Urban parks were once amenities local residents escaped to – welcome refuges from the noisy chaos of city life where one could exercise, meet neighbours or simply commune with nature. Lately, however, many of these parks have become something residents desperately want to escape from. With dangerous, drug-infested homeless camps now occupying once-beloved downtown green spaces in numerous Canadian cities, and with governments seemingly incapable of stopping this invasion, it is has fallen to a few brave locals to lead the resistance. Veteran journalist Doug Firby recently sat down with one reluctant warrior, a former overseas journalist and neighbourhood mom from Vancouver who’d simply had enough.
It is fair to say that nearly any Canadian feels empathy towards the survivors of Indian Residential Schools, is glad they are being compensated and wants justice visited upon the abusers. But who was actually at fault? Individual perpetrators? The churches that ran the schools? The government that ordered them established? Canadian officialdom has decided that, in fact it’s every one of us – even those who immigrated from overseas or were born 150 years after the schools were set up. With the deep empathy and unique authority of a survivor of abuse at the hands of people entrusted with his care and education, David J. MacKinnon issues a defence of the Canadian people and a denunciation of the doctrine of collective guilt.
To a Canadian of good will and fair disposition, the hostility of “protesters” who vandalize or tear down statues commemorating Canada’s past is as mysterious as it is unnerving. Where does such anger come from? And short of unconditional surrender and abject self-abasement, what is to be done to satisfy these urges? Applying a veteran educator’s perspective, Patrick Keeney finds the problem rooted in progressive reforms that have gradually debased the education of four generations of North American children, leaving the youth of today not just willfully ignorant of their past but openly hostile towards it. With a necessary note of optimism, Keeney proposes the solution is to be found – and the battle must be joined – in the soil whence it sprang.
Remember those anxious days last January when news of a deadly new virus first appeared out of China and then, like an avalanche gathering speed, spread to Italy, Spain and France? Remember how no one seemed to know what to do as the contagion made its way to our shores? If only our governments had a plan – a plan to arrest the disease and protect us from the collateral damage of our own clumsy responses. Drawing on decades of high-level experience in military and civil emergency planning and preparation, David Redman explains what went wrong with Canada’s planning process, how the errors heightened a tidal wave of fear, and what it will take to rebuild confidence in government.
Saving the Planet
Carbon dioxide emissions are a globe-girdling phenomenon driven by industrialization, and atmospheric gases obviously don’t care about national boundaries. So it’s distinctly weird that some left-leaning governments, Canada’s Liberals among them, insist that recognized emissions reductions must take place right here at home! Isn’t the goal “saving the planet”? In fact Canada has a clean-burning energy resource that’s voluminously abundant and economically accessible with current technology – and which the world can’t get enough of. As Gwyn Morgan writes, jobs, wealth-creation, tax-revenue and environmental improvement on a global scale all await, if only governments dropped their ideological blinkers.
High Culture and Politics
Among 2020’s many unfortunate pandemic casualties was the Stratford Festival. Today it’s anybody’s guess how, when or whether the beloved cultural institution, held annually in the Ontario town named for the hometown of William Shakespeare, can restart. But, writes Grant A. Brown, serious wounds were already being inflicted upon the festival – from within. A Stratford resident and business owner, Brown brings a lifelong Shakespeare lover’s perspective to his dissection of the progressive degradation of the great playwright’s greatest works and the garbling of his eternally revealing insights into human nature.
Were he alive today, Sir John A. Macdonald would make short work of his many present-day critics through his legendarily quick wit, disarming personality and mastery of the facts. Unfortunately, he isn’t around to defend himself against horrifying claims he committed genocide against Canada’s Indigenous people. To take on this calumny, Greg Piasetzki goes back to the source. Using Macdonald’s own words and other contemporary voices, Piasetzki brings alive our Founding Father’s determination to save native lives and protect their interests throughout his time in office.
Truth vs. Ideology
Slavery is an outrage, pure and simple, truly one where it is accurate to say “even one is too many”. But even slavery requires context. Out of the more than 12 million Africans captured and shipped across the Atlantic, by the year 1700 precisely six were held in what would later become Quebec. So how and why did La Belle Province decide to upend the truth of its past? In this version of an essay that appeared originally in the Dorchester Review, Frédéric Bastien chronicles Quebec’s bizarre orgy of “historical correctness” and the damage it is doing to memory, truth and perspective.
Trudeau’s Foreign Policy
Canada’s diplomatic, corporate and legal establishments have worked to deepen ties with China for nearly 50 years, greatly abetting the Communist state’s historic drive for international normalization. Any pushback against such a policy of ingratiation has been fragmented, weak and usually portrayed as naïve or futile. Now this half-century of appeasement has come to a head in the most surprising way. Fin dePencier examines the legal affair of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, its profound impact on Canada-China and Canada-U.S. relations, the shifting tide of public opinion and our prime minister’s often-sorry role in the ongoing drama.
The lessons of history? These days, who cares? The past is no longer revered or even carefully examined as woke-leftists seek to topple statues, cancel contrarian views and remake society in a paroxysm of radical change. Yet such an approach hasn’t rendered history entirely obsolete, just obscure. Amid the revolutionary aspirations of our current age, Peter Shawn Taylor takes a look back to where it all started ¬and finds an era awash in bold promises, tragic failings, bloody repudiations and, in the end, desperate pleas for a return to normalcy. When it comes to revolutions, what goes around, comes around.
West Coast Politics
With its bizarre political melange comprising the colourful, the confrontational, the stodgy, the greedy, the eccentric and the unhinged, B.C. often confounds locals as much as outsiders. Could it be the NDP, of all parties, led by a former steakhouse waiter, that cracks that nut, breaks that mold and at last restores a measure of stability and continuity – if of a very big-spending kind? British Columbian Steven Threndyle takes a lively look at B.C.’s recent electoral contest and ventures some predictions about the governing style of a premier who seems more earthy unionist than latte-slurping hipster.
The Legal Landscape
Barely 50 years ago a man could tire of his wife, tell her he wanted a divorce and, with a little luck in court, walk away financially intact, leaving his ex in virtual penury to start over if she could. Since then, the legal and financial pendulums have swung. And swung. And swung some more. About time, too! many will answer. But should there be no limits at all on spousal support obligations? Janice Fiamengo dissects a prominent – and, for the male party, extremely costly – divorce case to reveal the one-sidedness now baked into Canadian family law.
Vilifying critics of accepted dogma as irrational extremists has become standard. Wondering whether Donald Trump is entirely bad? You’re a sexist and a xenophobe. Noticed that the always-predicted climate conflagration never quite shows up? You’re like a Holocaust denier. Think that critical race theory takes things a little too far? White supremacist! And if you question “the science”, you must be a conspiracy theorist (maybe even a Christian). Patrick Keeney is willing to go there, however, reviewing the work of a scholar whose burning commitment to real science has driven him to chronicle the malfeasance among today’s scientists and the politicians who bob along in their wake.
Threatening to take your ball and leave because you don’t like how the game is going is the sort of selfish behaviour we discourage in young children. So why do we celebrate it every four years when apparent adults do the same thing? With the U.S. presidential election only days away, American Democrats are once again vowing to move to Canada if Donald Trump wins. Don’t hold your breath. With bracing realism, Aaron Nava looks at how this electoral petulance always plays out, the hypocrisy it embodies and what it means for democracy in the U.S. and Canada.
Fantasy vs. Physics
Solar panels filling fields in cloudy northern countries. Wind turbines manufactured for export by the world’s largest builder of coal-fired power and worst emitter of greenhouse gases. Governments deliberately demolishing their country’s most valuable industry. It is increasingly clear that so-called green energy isn’t just another instance of youthful idealism going a little too far, much less a practical way to a clean future, but a nasty utopian ideology bent on impoverishing entire countries. Gwyn Morgan examines a slice of this destructive landscape and warns of the severe risk to Canada’s economic well-being.