Federal overreach
In their rush to strike a virtuous blow against plastic waste, the federal Liberals skipped a few important steps. The 2022 ban on plastic straws, shopping bags and other useful household items deliberately ignored the basic facts of waste disposal in Canada, as well as the economic reality of substituting other materials for cheap and effective plastic. What else got overlooked? Canada’s Constitution. With a court hearing set for later this month to decide on the fate of the ban, Christine Van Geyn takes a close look at the legal arguments involved in Ottawa’s efforts to phase out certain plastic items, and the vast constitutional threat this poses if allowed to stand.
Foreign Aid
When – or perhaps if – Canadians think about “foreign aid”, they probably imagine idealistic aid workers treating patients in a remote health clinic, a technical expert designing a new bridge or perhaps an academic offering advice on operating fair courts of law. But these are all being pushed into the background as ideology takes over the planning and provision of Canada’s foreign assistance programs. Not only have bridges and tractors given way to morning-after pills and wind turbines, but aid programs are being shaped to serve only certain kinds of people. The kinds Liberals like. Anna Farrow charts the radical remaking of foreign assistance in which Canada uses foreign aid to interfere in the domestic politics and local cultures of recipient countries, turning the mild-mannered middle power into a practitioner of coercive diplomacy and cultural imperialism – arguably even neo-colonialism.
Troubled Transition
Perhaps there is a certain twisted logic to the woke left’s attempt to convince schoolchildren that math is racist and that 2 plus 2 might well equal 5. For this may be the only way to get the “math” surrounding the Justin Trudeau government’s push to force Canadians into buying only electric vehicles as of 2035 to work in any way at all. Gwyn Morgan reviews the actual math of key elements of the EV transition scheme – the electric power needs, the subsidized purchases, the tax credits, the vast number of required charging stations, the maintenance of roads – and finds both the costs and the implementation obstacles to be a mixture of steep, dubious and prohibitive. So much so, Morgan concludes, as to cast the entire EV transition in doubt.
Military History
Canada’s military today has submarines that can’t submerge, nearly half-century-old fighter jets that should never be sent into combat, an unending recruitment crisis, a collapsed public image and barely enough combat-capable soldiers to fill an army brigade – in a G7 nation of 40 million people with a nearly $3 trillion economy. Eighty years ago the same country – much poorer and with a population 75 percent smaller – deployed six entire divisions fighting simultaneously in two different combat theatres, more than 500 warplanes and one of the world’s largest navies, and kept them all supplied across an ocean. Historian David J. Bercuson recounts a time when Canada was a country that got stuff done, that earned its seat at the table with the big nations, that knew its purpose, and whose people were able and willing to do whatever it took to win, most especially on the day – June 6, 1944 – when the fate of civilization hung in the balance.
Indigenous-Church Relationship
The Roman Catholic Church is steeped in centuries of mystery and ineffable truths. Its time-honoured rituals and beliefs offer an important sense of comfort and continuity to its 1.4 billion worldwide adherents. Yet a mysterious “Sacred Covenant” signed recently between two Canadian Catholic organizations and the Kamloops First Nation concerning unproven allegations of human remains on the grounds of a former Indian Residential School will bring neither comfort nor continuity. Instead, it points to an existential crisis deep within the Church itself. Hymie Rubenstein takes a close look at what is known about this strange agreement, and what it means for the future of truth and reconciliation in Canada.
Power and the Law
Most Canadians surely believe their society is governed by the rule of law. We all have rights and freedoms, safeguarded by the courts, that protect us from the tyranny of the state. All of that is mirage, argues Bruce Pardy. In this provocative essay, Pardy describes how authority in Canada is now vested in a managerial elite. They supervise our speech, employment, bank accounts and media. Controlling vast sectors of the economy and society, they track, direct, incentivize, censor, punish, redistribute, subsidize, tax, license and inspect. Elected legislatures delegate them authority, and courts let them do as they like – including infringing on Charter rights – to achieve whatever social goals they deem in the public interest. The rule of law has melted away; rule by law now prevails. It is time, Pardy says, for Canadians to correct the naïve constitutional mistake that started us down this road.
National Security
In China, minor security infractions are routinely punished with lengthy jail terms in dreadful conditions. In Canada, it’s just the opposite. Clear evidence of espionage is rewarded with a free pass back home after the mission is complete. Neglecting our national security in this way may suit the Justin Trudeau government, but it is doing great harm to Canada’s relationship with its most important allies. In the concluding instalment of his two-part series, Peter Shawn Taylor examines the many ways in which the spy scandal at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg has damaged Canada’s international standing and contributed to the growing perception that Canada is a foreign agent’s happy place. (Part I is here.)
Provinces and the Constitution
Canada’s western lands, wrote one prominent academic, became provinces “in the Roman sense” – acquired possessions that, once vanquished, were there to be exploited. Laurentian Canada regarded the hinterlands as existing primarily to serve the interests of the heartland. And the current holders of office in Ottawa often behave as if the Constitution’s federal-provincial distribution of powers is at best advisory, if it needs to be acknowledged at all. Reviewing this history, Barry Cooper places Alberta’s widely criticized Sovereignty Act in the context of the Prairie provinces’ long struggle for due constitutional recognition and the political equality of their citizens. Canada is a federation, notes Cooper. Provinces do have rights. Constitutions do mean something. And when they are no longer working, they can be changed.
National Security
In a breathless 1999 article on the opening of Canada’s top-security National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg, the Canadian Medical Association Journal described the facility as “the place where science fiction movies would be shot.” The writer was fascinated by the various containment devices and security measures designed to keep “the bad boys from the world of virology: Ebola, Marburg, Lassa” from escaping. But what if insiders could easily evade all those sci-fi features in order to help Canada’s enemies? In the first of a two-part series, Peter Shawn Taylor looks into the trove of newly-unclassified evidence regarding the role of NML scientists Xiangguo Qiu and Keding Cheng in aiding China’s expanding quest for the study – and potential military use – of those virus bad boys.
Anti-Semitism
It took almost no time after the Hamas attacks of October 7 for the world’s compassion towards the Jewish victims to dissipate. First came the sniping at Israel’s government, then “pro-Palestinian” rallies protesting the Gaza offensive and soon an unmasked anti-Semitism that included praise of the Hamas atrocities. Some of the worst hostility took place during the recent Jewish holy period of Passover, with the eruption of illegal encampments at university campuses across North America. Many Jews are experiencing the shock, pain and fear brought by naked anti-Semitism for the first time in their lives. Lynne Cohen explores the history of this appalling mindset and seeks to explain how, in a modern, pluralistic world with the Holocaust just slipping out of living memory, we are seeing a return of the world’s oldest hatred.
National Security
The January 2021 riot in the U.S. Capitol generated a wave of moral panic in Washington – and, it seems, Ottawa, which a month later designated Proud Boys Canada a terrorist entity, placing them on par with Al-Qaida, ISIS and Boko Haram. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair claimed to have a “trove of evidence” showing a “concerning escalation of violence” by the group. But an exclusive investigation by John Kline, which unearthed its own trove of documents through Access to Information, shows the Trudeau government’s case was based not on hard evidence but ideological prejudice and media reports about a U.S. group whose small Canadian affiliate had nothing to do with the events in question. Kline’s research reveals a government motivated by clinging to power, cozying up to the Biden Administration and elevating “right-wing extremism” into a major national security concern.
Carbon Politics
It is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s contention there’s no “business case” for exporting Canada’s abundant, inexpensively produced natural gas as LNG. But Canadians might do well to politely decline management consulting advice from a former substitute drama teacher who was born into wealth and has never had to meet a payroll, balance a budget or make a sale. Bluntly stated, someone who has shown no evidence of being able to run the proverbial lemonade stand. And one whose real agenda, the evidence shows, is to strangle the nation’s most productive and wealth-generating industry. With the first LNG ship finally expected to dock at Kitimat, B.C. over the next year and load Canada’s first-ever LNG export cargo, Gwyn Morgan lays out the business and environmental cases for ramping up our LNG exports – and having them count towards Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Post-Truth Culture
One of the worst aspects of totalitarian societies is the pressure exerted on individuals to betray and ultimately denounce friends, relatives, even their own parents or spouse. This odious practice is now being demanded by some Canadian Indigenous leaders and local activists in a northern B.C. town – under the guise of “reconciliation”. The crime? A prominent local woman purchased an unapproved book and dared to suggest that a few acquaintances read it. Now her husband – the local mayor, who had nothing to do with it – is being pressured not only to resign his office but to denounce his own wife for her thought-crime. That is some reconciliation. Tom Flanagan reports on the insanity gripping Quesnel, B.C.
The New Racism
A second “D” has been added to DEI. But where diversity, equity and inclusion use complaints of oppression and racism to seek power within existing social structures, decolonization seeks to tear down those very structures. It’s the most violent and dangerous threat yet to emerge from the left’s war on Western civilization. It’s showing up where you might expect – in Canada’s Indigenous politics and in the anti-Israel protests following Hamas’s atrocities – and in some places you might not, like grade 9 math classes where students are taught that 2+2=4 is just another subjective Eurocentric construct. Brock Eldon digs into decolonization’s European origin story and explains how it became such a pervasive and dangerous phenomenon in Canada.
Tax Policy
Equity has lately become the quintessential goal of all government policies. Every Canadian, regardless of position, place or identity, must be seen to be treated fairly by their public institutions. But how can a tax system – surely the most central of all government activities – be considered fair if it requires some families to pay thousands more in taxes than other families with exactly the same income? With Ottawa eagerly adding to the bloat of its ludicrously-complex and costly Income Tax Act, it’s time to confront the glaring inequity at the heart of Canada’s tax system. Peter Shawn Taylor looks back to the last time someone offered a solution to this problem – and finds we need this wisdom now more than ever.
Online Regulation
Folk wisdom holds that bad things come in threes. Now we have conclusive proof. The federal Liberals’ trio of ham-fisted bills aimed at bringing the internet to heel – the Online Streaming Act, Online News Act and Online Harms Act – are obvious and spectacular failures that are doing or will do great damage to Canadians. Peter Menzies takes a close look at the flaws of this calamitous trio, paying special attention to the threat posed to free expression in Canada by the recently unveiled Online Harms Act. For an administration that prides itself on its modernity, how has the Justin Trudeau government gone so wrong nearly three decades into the digital era?
Geopolitics
With America in decline at home and its influence waning abroad, the question of which nation might be the next global superpower has gained urgency. While the world arguably needs a dominant power to protect global order and prevent regional conflicts from spiralling, this can’t just be any country with sufficient arms and ambition. America’s replacement should be a moral superpower, one that safeguards freedom and enables prosperity for every nation, as the U.S. has done for the last 80 years. In the first installment of this two-part series, Lynne Cohen proposed that India could fulfill that role. She put forth 10 characteristics that together make a moral superpower, and dug into the first five, examining India’s economic and demographic strengths. In this second part, Cohen focusses on politics and power, assessing India’s performance on the final five criteria, starting with perhaps the most important – military might.
Geopolitics
It’s more than just dispiriting to behold the Canadian military’s disintegration and the current government’s deliberate neglect of our national defence. It raises the question of who might protect Canada in the future, given we can’t protect ourselves. For decades, the answer was simple: the United States. But with America in turmoil and decline, we can’t take that for granted anymore. Who could step up to become the next global hegemon? Lynne Cohen puts forth a provocative and bold answer: it might just be India. Cohen offers 10 criteria by which to measure the potential for a rising power to be not just expansionist, acquisitive or exploitative, but to become a moral superpower, one dedicated to safeguarding freedom and building prosperity for all. In Part One of this special two-part series, Cohen examines and rates how India has progressed in the first five criteria.
Race and Inequality
Diversity may be our strength. But it is now alarmingly commonplace in Canada to blame any perceived diversity in outcomes between racial groups on vaguely-defined “systemic racism” or “white supremacy”. Case in point: the Federal Housing Advocate’s allegations of rampant racism in Canada’s housing market, and the need to address it with outlandishly disruptive policies. Delving deep into Statistics Canada’s ample supply of race-based data, Peter Shawn Taylor considers the evidence for racism in Canadian housing, education, income and poverty statistics, and finds a more convincing explanation much closer to home.
Media and Youth
Social media is widely blamed for poisoning the public conversation on a range of topics – especially politics and contentious social questions. But there’s a possibly even more dangerous force growing on the internet: an online community of YouTubers and livestreamers spouting far-left dogma, praising political violence and denigrating their opponents as evil, far-right fascists. Using fallacious arguments, psychological manipulation and overheated rhetoric, they seek to radicalize young people and convert them to their cause. Millions are tuning in, and mainstream “progressive” politicians are jumping on their bandwagons. Noah Jarvis profiles three of these socialist crusaders and explains why they are such a threat.
Criminal Justice
Shaping criminal charges, bail decisions or prison sentences around an accused person’s political or religious beliefs is utterly odious – a hallmark of tinpot tyrannies and totalitarian hellholes. Such practices have no place in any constitutional nation, let alone a mature democracy that presents itself as a model to the world. But that is increasingly the situation in Canada, writes Gwyn Morgan. Comparing the treatment of protesters accused of minor infractions to those of incorrigible criminals who maim and kill, Morgan finds a yawning mismatch that suggests political motivations are increasingly a factor in today’s criminal justice system.
Cultural Trends
If a given minority is believed to have almost no presence in a particular industry or sector, that might suggest some bias at work. Certainly worth looking into, and potentially trying to rectify. But what if widespread misunderstanding of the essential numbers is distorting public perceptions? And what if the leaders and financiers of said industry – in this case, Canadian literature – are deeply invested in advancing a false narrative? Deciding to find out what is really going on in the world of Canadian books, Winnipeg-based novelist Bob Armstrong painstakingly charted the personal demographics of hundreds of Canadian writers and matched those data against their performance in a range of Canadian literary awards, promotional programs and festivals. His findings did not exactly advance a narrative of oppression.
Indigenous Reconciliation
An avalanche of propaganda today urges Canadians to believe their country perpetrated a genocide against Indigenous people with its residential school system. Some proponents even want to criminalize statements disagreeing with such claims. But doing so will make the search for truth impossible. Digging deep into federal archives, Greg Piasetzki uncovers the complicated and perhaps surprising history of the now-reviled schools. Piasetzki’s careful research reveals not only the deep regard many federal officials had for the wellbeing of Canada’s native children, but also how they actively sought to shut down the entire system as early as the 1940s.
Judaism and Anti-Semitism
Among history’s multiplicity of ethnicities, thousands over the millennia succeeded in carving out their own countries – while thousands more never did. Some conquered, subjugated or even annihilated their neighbours, while others managed to muddle through, and still others fell victim to their tormentors. But no people, notes David Solway, has been universally and eternally persecuted – in every century of its existence, and in every place where its members ventured. None except the Jews – with the only reprieves occurring during the brief times when the Jewish people had a place to call their own. In his review of Solway’s new book, Crossing the Jordan, Tom Flanagan encounters some magical turns of phrase, a stoutly argued case for the indispensable role of Israel, pugnacious assertions about expanding Islam and, above all, a rare prescience about the gathering global threat against the Jewish people.
Future of Science
Time was when nearly everyone – even schoolkids – understood and accepted that geologic time was measured in tens if not hundreds of millions of years, a barely-fathomable vastness that animated our awe over the Age of Dinosaurs or the mysterious arrival of intelligent, upright apes. So how to explain the small but determined scientific movement intent on winning acceptance that geology can now be measured in a comparative blink of an eye, and that humanity has entered a new geological epoch defined by…itself? Applying his professional geologist’s scientific rigour and his amateur cultural historian’s perspective, John Weissenberger urges scientists to maintain a measure of humility, to recall the bitter lessons of past pseudo-scientific fiascos, and to be wary of the pitfalls of activist science pursuing political ends.
Electoral Systems
To hear proponents tell it, proportional representation is the cure for all that ails Canadian democracy. It’s fairer, less divisive, more diverse, makes voters happier and is less prone to “strategic” voting. About the only thing it apparently can’t do is make childbirth painless. But could replacing our traditional first-past-the-post voting system really improve how Canada is governed – and how Canadians feel about their government? In his grand-prize-winning entry to the 1st Annual Patricia Trottier and Gwyn Morgan Student Essay Contest, Nolan Albert weighs the arguments for and against replacing first-past-the-post with proportional representation, and in doing so uncovers the real cause of voter dissatisfaction.
Public Finances
Ottawa’s post-pandemic $300 billion spending orgy was coupled with the pompous claim to “Build Back Better”. As it happened, most of that spending was recklessly borrowed – stoking inflation – while Build Back Better was a dud, was discarded in embarrassment and, if recalled at all today, is told as a sick joke. Far too many planned projects now sink into a quicksand of political haggling, regulatory overkill, mission creep, design complexity and, if built at all, bungled execution. Looking at specific examples, Gwyn Morgan presents the lamentable results: far less is actually getting built across Canada, nearly everything takes forever and – worst of all – costs routinely soar to ludicrous levels. Added to that, Morgan notes, are woke-based criteria being imposed by the Trudeau government that are worsening the vicious cycle.
Markets or Monopolies?
That Canada’s health care system is ailing is no longer news. That it is not only victim but perpetrator – killing patients through indifference and neglect – is also increasingly understood. But is Canada’s publicly funded and operated monopoly health care system an economy of sorts, a set of relationships that can be understood in economic terms, and one that might lend itself to reform by applying economic principles? In the second of three prize-winning entries from the 1st Annual Patricia Trottier and Gwyn Morgan Student Essay Contest to be published by C2C Journal, Alicia Kardos answers a resounding “Yes”. Drawing on key ideas and principles of the genius from Kirkcaldy, Scotland, Kardos envisions an overhauled health care system in which incentives are rational, self-interest is rewarded and the consumer – the patient – is king.
Politicized Culture
The shocking eruptions of Jew-hatred following the Hamas atrocity against Israel in October swept through streets, squares and universities, threatening individuals, businesses and communities in dozens of countries including Canada. That the evil phenomenon might soon fall upon the cultural scene seemed inevitable. The responses of cultural organizations weren’t inevitable, however, but a series of choices. And so with a pair of West Coast theatres recently facing the choice of proceeding with a long-scheduled, highly acclaimed play in which Jews are not portrayed as villains, or submitting to the bullying of pro-Hamas activists and a tendentious Palestinian graffiti artist. Examining the situation, Michael Posner finds one work dedicated to uncovering universal truths and shared humanity, the other employing untruth to advance a particularist political agenda.
Future of Media
Yes, social media companies have succeeded in grabbing the vast bulk of advertising dollars that once supported Canada’s legacy news industry. But is offering a better product to eager consumers really “stealing”, as media companies and politicians now allege? And should new media titans Meta/Facebook and Google be forced to compensate their old-school competitors for failing to adapt to changing realities? In the first of three prize-winning entries from the 1st Annual Patricia Trottier and Gwyn Morgan Student Essay Contest to be published by C2C Journal, Clayton DeMaine examines the Justin Trudeau government’s much-fought-over Online News Act, its devastating impact on Canada’s news business and how the imbroglio is affecting his own dreams of becoming a journalist.

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