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Marching into 2019

Sing to air of 'Onward, Christian Soldiers' Onward, green millennials, fearing global heat; But the old and sceptic, aren't much in retreat. Cars must be el-ectric, driverless as well; Couples on their bi-kes slick, driving trucks as well. Onward green millennials, in Suzuki's spell.   Onward, active natives, blocking all pipelines; Trees get super-latives, trumping wells and mines. Down with rich employ-ers, up with tribal pride, Bring on hordes of law-yers, rising nationwide. Onward active natives, surfing on green tide.   Onward tory Pre-miers, hearing voters' groans; Out with Lib'ral drea-miers, on their Chinese phones. Ford fights carbon ta-xes, Legault limits pot, Western NDP ax-is, sighs and joins the lot. Onward tory Pre-miers, battles to be fought.   Onward profs in col-lege, fearing sullen mobs; Not much seeking know-ledge, just in search of jobs. Finding grounds for of-fense, now a classroom skill, Aiding all the more dense, now enact their will. Onward, profs in col-lege, some teach thinking still.   Onward, Marg'ret A-twood, and the Canlit horde; Dreaming of book prizes, at the festal board. Divers'ty's their watchword, white males now all dead; Prize money their pa-ssword, only few get read. Onward, Canlit legions, begging still for bread.   Onward, pipeline buil-ders, oil sands workers, too; Though new world bewil-ders, seen as witches' brew. Black gold just stays black lead, if not reaching ports; Greens and natives now are wed, and blocking oil in courts. Onward pipeline buil-ders, wailing at aborts.   Onward, Justin Tru-deau, no more fancy dress; Trips have not won kudos, dance did not impress. Once inviting masses in, swamped by refugees, All have had their classes in his apologies. Onward, saintly Justin, but less saintly, please.   Onward, all to-gether, Canada rolls on; While we wonder whether, facing dark or dawn. Join in Christmas so-ng fests… Read More

A View From Canada: American Democrats Should Worry Us All

Over the last 100 years America's progressive elites have made their home in the Democratic Party. Progressive leaders like Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, along with legions of supporters in academia, journalism, public service, education, entertainment and the arts have been moving that country's vital centre further and further away from its early origins in classical liberalism, constitutional government and moral custom. From time to time the international left's will to dominance has been slowed down by the appearance of countervailing conservative intellectual movements and larger-than-life figures like John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Donald J. Trump; but as the free world prepares to enter the third decade of the 21st century; the USA, once Canada's strongest and most reliable ally in defense of liberty, may be on the way to becoming a shadow of its former self. Suicide of the West In his recent book, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism. Populism and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy, Senior National Review Editor, Jonah Goldberg pointed out that the development of constitutional democracy and the “Miracle” of democratic capitalism had an enormously positive effect on the West which eventually spread throughout the world. “The results” he said, “were inescapable: nearly everywhere on the planet men and women lived longer, ate better, enjoyed more leisure, and had access to resources and delights that previously had been reserved for the very rich and powerful, or more commonly, had been utterly unknown.” Along similar lines, British historian, Andrew Roberts, in A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900, has argued that the “Miracle” described by Goldberg had important beginnings in Anglo-Saxon England. Over the last half century, however, the allegedly “privileged history” of Anglo-Saxons has become the subject of fierce criticism… Read More

The Notwithstanding Clause from Bourassa to Legault

Francois Legault, full of confidence with the surprising scale of his CAQ electoral victory, is currently threatening to make use of the Notwithstanding Clause to insulate his proposed immigration restrictions from court challenges. He may go through with it even in the face of substantial public opposition, particularly in Montreal. But if he does, I hope that the public debate will distinguish between arguments about the substance of his proposals from arguments about the 'legitimacy' of the Clause itself. It was introduced in the constitutional negotiations of 1982 as a quite defensible compromise feature of the Charter, both to avoid the kind of juridical absolutism that has caused so much grief in the United States, and to preserve the democratic powers of the provinces from oppressive federal centralization. Even if one intensely dislikes some specific application of the Clause, that does not demonstrate that Canada would be better off if it could somehow be rescinded, unlikely in any case. Individual citizens or groups of citizens in functioning democracies may quite often find themselves disliking particular laws introduced by elected governments. including ones that they voted for. But that dislike is not alone justification for unlimited opposition, to the point of disobeying such laws. Both in the past and at present, this ordinary requirement can be obscured by deafening cries about 'rights', a word with unlimited possibilities for producing insoluble conflicts between clashing interests. It makes more sense to concentrate public support or opposition on the substance of the policies that appear to require the use of the Clause. That was certainly a large part of the story, thirty years ago this December, when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a position already taken by the Quebec Superior Court, on a case brought by five Montreal merchants (Brown's Shoes and four others)… Read More

Social solidarity must be voluntary

It is often said that Manon Massé performed better than expected in the debates, and that this has resulted in a newfound curiosity with Quebec Solidaire, as demonstrated by a hike in support according to recent polls.  Beyond good debate performances, support for sovereignty, and promises of free services, what exactly are the principles by which this party is guided? The answer, in part, is found in its title. QS claims to be a movement of social solidarity, and its main objective, according to its website, is for all action to be based on the real needs of the population.  So there it is, QS wants to use the legislature and the machinery of the state to address and satisfy our real needs. At first glance such principles can seem noble.  But once the nature of the state is properly understood, one can only conclude that QS’s program is not only destined for failure, but also for the impoverishment of the province, and that behind its veil of nobility lies a patronizing and ideological autocracy. Consider, for example, the many ways one can help respond to the real needs of the population.  One can create voluntary associations and charitable organizations; one can hold fund-raising events; and one can lend a hand and volunteer.  The folks at QS, however, have opted to spend their energy fighting for control over the state. Why?  Wouldn’t their energy be spent more efficiently doing other things?  Yes, but the state possesses that which changes everything, a monopoly over the legitimate use of force.  With an appearance of legitimacy and with the threat of imprisonment, only the state has the power to confiscate and redistribute wealth as it sees fit, and only the state can coerce certain forms of human behaviour through the force of law.… Read More

The Second Iraq War in Current Mythology

Rob Reiner's new film, Shock and Awe, is not about the massive aerial attack with which the Bush administration launched its war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2003, but on how the war was portrayed at the time,, not only by the government, but by almost all American media, including the NY Times and Washington Post. Reiner contends that this portrayal was fundamentally dishonest. The heroes of his film are the editor of the Knight-Ridder newspaper combine, played by Reiner himself, and two of its reporters, who spent many months interviewing opponents of the war in its planning stages that they found inside the CIA and the Pentagon. Reviewers have not been much impressed by this attempted update of All the President's Men, but have accepted it as a it seriously as a virtuous hindsight reflection. But it is much more revealing as a distillation of common received ideas about the war and its portrayal, endlessly repeated in over a decade of visual 'docudramas'. The unstated assumptions found in these latter. Shock and Awe included, deserve closer examination, as they are likely to have a substantial effect on how the war is 'remembered', and may influence the way future ones are fought or avoided. The editorials and reports of major newspapers and press syndicates continued to be influential in the changing era of televised war, often giving direction to the TV coverage. But neither the newspaper people nor the follow-up movie makers have much admitted, bellicose or disillusioned fictionalizations aside, that even their most conscientious reporting has carried its own ideological freight, and frequent facile encapsulation as thumbs up or thumbs down, mostly the latter. Shock and Awe got some chilly reviews, but these still largely took for granted Reiner's explicit claim of pure truth-seeking. The Globe & Mail' was… Read More

While you are cheering Russia’s World Cup 2018

Photo: Poster by the Ukrainian artist Andriy Yermolenko, who created a series of powerful posters dedicated to 2018 FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia   Soccer is the world's game. Soccer transcends our cultural and ethnic differences, language barriers and economic status. Soccer unites us and promotes peace. Not surprising, it is the most popular sport and the FIFA World Cup is the biggest and most watched sports event on the planet. As billions of viewers are glued to their screens cheering their favourite teams and feeling a tremendous sense of pride and passion, families of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 victims outpour their grief before the World Cup 2018 in an open letter to the Russian people: "[...] a shadow hangs over this event. We are painfully aware of the dark irony that the Russian leaders who will profess to welcome the world with open arms, are those who are chiefly to blame for shattering our world. And that it is these same leaders who have persistently sought to hide the truth, and who have evaded responsibility ever since that dreadful day in July 2014." Their children, partners, parents, brothers, and sisters were among 298 people who were blown out of the sky four years ago on July 17, 2014 with a BUK-TELAR missile system that came from Russia’s 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit in the Russian army. Despite mounting evidence, Russia continues to deny involvement carrying out a “vile and deceitful campaign” of disinformation. Russia’s leaders also cover up their ongoing crimes against Ukraine, Syria, other countries and against their own citizens both in the territory of Russia and overseas.   Photo: Stepan Chubenko, a teenage goalkeeper before being murdered in the occupied territory of Ukraine   Like many teenagers, the 16-year-old Ukrainian high school student Stepan Chubenko was a goalkeeper of Kramatorsk's “Avangard” youth… Read More
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