As the federal election campaign degenerates from vicious name-calling to literal sticks and stones, the idea of governing the country by balancing competing visions, policies, regions and demands seems quaint, if not antique. But perhaps this absence of equilibrium only serves to highlight its value. Preston Manning makes the case for bringing greater balance to a wide range of topics, including economic policies, Covid-19 restrictions, the environment, federal-provincial relations and even identity politics. What’s required to get there are political leaders committed to hearing both sides of the issues – and an electorate that demands it.
One might think that with Canada’s formidable array of pandemic restrictions, lockdowns, curfews, shuttered businesses and myriad other prohibited places and activities, the last thing Canadians need is another incentive to stay home and do nothing. And yet demands for paid sick days are now reaching a fevered pitch. Alongside labour and the political left, even some business groups claim to support the idea. As Peter Shawn Taylor finds, however, European-style sick-day benefits are no panacea. In fact, they threaten great harm to Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
The mutual gains created by international trade have been well-established since 1817, when economist David Ricardo first explained why Portugal sold wine to Britain, and Britain traded cloth to Portugal. Capitalizing on each’s “comparative advantage,” Ricardo observed, raised overall incomes and left consumers better off in both countries. The same still holds today. Yet our current global pandemic has many claiming self-sufficiency in all things is not only a virtue, but a national necessity. With Canada’s future prosperity at risk from an outbreak of Covid-19 inspired protectionism, Peter Shawn Taylor explains just what’s at stake and offers a stout defence of classic free trade principles.
Remember those anxious days last January when news of a deadly new virus first appeared out of China and then, like an avalanche gathering speed, spread to Italy, Spain and France? Remember how no one seemed to know what to do as the contagion made its way to our shores? If only our governments had a plan – a plan to arrest the disease and protect us from the collateral damage of our own clumsy responses. Drawing on decades of high-level experience in military and civil emergency planning and preparation, David Redman explains what went wrong with Canada’s planning process, how the errors heightened a tidal wave of fear, and what it will take to rebuild confidence in government.
Carbon dioxide emissions are a globe-girdling phenomenon driven by industrialization, and atmospheric gases obviously don’t care about national boundaries. So it’s distinctly weird that some left-leaning governments, Canada’s Liberals among them, insist that recognized emissions reductions must take place right here at home! Isn’t the goal “saving the planet”? In fact Canada has a clean-burning energy resource that’s voluminously abundant and economically accessible with current technology – and which the world can’t get enough of. As Gwyn Morgan writes, jobs, wealth-creation, tax-revenue and environmental improvement on a global scale all await, if only governments dropped their ideological blinkers.
Solar panels filling fields in cloudy northern countries. Wind turbines manufactured for export by the world’s largest builder of coal-fired power and worst emitter of greenhouse gases. Governments deliberately demolishing their country’s most valuable industry. It is increasingly clear that so-called green energy isn’t just another instance of youthful idealism going a little too far, much less a practical way to a clean future, but a nasty utopian ideology bent on impoverishing entire countries. Gwyn Morgan examines a slice of this destructive landscape and warns of the severe risk to Canada’s economic well-being.
Most of us probably regard the word “narrative” either as an creaky cliché thrown around mostly by posers or, if we unwittingly fall into the latter group, as a handy instant signal that we’re culturally au courant (to use another aging cliché). There’s far more to the concept of narrative – unfortunately. Would that it were harmless trivia. Instead it has shown not only indestructible staying power but a viral cunning, mutating and replicating and insinuating itself into every cultural nook and cranny. And that’s profoundly dangerous, writes David Solway, who provides the intellectual heavy lifting in this thorough analysis of the concept’s nature, seductive allure, political misuse and potentially civilization-wrecking power.
Left versus right. Urban versus rural. Baby boomer versus millennial. Us versus them. There’s no shortage of division in society these days. As we all retreat into our separate corners, Brian Lee Crowley, head of the Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute, offers up a brand new pair of opposing, society-defining categories: gardeners versus designers. In his review of Crowley’s latest book, veteran journalist Paul Stanway points out what works and what doesn’t with this novel take on the eternal political struggle of ideas. And how it just might decide the next federal election.
We are living in an “unprecedented reality” according to the recent Speech from the Throne. Certainly the effects of Covid-19 have been serious and far-reaching. But unprecedented? Hardly. As difficult as our current situation may seem, it doesn’t hold a candle to the situation 100 years ago when a vastly more terrifying global epidemic struck a far less prepared world. With a second wave of Covid-19 on the horizon, Lynne Cohen takes a close look at the Spanish flu of 1918-20 and finds many stark and revealing differences – as well as some unsettling echoes that suggest while times may change, our fundamental fears do not.
How do you make new laws and policies or reform old ones in a democracy? You talk openly about every aspect, carefully consider the pros and cons and the long-term implications, and strive to come up with solutions that are fair to everyone. That has been the ideal, anyway, in Canada since Confederation. So what happens when vast areas of law and policy cannot even be discussed any longer? Bruce Pardy lists the things that have become perilous to say regarding Indigenous issues – but that need to be said if Canada is to maintain a legal system that is fair to all Canadians.