Anybody who has spent any time reading or watching media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict and is in any way objective soon realizes that some notable exceptions, journalists are increasingly one-sided in their reporting. Where will this put media coverage of Israel in 2010?
One inevitable side-effect of the disastrous performance of the U.S. Republicans in recent elections, and the apparent revival of statist economics across the western world, has been a sudden proliferation of books offering theories on the decline of conservatism and prescriptions for its revival. Derbyshire, however, makes a surprisingly energetic and amusing case for why conservatives should be unrelentingly pessimistic.
Social conservatives focus on what is permanent in human nature, emphasize the importance of tradition, trust in a market economy and put the family ahead of the state. Rejecting John Rawls’ notion that a political order can be established that is neutral between diverse moral and religious worldviews, as well as the concept of a specifically Christian law, they also believe that the origin of enacted laws is the natural moral law, a legal philosophy developed by Greek and Roman thinkers long before Christianity appeared on the historical scene. The Harper government has been reasonably supportive of a social conservative vision, as attested by its implementation of the Child Care Allowance Program, the abolition of the Court Challenges Program and its balanced environmental policies. There seems little doubt that the CPC is the national party most capable of addressing other issues of particular concern to conservative-minded people, notably as regards the interpretation of freedom of expression and freedom of consciences, as well as the reinforcement of the traditional family through family taxation.
Strong community acts as a powerful force to keep government in check. Strong communities are made up of strong families, yet families are on the decline in Canada today. No wonder then, that government sits at an unwieldy 42 per cent of GDP. Social conservatives acknowledge the importance of strong families in creating community, which in turn is able to support families and social programs today taken on by our welfare state. Though it may be true that classical liberals of yesteryear (conservatives today) paid little attention to community—this is because they took strong communities for granted. We can no longer afford to do so, as the ongoing decline of strong families will continue to create impetus and motivation for larger and larger government programs.
Michael Coren asks whether Islam is reconcilable with western, pluralistic values. Using examples of the Islamic reaction to the Danish cartoons of Mohammad and how one particular town in England has changed through Muslim immigration, he raises severe doubts about the future of the relationship unless we change out current attitudes. Coren explains that while many Muslims simply want to live as westerners, we have yet to fully understand the radical Islamic imperative which seeks to transform the nature of any society where it settles. It would be simple, but incredibly dangerous, to assume that Islam follows similar patterns to other religions. He argues that this debate is the most important of the age.
The homeless of Canada, as a growing and suffering demographic, warrant our concern. Contrary to public perceptions, approximately half of these individuals are employed, and even more are willing to work. However, since the cost of housing has greatly outpaced wage growth, minimum wage and low paying jobs are no longer sufficient to cover accommodation in many of Canada’s major cities. The homeless are primarily a symptom of a restrained housing supply, particularly the low-cost variety. While numerous government programs and community initiatives have sought to address homelessness, they have proved ineffectual and often counterproductive. The homeless population has continued to expand, along with the relevant waiting lists and government agencies. These initiatives will continue to fail while the underlying cause, the many impediments to and the lack of private housing, is not addressed.
A debate with all four Conservative leadership candidates was thrown into disarray when two of the candidates backed out. Whoever the new leader might be, Monte Solberg argues that a truly conservative vision for social justice is central to achieving both electoral success and the best possible outcomes for the people of Canada.
Medical savings accounts won’t solve all of Medicare’s ills but they make sense in contrast to global health care budgets which are understandably directed to respond to immediate needs as opposed to future needs. But that’s why such accounts are needed. Their non-introduction has been the biggest missed opportunity of the past half-century.