ALBERTA’S LEFT TURN

Alberta’s Left Turn

 
by Gerry T. Neal
I had not been following the recent provincial election campaign in Alberta. I found it interesting, therefore, when Kevin Michael Grace over at The Ambler predicted an NDP win shortly before the election, but I was not really surprised when this prediction came true. Mr. Grace has frequently demonstrated his acute insight into the myriad of aspects of Canadian politics and the NDP and Alberta are not as odd of a match as many people seem to think. Capitalism and socialism have never really been polar opposites, they are more the opposite sides of a single coin, perhaps the plugged nickel. Both think that the acquisition of money is the purpose for human existence, with the difference between the two being that capitalists think that money should be obtained through the free exchange of goods, services, and labour whereas socialists think it is better for the government to take money from those who already have it and give it to other people. I don’t wish to trivialize this difference – the former, being relatively the more honest of the two, is clearly to be preferred by sane, decent, and normal people over the latter, the preference of crooks, scoundrels, and fools – but the difference pales in comparison to that between the shared assumptions of capitalism and socialism and the truth that there are many things more important in life than making money.

For as long as I can remember I have heard Alberta described as Canada’s “most conservative province” but I have long questioned the accuracy of this designation. It might have been true at one time. In the fall of 1936, Stephen Leacock, the famous Canadian professor, economist, social commentator, and humorist began a lecture tour of the Western provinces and he described his experiences in My Discovery of the West: A Discussion of East and West In Canada, which was published by Thomas Allen in Toronto in 1937. In his ninth chapter, “Monarchy in the West”, Leacock wrote that:

People who know nothing about it always imagine that the West of Canada is far less British than the East. Apart from the Maritime Provinces this is not so. It is even the reverse of truth.

From this he went on to argue that the large number of Americans who had moved up to the Canadian West between 1905 and 1914 made “no great difference as to the British connection and British institutions” because Americans had been British originally, and were reverting to their roots. He put it in these memorable words:

It used to be said that the last shot fired in defence of British institutions in America would be fired by a French-Canadian. It looks now as if there would be one more shot after his. It will be from the gun of an American whose name will be something like John Bull McGregor. His people will have been among the McGregors of Mississippi and the Bulls of the New York police: so he won’t miss what he shoots at.

If Leacock’s assessment of 1936 Alberta was accurate, that those settling the province valued Canada’s British institutions, had not a trace of republicanism, and that the former Americans among them would be the ones to fire that last shot on behalf of the Crown, then it might have been true to say, at that time, that Alberta was the most conservative province in the Dominion. That was then. This is now.

In Canada, a conservative is someone who believes in and supports the traditional British institutions of this country. This was historically true even of conservative French Canadians – and until the 1960s French Canadians were very conservative indeed – for while their primary concern might have been the preservation of their language, Roman Catholicism, and their traditional way of life, they understood that these things had been guaranteed by the Crown since 1774 and that had all of British North America gone over to the American Republic in the Revolution their language, religion, and culture would not have survived. The two best articulations of the political meaning of conservatism in the Canadian context, John Farthing’s Freedom Wears a Crown and John G. Diefenbaker’s These Things We Treasure, the first by a central Canadian who grew up in Ontario and Quebec, the second by a Westerner, who grew up and practiced law in Saskatchewan before entering federal politics, both argued that Canada’s British institutions were the foundation and framework of our traditional rights and freedoms and that the latter stand and fall with the former.

If Alberta were the most conservative province in Canada that would mean that the ideas in the preceding paragraph would be more prevalent in Alberta than anywhere else in the country. Is this the case? Hardly. Indeed, one of the most curious things about many who identify as conservative in the province of Alberta is an inability to put two and two together and come up with four on this matter.

From 1963, when Lester Pearson became Prime Minister until 1984 when Pierre Trudeau stepped down as Prime Minister, the Liberal Party of Canada waged an aggressive war against Canada’s British institutions and traditions. They removed the designation “Royal” from many institutions including the post office and the navy. They insisted that we needed a new flag of our own, even though the Canadian Red Ensign had been declared our country’s flag by Order-In-Council in 1945, three days after the end of the war in which it had been baptized our national flag in the blood of the soldiers who fought under it in our country’s finest hour. It was the Union Jack in the canton that made the old flag objectionable to them. These are just two examples, many more could be provided. At the same time the Liberal Party was attacking Canada’s British heritage and institutions it was also attacking and undermining the basic traditional freedoms of Canadians. 

 
Frederick Fromm's photo.
n the early 1970s they added a law against “hate propaganda” to the Criminal Code, which set a bad precedent for freedom of speech by making certain types of speech illegal on the basis of the thoughts expressed within them. Existing laws governing speech, such as the law against incitement, only made speech illegal when it called upon people to commit violence and break the law. Then, the Liberals passed the Canadian Human Rights Act, an attack on freedom of association patterned on the American Civil Rights Act of the previous decade, which further attacked freedom of speech with its chilling Section 13, designating hate speech as an illegal act of discrimination and defining it so broadly that virtually anything offensive to those protected against discrimination would qualify.
 
Finally, when they repatriated the British North America Act, they tacked onto it a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that under the guise of securing for us the rights and freedoms we already possessed by prescription as subjects of the Crown, nullified those rights and freedoms. (1) These attacks upon traditional and basic prescriptive rights and liberties, producing the oppressive politically correct atmosphere that Albertan “conservatives” rightly object to, were carried out at the same time and by the same people who were ripping apart our British heritage, proving the analysis of traditional Canadian Tories like Farthing and Diefenbaker, that our freedoms stand and fall with our British traditions, institutions, and heritage, to be correct.

Yet, many Albertan “small c conservatives” don’t seem to get this. To the last man they have an intense loathing for Pierre Trudeau and the Liberal Party.  Yet, many of them show little interest in turning to Canada’s British institutions, traditions, and heritage. Indeed, I have known more than a few of them to approach our British heritage with an attitude of contempt scarcely distinguishable from Trudeau’s own. Royalism is the sine qua non of conservatism in Canada, a non-negotiable, and Pierre Trudeau was notorious for, among other things, his disrespect for Her Majesty, yet you will encounter in Alberta, far more than anywhere else in Canada, people who claim to be Trudeau-hating conservatives but who are republicans rather than royalists. Self-identified Albertan “conservatives” tend to be continentalists – sometimes to the point of being annexationists – and free traders, both of which, ironically, are positions that historically belonged to the Liberal Party. It is further ironic that free trade was only embraced by the Conservative Party in the 1980s under the leadership of Brian Mulroney, the Conservative leader most hated in Alberta, whose misgovernment drove traditional Conservative Party voters, not only in Alberta but throughout the West, into the Reform Party of Canada.

This does not sound like a conservative province – more like a belligerently regionalist province with a chip on its shoulder. Localism is an important element of conservative thought, but in a form similar to the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity, never anti-patriotism.

Where then does Alberta’s “conservative” reputation come from?

Is it the most socially conservative province?

When one thinks of social conservatism – in the sense of opposition to the moral and social disintegration that has taken place in the United States, Canada and the rest of the Western world since World War as manifest in such things as the collapse of social authority, no-fault divorce, birth control, abortion, the sexual revolution, cohabitation without marriage, serial marriages, alternative sexualities, and the like – three voices come to mind as having spoken louder on behalf of social conservatism in Canada than any other – George Grant, William Gairdner, and Ted Byfield. All three were from central Canada.

Yes, that’s right, all three. Ted Byfield, the founder of the Alberta Report which joined Christian social conservatism with a defiant Western and particularly Alberta populism, was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. That, in itself, does not perhaps say much, especially since moral and social decay, and worse, government brainwashing of the young against traditional norms, has gone further in Ontario, under the premierships of McGuinity and Wynne than anywhere else in the country. Nevertheless, it is in Alberta that the Rev. Stephen Boissoin was dragged before the Human Rights Tribunal – they have one of these odious kangaroo courts in Alberta too – for writing a letter to the editor, criticizing the actions of the politicized homosexual movement.

More substantially, Albertans more than any other Canadians, love American popular culture and oppose any attempt on the part of the national government to protect domestic Canadian culture. While our cultural protectionist policies have been a complete failure, and indeed have done harm rather than good, my point is that there is nothing that has done more to erode traditional social institutions, the authority of parents, teachers, and churches, and moral standards, than Hollywood films, pop and rock music, and television programming. A social conservatism that is wed to an objection, at the theoretical level, to cultural protectionism on the liberal grounds of market freedom, is a social conservatism that has laid down, raised the white flag, and given up.

The other grounds on which some have claimed that Alberta is the most conservative province are those of fiscal and economic conservatism. Fiscal conservatism is the idea that the state should live within its means and not export its costs into the future for posterity to pay. The economic ideas regarded as being conservative in Alberta are actually economic liberalism – free markets, free trade, and low taxes to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, promoting economic growth that creates jobs and generates wealth. These two ideas are not always compatible. The goal of economic liberalism is constant growth so it always calls for lower taxes, whereas fiscal conservatism recognizes that to meet its goal, of not creating burdens for future generations, taxes may sometimes need to be raised in the present. It has been my impression that for most Albertan conservatives when these two ideas and goals clash, it is economic liberalism that wins out over fiscal conservatism. At any rate, actual economic conservatism is a variation of economic liberalism called economic nationalism, in which the government passes laws and taxes that favour and protect domestic production, thus exporting its costs not to future generations but to foreign companies and countries, as an entrance fee for access to the national market. Needless to say this idea would go over like a ton of bricks in Alberta.

Which brings us back to what I said at the beginning about capitalism and socialism – they are not polar opposites, but two sides of the same coin. That Alberta, the bastion of economic liberalism in Canada, would flip the coin and a give a majority government to the socialist party of high taxes and even higher spending, the very opposite of fiscal conservatism, is less of a shock than it would have been had the province managed to put fiscally conservative economic patriots into power.

The NDP is about more than socialism, of course. It is also about feminism, abortion-on-demand, anti-white racism, climate change alarmism, the Orwellian thought control that is political correctness, and the triumph of the abnormal over the normal and the average over the exceptional. Albertans will find to their horror that it is these latter things, even more than socialism, that they have in store for them under an NDP government.

The NDP is also, however, the most anti-Canadian of parties, when Canada is rightfully understood as the British country, confederated under the Crown in Parliament in 1867, upon a foundation rooted in Loyalism. The NDP wish to complete what the Pearson-Trudeau Liberals started in the 1960s-1980s, and obliterate our British heritage completely, abolishing the upper chamber in Parliament, and severing the country’s ties to the monarchy. Had Alberta truly been the most conservative province in the country, the NDP’s contempt for Canada’s British traditions and institutions would have prevented them from ever giving the NDP a single seat. Many Albertans, however, chose to join what ideas they had that were fiscally or socially conservative, to a very unconservative anti-Canadian, anti-patriotism that is not that far removed from that of the NDP, making this election’s outcome much less of a surprise, although no less of a disaster.

(1) Section 33 effectively nullifies all the rights and freedoms listed in section 2, and sections 7 through 15.

Now Some Posties Want to Get into the Censorship Business

Now Some Posties Want to Get into the Censorship Business

Political correctness is a poison practised by meddlers. The latest effort by the pure of twisted of heart and empty of head to silence views they don’t like is a protest by some members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) against a populist local newspaper in the East End of Toronto called Your Ward News. The content that got the wannabe censors in a lather was a flyer for a new political party The New Constitution Party started by local personality James Sears.

 
CUPW, at its best is tied to the leftist New Democratic Party. In years gone by, it has also been home to a surprising number of communists.  Wikipedia notes: “CPC-ML members are active in several trade unions, particularly the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.” The precious dears at CUPW are worried they may be delivering “hate propaganda.”
 
Metro News (March 26, 2015) reports: “Canada Post workers are up in arms after they say they were forced to deliver a “hateful” flyer to some 4,500 homes in Toronto’s Beaches-East York neighbourhood. The newsletter, titled Your Ward News, features images of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne dressed up as Chairman Mao, questions the science behind vaccines and refers to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau as a ‘rabid anti-Semite who admired Hitler.’

‘We started getting calls from carriers as soon as it showed up,’ said Mark Brown with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers

A community newspaper called Your Ward News has created a conflict between the postal workers’ union and Canada Post management. ‘We believe that it could be hate mail,” said Mark Brown, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. ‘Our members are very concerned about delivering this type of mail.’

Flipping through the paper’s March issue, Brown takes exception to several images. A ‘Name That Nazi’ trivia game that edits a picture of late former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to put him in a Nazi uniform is one. He also points out another image, comparing John Tory to Olivia Chow, which superimposes the Mayor’s face onto his former competitor’s body.

The paper was formerly delivered by the paper’s own carriers, but a contract took effect this month leaving it in the hands of Canada Post. The union has asked that its members not be forced to carry it if they object to it. Brown says one carrier that expressed his opposition was given fewer issues to deliver, but told he wouldn’t be allowed to stop carrying them altogether.

‘We believe that our members should not be disciplined for raising legitimate concerns as it relates to hate mail,’ says Brown. A spokesperson for Canada Post told Global News in an email the magazine doesn’t fall within the corporation’s non-mailable matter guidelines.

‘We do not have the right to refuse a mail item because we or our employees object to its content,’  the statement read. ‘The content is the sole responsibility of the publisher, who is clearly identified in the newsletter. Anyone who has concerns about the content should either contact the publisher or simply dispose of it.’ In response to that, CUPW has asked Canada Post to cover the papers in non-transparent wrap, like they do for adult magazines.

The newsletter’s editor-in-chief, Leroy St. Germain, said critics are just upset about their political stance. ‘The unions are all friends with the NDP. I’ve been going after NDP candidates…It just seems to me like they’re all out of line,’ he said.

St. Germain says Your Ward News deals with opinion, and a bit of satire, not discrimination. He compares it to Charlie Hebdo overseas and says any Toronto mail carriers that refuse to carry it should be charged. ‘A postman has no right to be judging what’s in my mail or anybody else’s mail.” The paper is produced as a community flyer by the New Constitution Party of Canada, an unregistered party, led by James Sears; a former city council candidate who has said he will run in the next federal election as an independent. …

Canada Post is paid to distribute the paper to all addresses in a specific area whether people want it or not. The union says it has received at least one complaint about it from a customer.”