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.
Frontier policy
It wasn’t so long ago that national borders were considered fusty relics of a bygone age. A knowledge economy respects no boundaries, we were told. Europe had erased all its internal borders. The UN was demanding migrants be given the right to go wherever they wanted. To question illegal immigration was xenophobic. Today, borders have returned with a vengeance. And not just between countries – even Canadian provinces are throwing up roadblocks and intercepting travellers. Mathew Preston sorts out the competing sources for this surprising resurgence of gatekeeping around the world, and charts the political implications.
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.
Conservatism in Canada
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.
Tax Dollars
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.
Future of Conservatism
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.
Freedom of Speech
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.
Plea to Politicians
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?
Indigenous Welfare
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.
Book Review
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.
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.

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