesting point of this chapter is that the writer himself, Mac Saulis, took the time to applied his research and all the knowledge that he learned on himself and his personal life. For instance, the writers of the other chapters of the book, simply rewrite the important facts that they learned through their research, however, Mac Saulis: “decided to embrace his inner indigenous identity in order to be strong enough to stand with this knowledge and worldview as though it were as valid as any he might encounter in the rest of the world” (p.82). Throughout his explanations, the writer stays concise and gives clear definitions of every idea or concept that he refers to. For instance, when he explains the four Wholistic directions or the seven indigenous teachings, he gives a definition for each of them. Moreover, the language used is not complicated to understand. The author does not use an academic vocabulary where it would be really hard for other people than students and professors to understand. Indeed, the vocabulary used makes it possible for anyone to understand the subjects which is different from some chapters in which some concepts are based on political terms like chapter 2. When explaining the Wholistic Healing Approach or the Medicine Wheel, Saulis even gives figures that resume and help the reader better understand the whole idea of group concepts that are linked and based on each other. Another interesting point of this chapter is that the reader does not need to have any knowledge of the subject prior to the readings. Everything is clear. The writer gives a short, but well explained back group of what is social policy according to Indigenous people, and he stays focus on the main points of his research; rethinking, reframing, and re-presenting policy development for Indigenous People. 
- Valérie Huot

About The Student Reviews


Laura Battley, Nicolette Tsavdaris, Sara Poirier, Valérie Huot, Maximilien Rolland, Thaïs Pouvesle, Jake Rose, Lisa Robertson, Meghann Delves Dana Myers, Laurence Fontaine-Morin, William Hebert-Vendramini, Adam Rand, Kathleen Collins, and Gina L. Patenaude are presently studying at Bishop's University located in Quebec, Canada. Student reviews were written about Anne Westhues (Editor) and Brian Wharf's (Editor) Canadian Social Policy, Fifth Edition: Issues and Perspectives (2012) for a course titled SOC292 Social Policy in the Department of Sociology.

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