The C2C Ideas Archive

Let Them Smoke Dope

A Canadian Press poll of the national media ranked the legalization of cannabis as Canada’s top business story of 2018. Pipeline paralysis and the crisis in the energy sector ranked a distant third. Hello? The birth of a $6 billion-per-year industry is more important than the death of one generating $117 billion annually? This is the worst misread of an economy since Marie Antoinette and, as Gwyn Morgan writes, it portends more bad news for Canada in 2019.

Stephen Harper’s Other Book: The Politics of Hockey

Stephen Harper’s new book about the populist uprising against globalization provides pithy insights into contemporary politics. But his lesser-known 2013 work about the early days of professional hockey reveals more about the author and his place in politics. Just as the Central Canadian elites once conspired to keep working-class players out of hockey, so they tried to keep Harper out of power, and failed on both counts. James Coggins detects a hint of gleeful revenge in the hockey-as-social-history writing of Canada’s 22nd prime minister.

Mob Rule on Pipelines and Grizzly Hunting

There was a time in “the true North strong and free” you could follow your dreams as long as you didn’t hurt other people. Then came “social licence” and suddenly, from energy pipelines to the B.C. grizzly bear hunt, things got banned for being unpopular, a.k.a. “socially unacceptable”. That ominous change sets Canada on the well-worn path to the tyranny of the majority, writes John Robson.

Power and Politics and Pedagogy

Max Bernier was reproached and ridiculed on CBC’s Power and Politics program because a candidate running in the Burnaby byelection for his “fringe” People’s Party of Canada opposes teaching the novel concept of “gender fluidity” to schoolchildren. The host and her kangaroo court of mainstream party partisans found the candidate guilty of “homophobia and discrimination”, and fingered Bernier as an accessory to the thought crime because he refused to condemn it. But honestly, writes Grant Brown, nothing could be more fringe than believing that human gender and sexual orientation are as changeable as the weather.

A Plea to End Canadian Apartheid

Only a small number of Canadian authors and thinkers publicly question the racial segregation underpinning Aboriginal law and policy. The latest to do so is northern Ontario lawyer Peter Best, in a passionate and wide-ranging book entitled There Is No Difference. In an age when the human equality lessons of Mandela, King, Lincoln and Gandhi have been turned upside-down by identity politics, Best warns that Canadian apartheid is plunging the country ever-deeper into racial division and economic paralysis. Despite its flaws, writes Brian Giesbrecht, Best has produced an important and hopeful work.

The Fake World Wildlife Wipeout

The CBC story on the World Wildlife Fund’s 2018 Living Planet Report read like a casualty count after a global thermonuclear war. “60 percent of the world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970,” shrilled the CBC. Mathew Preston went looking for the corpses and instead discovered selective, exaggerated and misleading propaganda about the health of flora and fauna. Habitat destruction and species decline are serious problems in many parts of the world, but it’s far from the Armageddon painted by the WWF and CBC, and in developed, democratic, free-market countries like Canada, most species are doing just fine.

America’s Fall from ‘Morning Again’ to ‘Great Again’

Ronald Reagan never wavered in his conviction that America was a great country that would prevail over enemies of democracy and freedom. His fundamental optimism and determination carried his nation to victory over the Soviet “evil empire” and his personal rags-to-riches experience breathed new life into the venerable American dream of limited government, personal liberty, and individual self-reliance. Sadly, Reagan’s current successor governs on the premise that America is no longer great, and he has no discernible, consistent convictions about anything. Mark Milke laments the loss of U.S. self-confidence, and leadership, in a review of a new book about the “Great Communicator”.

The Teepee of Babel

Ottawa’s promise to rescue many dozens of dying Indigenous languages and effectively give them equivalent status with English and French has billion-dollar boondoggle written all over it. Peter Shawn Taylor makes a powerful case for letting lost tongues die a natural death.

Which One Doesn’t Belong? Lougheed, Klein, Notley, Kenney

One of the sillier narratives competing for traction in the Alberta election is that Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney are modern incarnations of, respectively, Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein. This ignores the fact that Alberta boomed under Lougheed and has been a bust under Notley, and that Kenney is a philosophical conservative while Klein was flexible populist. Paul Stanway sorted much of this out in his review of Mark Milke’s timely book Ralph vs Rachel.

Dialing up a New Cold War

Huawei makes great smartphones with the potential to be weapons of cyberwar between China and the West. That may partly explain why Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for possible extradition to the U.S. As Mathew Preston reports, we’re being forced to take sides.

An Act to Prevent New Pipelines in Canada

The current Canadian government claims the assessment process for deciding the fate of major natural resource projects including pipelines will be much improved if Bill C-69 becomes law. Andrew Roman has studied the proposed legislation in depth and arrived at the opposite conclusion. Considering all the new opportunities the law creates for litigation by environmental advocacy and Aboriginal opponents – including a special new right of First Nations to present evidence in secret – Ottawa’s claim brings to mind the words of the old Scottish proverb: if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

How to Take Back the Charter

Canadian conservatives blame the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms every time the courts render a Charter decision they don’t like, which is most of them. But the Charter’s not the main problem, writes Ben Woodfinden, and even if it were, it’s almost impossible to change. If you want to stop activist judges from using the Charter to enact progressive policy, the solution is to develop an “originalist” legal movement in Canada that will eventually produce judges who bring diversity of thought to constitutional cases, interpreting the Charter with restraint and respect for the supremacy of Parliament – just as its Framers intended.

Canada’s Mexican Migrant Problem

The number of Mexican visitors to Canada claiming asylum from rising criminal violence in their home country is way up since the Trudeau government dropped the visa requirement in 2016. That move may have helped Canada-Mexico relations but it puts domestic security at grave risk because it makes it easier for Mexico’s powerful drug cartels to expand their operations in Canada. As criminal violence spirals out of control in Mexico and the evidence of it spilling into Canada mounts, Greg Purdy contends a review of the visa-free policy is urgently needed.

Lament for a National Champion

Gwyn Morgan retired as CEO of Encana Corp. in 2006 after building it into Canada’s largest energy company and the largest of all Canadian companies by stock market value. It was the defacto flagship of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s vision of Canada as an “global energy superpower”. Now, a dozen years later, that dream lies in the ruins of current national energy policy, and Morgan’s successors have effectively moved Encana to the U.S. to escape Canada’s self-destructive business climate.

Good News From C2C Journal

C2C Journal is pleased to announce that thanks to the loyal and generous support of our readers, contributors and donors, the Journal is immediately increasing volume and frequency of original stories and essays, expanding staff, unveiling a redesigned website, and launching a sustained social media marketing push on multi-media platforms. Editor Paul Bunner has the details.

We Have Met the Carbon Enemy and He is Us

Steve Larke and Adam Le Dain hold up the mirror to our digital culture and reveal the breathtaking hypocrisy of everyone who condemns carbon energy while using all the technologies that increase hydrocarbon demand. If they really want to save the planet, they would give up their smart phones, forsake air travel, and stop buying cool stuff on Amazon that has to be delivered from all over the world – or acknowledge they won’t do any of that and instead support responsible energy resource development in Canada.

You Call This ‘Healing’?

Canadians got a glimpse inside the country’s racially segregated justice system this fall when they learned that one of the perpetrators of a hideous child rape-murder had been quietly transferred from a prison to an Aboriginal “healing lodge”. The public outcry forced Ottawa to put Terri-Lynne McClintic back behind bars, but raised all kinds of questions about Canada’s efforts to reduce the “overrepresentation” of Aboriginal Canadians in jail. The obvious big one is, are they working. And the answer, reports Josh Dehaas, is no.

The Trump Awakening

The dream of globalization keeps getting interrupted by the reality of stubborn human cultural differences. It occurred again recently when a naïve American tourist defied warnings against visiting an island in the Indian Ocean inhabited by a primitive tribe, and was killed by their arrows. It also occurred when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Canadians are conditioned to see such things as unfortunate bumps on the inevitable road to global homogeneity. Our American cousins are not so sanguine; that’s why they elected Trump. Maybe we can learn something from them about life in the real world, writes Lloyd W. Robertson.

Put down that legal joint and put your hands up

Canadian stoners are already longing for the good old days of criminalized cannabis where it was easy to get excellent weed at a fair price with decent customer service and low risk of getting busted. Now that it’s ‘legal’ they’re confused and fearful about where they can smoke, what they can grow, how much they can carry, and how long they must wait after toking before they can drive or go to work. And that’s only if they can find any. Legalization is working for some, though: the former cops and politicians who used to prosecute potheads and are now dealing the stuff. Karen Selick reports.

If you liked Duffy and Gomeshi, you’re gonna love this

Oh man, what a movie this is going to be. It’s got money, power, and political intrigue. The central characters include a top-rank naval commander facing de facto treason charges and a criminal defence lawyer who’s so good she even got Jian Gomeshi off. They’re up against some big dogs in the Liberal cabinet, including PMJT himself, over a scandal about procuring…a ship. And the climax is set to occur in the middle of next year’s election campaign! Paul Stanway reports.

The Sorriest Prime Minister Canada’s Ever Had

A Google search of “Justin Trudeau apology” produces over 600,000 hits. Since we published James Coggins’ story “Who Are Government Apologies Really For?” last fall, the prime minister has issued two more apologies for things other governments did; to the Inuit for Ottawa’s handling of tuberculosis in the mid-20th century; and to Indigenous alumni of residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. That raises his total to six, the most ever by a PM.

How lower taxes could lower emissions

Canada’s federal government insists the only way to reduce carbon emissions is by putting a price on them. But it will take a helluva price to coerce Canadians to reduce their driving enough to make a dent in transportation emissions, which are a huge contributor. That’s why the provinces are revolting against Ottawa and the 2019 federal election is shaping up as a referendum on carbon taxation. Gwyn Morgan has a radically better idea that would massively reduce emissions without punishing consumers: incent Canadians to convert their vehicles from gasoline and diesel to far cleaner-burning natural gas by making NGV fuel tax-free. Lower Taxes for Lower Emissions sure sounds like a better campaign slogan than Pay Up or Park Your Car.

A century of remembrance

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Despite the passage of time, the events of that terrible human tragedy still have the power to horrify, inspire, and unleash our tears. Lest we forget the sacrifices of the Canadians who fought and died in that war and all the military conflicts that have tested our nation’s mettle, C2C Journal is marking Armistice Day with an essay by John Weissenberger that is bookended by the stories of the first and last Canadians who died in the Great War.

Socialist workers dystopia

Bribing voters with their own, other people’s, or borrowed money has a long history in Canada. The latest example is the Liberal government’s plan to price “pollution” in provinces without a carbon tax by making the tax rebate bigger than the tax itself. Another form of vote-buying, writes Matthew Lau, is labour regulation that forces employers to pay workers higher wages and provide greater benefits. When Ontario’s late Wynne government did this, it predictably hurt job growth. So the bribe failed, and the Ford government is now partially deregulating the labour market to make workers, and the provincial economy, more competitive.

Hard times and strange bedfellows

The line-up of speakers at last week’s hastily organized Energy Relaunch conference in Calgary was about as eclectic as you could get. It brought together pro- and anti-carbon tax conservatives and academics and journalists and a former federal Liberal leadership contender and even an Alberta NDP minister. Astonishingly, they all agreed on something: Ottawa has bungled energy and environment policy and Canada needs to get competitive on natural resource development again or we’ll all be much poorer.

The Royal Canadian Air Procurement Farce

Military procurement is to Canada’s federal government as sewer upgrades are to municipal governments: a hugely expensive necessity that doesn’t win any votes. That’s why the RCAF is getting by with patched-up, near-obsolete CF-18s and a handful of used fighter jets from Australia as Ottawa’s posturing and procrastinating over their replacement enters its third decade. Meanwhile, military tensions between the world’s major powers are growing, which leaves weakly-armed and weak-willed countries like Canada increasingly useless and vulnerable. The ill-starred F-35 stealth fighter remains the best bet to restore our military capability while providing top-flight aerospace jobs, writes Mathew Preston, but “whipping out” the F-35 or any new warplanes is not a priority for Justin Trudeau’s feminist-pacifist administration.

Harper gets it right

Could the populist uprising now sweeping much of the western world erupt in Canada? The idea is as horrifying as it is inconceivable in the minds of the Laurentian intelligentsia. That explains their disdain for Stephen Harper’s new book Right Here, Right Now, a rumination on the causes and effects of Trump, Brexit, et al.

Canada’s Stockholm syndrome

Canada has been singularly successful in offering up its natural resource sector to its enemies. In the 1980s and 90s, foreign-funded eco- and aboriginal activists teamed up with Canadian politicians, public sector unions, and even some corporate sell-outs to bully the B.C. forest industry into submission.

Three judges, 75 whales, 117 native bands

What does it take to stop a multi-billion-dollar energy project that will create thousands of jobs and billions in tax revenues for Canadians? The answer is the headline on this story.

The only thing we have to fear is everything

Border security, terrorism, rising crime, Donald Trump, guns, trade wars; these are just a few of the anxieties afflicting Canadians. Well, pass the Zoloft, writes Jason Unrau. We’re going to need it to get through the coming year as politicians of all stripes and their media enablers ratchet up their fearmongering on these and other real and invented terrors in the runup to next October’s federal election.

The wrath of pygmies

Historical cleansing in the name of ethnocentric injustice is all the rage in Canada today. We’re arresting, trying and punishing historical figures for crimes against modern interpretations of their words and actions. First among the fallen icons is the country’s founding prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, recently banished from a pedestal outside Victoria City Hall to a dingy civic warehouse where he awaits final sentencing. But John Robson has a message for those who deposed the Old Chieftain; you are not worthy to stand in the shadow of his statue.

How Duty to Consult became a Veto

The ever-shifting scope of the constitutional “duty to consult” with aboriginal groups increasingly thwarts development in Canada, including resource projects critical to the country’s economic growth and prosperity. The recent court decision against the Trans Mountain pipeline is the highest-profile recent example. University of Calgary professor emeritus Tom Flanagan tracks the jurisprudence that elevated this legal concept into a de facto aboriginal veto and suggests ways that governments, with the support of pro-development aboriginal groups, could move to clearly define and limit its power.

Ford goes nuclear, sky falls in Toronto

Progressives agree populism is deplorable, responsible for electing xenophobic governments in parts of Europe, the Brexit mess, and that Twit in the White House. But what about Ontario Conservative Premier Doug Ford? He’s “for the people” too, like other populists claim to be, but instead of picking fights with immigrants and launching trade wars, he’s lowering the cost of beer and energy and trying to shrink Toronto’s bloated City Council. The left and the courts are pushing back hard, but Ford still looks like Canada’s best bet to rescue populism from the pit of elite condescension. Jason Tucker reports.

Ford Nation: populism done right

Progressives agree populism is deplorable, responsible for electing xenophobic governments in parts of Europe, the Brexit mess, and that Twit in the White House. But what about Ontario Conservative Premier Doug Ford? He’s “for the people” too, like other populists claim to be, but instead of picking fights with immigrants and launching trade wars, he’s lowering the cost of beer and energy and trying to shrink Toronto’s bloated City Council. The left and the courts are pushing back hard, but Ford still looks like Canada’s best bet to rescue populism from the pit of elite condescension. Jason Tucker reports.

Cream puff diplomacy

The term “gunboat diplomacy” was coined in 1850 when Britain dispatched the Royal Navy to defend a British citizen living in Greece. Last month, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland dispatched a tweet to defend Saudi Arabian women’s rights activists who happen to have a Canadian relative. Unlike the Greeks, the Saudis were not intimidated, and they fired back with trade and diplomatic weapons that cost Canada dearly. Gerry Bowler has some advice for Freeland, who apparently could use it: either ditch the impotent virtue signalling or hit the Saudis where it hurts by replacing their oil exports to Canada with homegrown western crude.

Welcome to Canada, not

One of the really great things about Donald Trump, if you’re Justin Trudeau, is he makes you look so nice by comparison. Especially on immigration. It’s widely understood that Trump is banning Muslims and separating children from their parents and holding them in cages, while Trudeau is tweeting “Welcome to Canada” and deploring family separation. But the truth about “how we do things in Canada” ain’t so nice, writes Hymie Rubenstein, and by any fair current and historical comparison, the U.S. treats immigrants better than we do

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