There was a time in “the true North strong and free” you could follow your dreams as long as you didn’t hurt other people. Then came “social licence” and suddenly, from energy pipelines to the B.C. grizzly bear hunt, things got banned for being unpopular, a.k.a. “socially unacceptable”. That ominous change sets Canada on the well-worn path to the tyranny of the majority, writes John Robson.
Author: John Robson
Historical cleansing in the name of ethnocentric injustice is all the rage in Canada today. We’re arresting, trying and punishing historical figures for crimes against modern interpretations of their words and actions. First among the fallen icons is the country’s founding prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, recently banished from a pedestal outside Victoria City Hall to a dingy civic warehouse where he awaits final sentencing. But John Robson has a message for those who deposed the Old Chieftain; you are not worthy to stand in the shadow of his statue.
His father made a great show of evicting the state from the bedrooms of the nation, but current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apparently has compunctions about using government to compel public morality. Exhibit A was last year’s new rule for obtaining funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program. If you wanted to hire a college student to mind children at a summer camp, you had to sign a declaration of acquiescence to the government’s moral convictions on reproductive and gender rights. John Robson argued that if the State is going to legislate morality, it should only do so on the basis of something more substantial than the secular commandments of progressivism.
Long-time Canadian journalist and faith activist Peter Stockland recently argued in C2C Journal that legalizing cannabis is a great leap down the road to perdition. Although his friend and fellow C2C contributor John Robson has similarly low expectations about the fate of modern culture, he doesn’t think civilization will end in a puff of cannabis smoke. In fact, writes Robson, for most people there is little harm and a lot of pleasure in a glass of good whisky and a toke of gourmet grass.
Even as the thud that announces the arrival of the morning newspaper on his doorstep grows ever fainter, John Robson’s coffee cup is more than half full. Good riddance to the boring liberal pablum that has dominated Canadian print media for over a century, he writes. The Internet, for all its faults, heralds the imminent return of healthy journalistic anarchy, with salutary implications for democracy, as editorial creators and distributors re-learn that content is king and advertising is secondary to commercial success.
An idea that was born as an article in the Fall 2014 edition of C2C Journal has been made into a video documentary by its author, John Robson. True, Strong and Free: Fixing Canada’s Constitution explains how the solid constitutional framework we inherited from Great Britain was undone by the “botched” amendments of 1982. In defiance of the current political and media consensus that it’s too difficult and dangerous to reopen the constitution, Robson makes a compelling argument that it can and must be reopened to repair the damage to our parliamentary democracy.
“Look in the mirror,” former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice told voters just before they gave his government a mighty heave ho. Albertans had plenty of reasons to be mad at Prentice, but the mirror comment was the last straw. How dare he blame us for Alberta’s problems? But if not us, then who? Millions of Americans will elect either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump president of the United States this fall. Both are manifestly unfit for the job and four years hence voters will be madder than ever. This vicious circle won’t be broken, writes John Robson, until voters own up to their role in it.
Senator Mike Duffy may go to jail and he may bring down the Conservative government. He may eventually be judged the single most important cause of the abolition of the Canadian Senate. His name may join “carpetbaggery” and “featherbedding” as a new synonym for gross opportunism and petty corruption. But even if none of that happens, his place in Canadian history is assured, because C2C contributor John Robson has written an epic doggerel poem in the great comedic literary tradition of Robert Service that elevates Mike Duffy to the status of Dan Magrew and Sam McGee. Maybe even higher, because the only thing fictional about Mike is where he lives.
A Constitution ought to be inspiring and functional. Canada’s is neither. Instead of a clear set of governing principles, it’s a mass of contradictions. Instead of a framework for democratic evolution, it marginalizes legislators. The 1982 Framers vandalized the work of the 1867 Founders, put the country in a Constitutional straightjacket, and left our fate to the Courts. However risky and difficult another attempt at reform might be, John Robson says it’s time to take the plunge.
Ottawa Sun columnist and broadcaster John Robson has a few educational tips for the federal Tories. He starts with this advice: watch for policy sloth brought on by five years of minority government…