What does conservatism do, above all? It works. In the great debate about whether Canada’s federal Conservative Party should be defined by libertarians, populists, free traders, Harperites or Red Tories (new or old-style), it bears keeping in mind that Conservatives above all need to craft a party that, if elected, can make the country work. Sean Speer and Sam Duncan argue that the world has changed beneath our feet, so much that the post-Cold War order itself is fading into history. If Canada is to thrive and grow, our nation must adapt, and if they are to lead the way, Conservatives must eschew dogma and see the world as it really is.
In our ahistorical age, the “lessons of history” rarely rise above the level of casual slogan or self-serving proof. But what if there were two ready-made historical North American case studies showing how sharply different government approaches to an economic crisis can produce two starkly different results? And what if everyone is now focused on the wrong example? Peter Shawn Taylor dives deep into economic history and, with a respected Wall Street investment guru and historian as his guide, unearths a “Forgotten Depression” whose lessons could help us plot the best way out of our Covid-19 depression.
You don’t see news media reporting that Germany has declared Audi and BMW to be obsolete companies from yesteryear. Nor that Switzerland has come to regard its banking sector and watchmakers as sunset industries. There’s been no announcement that South Korea is shuttering Samsung. Nor that the Greeks are tearing over hill and dale torching their olive and orange groves. Everywhere you look, countries are leaning on their proven economic strengths to power their post-Covid comeback. So why is Canada’s federal government, seemingly alone in the world, intent on euthanizing this nation’s number-one source of export earnings and inter-regional tax transfers – the oil and natural gas sector? Gwyn Morgan moves briskly through the recent madness and declares that this is one instance of ideological folly the country simply can’t afford.
Since the June 2007 introduction of the iPhone, scientific evidence has been mounting that we are suffering from an attenuated attention span while our ability to comprehend and use abstract reasoning is weakening. Writing in National Affairs, Adam Garfinkle argues that the loss of “deep literacy” has widespread neurophysiological costs.
The Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of populist parties attest to deeply-rooted challenges to liberalism’s underlying premises. Writing in The Critic, Nick Timothy reviews two new books documenting liberalism’s naïveté and subsequent geopolitical failures. To put things right, argues Timothy, we need to chart a course that is both conservative and pragmatic.
The median age of coronavirus death in most countries is 80. The young and middle-aged are at minimal risk. But the media have suppressed this key fact, with many insisting everyone is in equal peril. Heather MacDonald, writing in The Spectator USA, examines how the media abuses language to keep people frightened and prepare the citizenry for any future re-lockdown.
Covid-19 poses a grave threat to many things: nursing homes, music festivals and café culture among them. But what of its broader implications? The coronavirus cares nothing for identity, imaginative individual rights or past grievances. It is severely undermining globalist fantasies. And recovering from its ravages seems likely to reward countries that focus on conservative values of pragmatism, frugality, duty, markets and tradition. Patrick Keeney charts the likely fortunes of conservative and liberal convictions once the pandemic recedes.
Everyone can agree public pension funds should be protected from political interference. But such abuse comes in several forms, some stealthier than others. Unaccountable investment managers indulging in the latest fads and activist demands – energy transition, anyone? – pose perhaps the greatest threat of all to retirees’ returns. George Koch argues that, paradoxically, elected office-holders are the public’s best defence against politically-motivated and potentially ruinous pension fund shenanigans.
Clear skies in once-smoggy L.A. Wildlife wandering through cities and bedding down in parks. Deserted streets. Idled factories. For the left, the pandemic has created a convenient waypoint on their path to utopia. To the rest of us, it has furnished a nightmarish vision of a potentially destitute future, and a wakeup call to focus on what it might take to revive our economy. For Matthew Lau, the choice is clear. And while news media reports continue to promote fanciful progressive agendas, Lau sees encouraging signs that the imperatives of survival will enable practicality and common sense to prevail.
It wasn’t so long ago that national borders were considered fusty relics of a bygone age. A knowledge economy respects no boundaries, we were told. Europe had erased all its internal borders. The UN was demanding migrants be given the right to go wherever they wanted. To question illegal immigration was xenophobic. Today, borders have returned with a vengeance. And not just between countries – even Canadian provinces are throwing up roadblocks and intercepting travellers. Mathew Preston sorts out the competing sources for this surprising resurgence of gatekeeping around the world, and charts the political implications.
The isolation imposed by the lengthy pandemic makes it both tempting and understandable for us to look inward, focused mainly on our own survival concerns and those of our immediate circle. Politics can wait. But the so-called progressive side won’t rest. It has remained busy, taking only weeks to begin redefining issue after issue through the lens of the coronavirus. More government, more regulation and less capitalism are its answers. They always are. But is this our inevitable future? Anthony Furey mounts a clear and powerful alternative case for Canada based on the national interest and equality for all.
No postwar generation has endured more delays and interruptions than the Millennials. A lack of permanency − in jobs, housing, education, relationships and everywhere else – is often considered their defining characteristic. So how are the cataclysmic disruptions of the coronavirus affecting Canada’s Millennials? Aaron Nava offers a revealing personal take on the generational costs imposed by social distancing and economic shutdown. And manages to find a welcome message of hope.
Canada has so far ducked the extreme growth in the Covid-19 hospitalization and mortality rates afflicting some other countries. The worst is certainly still to come, however – and when it does, the shortfall in Canada’s health care capacity will be laid bare. The vulnerability was largely avoidable, points out Gwyn Morgan, if Canada like nearly all other countries had only allowed private health care delivery alongside its public system. When the nation comes out the other side of the pandemic, Morgan writes, a health care policy reckoning will be long overdue.
Democratic politics must continue even in times of war. Despite suspension of the federal Conservative leadership race amidst the coronavirus, members and supporters still need to think about how to shape their party and pick the right leader to best meet the many challenges of our era. C2C Journal has looked at revived Red Toryism, at uncompromisingly principled conservatism and at the decidedly compromised but successful Harper way. We have sought insight from abroad. And now we turn to populism. Barry Cooper applies his usual fearless thinking and cheerful bluntness to evaluate whether the Canadian political landscape has become hospitable terrain to a Canadian Trump.
Solving Canada’s housing crisis shouldn’t require more than a single lesson in economics. When prices are high, a free market always responds and supplies more. Yet amidst Canada’s severe problems of housing affordability, this foolproof mechanism is continually frustrated by governments that are either ignorant of how markets work, fixated on preserving the status quo or display naked contempt for the profit motive. Peter Shawn Taylor looks at the scorn heaped on land developers, landlords and the rest of the housing supply industry and wonders how they became the villains of this story.
How should the conservative mind respond to the coronavirus pandemic? Panic and despair are in ample supply, and the urge to succumb appears widespread. Others have steered, via deliberate ignorance, to fatalism, though the walls are closing in on such rebels. Both extremes are beneath thoughtful conservatives. C2C Editor-in-Chief George Koch counsels that however dark today might appear, the eternal search for objective truth – the foundation for all conservative thought – is the first necessary step along the path to seeing humankind through to brighter days.
As Canada’s Conservatives evaluate leadership hopefuls and ponder what their party is about and which path might lead to electoral victory, it’s easy to ignore international politics. They should take a look, for the world holds dozens of established centre-right democratic parties, and many are tackling challenges of relevance and adaptation at least as steep as those burdening Canada’s Conservatives. John Weissenberger travelled to Washington, D.C. for the annual conference of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and provides his assessment in this essay. Later this year, once international travel is restored, Weissenberger heads to Vienna to deepen his understanding at the IDU’s 2020 Forum.
Pursuing grandiose visions tends to cloud judgment, and when the vision is saving our very planet from an apprehended climate crisis, it’s little surprise that numbers are fudged, logic is twisted, the hardest-hit are ignored and entire social classes are cast into the trash. Matthew Lau, however, refuses to be dazzled by dreams. In this article, Lau remains rooted in reality and fixed on crunching the numbers to come up with some arresting conclusions about the huge costs of government climate policies to working people here and now, set against marginal if not ephemeral benefits to come over the next 80 years.
When Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin stepped down in 2017, she was regarded as one of the most consequential jurists in Canadian history, largely due to her court’s activist approach to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her career arc was also widely considered a triumph of progressive feminism in the face of an entrenched legal patriarchy. That reputation is due for a re-assessment. Grant A. Brown sifts through the evidence of McLachlin’s autobiography and various post-retirement missteps, and unearths what he feels is a surprising lack of principle, objectivity and sound reasoning.
The sight of Justin Trudeau’s ministers genuflecting before petty aristocrats, anarchists, tire-burners and masked thugs sickened millions of Canadians – and made some of us think about hoarding critical supplies. Aside from the venality and sheer ineffectiveness of the Liberals’ approach, Gwyn Morgan was struck by our enlightened rulers’ bone-headed misunderstanding of diplomacy. Going cap-in-hand to the people who despise you is unlikely to end well. And when there are other options, it’s unforgivable. Morgan suggests instead applying age-old principles of diplomacy – like supporting one’s allies to maximize their influence. He should know, for he has done it himself.
In the past month’s anti-pipeline protests and blockades, Andrew Scheer seemed to find his voice at last. But for him it is too late. The Conservative Party of Canada is choosing a new leader. Much advice has been received, often urging the party to slide to the left. But perhaps its future hinges on a leadership candidate who brings a fresh set of clothes to the spring season: intelligence and courage. Maybe the key is to ignore the left-wing pundits and activists, ditch the focus groups and spurn the consultants. How about picking a leader who displays a keen mind guided by conservative principles and steadied by political bravery? That would be a new ensemble indeed. Grant A. Brown has something to say on the subject.