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.
If climate catastrophe doesn’t get us in the long run, it seems our own prime minister is fixin’ to do so right now. Gone are even lip service to jobs and development; now it’s all about getting Canada to “net-zero emissions” at literally any cost. Thousands of jobs going up in smoke is just a typical day’s work. Grant A. Brown sifts through the 17 “top priorities” in Justin Trudeau’s grandiloquent “mandate letter” to his new environment minister and unearths the utopian scheme shrouded under the unfocused haze. Brown also shows that the “gender-based” employment impacts our woke prime minister is so eager for are already happening – and the results ain’t pretty.
It’s not as if the Jason Kenney government’s taxation and spending decisions will escape scrutiny. The NDP, public-sector unions, left-wing activists and much of the news media have plenty to say. So what is added by an officious federal appointee from Quebec sniping that the Government of Alberta’s chosen fiscal direction is – wait for it – “unsustainable”. Matthew Lau takes on this tired cliché, applies a combination of mainstream economics, the historical record and common sense and finds that the Liberal-appointed Parliamentary Budget Officer has it nearly all wrong.
The view that social media are a wasteland of trivia and irrationality that’s making everyone dumber has become so common as to form an example of the very genre it condemns. In truth, decidedly non-trivial things are being communicated, just not in ways that older generations – or not-yet-clued-in members of current ones – quite understand. The current meme-war over the political and economic legacy of the Baby Boomers, for example, may well define how this generation is remembered as it fades into dotage and beyond. Millennial Aaron Nava shoulders the almost superhuman burden of working with a boomer editor to illustrate one skirmish in the eternal inter-generational tug-of-war.
There has been no shortage of advocates, naysayers, analysts and putative leaders circling the great question of Alberta and Saskatchewan’s future place inside or perhaps outside Canada. As in any functioning democracy, however, the outcome will be driven by the great mass of people in the middle. What they think and how they feel matters most. In this thorough piece of original reporting, Doug Firby gives voice to overlooked Albertans who are considering the issue deeply. While their opinions vary widely, they are united in their determination that their beloved province get it right this time.
Amidst the divisions cleaving Western society in the 1960s and 1970s, one thing seemingly everyone came to agree upon was the importance of equality before the law. But almost as soon as this hard-fought concept was universally accepted, it came under direct assault – often by its former champions. Today officially-sanctioned discrimination in the name of equality of outcomes is commonplace – and getting worse. Peter Shawn Taylor reports on the newest “Canadian value”: a Crown corporation charging different prices for different races.
Time was that riding public transit was a tad déclassé, reserved for kids, little old ladies and people who hadn’t quite arrived, or never would. Songs like The Guess Who’s “Bus Rider” depicted its dreariness and repetitiveness. Nowadays, hopping the LRT or subway is cool, a virtuous act signalling environmental wokeness and “moving on” from the automobile. The riding experience, naturellement, needs to meet the steep expectations of current gens. And that doesn’t come cheap. James R. Coggins outlines the political game played by federal and municipal politicians that’s seeing tens of billions of dollars being shovelled into city coffers for lavish urban transit schemes, while country dwellers pay part of the freight and receive little but neglect and carbon taxes in return.
The causes and state of relations between Western and Central Canada are usually viewed through a political, economic, fiscal, geographic or at times demographic lens. Less common is looking at who rules, why, what they have done and what they are like. That would be the “Laurentian Elite”. Despite its profound role in shaping Canada, discussing it still seems mainly to interest political junkies. As a proud and concerned Westerner who grew up and was educated amidst the Laurentian Elite only to escape its clutches, John Weissenberger rips away the veil and deconstructs what he regards as this decaying class.
What’s old is new again, and that extends well beyond aviator shades and flat-billed caps into the political realm. New again and, sometimes, even more urgent than the first time. The federal votes had barely been counted last month before calls erupted to dust off the Alberta Agenda, aka, the “Firewall Letter” of 2001. Some see its measures as forming Alberta’s first big step towards independence; others hope the same policies would help douse separatist flames. Just as quickly, opponents confidently pronounced all of the Agenda’s items unworkable. Tom Flanagan, co-author of the original Alberta Agenda, reviews its five policy recommendations and evaluates their merits in the light of current circumstances.
Things happen quickly on social media. And urged on by radical fringe groups, censorship of unpopular ideas is rapidly becoming standard practice across the entire industry. With a parliamentary committee recently recommending dramatic new rules for controlling online speech, the Trudeau Liberals’ re-election brings politically-motivated restrictions on social media discourse that much closer to reality. By focusing on how one individual experienced the arbitrariness of corporate censorship, Josh Dehaas raises an alarm over the impending calamity of the government-imposed variety. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Canadian health care can be world-class – if you can actually get some. If not, you might just die waiting. Other countries innovate, experiment and embrace change to improve their systems. Canada, not so much. Here, inertia, status quo protection and self-satisfaction reign. And don’t ever raise your voice in the waiting room or you’re liable to get kicked out for “abusing” the staff. Veteran journalist Doug Firby conducted a diagnosis of what ails our system – interviewing patients, talking to experts and reading key reports – and, in this exclusively reported feature, presents his prognosis.
Another federal election, another devastating outcome for the West. This time around, however, Western Canadians aren’t feeling much like putting up with being shut out. ‘Wexit’ is one response to the perpetual hammer-lock central Canada has on Ottawa. Here’s another – the re-tooling of the federal Conservatives into an exclusively western-based party that fights for regional interests as aggressively and single-mindedly as the Bloc Québécois does for Quebec. University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper takes a close look at how a Bloc West party could come about, and the obstacles it would face.
Conservatives, centrists – heck, just about anyone not on the far “progressive” end of the spectrum – probably think too many people are claiming victim status. Many of us do seem nauseated by the never-ending official apologies and constant picking on the country. Yet self-professions of victimhood by ever-more atomized groups and dubious claimants seemingly march ever-onward. What to actually do about it? How to even confront it? Veteran journalist Paul Stanway peers into a new book and discovers what might be an answer.
History, as they say, repeats – first as tragedy, then farce. Justin Trudeau’s insistence on replicating just about every wrong-headed policy of his father’s, and then some, seems to roll both into one. It’s farcical as spectacle, but tragic for the victims – us. After just four years with junior at the wheel, Canada’s formerly robust public finances, a bequest of Conservative predecessor Stephen Harper and ironically of an earlier Liberal, are already circling the drain. Gwyn Morgan tracks the sad descent of Canada’s financial position and the burden to be borne by “Generation Screwed”.
Whenever an electoral challenger crashes and burns, it’s standard for party to dump leader and start afresh. But the federal Conservatives’ ambiguous results last week make deciding the fate of leader Andrew Scheer anything but a no-brainer. The party added 26 seats and won the popular vote. But it lost ground in Quebec and, above all, Ontario, falling far short of general expectations and the widely expected outcome just 10 days before the October 21 vote. For Grant A. Brown, the verdict is in: Scheer is a congenitally flawed politician and won’t improve with time.
A book’s significance doesn’t always lie in its literary quality. Poor writing, storytelling and plot might be fatal for a novelist, but politicians can often get away with all this and more. Their work’s importance lies in the insight provided into the mind of the person who presumes to rule, or participate in ruling, a country. Brian Giesbrecht finds it is just so with Jody Wilson-Raybould’s From Where I Stand. The public’s heroine in the SNC-Lavalin affair just won re-election as an Independent MP and, for good or ill, is likely to influence Canadian public policy for many years to come.