Free Speech
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.
Conservative Party of Canada
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.
Climate Strikes
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.
Climate Strikes
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.
Race-baiting
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.
Behind the headlines
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.
Climate Change
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.
Alberta Taxes
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.
Just Boomer Things
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.
WEXIT
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.
race-baiting
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.
Death & Taxes
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.
Elitism
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.
Western Alienation
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.
Censorship
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.
Health Care
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.
Wexit
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.
Book Review
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.
Debt
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”.
2019 Federal Election
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.
Book Review
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.
Climate Change
Promising to upend entire sectors of the economy with no costs or other downsides has become so habitual on the political left that it has almost faded to political background noise. But the costs are real – in few areas more so than “alternative”, “green” or “sustainable” energy. The Green Party’s claim to conjure up millions of jobs by driving down emissions is an instalment in this fantasy genre. James Coggins systematically dissects one aspect of the Green program – its plan to plaster millions of Canadian rooftops with solar panels – and finds it wanting.
2019 Federal Election
Jagmeet Singh is soaring in the polls. He seems nice, and millions agree. The man’s depths remain mysterious, however. The federal NDP leader professes devotion to a Sikh doctrine of “oneness” and says he’s driven by the twin imperatives of courage and belonging. Still he declares entire federal parties unfit to be heard in public and half the human race unqualified to speak on certain issues. Using Jagmeet’s autobiography, Love and Courage, as his vehicle, Gaurav Singhmar draws on his deep understanding of Western and Indic thought to perform a layered and nuanced examination of our would-be prime minister.
TruDont’s
Justin Trudeau’s weird propensity to slather his face, his body and even his tongue in brown or black makeup provided ample material for low comedy, high dudgeon and genuine thoughtfulness – a teaching moment, if you will. Instead, the multiple revelations were soon hijacked by fakery: fake anger, fake apologies and fake history. There’s been nary a whisper of humour, save perhaps the wag who dubbed Trudeau Canada’s “Prime Minstrel”. Mainly, there’s been weary resignation and rationalization from Liberal supporters. Peter Shawn Taylor takes a balanced look at an immense and fraught subject – blackface – and explains why Trudeau’s crass campaign to save his neck does damage to culture, history, art and freedom.
Book Review
The Harper Conservatives’ only major scandal was driven by a sole Senator and those who tried to pay back the piffling $90,000 in question. Yet that misstep plagued them for years and contributed to their 2015 defeat. It seems they’re just not like the Liberals. Those guys know how to do scandal. They think big – the Sponsorship Scandal alone totalled $100 million – their habits are well-honed and their expertise is inter-generational. You could say it’s in their political DNA. Chronicling it all could fill a multi-volume history. Fearless muckraker Ezra Levant has made a start with a new book focused on the most recent phase, the Justin Trudeau years. Barry Cooper reviews Levant’s The Libranos.
2019 Federal Election
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.
Agriculture
Gwyn Morgan spent his working life in the oil and natural gas sector, much of it devoted to nurturing and growing what became Encana Corp. – for a time the nation’s number-one natural gas producer – but he never lost his connection to the family farm in rural Alberta. In this deeply personal retrospective, Morgan writes with empathy about the existential challenges faced by today’s farmers, along with a lengthy look back at the hope and heartbreak, the joy and sorrow of a vanishing way of life.
Alberta Energy
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.
Urban Planning
In few areas do our opinions veer as wildly based purely on our point of view as on the topic of traffic. As pedestrians, we cast the stink-eye at any encroaching driver – even while jaywalking blithely towards a “Don’t Walk” light. As residents, we yell “Slow down!” at every second passing motorist. But once behind the wheel, we fume as traffic crawls, gratuitous signage proliferates and every errand or commute lengthens. This inner fragmentation is like a bright green light for municipal politicians and bureaucrats bent on making life miserable for motorists, for we become all-but incapable of resistance. Peter Shawn Taylor illuminates the campaign in cities across Canada to deliberately clog our streets in the name of safety.
Wildfires
When an out-of-control wildfire threatens everything you hold dear and public officials order you to flee because, they claim, there’s nothing anyone can do − what’s your response? Do you meekly submit? Or do you call you neighbours and try to protect what’s yours? And when politicians publicly denounce you, officials callously demand your dental records so they can identify your charred remains afterwards, police threaten to take away your children and then try to starve your whole community into submission – what then? These were the terrible choices faced last summer by the “Southsiders” of François Lake, B.C. Their decisions may surprise, or even shock you. But their determination should awe you, their courage inspire you, and the final outcome make you think twice the next time government officials demand you place your fate in their hands. In this meticulously reported exclusive, Jason Unrau brings you the epic tale of how the François Lake Southsiders had to face down not only 100-foot-high wildfire flames, but also the equally towering arrogance and indifference of the public agencies that should have been protecting and supporting them.

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