Cents and Sensibility
Whatever we might think of marriage and divorce, few of us would claim they are unimportant. The topic has occupied not only the hearts of billions but the minds of great thinkers through the ages. Why, John Milton wrote a whole book on divorce way back in the 1600s. So why have the great thinkers at Canada’s top statistical agency – who spend their days ferreting out the most trivial of trends – closed their minds to the entire subject? Might the numbers point in some politically incorrect directions? Peter Shawn Taylor dives into the subject with gusto and reports on the modern-day benefits of one of humankind’s oldest institutions.
Exploitation, Profit and Pleasure
To suggest something ought to be done about unrestricted online pornography is likely to be thought of as out-of-touch, heavy-handed, hopelessly idealistic or, paradoxically, sexist. Yet the damage wrought upon innocent young lives by ruthless elements in the porn sector is all-too real; the academic and legal evidence about the phenomenon’s global toll is there for anyone who cares to look. While recognizing that simply banning all porn will never happen in today’s cultural and legal environment, Devin Drover lays out a carefully researched and soberly argued case that protecting the innocent against the industry’s vilest excesses lies well within the reach of our politicians.
Art vs. Schmaltz
Care for some “snuggling”? Such appears to be among the deepest thoughts and most memorable expressions of our current generation of poets. The best-known, “instant” kind, anyway. The real kind still exist, poet David Solway notes in this essay, although they’ve been pushed to the cultural margins. And while understanding and appreciating real poetry – a learned and often challenging practise – has fallen into disfavour, it remains vital to our civilization, if there is to be one. That millions of people are buying Instagram poetry, Solway argues, does not change the fact that it is self-indulgent rubbish.
Bureaucratic overreach
Over the past four months Canadians have been taught to heed and obey their public health officials. And we have dutifully complied, often hailing them as celebrities for their efforts. But as the lockdowns are lifted, what might happen to this habit of control? Peter Shawn Taylor charts the evolution of public health from its early origins to the modern, activist version that eagerly promotes soda taxes and demands an end to income inequality. With public health having become a political movement, are its practitioners prepared to give up their newly-acquired powers of command once the crisis ends?
Race and the Individual
While Canada has been spared the violence, looting and anarchy that overwhelmed sincere protests over racial issues in multiple American cities, the question of racial prejudice and the accusation of systemic racism have been pushed to the fore in our country as well. In a sensitive discussion informed by a personal and family history that led to many years of study and introspection, Roland Mascarenhas shares a vision based on his belief in individual agency, one opening an alternative path towards well-being for individuals scarred by racism.
Covid by numbers
Few experiences are as emotionally wrought as seeing a loved one succumb to a deadly infection. Yet setting emotion aside is precisely what must be done in order to rationally evaluate the efficacy of Canada’s response to Covid-19. A rigorous review of our performance to date will be crucial in dealing with future crises, including a possible second wave of the coronavirus. Two weeks ago, Gwyn Morgan made the moral case against damaging economic lockdowns. In a new and original academic analysis, economist Herbert Grubel provides the hard numbers to back up Morgan’s plea for a more rational approach to saving lives.
Paying for the Pandemic
Government deficits are soaring, the economy is reeling and the restart is slow and halting. Nobody knows what lies ahead. How the federal Liberals plan to handle Canada’s tectonic shift in public debt is anybody’s guess. In Part I of this two-part report, Matthew Lau described the challenge our country faces and evaluated two of the most destructive options for dealing with the Covid-debt. In Part II, Lau sets out what would happen if Ottawa decides to engineer a return of high inflation, and then explores more practical options for addressing our enormous post-pandemic indebtedness – including the one method that has worked decisively at the federal and provincial levels.
Paying for the Pandemic
In many ways these are magical times. Governments seemingly exist to protect us from all harm and negative consequences. When a pandemic hits, the existing gusher of public spending becomes an unchecked torrent, interest rates are lowered to effectively zero, yet inflation remains caged. Almost any item large or small can be purchased with instant credit on easy terms. Individuals, organizations and groups in trouble are showered with financial beneficence. But where is the money actually coming from? Who, if anyone, is to pay for it all? Can nothing bad come of the unprecedented profligacy? Matthew Lau reminds us that reality will reassert itself and when the spell is broken at last, potentially ruinous consequences lie in wait. Lau evaluates the options available to debt-burdened governments – most of them bad. Part I of a two-part analysis.
Saving Our Economy
The days are at their longest, everything’s blooming, summer is nigh and Canadians are increasingly going about their regular lives. Spirits are lifting. And serious questions are being asked. Like Plato’s cave-dwellers emerging out of the darkness, we are blinking in the dazzling light of our 5 am northern dawns. What just happened? Do the claimed but unprovable benefits of the pandemic response stack up against the staggering quantifiable damage? Could we have done better? Gwyn Morgan takes a clear-headed look at these questions and prescribes some principles to dig our way out and avoid a needless repeat.
Disease and Elder Care
The infirm and chronically ill seniors who live in long-term care facilities are among Canada’s most vulnerable populations. So too, it seems, are the executives and investors who own and operate many of those nursing homes. The first group is vulnerable to disease and neglect. The second is suffering from aggressive ideological attacks by unions, left-wing academics and politicians who casually accuse them of being greedy “dehumanizing” villains, and are now plotting the expropriation of their entire business. Peter Shawn Taylor seeks to clear the air in this thoroughly reported account of how Canada’s long-term care sector really works.
The Conservative Sensibility
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.
Our Built Environment
Architecture and its cumulative result – our built environment – affects every aspect of our daily lives. Yet most of us rarely talk about it. And despite ultimately paying for it all, the ordinary person has almost no input into the process or the outcome. Some believe the discipline veered horribly off-track in the last century. Informed by over 50 years of professional experience, Vancouver-based architect Oberto Oberti weaves professional insights, aesthetic judgment, philosophy and memory into an impassioned plea for the restoration of timeless aesthetic values and the individual’s needs to the centre of 21st century architecture.
The Individual and Technology
Is it possible the modern world so readily accepted government-decreed physical isolation because most of its inhabitants were already living essentially disconnected lives? For people existing mainly in a virtual world, does it even matter that they can’t go out into the real world? Author, poet and songwriter David Solway observes how, once they do venture back out, many people hardly even look up or recognize others. While accepting the usefulness of the mobile device, Solway ruminates on the increasingly obvious psychological, social and, yes, civilizational effects of this ubiquitous technology.
China and Industrial Policy
What does conservatism do, above all? It works. In the great debate about whether Canada’s federal Conservative Party should be defined by libertarians, populists, free traders, Harperites or Red Tories (new or old-style), it bears keeping in mind that Conservatives above all need to craft a party that, if elected, can make the country work. Sean Speer and Sam Duncan argue that the world has changed beneath our feet, so much that the post-Cold War order itself is fading into history. If Canada is to thrive and grow, our nation must adapt, and if they are to lead the way, Conservatives must eschew dogma and see the world as it really is.
Reviving the Economy
In our ahistorical age, the “lessons of history” rarely rise above the level of casual slogan or self-serving proof. But what if there were two ready-made historical North American case studies showing how sharply different government approaches to an economic crisis can produce two starkly different results? And what if everyone is now focused on the wrong example? Peter Shawn Taylor dives deep into economic history and, with a respected Wall Street investment guru and historian as his guide, unearths a “Forgotten Depression” whose lessons could help us plot the best way out of our Covid-19 depression.
Post-Covid Economy
You don’t see news media reporting that Germany has declared Audi and BMW to be obsolete companies from yesteryear. Nor that Switzerland has come to regard its banking sector and watchmakers as sunset industries. There’s been no announcement that South Korea is shuttering Samsung. Nor that the Greeks are tearing over hill and dale torching their olive and orange groves. Everywhere you look, countries are leaning on their proven economic strengths to power their post-Covid comeback. So why is Canada’s federal government, seemingly alone in the world, intent on euthanizing this nation’s number-one source of export earnings and inter-regional tax transfers – the oil and natural gas sector? Gwyn Morgan moves briskly through the recent madness and declares that this is one instance of ideological folly the country simply can’t afford.
Post-Covid philosophy
Covid-19 poses a grave threat to many things: nursing homes, music festivals and café culture among them. But what of its broader implications? The coronavirus cares nothing for identity, imaginative individual rights or past grievances. It is severely undermining globalist fantasies. And recovering from its ravages seems likely to reward countries that focus on conservative values of pragmatism, frugality, duty, markets and tradition. Patrick Keeney charts the likely fortunes of conservative and liberal convictions once the pandemic recedes.
Pensions and Politics
Everyone can agree public pension funds should be protected from political interference. But such abuse comes in several forms, some stealthier than others. Unaccountable investment managers indulging in the latest fads and activist demands – energy transition, anyone? – pose perhaps the greatest threat of all to retirees’ returns. George Koch argues that, paradoxically, elected office-holders are the public’s best defence against politically-motivated and potentially ruinous pension fund shenanigans.
Covid and Economy
Clear skies in once-smoggy L.A. Wildlife wandering through cities and bedding down in parks. Deserted streets. Idled factories. For the left, the pandemic has created a convenient waypoint on their path to utopia. To the rest of us, it has furnished a nightmarish vision of a potentially destitute future, and a wakeup call to focus on what it might take to revive our economy. For Matthew Lau, the choice is clear. And while news media reports continue to promote fanciful progressive agendas, Lau sees encouraging signs that the imperatives of survival will enable practicality and common sense to prevail.
Progressivism vs. Freedom
The isolation imposed by the lengthy pandemic makes it both tempting and understandable for us to look inward, focused mainly on our own survival concerns and those of our immediate circle. Politics can wait. But the so-called progressive side won’t rest. It has remained busy, taking only weeks to begin redefining issue after issue through the lens of the coronavirus. More government, more regulation and less capitalism are its answers. They always are. But is this our inevitable future? Anthony Furey mounts a clear and powerful alternative case for Canada based on the national interest and equality for all.
Coronavirus Isolation
No postwar generation has endured more delays and interruptions than the Millennials. A lack of permanency − in jobs, housing, education, relationships and everywhere else – is often considered their defining characteristic. So how are the cataclysmic disruptions of the coronavirus affecting Canada’s Millennials? Aaron Nava offers a revealing personal take on the generational costs imposed by social distancing and economic shutdown. And manages to find a welcome message of hope.
COVID-19
Canada has so far ducked the extreme growth in the Covid-19 hospitalization and mortality rates afflicting some other countries. The worst is certainly still to come, however – and when it does, the shortfall in Canada’s health care capacity will be laid bare. The vulnerability was largely avoidable, points out Gwyn Morgan, if Canada like nearly all other countries had only allowed private health care delivery alongside its public system. When the nation comes out the other side of the pandemic, Morgan writes, a health care policy reckoning will be long overdue.
ELITES, ACTIVISTS AND US
Democratic politics must continue even in times of war. Despite suspension of the federal Conservative leadership race amidst the coronavirus, members and supporters still need to think about how to shape their party and pick the right leader to best meet the many challenges of our era. C2C Journal has looked at revived Red Toryism, at uncompromisingly principled conservatism and at the decidedly compromised but successful Harper way. We have sought insight from abroad. And now we turn to populism. Barry Cooper applies his usual fearless thinking and cheerful bluntness to evaluate whether the Canadian political landscape has become hospitable terrain to a Canadian Trump.
REGULATORS VS. MARKETS
Solving Canada’s housing crisis shouldn’t require more than a single lesson in economics. When prices are high, a free market always responds and supplies more. Yet amidst Canada’s severe problems of housing affordability, this foolproof mechanism is continually frustrated by governments that are either ignorant of how markets work, fixated on preserving the status quo or display naked contempt for the profit motive. Peter Shawn Taylor looks at the scorn heaped on land developers, landlords and the rest of the housing supply industry and wonders how they became the villains of this story.
THE INNER CONSERVATIVE
How should the conservative mind respond to the coronavirus pandemic? Panic and despair are in ample supply, and the urge to succumb appears widespread. Others have steered, via deliberate ignorance, to fatalism, though the walls are closing in on such rebels. Both extremes are beneath thoughtful conservatives. C2C Editor-in-Chief George Koch counsels that however dark today might appear, the eternal search for objective truth – the foundation for all conservative thought – is the first necessary step along the path to seeing humankind through to brighter days.
The International Scene
As Canada’s Conservatives evaluate leadership hopefuls and ponder what their party is about and which path might lead to electoral victory, it’s easy to ignore international politics. They should take a look, for the world holds dozens of established centre-right democratic parties, and many are tackling challenges of relevance and adaptation at least as steep as those burdening Canada’s Conservatives. John Weissenberger travelled to Washington, D.C. for the annual conference of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and provides his assessment in this essay. Later this year, once international travel is restored, Weissenberger heads to Vienna to deepen his understanding at the IDU’s 2020 Forum.
Climate and Economy
Pursuing grandiose visions tends to cloud judgment, and when the vision is saving our very planet from an apprehended climate crisis, it’s little surprise that numbers are fudged, logic is twisted, the hardest-hit are ignored and entire social classes are cast into the trash. Matthew Lau, however, refuses to be dazzled by dreams. In this article, Lau remains rooted in reality and fixed on crunching the numbers to come up with some arresting conclusions about the huge costs of government climate policies to working people here and now, set against marginal if not ephemeral benefits to come over the next 80 years.
Judicial Review
When Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin stepped down in 2017, she was regarded as one of the most consequential jurists in Canadian history, largely due to her court’s activist approach to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her career arc was also widely considered a triumph of progressive feminism in the face of an entrenched legal patriarchy. That reputation is due for a re-assessment. Grant A. Brown sifts through the evidence of McLachlin’s autobiography and various post-retirement missteps, and unearths what he feels is a surprising lack of principle, objectivity and sound reasoning.
Diplomacy and Development
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.
Leadership
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.

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