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.
Virtually shutting down the economy to stop the spread of the coronavirus has been widely accepted as harsh but necessary in many countries. But poverty too is a disease: once it infects, it spreads and it devastates lives. Heather MacDonald, writing in Spectator USA, assesses the costs of the metastasizing economic shutdown.
G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.” Brendan O’Neill, writing in Spiked, observes that for some environmentalists, COVID-19 is the handiwork of a sentient nature exacting vengeance on a civilization that’s a pox on the planet.
The politics of left and right are rooted in two very different accounts of human nature. Conservatives adopt a tragic view of existence, while it is axiomatic for progressives that we are born intrinsically good and corrupted by society. David Starkey, writing in The Critic, argues that the principle of humankind’s inherent goodness is unsupported by the empirical facts.
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.
The expression “he’s earned his retirement” could have been written for Preston Manning. The party-founding Canadian political original, onetime Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, prolific author and tireless public affairs commentator has accomplished enough for any five regular folks. He’s nearly 78, has grandchildren, a ranch and loves to ride horses. But with distant echoes of the early Roman republican Cincinnatus or the late Roman emperor Diocletian, crises of the state and confusion among the citizenry press upon him. So Manning finds himself doing double-duty as the most politically experienced member of Alberta’s Fair Deal Panel and, today in Toronto, launching a nationwide tour to promote his new book aimed at the current problems of democracy and conservatism in Canada. Paul Stanway reviews.
With fiscally-conservatives parties in power in most provinces and deficits plaguing nearly all of them, contentious labour negotiations with entrenched public-sector unions seem inevitable, and strikes are very likely to follow. Ontario’s current teachers’ strike is thus a sign of things to come, with Alberta probably close behind. So how should politicians prepare themselves for the pain of long, drawn-out public sector strikes – perhaps even avoiding the typical ignominious climb-down? Peter Shawn Taylor reveals how one provincial government came up with a simple, parent-friendly strategy to buy itself time for credible negotiations.
There are two components to any political movement: theory and reality. A coherent political ideology is crucial to any functioning party, but so too is recognizing a viable path to success. Few Canadians have as much direct experience fusing political theory with political reality as Tom Flanagan − scholar, author and senior decision-maker in three major conservative political organizations. In the second installment of C2C Journal’s Future of Conservatism Special Series, Flanagan reveals four important lessons from the recent past as the Conservative Party of Canada reassembles the shards of its devastating October electoral defeat.
Secret video recordings. Former counter-terrorism policemen interrogating a lone journalist over his recent book and promotional lawn signs. Insults and accusations of bullying. Potentially draconian fines and even jail time over spending $501 or more on a perfectly legal service that thousands of businesses use daily. Grant A. Brown chronicles Act I of the tragicomic battle between free speech warrior Ezra Levant of Rebel News and the Commissioner of Canada Elections – and warns that free speech rights for all of us are again under threat.
It’s difficult to imagine that even Canada’s activist appellate courts truly intended what they eventually wrought with the doctrine of “aboriginal consultation”. But here we are, with tiny minorities-within-minorities seeking vetoes over critical projects, oblivious to the impact on tens of thousands of others. The federal government, meanwhile, is busily deepening the hole as it kowtows to UN directives as ignorant as they are arrogant. Gwyn Morgan evaluates the farcical melodrama and issues a stout “Stop!” Will the politicians listen?
No one will disagree that there’s something terribly broken with Indigenous child welfare in Canada. But is the solution for the rest of the country to give up caring about native children altogether? That’s the plan behind new federal legislation that aims to ‘fully Indigenize’ child welfare services. Drawing on his own deep experience with the tragic consequences of the current system, former Manitoba provincial court judge Brian Giesbrecht reveals why Ottawa’s new approach will simply perpetuate Canada’s long history of failure to protect native children from the real causes of family dysfunction.
Since the late Roman Empire, when legions could not move until distant functionaries approved budgets for food and other essentials, bureaucrats pursuing selfish agendas have sometimes done more damage than enemy action. Canada’s politicized national defence administration is a modern example of this phenomenon, and the concerted attempt to destroy the Canadian Forces Reserves as a meaningful organization surely ranks among the more damaging cases. Mathew Preston, through his review of C.P. Champion’s Relentless Struggle, illuminates the stirring campaign of those who fought to keep our Reserves alive.
Canada is among the world’s most tolerant and peaceable countries. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network wants you to believe otherwise, however, working tirelessly to convince Canadians their country is a seething hotbed of (mostly white, right-wing) hate groups. John Klein lays bare the hypocrisy, intolerance and damage done to individuals and free speech rights when a small group of political activists model themselves on a much larger American group and appoint themselves as our country’s figurative judge, jury and executioner.
C2C Journal’s name is a deliberate double-play on our central aspirations – to be read from coast to coast and to nurture important conversations between Canada’s conservatives. While we may not always get along perfectly, having just lost an entirely winnable federal election in which the Conservative Party topped the popular vote, now is a critical time to have a wide-ranging and civil debate about the future of conservatism in our beloved country. Ben Woodfinden kicks off C2C’s new special series on this important topic with a thoughtful essay about a Canadian political tradition that enjoyed plenty of success in our past, and deserves to be revived today.
Maurice Strong died of old age before seeing his predictions of climate apocalypse come true. But don’t worry: there are plenty of putative replacements for the late organizer of the original “Earth Summit”. They’re younger, more credulous, far shriller and even less scientifically literate. If the planet won’t heat up and destroy industrial civilization as predicted, they’re here to help make sure that the latter, at least, occurs one way or another. Gwyn Morgan peruses selected lowlights from the current “climate crisis” spectacle and laments our Liberal government’s credulous genuflection before the prophets of doom when Canada’s industry actually has the means to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
To arms! The narrative of radical environmentalism is changing dramatically, with activists now fixated on a Climate War as their preferred outcome. Mass mobilization, war-time rationing, a command-and-control economy. All are now invoked as essential to dealing with our ‘climate emergency.’ And the inevitable foe in this conflict is capitalism. As economic specialist Matthew Lau points out, however, what the environmental war party overlooks is the central role played by free markets in driving change, resolving conflict and improving the human condition.
Studies that crumble under the barest scrutiny. Professors less interested in pursuing the truth than pushing an agenda – and whose tortured prose would have flunked any first-year writing class a generation or two back. Journalists who quit their jobs to focus on race-based political activism. But don’t worry, all is good over there. It’s the rest of us who are at fault, for we’re all racists! Josh Dehaas does the grim work of peeling back the veneer of professionalism overlying the cesspool of ideology sloshing around today’s journalism scene in Canada’s largest city.
Few Canadians have any connection to our depleted military, fewer still enlist, and the number who consider joining a special branch of a foreign country’s forces that began as a way to soak up society’s dregs must be vanishingly small. Yet that was the path chosen by Joel Struthers, and his five years spent in the French Foreign Legion don’t seem to have done him any lasting harm. Peter Shawn Taylor shows that the historical aura of the kepi-clad brawlers still exerts a romantic tug on certain modern-day hearts in this fond portrayal of one Canadian’s life in the Legion and his remarkable work since getting out intact.