The C2C Ideas Archive

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

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.

Jihadi Jacks ’N Jills

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.

Dogma in the Church

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.

Speer C2C Journal Social Conservatism Libertarianism

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.