The C2C Ideas Archive

Collateral damage of the ‘greenest city’

The City of Vancouver officially aspires to be “the greenest city in the world”. But if it could see beyond the tip of its upturned nose, it would realize that its transit and land-use policies are dumping its traffic and pollution problems on neighbouring cities and towns in the Fraser Valley. James Coggins, eyewitness to the environmental carnage wreaked by Vancouver’s selfish green virtuousness, reports.

Robin Hood on steroids

Canada’s national equalization program is supposed to transfer wealth from richer provinces to poorer ones so the latter can have “reasonably comparable” public services at roughly similar levels of taxation. In practice, reports University of Calgary Master of Public Policy student Jake Fuss, the program enables “have-not” provinces to provide better public services than the “have” provinces who subsidize them. Robin Hood supported wealth redistribution too, but even he never intended to make the poor richer than the rich.

They desire a smugger country

The Order of Canada was founded in 1967 as a classic Canadian compromise between the aristocratic traditions of Mother Britain and the hyper-egalitarianism of our American neighbours. Ostensibly untainted by class or politics, it was intended to honour citizens from all walks of life who made significant contributions to the country simply because they “desire a better country”. But as Brian Fawcett explains in his review of a new book about the history of the OC, there is growing evidence that it has evolved into a smug, liberal, elitist club to which conservatives generally need not apply.

Standing Rock of the North

If you live in Burnaby, B.C., or are planning a visit in the next few months, consider taking some time to visit “Camp Cloud”, the ramshackle village created to protest the Trans-Mountain pipeline. Best to go soon, before it mutates into something like the massive, filthy, dangerous protest favella that grew up around a North Dakota pipeline project in 2016. U.S. President Donald Trump ended the “Standing Rock Resistance” with bulldozers and the National Guard soon after he took office in 2017. There are many similarities between the Dakota Access and Trans-Mountain pipeline stories, except we don’t yet know the ending of the latter. George Koch previews what may be in store for Burnaby with a detailed account of the anarchy that descended on Morton County, North Dakota.

Welcome back from jihad

We know for sure that well over a 100 Canadians have served with Islamist terrorist groups overseas. We know that at least 60 have come home. And we know that exactly one has been convicted and jailed. This suggests one of two things: either the federal government’s “deradicalization” strategy, which emphasizes support and counselling over investigation and prosecution, is working like a charm; or it’s only a matter of time before an unreconstructed jihadist goes postal or radicalizes his friends to do so. Anthony Furey considers the odds.

Humpty Dumpty deserved to fall

The opposite of free speech is compelled speech, which last year was enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to ensure transgendered folks get the pronouns they deserve. Compelled speech is a totalitarian cousin of forbidden speech, lately asserted in various skirmishes over “cultural appropriation”. All this bickering over words – who can use them and what they mean – strikes Barbara Kay as rather surreal and menacing, and reminds her of Humpty Dumpty, the pompous egg-head who lectured young Alice on language, the Catholic Church at its most Inquisitive, and the Arab word for coerced language and behaviour called “Ketman”. What it does not remind her of is anything resembling reason and tolerance.

Social Justice for LGBTQ Seniors

Somewhere in an Ontario long-term care facility today, a LGBTQ senior may be facing bullying and discrimination. We know this from a recent CBC news report that broke our current ageist fixation on the rights of LGBTQ schoolchildren. The story inspired Fred Litwin to imagine how Ontario’s new Conservative government might deal with this neglected social justice issue, in a hypothetical bureaucratic memo to Health Minister Christine Elliot. Laugh if you dare.

L’Etat, c’est nous

Nationalism is in foul odour these days, tainted by its association with Donald Trump’s clumsy protectionist economic and immigration policies, the Brexit mess, and various truculent populist movements in Europe. But did you hear Chief Justice Richard Wagner of the Supreme Court of Canada the other day, talking about Canada as a “moral values” superpower? The ink on the SCC judgement against religious freedom in the Trinity Western University case was hardly dry, and he was boasting about his nationalistic pride in Canada’s secular, progressive superiority. In TWU, Wagner and a majority of his colleagues imposed their own beliefs about what they see as the “public interest”, writes John Carpay, which is at least as arrogant – and ominous – as anything being undertaken by nationalists outside of Canada.

My Krauthammer conversion

Ah, summer. Lazy days in the adirondack chair at the end of the dock, catching up on all those books recommended by reviewers and friends whose literary tastes – and politics – you trust. But here’s a suggestion, and a challenge, from someone who dared to “read my enemies”. Robert Grant Price was a comfortably smug liberal until a close encounter with Harper Derangement Syndrome made him realize how cloistered minds can be. So to test his political convictions – and intellectual honesty – Price willed himself to read Scruton, Reno, Krauthammer, and many other conservative literary lions. The result was liberation from the partisan prisons that divide us all.

Because it’s 2018

What a year 2015 was for female political empowerment! Women ruled the big provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, and feminist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a majority government promising a gender-equal cabinet. When asked why, Trudeau imperiously replied, “Because it’s 2015”. It felt like the dawn of a Gelded Age – until Donald Trump, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Patrick Brown and a bunch of other men defeated women in high-profile electoral contests. The male resurgence climaxed in Ontario’s just-passed election with the crushing defeat of Kathleen Wynne by the big lug Doug Ford. As the Liberal campaign tanked Wynne’s team tried to play the gender card, writes Josh Dehaas, but it was a bust.

Whose land is it anyway?

The practice of opening public events with a statement acknowledging that the event is occurring on land covered by an Indian treaty really took off after the 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Among its 94 “calls to action” is a demand to “repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands”. The rite has become ubiquitous in Canadian public life, and now often refers to “unceded” land, even though treaty land was, in fact, ceded to Canada by the chiefs who signed the Treaties. Far from advancing “reconciliation”, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, this fiction is fueling division between those who are constantly told Canada is theirs, and everyone else.

Canadian anarchy

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was approved after a lengthy legal regulatory process and has so far won 14 out of 14 court challenges against it. But none of that matters to the ever-growing mob of protestors who oppose it. They have decided the law is wrong and they are right, a position implicitly endorsed by the Government of British Columbia and explicitly by other lawmakers including convicted protestor Elizabeth May. Contempt for the law is a growing pathology in Canada, writes Peter Stockland. Everyone from potheads to pirate ride-share companies to indigenous land claimers does it in the name of their boutique brands of justice. But laws are a product of the democratic process. If they go, it goes, and anarchy rules.

Another Name for Cultural Appropriation: Sharing

Not that long ago, Bill Clinton was half-jokingly hailed as “the first black president” because he was cool, a liberal and could play the saxophone, a bit. If Clinton tried that today, he’d probably be impeached for “cultural appropriation”. That’s because the phenomenon of progressive identity politics, which is sweeping across western civilization like a plague, is herding people into tribal associations based on skin colour, gender, ethnicity and other biological and cultural characteristics. Humans have gone down this road before, writes Mark Milke, and it always ends badly. We’ll do much better if we get back to celebrating, tolerating, and borrowing ideas from other cultures.

A hopeful dispatch from the West Bank

This spring Canadian MP Garnett Genuis joined a Parliamentary tour of the West Bank hosted by the Palestinian Authority. As the only Conservative and unabashed Zionist on the bus, he sought to challenge both his own assumptions and the narrative presented by his hosts. Genuis saw a friendly, welcoming, and gracious people whose rich culture has been subverted by politics. And despite the latest bloody confrontations in Gaza, he also saw reason to hope for peace and a viable two-state solution, which is a fresh and encouraging perspective on a tragic conflict that will never be resolved as long as the narrative is dominated by victimization, blame, and failure to understand the experience of the other.

Bridging the great populist-conservative divide

Some conservatives may think that the current populist insurgency consuming more and more oxygen on the Right is a new development. But you don’t need to go back too far to discover that conservative-populist debates have been part of Anglo-American conservatism for a long time. Sean Speer discovers a 1984 issue of National Review that asked the same basic questions as we’re currently confronting. How should conservatives think about populism? What’s its place in conservative politics and thought? Speer argues that the answer is that conservative reformers must put forward a positive agenda that responds to the issues animating the populists.

End food waste, starve a dumpster diver

Another day, another crisis. Last month it was plastic straws, so many of them they are getting stuck up sea turtles’ nostrils. This month it’s “food waste” allegedly contributing to the “food insecurity” of millions of Canadians, according to a Trudeau Foundation scholar. The solution is said to be found in government intervention to reduce food waste, drawing on Indigenous knowledge and “the principles of the circular economy”. Matthew Lau is skeptical of this month’s crisis and recommended solution.

A crime against Sir Matthew Begbie’s humanity

Add 19th century liberal jurist Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie to the ever-growing list of Canadian historical figures whose reputations have been rubbished in the name of “Truth and Reconciliation”. Begbie presided over the trial of six Tsilhqot’in Indians who were executed for the mass murder of 18 white road builders and settlers during British Columbia’s so-called Chilcotin War of 1864. There were plenty of guilty parties on all sides in that fracas, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, but the mass scapegoating of Begbie – most recently in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official apology to the Tsilhqot’in killers – is a crime in its own right.

The virtue signal heard ‘round the world

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given Canadians many reasons to doubt his competence to lead a G7 country. Generally his foibles seem superficial and relatively harmless, like the “Mr. Dress-up” tour of India. But some of his public comments and policy choices are starting to cause real harm. Perhaps the worst of these is the January 2017 #WelcomeToCanada tweet inviting refugee claimants from everywhere – including Donald Trump’s America – to Canada. Now the country faces an escalating invasion of asylum seekers illegally crossing the border from the U.S. at a rate of hundreds per day. Processing the tens of thousands of claims and accommodating their needs is overwhelming government resources and creating serious security risks. All this, contends Candice Malcolm, is a consequence of Trudeau’s reckless and vain attempt to position himself as the “anti-Trump”.

The long reach of the Calgary School

This month the Canadian Taxpayers Federation gave its annual “Tax Fighter” award, which celebrates those who demonstrate “outstanding commitment and dedication to the cause of taxpayer emancipation”, to four long-serving professors from the University of Calgary’s Political Science department: Tom Flanagan, Barry Cooper, Rainer Knopff and Ted Morton. Through their teaching, writing and political activism the foursome – known as the “Calgary School” – had an out-sized influence on Canadian politics and mentored countless students who went on to successful careers in academe, politics and public policy research and advocacy. One of their books was even found in Osama bin Laden’s last hideout. Mark Milke, who received his Ph.D. from the department, delivered a pithy and humorous tribute to the foursome at the CTF event.

The lethal collision of misandry and misogyny

Toronto police laid three more charges against alleged Yonge Street van-attack killer Alek Minassian, bringing the total to 10 counts of murder and 16 of attempted murder. Eight of the 10 people killed in the April 23 attack were women. Media reports have linked Minassian to a bizarre subculture of men who hate women because their sexual unattractiveness has rendered them “involuntary celibates” or “incels”. Barbara Kay explores this new social pathology and its origins in the confused gender roles and toxic gender relations in our post-modern feminist world.

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Sorry Conservatives, we’re just not that into you

Last month C2C Journal published an argument in support of “Fusionism” by conservative policy expert and political activist Sean Speer. It posited that conservatives and libertarians are natural philosophical allies who should work together to elect Conservative governments. Speer originally made his case in a public debate at Carleton University earlier this year with leading Canadian libertarian Matt Bufton. Bufton’s rebuttal, adapted for publication, counters that Conservatives are philosophically unreliable allies that libertarians ought to avoid bedding down with, and instead market their ideas to any party willing to implement them.

Prophet Peterson’s cure for chaos

Like all major human belief systems, secularism produces prophets. The modern environmental movement, for example, is full of them, from Al Gore to David Suzuki. But prognosticating the-end-is-nigh is not every prophet’s schtick. Sometimes their gift is simply to identify a social pathology, diagnose its cause, and prescribe a remedy. Of course, lots of people – from street preachers to sociologists – do this all the time. It only becomes prophecy when masses of people embrace the diagnosis and prescription and make it their own. And by this measure, writes Barbara Kay, the world’s newest and hottest prophet is Canada’s own Jordan Peterson.

Narrowing the Debate

In newsroom vernacular, the decision to kill a story is called “spiking”. It happens for various reasons including inaccuracy, irrelevance, dullness, and defamation. Writers get spiked too, for all those reasons and more. The superb former National Review essayist Kevin Williamson, for example, got spiked this month just as he was about to start a new gig at The Atlantic. Furious vilification by progressives over an intemperate tweet pre-empted his move from the conservative confines of NR into the mainstream liberal media. Williamson is no outlier, contends Ben Woodfinden, but rather the latest victim of “no-platforming” by leftists bent on banishing the right from public discourse.

Letters to Senator Beyak, uncensored

When Senator Lynn Beyak suggested last year that the history of residential schools in Canada was something less than a horrific church-state orchestrated cultural “genocide”, she was widely condemned as ignorant and insensitive, even racist. When she published scores of letters on her website agreeing with her, including a handful tainted with bigotry, she became a total political pariah. But if anyone had taken the time to read all the letters, they would have found testimony from dozens of aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians with direct and indirect experience of residential schools that collectively tell a very different story from the “genocide” version. Robert MacBain took the time.

Down and out in Ontario

When future historians study the Ontario economy from the early 2000s to today, they will be startled to see how growth flatlined relative to the rest of the country. What happened, they will wonder, to so badly depress investment, income and employment growth, and to so dramatically inflate provincial government deficits and debt? Was there a war, or natural disaster? No, writes Matthew Lau, in his first-hand account of Ontario’s protracted malaise. It was the election, and three re-elections, of one of the most economically destructive provincial governments in Canadian history. That same government is seeking another mandate this June, running on a budget that promises to stay the course.

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All in the Right family

Conservatives and libertarians have had an on-again, off-again relationship for decades. They only win elections when they are united, and invariably lose them when they are divided. They are drawn together when ideological left-wing governments are in power, as they are in Ottawa and most of the big provinces today, and drift apart when conservative governments succumb to the temptations of power. Earlier this year, conservative Sean Speer and libertarian Matt Bufton debated the relationship at Carleton University. Speer’s opening remarks make the case for “Fusionism”; Bufton’s rebut will follow.

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Referendum Time?

Next year Canada’s 61-year-old Federal Equalization Program will be up for renewal, again. This will coincide with an election in Alberta, and current polls strongly suggest it will result in the election of a new United Conservative government. With Ottawa ratcheting up carbon taxes and regulation on the province’s besieged energy sector, UCP leader Jason Kenney is promising a referendum on Equalization, part of the Federal wealth redistribution system that hoovers tens of billions of dollars a year out of Alberta to subsidize “have-not” provinces, mainly Quebec and the Maritimes. As a primer for this looming battle, Ted Morton reviews a new book about Equalization and exposes its sordid history, political purposes and pernicious effects. These were effectively summarized by Senator Keith Davey, Chairman of the Liberals’ 1980 election campaign: “Screw the West, we’ll take the rest.”

The vengeful sword of Lady Justice

For decades Canadian legislators and judges have been writing and re-writing sexual assault laws to provide women with stronger legal protections against the depredations of men. Much of their work has been good, necessary, and effective. But when the law didn’t protect Jian Ghomeshi’s lovers from their post-coital regrets about his penchant for rough sex, the doctrinaire feminist Trudeau government took action. The resulting legislation, according to trial lawyer Daniel Mol, dramatically tips the scales of justice against the accused. But in the age of #MeToo, the feminist ends justify the illiberal means. Sadly, writes Mol, this is part of a larger cultural revolution where the selective sword of “justice” is hacking relentlessly at the tree of liberty.

Judge Trump, lest ye be judged

Is Donald Trump a conservative? For many professed conservatives, in the US, Canada and elsewhere, the answer is a resounding yes. He’s cutting taxes, deregulating industry, and finally standing up to the tyranny of political correctness. But he’s also a protectionist, a liar, a sexual predator, a bully, and, according to his now-purged Secretary of State, a moron. And he’s running up debt and cozying up to dictators. Economic and social conservatives have crucified Democratic presidents for far less. How can they not see the hypocrisy in giving Trump a pass? Mark Milke tries to remove the scales from their eyes.

Bully for Brexit

The one year countdown to Brexit has begun, and mostly unenthusiastic negotiators for the EU and the UK are trying to come up with an arrangement that minimizes the economic and political pain. Their work is complicated by the revival of a Cold War with Putin and a Trade War with Trump. Be that as it may, writes Ben Woodfinden, Brexit has the potential to revive Britain as a model global free trader and alternative to both suffocating supranational bureaucracy and rampant populist protectionism.

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Carbon credit where credit is due

It is said that some Ontarians have been driven mad by their power bills. Mad enough to finally trade in their Liberal government for a Ford-led Conservative party that has forsaken a carbon tax? We’ll see in June, but in the meantime Grant Brown has a modest proposal for all Canadians who want to save the planet without paying carbon taxes. Almost Trumpian in its genius, Brown’s plan is to levy huge import tariffs on Chinese goods manufactured with coal power, especially wind turbines and solar panels. That would lower Canadian taxes, increase exports of our clean green natural gas, boost the competitiveness of our manufacturers, massively lower global greenhouse gas emissions, and defeat carbon-taxing governments. This would be a win, win, win, win, and, for Ontarians, no Wynne!

More rights, less freedom

The quest for balance between rights and freedoms is largely arbitrated by democratically-elected governments and their appointed courts. Sometimes freedom prevails, and sometimes it is compromised to protect rights. In the last year, the current government in Ottawa has legislated new rights for transgendered persons in human rights and criminal law which infringe on free speech by compelling the use of gender neutral pronouns. The government has also compelled faith groups and others seeking public funding for summer jobs to declare support for reproductive and gender rights, in a clear affront to freedom of religion. And the government is hinting it will soon move to prosecute “hate speech” again in human rights law, which has a sorry record of subordinating freedoms. Lee Harding reports on the growing imbalance.

Canada’s Trumpian tipping point

If the oilsands stay in the ground and pipelines and LNG terminals don’t get built, and governments continue to suffocate other natural resource and infrastructure development with excessive taxation and regulation, a lot of Canadians could wind up like the unemployed masses in the U.S. Rust Belt states – and mad enough to vote for a populist demagogue promising to make their lives great again. We’re not there yet, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, but the current rout of capital from Canada’s oilsands represents foreclosure on thousands of high-paying blue collar jobs and raises the risk of a Trumpian political backlash.

Can we be democratic without God?

God knows why Christians still go into politics. For every good, honest, ethical one there’s a holier-than-thou hypocrite like Roy Moore, the Donald Trump acolyte who deservedly lost one of the safest Republican Senate seats in the U.S. So, not only do they have to endure the vicious smears of the secular left, but also guilt-by-association with fallen Christian pols. In Canada, Preston Manning achieved remarkable success as an explicitly Christian politician despite all these liabilities. In a new book, reviewed for C2C Journal by Patrick Keeney, Manning summons the faithful to redeem politics by running on platforms of public service and sacrifice.

No country for oil men

The escalating war of words and trade actions between the governments of Alberta and British Columbia over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project are a distraction from the real issue, which is whether Canada has a future as a competitive oil producing and exporting country. We’ll find that out when the Trudeau government in Ottawa decides whether to enforce the rule of law, first against the rogue NDP-Green regime in B.C., and then against the inevitable army of protestors who will blockade the pipeline if it goes ahead. Nigel Hannaford reports, skeptically.

Where #MeToo does not apply

The #MeToo movement has so far concentrated on sexual misconduct by men in politics and the entertainment industry. Minor or major celebrities, most of them. The incidence of male sexual misbehaviour within these demographic cohorts, ranging from criminal assault to unwelcome comments, is said to be “rampant”. And it is, as measured by media coverage and social media reaction. But there’s no actual data on that assertion. Data does exist, however, showing that Aboriginal women suffer rates of sexual abuse much higher than non-Native women. Mark Milke wonders why #MeToo has not yet spread to places where the victims may be even more numerous.