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Jackson Doughart

Jackson Doughart joined the Prince Arthur Herald staff in June 2013, and now serves as Editor of the English section. He holds a master's degree in political studies from Queen's University and formerly interned at the National Post. By day, he is Research Coordinator at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a public policy think tank in Halifax.

New deal misses opportunity on alcohol trade

The newly minted Canadian Free Trade Agreement is no great accomplishment. Instead of free exchange, most of the deal’s convoluted text entrenches protectionism, with some 130 pages of exemptions. All of those negotiations – and now, these hundreds of pages of rules – leave the country with merely managed trade. This is vanilla reform. The federal government should have mustered the political will to demolish trade barriers by parliamentary fiat, instead of playing the role of honest broker between local chieftains. Ottawa could also lead on harmonizing regulations, standards and qualifications by imposing mutual recognition in trade matters – its constitutional realm. Worse, the CFTA strengthens the idea of provincial prerogative. Unfettered exchange between provinces is not a pie-in-the-sky idea, but a fundamental purpose to Confederation. Following the intentions of the founders, the right of provinces to inhibit the movement of goods and labour across boundaries is no more legitimate than their right to print money, form an army, or secede. The best that can be said of the deal is that it forces provinces to explicitly list the trade barriers they intend to maintain. Unfortunately, several industries remain heavily protected, including financial services and investment, energy, real estate, legal services, tourism and agriculture and fisheries. Following the intentions of the founders, the right of provinces to inhibit the movement of goods and labour across boundaries is no more legitimate than their right to print money, form an army, or secede. The exclusion of alcohol from trade liberalization is a particular disappointment. In their “negative list” of exemptions to free trade, the provinces reserve control over regulating, supplying, transporting and selling alcoholic beverages through provincial liquor monopolies. To boot, the main text affirms the right of provinces to “maintain, establish and authorize monopolies.” The agreement mandates a special working group… Read More

Schoolyard social media habits delivered President Trump

  Is it wrong to have felt conflicted about the U.S. election campaign? I certainly did. Canadian writers that I respect – like Andrew Coyne, Jonathan Kay, and John Robson – were adamant that Trump represented a threat, to America and to us. They said he was temperamentally unfit for office. I agreed with them, but also saw in Trump's movement an overdue resistance to several matters of political status quo: mass immigration, political correctness, a failure of Western leaders to identify Islamism by its true name and nature, and Wilsonian foreign policies. My prediction was that Clinton would receive 275 electoral votes. I wanted her to win, thereby planting a predictable character in the White House, but narrowly enough to give the liberal elites a real scare.   The problem is not just that there is a questionable orthodoxy in public discourse, but also that the form of policing this orthodoxy is nasty on a human level.   I was at first uplifted by Trump's early success, showing a people’s rebuke of the Democrats' untakeable arrogance. But as it became clear that he was going to become President, my glee quickly turned to real fear about the future. His magnanimous victory speech notwithstanding, the chance of calamity in the next four years seems strong. The claim that Trump's election was a gigantic middle finger to political correctness is probably right, but it needs to be refined in one way. The problem is not just that there is a questionable orthodoxy in public discourse, but also that the form of policing this orthodoxy is nasty on a human level. Mockery is a tool, certainly when placed in the hands of satirists, who hold a needed mirror to the culture and expose its hypocrisies. But it's also something of a drug… Read More

The conservative case for Brexit

  Here are my predictions for today’s Brexit vote: the Northern Irish and the English outside of London will vote to leave. The Welsh, the Scots, and the Londoners will vote to stay. The latter will prevail, at about 57 percent. I do hope that I’m wrong. This vote is an important symbol in the ideological war between nationalism and globalism; between sovereignty and internationalism; between democracy and technocracy. One understands why liberals prefer the latter of these formulations. To them, the existence of borders is itself an affront to their cherished cosmopolitanism. Their three largest political projects – statism, radical individualism, and multiculturalism – are all aided when political power is moved upward and centralized; in this case, so far upward that it is outside the country. The bureaucrats who pull the knobs and levers in Brussels cannot, on account of the differences between their subject peoples, derive governing principles or practices from any one national culture. So instead, the principles have to be derived from theories – about rights, justice, duties, entitlements, and freedoms – available to “man as man,” rather than practices developed in a particular national context over centuries, which have actually been proven to work. The Savoyard anti-revolutionary Joseph de Maistre said, “I have seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, etc. But, as for Man, I declare that I have never met him in my life. If he exists, I certainly have no knowledge of him.” This is a founding conservative insight, and one which is antithetical to government conceived in the form of the European Union.   Conservatives would do well to remember their founding principles: suspicion of state power and the size of government, respect for tradition and culture, and the protection of national sovereignty. The European project is a friend to exactly none of these principles.   British… Read More

After Orlando attack, it’s ‘Blame Anyone but Islam’

    Jackson Doughart is Editor of the English side of the Prince Arthur Herald. He studied at the University of Prince Edward Island and Queen's University, and formerly interned with the National Post editorial board. He has been writing for the PAH since 2013. Some ideas are so stupid, only Western liberal-democrats could believe them. One of these ideas is that the motivation for Islamic terror attacks can be massaged into explanations that have nothing to do with Islamic terror. This exercise starts by misnaming the incident itself — the Obama Administration described Nidal Hassan's Fort Hood shooting in 2009, for instance, as a "workplace incident," and some of the British media have taken to calling terror incidents in the UK as , absurdly, "anti-Islamic" attacks — and ends with the usual cultural self-blame. Terrible as the terrorists themselves are, we and our ways have so insulted their religion's honour that culpability lies as much with us as with them. I don't know what euphemism the media will contrive to avoid the pertinent fact that the killer of 50 and maimer of another 53 at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida last weekend was a Muslim. This incident is only the latest in an epidemic of Islamic terror attacks in Western countries. Maybe it will be recorded as a "social disagreement," or a "firearm-discharging incident." But our habits in discussing Islamic terrorism virtually guarantee that our thinking about this atrocity will be neither honest nor rational. Shooter Omar Mateen called 911 to record his allegiance to the Islamic State before the rampage. The FBI had previously investigated him on suspicion of Islamic radicalism. A classmate of his said that he cheered on September 11, 2001 for the al-Qaeda attacks. And yet after the Orlando shooting the concern of the… Read More

Don’t worry. Electoral reform won’t happen

Conservatives have been up in arms over the past couple of weeks on account of the Liberal government’s plans on electoral reform. They have every right to be indignant. Even if you think that changing the electoral system is a legitimate project, and that a referendum is not required to enact reform, one can’t accept the stacking of the committee with Liberals, which ensures the input of others to be ultimately irrelevant in its recommendations. Any change to the system should be made with the consent of all parties represented in the House of Commons. Even the Bloc and the Greens, after all, represent constituents and therefore deserve a seat at the table; short of a plebiscite, the only way that this process can be legitimate is if Parliament – acting as an independent body of legislators constituted by members belonging to the various parties – can arrive at a consensus approved of by all, and not merely the one party with a voting majority. But in a spirit of one-half cynicism, one-half equanimity, I’m here to tell you that there isn’t much to worry about. The odds are still overwhelming that electoral reform will not happen – not this time, perhaps not ever. This has always been a point of frustration among those who believe strongly that first-past-the-post should be replaced by a more proportional model; most people never seemed to care, and it was never important enough to the governing parties to intervene against this dearth of public demand. These facts remain essentially unchanged. The ephemeral nature of the public’s enthusiasm for electoral reform is perhaps best demonstrated by the national glee at our new “sunny ways” regime, delivered to the Canadian people via nothing less than first-past-the-post. It’s hard to imagine people glowing so much about a… Read More
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