Canadian conservatives have most of the summer to ruminate on what they want their federal party to become – as embodied by their soon-to-be elected leader, anyway. Acceptability, likability and winnability will be key criteria. Above all, however, should be crafting and advancing a compelling policy alternative to today’s managerial liberalism, which has been inflated by the pandemic almost beyond recognition. Mark Milke offers a forceful rebuttal against the Conservative “alternative” comprising little more than a massaged form of top-down management.
Canada is a big, diverse country by virtually any measure, from our no-longer-so-sparse population to our epic geography to the ethnic makeup of our people. Diverse in every way, it seems, except in our elites’ aggressively progressive official-think. Consistent with this is the otherwise bizarre decision to have Monday’s federal leaders’ debate hosted by five decidedly similar female journalists. Mark Milke briefly profiles the five and, more important, advances a positive alternative: five distinguished women diverse in background, hometown and, above all, thought.
No sooner had Alberta announced its “fight back” strategy to counter misinformation aimed at the province’s key industry – including a public inquiry into foreign funding of anti-energy groups – than the left counterattacked. Instead of mounting facts and evidence of its own, they accused Alberta’s UCP government of violating the human rights of the progressives’ pantheon of designated victims. These shout-down-discredit-and-destroy tactics are ubiquitous tools of leftists nowadays, but in this instance the target may be tougher than expected. Mark Milke explores the energy war’s competing campaigns for the hearts and souls as much as the minds of Canadians.
Mark Milke had a ringside seat in the Alberta election as the lead architect of the United Conservative Party platform. What he saw was a startling disconnect between media coverage and the issues that mattered most to Albertans. The economic focus of UCP policy earned the party a million votes and a huge majority. Through bias, ignorance, or both, the media often missed the story.
Ronald Reagan never wavered in his conviction that America was a great country that would prevail over enemies of democracy and freedom. His fundamental optimism and determination carried his nation to victory over the Soviet “evil empire” and his personal rags-to-riches experience breathed new life into the venerable American dream of limited government, personal liberty, and individual self-reliance. Sadly, Reagan’s current successor governs on the premise that America is no longer great, and he has no discernible, consistent convictions about anything. Mark Milke laments the loss of U.S. self-confidence, and leadership, in a review of a new book about the “Great Communicator”.
Canada has been singularly successful in offering up its natural resource sector to its enemies. In the 1980s and 90s, foreign-funded eco- and aboriginal activists teamed up with Canadian politicians, public sector unions, and even some corporate sell-outs to bully the B.C. forest industry into submission.
Not that long ago, Bill Clinton was half-jokingly hailed as “the first black president” because he was cool, a liberal and could play the saxophone, a bit. If Clinton tried that today, he’d probably be impeached for “cultural appropriation”. That’s because the phenomenon of progressive identity politics, which is sweeping across western civilization like a plague, is herding people into tribal associations based on skin colour, gender, ethnicity and other biological and cultural characteristics. Humans have gone down this road before, writes Mark Milke, and it always ends badly. We’ll do much better if we get back to celebrating, tolerating, and borrowing ideas from other cultures.
This month the Canadian Taxpayers Federation gave its annual “Tax Fighter” award, which celebrates those who demonstrate “outstanding commitment and dedication to the cause of taxpayer emancipation”, to four long-serving professors from the University of Calgary’s Political Science department: Tom Flanagan, Barry Cooper, Rainer Knopff and Ted Morton. Through their teaching, writing and political activism the foursome – known as the “Calgary School” – had an out-sized influence on Canadian politics and mentored countless students who went on to successful careers in academe, politics and public policy research and advocacy. One of their books was even found in Osama bin Laden’s last hideout. Mark Milke, who received his Ph.D. from the department, delivered a pithy and humorous tribute to the foursome at the CTF event.
Is Donald Trump a conservative? For many professed conservatives, in the US, Canada and elsewhere, the answer is a resounding yes. He’s cutting taxes, deregulating industry, and finally standing up to the tyranny of political correctness. But he’s also a protectionist, a liar, a sexual predator, a bully, and, according to his now-purged Secretary of State, a moron. And he’s running up debt and cozying up to dictators. Economic and social conservatives have crucified Democratic presidents for far less. How can they not see the hypocrisy in giving Trump a pass? Mark Milke tries to remove the scales from their eyes.
The #MeToo movement has so far concentrated on sexual misconduct by men in politics and the entertainment industry. Minor or major celebrities, most of them. The incidence of male sexual misbehaviour within these demographic cohorts, ranging from criminal assault to unwelcome comments, is said to be “rampant”. And it is, as measured by media coverage and social media reaction. But there’s no actual data on that assertion. Data does exist, however, showing that Aboriginal women suffer rates of sexual abuse much higher than non-Native women. Mark Milke wonders why #MeToo has not yet spread to places where the victims may be even more numerous.