Yangon (the former Rangoon, capital of the former Burma) is among the great Asian cities with unanticipated pleasures for the traveller. The buildings of its downtown core (which the Japanese avoided bombing in WWII) are living examples of the building styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For Patrick Keeney, the greatest attraction was the bookstalls of Pansodan Street.
The C2C Ideas Archive
When Justin Trudeau pined for autocracy in 2013 he was thinking of China and climate change. He has a far more pressing reason to wish for it today, writes Paul Stanway, as the pesky rule of law keeps interfering with his government’s best-laid plans in the SNC-Lavalin affair. The distinctly unhelpful election-year allegation is that first they bent the rule to spare the Montreal firm prosecution for corruption; when that failed they tried to break it. But former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould got in the way, and another Quebec Liberal scandale was born.
Seems like everyone has a plan to save the planet from Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. Naomi Klein has her Leap Manifesto and Alexandria Octavio-Cortez a Green New Deal. Justin Trudeau has a carbon tax – sorry, “price on pollution” – and Andrew Scheer has his, er, whatever. Unfortunately, all of them are economically catastrophic. Grant Brown is a climate change skeptic and borderline heretic, but nevertheless as a public service he has developed an affordable Climate Change Survival Guide.
Canadians are polite to a fault, and it may be our undoing as a free people. Where we once allowed free expression to be suppressed in the name of traditional morals, we now allow it to be trampled in the name of victims. Government, academic and media complicity in this suppression is rampant, warns Fergus Hodgson, in a stirring call to impoliteness. Government, academic and media complicity in this suppression is rampant, warns Fergus Hodgson, in a stirring call to impoliteness. But pushback against free speech suppression is migrating from the fringe to mainstream, and the market for free speech is creating new channels to give it voice.
For decades professional catastrophist David Suzuki has called humans “maggots” and a “cancer” on the Earth. His misanthropy is celebrated and taught in schools. His favourite mangled metaphor casts humans as bacteria. But the doctor of doom ought to know that we are more complex and creative organisms than microbes. The arc of human progress – for all its fits and starts – proves his “science” is hogwash, write Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak, as it was with all the Malthusians before him.
Speaking of war – the real kind, not the fake “climate war” of fevered Liberal imaginations – ever wonder why countries ranging from China to Saudi Arabia can publicly berate Canada with seeming impunity? Well, who respects a country so unserious about defending itself, especially in a world that often seems just one missile strike away from conflagration? As Ottawa prepares to take possession of some worn-out Australian F-18 fighters that probably wouldn’t sell even on Kijiji, Mathew Preston undertakes a detailed comparison of Aussie and Canuck military capabilities and defence policy.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation in Saskatchewan is in crisis after a sixth young person tried to end their own life. Community leaders are overwhelmed. In There is No Difference, Peter Best argues against the racially divisive policies of the reserve system. He wants First Nations to join our 21st-century Canadian family based on full equality of rights – and responsibilities.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blocking pipelines to “phase out” energy production from Alberta’s oilsands has nothing to do with saving the planet. It’s about Eastern Canada screwing the West to take the Rest. Always has been, always will be, unless…
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.
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.
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.
Justin Trudeau was recently caught sniping about the American President. Good diplomatic relations – to say nothing of good manners — suggest that our PM should apologize. James R. Coggins looks at Trudeau’s prodigious propensity to apologize to politically favoured groups and wonders why politicians convinced of their moral superiority fail to observe simple, everyday manners.
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.
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.
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.
The idea of transitioning from a fossil-fuel economy to one based on “renewables” has gone mainstream. Yet oil and natural gas remain crucial and there’s growing anxiety about how the obstacles to energy and other natural resource development threaten Canada’s long-term economic prospects. The country must come together, Nigel Hannaford argues, if it’s to avoid a self-inflicted catastrophe.
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.
What does it mean to be living in a so-called “age of disruption”? Barry Cooper, reviewing Stephen Harper’s Right Here, Right Now: Political Leadership in the Age of Disruption, argues that our current disruption arises from the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing extinguishment of the ideals of the French Revolution. Harper’s recognition of this, argues Cooper, is evidence of “inspired political understanding.”
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.
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.