Canada’s Conservatives drew a bigger share of the popular vote than the Liberals in the last federal election. Today the Liberal government is mired in scandal, more-than-merely-runaway spending and a horrifically underperforming Covid-19 vaccine acquisition program. Yet the government’s popularity remains solidly ahead of the Official Opposition’s. New Conservative leader Erin O’Toole promises a new approach, better policies and a different-looking party, but so far most Canadians don’t understand or don’t like what he’s offering. Gwyn Morgan thinks he knows why, and employs a pointed format to offer an alternative pitch from O’Toole to those millions of orphaned Canadian voters.
When the New York Times admonishes the unmistakeably satirical Babylon Bee for spreading “misinformation”, it’s likely a sign that humour is dying – or being killed off. Similarly when the formerly-fearless Bill Maher laments how it’s no longer safe to tell a joke at a party lest one be overheard by a Woke listener and ruined. And even more so when politicians threaten to ban internet memes that lampoon the elites. The eminently serious David Solway reminds us of the essential contribution of humour and laughter to the well-balanced and healthy life – of individual and culture – and points to the civilizational wreckage were levity stamped out. And before it’s too late, suggests we all head out for some subversive “gynecandrical” dancing.
Surely everyone can agree on the necessities of the democratic process – engaged voters, secret ballots and no dirty tricks. So why are these rules, considered essential to picking governments, frequently ignored when it comes to picking unions across Canada? While most provinces require a mandatory vote to determine if workers wish to join a union, some omit this crucial step. Giving voice to a group of concerned small-business owners and their workers, Peter Shawn Taylor reveals how “card-check” union certification is abusing workplace democracy in Ontario’s vital construction sector.
Positive vs. Negative Liberties
Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees liberty to all, but neglects to explain what the word really means. Is it the freedom to be left alone, as classical scholars understood it? Or the right to demand that government provide you with the ability to fulfil your own needs and wants, as the progressive definition holds? John Sikkema reports on a case that brings these two competing meanings into sharp conflict – a recent lawsuit against the New Brunswick government that makes bold claims about one of the most contentious issues of our time.
Comparing Four States
Randomized control trials may be the gold standard for generating scientific evidence, but such precision isn’t always possible. Natural experiments – such as comparing similarly-situated jurisdictions responding to the same crisis through different policy choices – offer the next best thing and sometimes the only thing. Using two carefully selected pairs of U.S. states, Masha V. Krylova examines key Covid-19 metrics across a year of hard and softer pandemic response policies. The results of her meticulously researched natural experiment provide important evidence on the efficacy of lockdowns and how we should tackle future pandemics.
Politics of Division
More information is generally a good thing, especially when it comes to government statistics. Better data should lead to better decisions and better outcomes. But is this always so? Consider Statistics Canada’s recent dive into race-based labour-market data. Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst at Statcan, and Peter Shawn Taylor observe that reporting on unemployment rates across 12 racial categories will do nothing to reduce inequality or make Canada a fairer place to live. It’s far more likely to stoke claims of systemic racism, further polarize society and distract from the task of economic recovery.
Death of Books?
Books – what are they good for, anyway? They’re bulky, they gather dust, they get frayed, they offer little that can’t be rendered digitally. Yet in the past, wars were fought over the people’s right to read, and spreading literacy became among society’s foremost social goals. Time was when some even risked prison to get their clutches on books they craved. Today, some see signs we’re about to turn our back on all of that. Patrick Keeney considers this civilization-threatening subject in his light-hearted meditation on his own voluminous collection of volumes.
Illiberalism on Campus
The closing of the campus mind is proceeding apace. Today more than two-thirds of right-leaning academics across North America consider themselves caught in a hostile workplace. While several Canadian provincial governments have unveiled policies to officially protect free speech at post-secondary institutions, Ian Brodie believes that the nature of the university governance model and sheer resistance doom this top-down model to failure. A new approach is needed. Otherwise, predicts Brodie, the “progressive” left’s campaign to impose its upside-down definitions of diversity and tolerance will continue to rack up wins.
While much of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s behaviour remains mysterious, one pattern seems clear: the greater the hand of Canada’s Liberal government in the response, the higher the likelihood of a shambles. One can virtually plot the curve! International travel policy is an egregious and worsening example. While “essential” travellers who have collectively logged millions of border-crossings remain exempt from Covid-19 testing, and arriving migrant farm workers head straight to the fields, those travelling for “mere” personal reasons must foot the bill for hotel-prisons and remain quarantined even after two tests. Gwyn Morgan chronicles the mess – and fingers the culprit.
The news business is at its least reliable when reporting on itself. Coverage of a media company’s own financial results, for example, is inevitably glowing and upbeat, whatever the actual figures might say. The same thing holds for concerns over “fake news”. Seizing on recent panic about the spread of misinformation, and thanks to a generous federal grant, Canada’s legacy newspapers have devised their own system for identifying fake news. But as Peter Shawn Taylor discovers, the criteria strangely celebrate their own product at the expense of their many online competitors. And much of it contradicts the basic rules of good journalism.
Who kicks a person when they’re down? Who dresses up their own resentment, spite or ideological fervour as analysis? One doesn’t need to agree with Jordan Peterson’s every idea to regard his recent comeback from the brink of death, destruction and oblivion as welcome, commendable and inspiring. At least worth a shred of empathy. But not from the more doctrinaire of his woke Left critics. As Janice Fiamengo finds, they aren’t just revelling in the popular author’s misfortune but are committing what they normally consider an unforgivable sin: blaming the victim.
Tyranny of lies
“The whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought”, George Orwell wrote in his famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. “In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” Orwell understood that whoever controls language controls political thought. And such an insight is as applicable to Myanmar in 2021 as it was to Oceania in 1984. Using Orwell as his guide, and relying on his extensive personal contacts throughout the country, C2C Journal associate editor Patrick Keeney takes a close look at reality and meaning in the recent coup in Myanmar.
Cancelling A Culture
Any Canadian possessed of a basic curiosity and sensitivity who ventures abroad will notice the tendency of locals to extol their country’s achievements and their culture’s delights, rendered with an enthusiasm and detail that quickly make it plain what the place and its people are all about. So why should Canadians be condemned to inhabit a country that has been engineered not even to have a culture all its own? John Weissenberger, a Montreal native and son of postwar refugees, chronicles the disturbing decisions of an increasingly self-loathing governing elite, how it spurned the legacy of a once-confident millennium-old society and offered millions of newcomers a hollowed-out shell.
The Covid Trap
Pandemic-rattled politicians and health officials would do well to recall the lesson of King Canute. The early 11th century Danish-English king had his throne carried to the seashore and commanded the tides to stop. They didn’t. It was meant as an exercise in humility; Canute was revealing that even absolute monarchs face limitations to their powers. Such self-awareness seems to elude Canada’s present-day rulers. Last spring, Brian Giesbrecht and George Koch write, our leaders simply got lucky when the Covid-19 tides receded. And having drawn exactly the wrong lesson about their powers, they set for themselves a political trap that has ensnared us all.
Job Killing Policies
One might think that with Canada’s formidable array of pandemic restrictions, lockdowns, curfews, shuttered businesses and myriad other prohibited places and activities, the last thing Canadians need is another incentive to stay home and do nothing. And yet demands for paid sick days are now reaching a fevered pitch. Alongside labour and the political left, even some business groups claim to support the idea. As Peter Shawn Taylor finds, however, European-style sick-day benefits are no panacea. In fact, they threaten great harm to Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery.