May 14, 1948
It is the most improbable of political ventures, the most far-fetched of stories. A nation that returns conquered lands to countries that attack it. A people who provide material aid and medical care to those who mistrust them. A culture that laughs at its brushes with extinction. And a stirring embodiment of the Western idea in a lonely and vulnerable outpost. David Solway examines Israel and finds a modern Jewish homeland whose Diamond Jubilee next month merits international celebration, a model the world should be shooting for, not shooting at, a country that provides an image of the possible while serving as a touchstone of the real.
Rule of Law
Early this month, some of the targets of the Justin Trudeau government’s imposition of the Emergencies Act to quell last year’s protests in Ottawa finally had their day in court, alongside civil liberties groups, arguing that the government’s actions were unreasonable, unconstitutional and illegal. The Attorney General of Canada’s response? That the court hearings should not even be held, that the anticipation of a theoretical threat is the same as actual violence, and that the federal Cabinet should be left alone to do as it pleases with a law deliberately written to be used only in extremis and under strict criteria. Christine Van Geyn summarizes what the two sides had to say – and notes just how much now rides on the shoulders of a lone justice of the Federal Court of Canada.
Many Canadians retain a sentimental attachment to the RCMP born of its long and, until recently, distinguished record of public service. Even as crime rates rise worrisomely across Canada, however, the force’s crime-fighting competence has increasingly come into question and its image has been tarnished by a series of fiascos. In this comprehensive look at a force under fire, Doug Firby investigates why so many jurisdictions, most notably Alberta, are considering dropping the Mounties to build their own police forces – and why the strongest impetus for change might end up coming from Ottawa.
Evolution of Media
Many are concerned about Big Tech’s increasing censorship, manipulation and left-wing bias – sometimes openly admitted. But that doesn’t mean Facebook, Google et al are always wrong, nor that their enemies are necessarily our friends. In this instance, Canada’s legacy newspapers, which are waging an increasingly unctuous campaign for legislated subsidies both from government and the unwilling tech giants. Peter Menzies believes Canada’s media companies are dead wrong. The former newspaper publisher and media regulator regards their demands as unfair extortion by a dying sector – “palliative care for zombies.” Even worse, signal an increasing dependency upon and subjugation to the censorship-happy, control-obsessed Justin Trudeau government.
Truth in History
Late in life, Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe was asked if his view of colonialism had changed in the half-century since he wrote Things Fall Apart, his famous first novel critical of British rule. “The legacy of colonialism is not a simple one,” he replied, “but one of great complexity with contradictions – good things as well as bad.” Today our understanding of that complexity is rapidly being obliterated as governments, universities and museums race to “decolonize” their institutions and make colonialism synonymous with racism, violence and exploitation. In his controversial new book Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning, British ethicist Nigel Biggar seeks to revive the notion that the British Empire contained “good things as well as bad.” The Scottish-born Biggar recently connected with Peter Shawn Taylor to discuss the morality of empire, Canada’s own colonial legacy and how it feels to be named an “honorary” Courageous Canadian.
Failures in Education
Young Canadians are learning precious little in classrooms today about the country’s past, for two reasons: the growing hatred for any history instruction that is not about racism and oppression, and the education system’s simple lack of prioritization of the subject. Emma Haynes examines this dark descent toward historical nihilism and explains why teaching history – all of our stories, good and bad – is so important. Apathy about one’s country’s past, she explains, creates a weaker, less cohesive society. How can we expect our children to care about building a nation they know nothing about?
Democracy or Autocracy?
It has been one year since Gwyn Morgan’s article The Dictator and the Truckers: A True Canadian Folk Tale appeared in C2C. The saga did not end there – unfortunately. The Liberal dictator’s targets continue to endure the whims of Canada’s increasingly politicized justice system. While habitual criminals with dozens of past convictions are allowed to roam free only to commit multiple horrific murders, the peaceful if outspoken organizers of the Freedom Convoy barely gain bail and have their conditional liberty revoked on the flimsiest of pretexts. Now, as key Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich contemplates her criminal trial later this year, Morgan sets forth the grotesque violations of constitutional rights that brought us to this point.
Meaning of Citizenship
Do you love Canada? The answer ought to be axiomatic. How could anyone not love a country with such a long democratic tradition, born of a spirit of accommodation and committed to the betterment of all who live within its borders. Yet expressing such an emotion today seems utterly obsolete, as our national narrative has become obsessed with shame and regret over our colonial past and racist present. If even native-born residents can’t find a reason to show any ardour for their homeland, why should we be surprised when new arrivals act likewise? Peter Shawn Taylor examines the recent decline in citizenship rates among immigrants to Canada and wonders if it says more about us than about them.
Parliament vs. Courts
When Ontario Premier Doug Ford invoked the Charter’s “notwithstanding” clause in back-to-work legislation last fall, he became just the latest political leader to be pilloried for using it. Loudly condemned as an instrument of oppression, the notwithstanding clause has been under attack for decades as a political expedient that should never be used. But as Gordon Lee argues, the clause was a carefully considered addition to the Charter intended to safeguard democratic legislatures from the whims of activist judges. And with a Supreme Court that continues to invent rights and expand its power, we are going to need it more and more.
There’s a minimum legal age for voting. You have to pass a test to drive a car. You even need a licence to get married. When it comes to having kids, however, there are no restrictions or official requirements at all. But if it’s so easy to do, why are Canadian women choosing to have so few children? More important, why are they choosing to have fewer kids than their own stated desires? Based on exclusive survey data, demographer Lyman Stone uncovers the intimate details of fertility expectations in Canada, what is driving them and what is happening to the life satisfaction of Canadian mothers.
With so much pressure to apply Indigenous ways of knowing to many subjects and public policy imperatives, it has become necessary to remind everyone of the crucial importance of Western ways of knowing to life in the 21st century. The scientific method, open discourse, archival evidence and rigorous use of logic undergird modern civilization and have made our digital age possible. Using this toolbox of time-tested concepts, academics Hymie Rubenstein and Tom Flanagan investigate recent claims regarding missing students and unmarked graves at Canada’s allegedly genocidal Indian Residential Schools. They find the current narrative to be sorely lacking in facts and other reliable evidence.
Defending Academic Freedom
As wokism rampages throughout society, a few are attempting to fight it head on – and paying the price. One is political scientist Frances Widdowson, previously fired for sheer outspokenness from her professorship at Calgary’s Mount Royal University. Earlier this month Widdowson was shouted down by a 700-strong mob at the University of Lethbridge as she prepared to deliver a talk to which a faculty member had invited her. Those tempted to wave off the incident as irrelevant might remind themselves that today’s out-of-control students are tomorrow’s managers, leaders and (presumably) parents. Widdowson describes the encounter, its place in the broader intellectual and moral degradation of Canada’s universities – and what might be done to begin restoring balance.
It hardly seemed the stuff of “professional misconduct and incompetence.” The wrong kind of hand towel hung in a patient washroom. An incorrectly worded report. Some pointed Tweets. Pushing the bounds of patient advocacy. Yet these are among the triggers used by Ontario’s medical college to destroy the careers and livelihoods of physicians who departed from the official Covid-19 narrative and exercised independent professional judgment in treating their patients. In so doing, the regulatory body also robbed patients of their doctors amidst a worsening physician shortage. Jason Unrau reports on three suspended Ontario doctors who – like psychologist Jordan Peterson – are waging a spirited defence. There are many more like them across Canada.
Scratch the surface of any ancient civilization and you’ll likely find alcohol in some form, often consumed in copious quantities. Why is that? While the scolding voices of public health would prefer humanity put aside the crude and untutored needs of our ancestors, some things just seem to stick around forever. We still eat meat, we still watch combat sports, we still have religious beliefs and we still like to drink. With the federally-funded Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction’s new drinking guidelines arguing every sip you take brings you a step closer to your grave, Peter Shawn Taylor looks at the reasons behind booze’s remarkable staying power. And its many, unspoken benefits. Part I of this two-part series can be read here.
The Trudeau government recently released its regulatory impact statement – including a cost/benefit analysis – explaining the plan to make Canada an all-electric-vehicle nation by 2035. James R. Coggins takes a deep dive into the document and finds it full of wishful thinking and sloppy logic. It also excludes many of the biggest costs consumers and taxpayers will face in the shift to electric cars and trucks. If the Liberals confronted the real costs and benefit of their policy, they’d have to admit that forcing Canadians to go electric will be as impractical as it is pricey. Those amazing and expensive electric pickup trucks? They won’t get you very far with a load in tow.