Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber may have been tactless when he spoke of the “stupidity of the American voter,” but I suspect he might have trotted out the same insult had he surveyed the West in general or the Canadian electoral scene in particular. After all, Canada, a comparatively peaceable country that regards itself as an “honest broker” in international affairs and a beacon of cultural—and multicultural—enlightenment, is fundamentally no different from other Western countries marching down the Hayek Highway. I have written before of the collective foolishness of a presumably educated nation installing a majority Liberal government to manage its affairs despite the readily available evidence of the social and economic malaise that left/liberal politics have inflicted on Western democracies. A cursory reconnaissance of the U.S., the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Scandinavian countries and others should have sounded a clear warning to Canadians, or at any rate to anyone still capable of cerebral functioning.
But no. We fell for the media hatefest against the Conservative party and its leader Stephen Harper, while subscribing to our own version of “hope and change” as represented by the jejune and deceptive Justin Trudeau and his troupe of trendy mediocrities strutting on the national stage. How could we have travelled this route? As David Mamet points out in The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, we “reject any request for information about the actual mechanics of this ‘Change,’ by referring to ‘Hope’.” Unfortunately, hope is not a policy or a platform, and it is certainly not an expression of a practicable future. It should come as no surprise, then, that electoral promises have been duly and rapidly broken in favor of vanity projects and that a host of destructive policies have been legislated, or are about to be legislated. To take a number of examples:
- By introducing Bill C-14, the Liberals have reified their advocacy for physician-assisted dying, depriving doctors and health professionals of moral choice on the issue. Claiming a “deep respect” for Parliament, they have nevertheless imposed substantial limits on debating time.
- Trudeau is eager to engineer a change to our “first past the post” electoral system, replacing it with one of a wide variety of possible reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation and online voting. The proposed reforms, based on vote transferability and leftist coalitions, would both introduce an element of needless complexity into the electoral process and, in Canada’s multiparty system, which leans collectively to the left, virtually ensure a permanent Liberal majority. A transformation this vast should require a national referendum, but Trudeau’s minister of Democratic Institutions—a label straight out of Orwell—cites a Twitter hashtag #electoralreform as sufficient reason to sidestep a plebiscite. The 30-year-old, out-of-her-depth, Afghan-born, newly created Minister Maryam Monsef is hostile to referenda because they supposedly exclude the “marginalized.” As National Post columnist Rex Murphy comments, “Evidently, women, people of color, the disabled—build your own list—are allergic to voting in a referendum.” But she is merely doing the bidding of her leader, who intends to strike a committee, in which Canada’s one conservative party will be outnumbered 9 to 3 by left-oriented parties, to determine the best way to implement what is nothing less than a political coup. The Liberals have recently shown signs of relenting on the referendum issue, but the situation reveals their arrogant disregard of the people they presumably answer to.
- The Liberals deny that they inherited a balanced budget from the previous Conservative government and have now projected a $30 billion debt, sure to increase in the future, that will serve not only as a fiscal drain on the present but as an economic drogue on generations to come.
- Trudeau eliminated selective income splitting for families, a measure ostensibly intended to deprivilege the “wealthy” and thus burnish the party’s popular image, but obviously designed to work against the traditional family structure by making it more costly to sustain the stay-at-home wife/mother arrangement. Cost, however, is not a personal consideration for Trudeau, as it happens, heir to a multi-million dollar trust fund. The nannies looking after his children will soak the Canadian taxpayer $100,000 per annum. Indeed, when he visited Washington to confer with Obama, he was accompanied by a 44-member entourage consisting of celebrities, fundraisers, in-laws and, of course, the nannies, at taxpayers’ expense.
- Trudeau has enthusiastically endorsed the feminist agenda and established a gender-balanced cabinet, irrespective of merit or competence. The embarrassing spectacle that Chrystia Freeland, minister of International Trade, made of herself on Bill Maher's show is no accident. We can expect more of such sophomoric ineptitude in the years ahead. A government that eschews proven or demonstrable talent in favor of gender parity, much like our current universities, and hires or appoints on the basis of sex is monstrously irresponsible.
- To strengthen their “social justice” credentials as the party for the times, the Liberals, who long ago jumped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon, have, additionally, projected Bill C-16 providing for an up to two-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of fomenting “hate propaganda” against transgenders. The word “hate” clearly furnishes enormous latitude for interpretation and renders critical discourse problematic and even dangerous, now that the Criminal Code is about to be amended. It seems that freedom of expression contracts with every new piece of social legislation, by no means astonishing in a country whose left/liberal Supreme Court has already pronounced that truth is no defense in cases where offense is given to marginalized groups or individuals.
- No less damaging, Trudeau’s well-documented sympathy for Islam has resulted in the importation of many thousands of so-called “Syrian” refugees, all improperly vetted, who will swell the welfare rolls, glut an already grossly dysfunctional single-payer medical network, further disrupt a progressively concessionary educational system, and create more social havoc in the form of Sharia ghettoes and eruptions of Muslim-inspired violence. Bet on it. As Muslim reformer Tarek Fatah reports in the Toronto Sun, Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell accused him of lying and of Islamophobia (!) when Fatah testified to the Senate about Canadian mosques that feature seditious preaching against secular democracy, about Israel as “useless garbage,” and about the necessity of spilling blood. “While this was unfolding,” he continues, the Trudeau government “had authorized a $200,000 grant to a southern Ontario mosque with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
In moving decisively to the left and bringing in programs that will inevitably fray the economic fabric of the country while diluting its traditional substance, Trudeau boasts that “Canada is back”—a slogan, Murphy writes, “that’s saccharine and weirdly jingoistic at the same time,” as if his election were “a victory, not for [the] party—which it was—but for the country itself.” Such hubris is both typical and unforgivable.