The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Election Time Grumbling

During the last Dominion election, four years ago, I made the remark that the three major parties were offering us a choice between the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet. After the election I added that the False Prophet had won. I think the last four years have justified that assessment rather well.

To make the above joke about the last election, of course, required speaking as if a misconception, that has lamentably become almost universal in Canada, were in fact true. Dominion elections are not about who the next Prime Minister will be. They are about who the next Parliament will be. You and I do not vote for the Prime Minister. We vote for who will be the Member of Parliament for our constituency. The job of our Member of Parliament is to represent our constituency, the portion of the country that includes the neighborhood in which we live. If our MPs remembered that their job, first and foremost, is to speak in Parliament on behalf of the constituencies that elected them – the places and the people living in those places whether they voted for or against the winner, they would do that job much better. Note that if we were to adopt the electoral reform that the Liberals promised four years ago, mercifully reneging on that promise, this would not help our MPs to do that job better, but rather hinder them from doing it. Proportional representation would make for a more partisan, more ideological Parliament. Only fools would want this, which is why proportional representation is so popular. The eponymous principle of Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule, the first in his Sword of Truth fantasy series and the last before these books achieved the unachievable and became an exposition of Ayn Rand’s ideas even more tedious and tiresome than her own, is “people are stupid” and this is absolutely correct. But I digress. In an election, we choose the representatives for our constituencies, these make up the next Parliament, and the person who becomes Prime Minister, who leads the government in the sense of the Cabinet, the Crown Ministers who carry out the actual day-to-day administration of the Queen-in-Council, is the person who has the most support in Parliament. That we have come to treat every Dominion election as a nation-wide plebiscite on who would make the best Prime Minister is an unwelcome intrusion of Americanism into our system.

I also declared during the last Dominion election that I likely would not be voting in it at all. The Conservatives, I vowed, would never have my vote again as long as Stephen Harper was their leader. Harper, while admittedly the best Prime Minister Canada has had since 1963 – this is not saying much as the entire lot of post-Diefenbaker Prime Ministers were horrid and rotten and abominable – had ticked me off one too many times. He had capitulated to the liberal-left on abortion and immigration and was absolutely horrible on freedom of speech. While Section 13 was abolished on his watch, he deserves no credit whatsoever for that fact, for the bill that repealed it was a private member’s bill that a Conservative MP had introduced and which had received enough support from both Conservative and Liberal Members to pass, despite the active opposition of the Prime Minister. It was that crazy bill, authorizing the government to invade the privacy of ordinary Canadians in the name of “fighting terrorism” that finally made me wash my hands of Harper altogether. Since the usual alternatives to the Conservatives in my riding were the NDP and Liberals, neither of which I would ever consider voting for, the Greens, and fringe parties even further to the left, I thought I would have no-one to vote for, and was fine with that, citing the precedent of Evelyn Waugh, who, after years of voting Conservative and having them fail to turn the clock back by even a second declared that he would abstain in the future on the grounds that it was presumptuous for a subject to advise his Sovereign in her choice of ministers. In the event, the Christian Heritage Party ran a candidate in my riding, for probably the first time ever, and as the candidate was a friend, I had someone to vote for after all.

This Dominion election is not shaping up to be any better than the last. The Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, aka Captain Airhead still has an astonishing amount of support considering that he has accomplished nothing in the last four years except something which should not have been done, i.e., the legalization of marijuana, that he has spent Canada hopelessly into debt, has aggressively sabotaged the economy of one of our provinces and seriously undermined national unity, has gone out of his way to sour our relations with India, the Philippines, China, the United States, and perhaps other countries that I don’t remember off the top of my head, has been found guilty of major ethical violations, been hit with three major scandals within the space of a year any one of which by itself would have ended the career of virtually any other Prime Minister, and been proven to be a total hypocrite on three matters that he is constantly preaching to other Canadians about.

When the Conservatives were contemplating whom they would choose to replace Stephen Harper as leader I offered my opinion that they should pick Don Cherry. Granted, he was not actually seeking the position, but I said they ought to draft him. Had they followed my semi-serious suggestion they would be way ahead in the polls right now. They did not, of course, nor did I expect them to and they put in Andrew Scheer instead. Commenting on that at the time, I said that it was a mix of the good and the bad, the good being that Scheer, in a survey of the potential leaders, had taken the strongest royalist stand, and that he was a staunch opponent of the carbon tax by which Trudeau pretends to be saving the world from “climate change” while in reality doing nothing but unnecessarily increasing the cost-of-living for those least able to afford such an increase. The bad was that Scheer was a Harper-style neo-conservative, which meant that he would probably wimp out on social issues and on free speech. Look at his performance in this election campaign so far and tell me that these predictions have not been borne out.

Consider Scheer’s response to attacks from the left on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage.

With regards to abortion, Scheer has told the press that while he, a Roman Catholic, is personally opposed to abortion, a government that he leads will neither move to limit abortion nor support any efforts by backbenchers to do so through means of private bills. This is the very definition of wimping out. Saying that you are personally opposed to abortion means absolutely nothing if you not only will not initiate any legislation on the matter but will deny your support to members of your party who wish to do so. Indeed, there is no difference between this and the position that Justin Trudeau has held until very recently when, realizing that it was self-contradictory, he rejected the personal opposition to abortion and came out as being entirely pro-choice. Trudeau’s position, although it amounts to openly declaring his allegiance to the forces of evil, is the more honest of the two.

What Scheer should have told the press – and the Liberal, NDP, and Green leaders when they all ganged up on him and tried to pressure him into affirming the Satanic dogma that a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion – is the following:

You claim to be worried that I am going to re-open the debate on abortion but the truth is that there is nothing to re-open because the debate on abortion never occurred in the first place. Abortion was completely illegal in Canada until 1969, and I affirm what previous generations of Canadians believed, that taking the life of an unborn, innocent, baby is nothing less than cold-blooded murder and nobody, man or woman, has the right to commit murder. The present status quo, in which there are no legal restrictions on abortion whatsoever up to the very moment of birth and the taxpayer is required to pay for it, would have been regarded as abhorrent by previous generations of Canadians, and would be rejected by most living Canadians if they actually understood what the status quo is. We did not arrive at this status quo by means of a debate in which the pro-murder side, as the so-called pro-choice side ought properly to be called, won. We arrived at where we are today, because the father of the current Prime Minister changed the law in 1969 to allow for abortions in exceptional circumstances, and then turned our Supreme Court into an American-style kritarchy in 1982, which then used the changes he had made to our abortion laws as a pretext for ruling those laws to be unconstitutional. That Parliament, which the Supreme Court in the same ruling said ought to pass new abortion legislation, has failed to do so for thirty-one years, is not due to there being any sort of general consensus in favour of the status quo but to the bullying tactics of the leaders of the progressive parties and their echo chambers in the media. These tactics are designed to prevent the debate that you falsely claim is over from ever happening. It is your tactics and not my views that are unacceptable in a civilized country like ours and I am and here and now calling you out on them and demanding that you cease and desist immediately. We are going to have that debate whether you like it or not and the fact that you are so desperate to prevent it from happening shows that you are not at all as confident of the claims of your own side as you pretend to be.

That is how Scheer ought to be talking. The same speech, mutatis mutandis, is also the appropriate response to the progressive attacks on him for his views on same-sex marriage.

Michael Wharton, who wrote the “Peter Simple” column for the Daily Telegraph for decades, frequently referred to what he called the “Great Semantic Shift” by which opinions on several matters “which were once held by the majority and described as ‘moderate’, ‘of the centre’ or merely ‘patriotic’ have gradually come to be described first as ‘right-wing’, then as ‘extreme right-wing’, then as ‘lunatic fringe’ and finally as ‘fascist’” (1) Others would describe the same phenomenon as a leftward shift in the Overton Window. The kind of bullying described above is the means by which this shift has been accomplished and right-of-centre parties have a duty to confront it head on and call it out for the thuggery it is. Otherwise, they will themselves be constantly drawn further to the left. As John O’Sullivan famously put it “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” (2)

The leadership of the Conservative Party evidently believe that doing the opposite of what I have been suggesting is the strategy that is going to put them back into government. That is absurd. Either you present the electorate with a real alternative to progressivism or you end up competing with the Liberals, NDP, and the Greens for the progressive vote which would far more naturally go to one of these other parties. With Trudeau’s dismal record as Prime Minister, the humiliating collapse of his reputation from one of international celebrity to that of the laughing stock of the whole world, and scandal after scandal after scandal, the Conservatives ought to be so far ahead in the polls as to make their victory in the upcoming election a foregone conclusion.

Of course, it does not help matters that Scheer has gotten himself embroiled in a scandal of his own with regards to his citizenship. When the Toronto Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein asked him recently “On dual citizenship, why wouldn’t you have dealt with that before the election?” he answered:

Honestly, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal … I know many, many people have dual citizenship for many different countries … The very first time I was ever asked that question I answered it truthfully and honestly.

I believe Scheer when he says he didn’t think it was a big deal. Sadly, that is the problem. For most of my lifetime (3) Canada has permitted dual citizenship with the United States. This change was made by a Liberal government – the government of the present Prime Minister’s father – and is an example of the decay of the very national principles for which the Conservatives, of all parties, ought to stand.

Here is how I worded the problem in a comment on a post at the Patriactionary blog the other day:

The law should not allow for someone to have this kind of dual citizenship. It is a contradiction. Canada is a parliamentary monarchy built on the sound, pre-modern, Christian principle of allegiance to our reigning Sovereign. The United States is a republic built upon the evil, Satanic, and thoroughly modern anti-principle of rejection of that allegiance and arrogant assertion of the “sovereignty” of an autocratic “people”. (4) No one can be a true citizen of both. Dual citizenship between Canada and any other Commonwealth monarchy is no contradiction. Dual citizenship between the United States on the one hand and any Communist country on the other, is no contradiction, shocking as that will be to most Americans to hear. Dual citizenship between these two sets of polities is an absolute contradiction and the Conservatives, of all parties, ought to look on this particular kind of phony dual citizenship with repugnance. (5)

I don’t have much else to add on that subject and so will leave it at that and move on to my final observation about this election.

Two weeks prior to the last Dominion election I posted an essay entitled “The Election Issue That Wasn’t”. The issue in question was immigration. In it I said the following:

It is not an election issue for the same reason it has not been an election issue in previous elections – no party dares raise the issue for fear of being labelled racist…The only way this matter will ever be brought to a vote is if one of the parties breaks with the consensus of the others and makes it an election issue. Despite there being plenty of reasons for the Conservative, New Democrat, and Green parties to do so, none seem to possess courage enough to weather the accusations of racism that would come their way if they did, and so immigration remains the election issue that wasn’t.

This time around someone has decided to make it an election issue. That someone is Maxime Bernier who was narrowly defeated by Andrew Scheer in the Conservative Party’s leadership race. Subsequent conflict between Scheer and Bernier over the latter taking far more right-wing positions than the former was comfortable with led to Bernier leaving the Conservatives and founding a new party with an unfortunate, Communist/American-sounding name, the People’s Party of Canada.

On Sunday, someone slipped a card outlining the party’s platform under my windshield while at church. Which is good, because the media have been conspiring to keep the public uninformed as to that platform. The entire platform on the card is exactly what I would have liked to see from the Conservatives. Here is the section on immigration:

“On Immigration the PPC will:
*keep Canada safe and say “no” to illegal immigration;
* focus on what unites Canadians instead of on diversity;
*respect Canada’s constitution, history, and heritage;
*focus on Canada’s economic needs when setting immigration policy;
*reduce immigration to 250, 000 per year; and
*increase resources to vet immigrants.

To all of which I give a hearty amen.

My church is in the next riding over from the one in which I live and vote and in which I have seen no sign of a PPC candidate. It is nice to know that someone is finally taking a stand for all the right things however, whether I have an opportunity to vote for them or not.

(1) I have taken the words quoted from a column entitled “Extremism” reprinted on page 36 of Peter Simple’s Century, The Claridge Press, 1999, but he made this observation far more than once.
(2) John O’Sullivan, “O’Sullivan’s First Law”, National Review, October 27, 1989. Also extremely relevant is (Robert) Conquest’s Second Law, which O’Sullivan cites in the article “The behavior of an organization can best be predicted by assuming it to be controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies”
(3) I am five years younger than Justin Trudeau and three years older than Andrew Scheer. The law recognizing dual citizenship went into effect a couple of months prior to my first birthday.
(4) This is very strong language but I stand by it. Fr. Seraphim Rose, the American Russian Orthodox hieromonk wrote the following “We have already seen, in the preceding chapter, that the principal form government took in union with Christian Truth was the Orthodox Christian Empire, wherein sovereignty was vested in a Monarch, and authority proceeded from him downwards through a hierarchical, social structure. We shall see in the next chapter, on the other hand, how a politics that rejects Christian Truth must acknowledge ‘the people’ as sovereign and undertand authority as proceeding from below upwards, in a formally ‘egalitarian’ society. It is clear that one is the perfect inversion of the other; for they are opposed in their conceptions both of the source and of the end of government.” Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1994, 2018, p.28. This entire book was originally the seventh chapter of Rose’s never-completed magnus opus The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God. The “preceding chapter” and “next chapter” referred to in the quote are the preceding and following chapters in the larger work. This was written before his ordination and so the book is credited to him as “Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose”.
(5) Upon further consideration, I would have to revise the statement that “Dual citizenship between the United States on the one hand and any Communist country on the other, is no contradiction”, for while the principles of the American republic and Communist “peoples’ republics” are far closer to each other than either is to the sound, royalist, Loyalist principles on which our country was originally founded, it occurs to me that with republics of any sort, it is probably a contradiction to be a citizen of more than one.

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