That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
William Butler Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium
Canada has signed away its future. A country that once had a great deal going for it—abundant natural resources; a vibrant energy sector; a viable debt-to-GDP ratio; a tradition of civic decorum maintained even during a brief period of Quebec-secessionist discord; an aversion to foreign adventures; and a commendable standard of living, among the highest in the world—has squandered its many advantages and blessings in an excess of poor electoral decisions and civic indifference to its national welfare.
Of course, like any country, Canada has had its share of problems—language issues between French and English, a much-abused, asymmetrical equalization or fund-transferring formula between provinces, the Native victimhood industry—but it had managed to deal with them without protracted or endemic violence such as one sees in many other nations.
But there is no doubt that the country is dying. One has watched a steady disintegration of national unity and prosperity over the last generation. Some place the shipwreck of the country’s prospects with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program in 1980, the first move in the gradual destruction of Canada’s oil and gas producing regions, located primarily in the province of Alberta. Others target a dreary succession of incompetent, high-taxing prime ministers, culminating in the electoral victories of Justin Trudeau, inarguably the least qualified and most unpriministerial holder of high office in the entire history of Confederation.
The list of his misdemeanors, spendthrift excesses, and corrupt practices, circulated by Gordon Miller, a director of Canadians for Language Fairness, is unparalleled. We’ve had eccentrics in office many times, dating from the Father of Confederation John A. MacDonald, who was often in his cups. William Lyon MacKenzie King was a table rapper who communed with the spirits of his mother and his dog (though Michael Bliss in Right Honorable Men praises King as “Canada’s most highly-educated prime minister”). Pierre Trudeau posed as a sandal-wearing swinger and used his “swashbuckling hippie style” to advantage, effectively polarizing the nation. But nothing like the political reprobate and misfit Justin Trudeau has ever befallen this nation before. One recalls Canada’s 13th prime minister John Diefenbaker’s remark that “You can’t stand up for Canada with a banana for a backbone.” Nor with a banana anywhere else on your anatomy.
Under the younger Trudeau’s administrations, a perfect storm of destabilizing factors has struck the country. Rampant immigration from third-world nations, predominantly Muslim, has led to sporadic terror attacks, ghettoization, and a depletion of public funds. A punitive and unnecessary carbon tax looks likely to eviscerate the farming community, hamstring commerce and industry, and severely impact ordinary households. Radical feminism has taken root not only in public schools and universities but in the governing cabinet as well, leading to decisions based on ideology rather than pragmatism.
The son has bought into an exorbitant and unworkable fantasy of Green technology, in the process carrying out the father’s scheme to sabotage the energy sector that once sustained the nation. The carbon-net-zero Bill C-12, written by a cabal of radical environmentalists, will impoverish Canadians who depend on energy production and delivery, including the many spin-off businesses. Bill C-48, which imposes a moratorium on oil tankers and landlocks Alberta and neighboring Saskatchewan, and Bill C-69, which focuses on the controversial issue of “climate change” at the expense of proven economic development, threaten to become nation-killers.
Under the current Trudeau, Canada’s deficit has risen incommensurably, yielding the first credit rating downgrade in 25 years. Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper had cut the deficit to $0.8 billion. Trudeau has hiked it into the $400 billion range. Pleading COVID is no excuse—the deficit was already riding the escalator. The scale of the national debt is equally if not more discouraging. From a figure of approximately $1 billion when Harper left office, it has now soared to $1.4 trillion and counting.
Compounding the problem, capital investment is fleeing the country. As Asia Pacific Post notes, “Canada has plummeted in ‘competitiveness’ report cards such as the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report where [Canada] dropped from fourth place in 2007 to 23rd in 2020…The bottom line is that Canada is viewed by Canadian and foreign investors as an inhospitable place to invest…That’s the tragedy of Canada.” Clearly, the economic trajectory is unsustainable.
The travesty shows no sign of ending, especially as foreign policy has become subservient to Communist China’s interests, to the point of training the Chinese military in the tactics of winter warfare. Under Trudeau, who is on record saying he admires China’s “basic dictatorship,” Canada has progressively become a CCP client and a Marxist quasi-garrison state. As Jordan Schachtel writes in the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), Canada “has mutilated the free press while simultaneously transforming into a Chinese state colony.”
The response to the COVID pandemic has been to follow the edicts of the W.H.O., which serves the interests of Beijing. Thus, we are saddled with surging mask mandates and increasingly harsh lockdowns resembling those in America’s blue states, producing economic suffering and what we might call cultural recession as citizens turn against one another, children lose years of education, and the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence are further weakened. In the words of political historian Conrad Black, “Trudeau’s promise of a green COVID government ‘reset’ is a terrifying idiocy as a sequel to his insane, lugubrious and authoritarian bungling of the COVID problem.”
But perhaps the bungling is deliberate. Canadians returning from abroad, even if vaccinated, are herded into commandeered Radissons and Mariotts at personal expense, up to several thousands of dollars for a three-day stay. According to reports, travelers who subsequently test negative will be sent home to continue the mandatory 14-day quarantine and remain under increased surveillance. Those who test positive will be immediately quarantined in government-designated facilities. Such measures—among others—are an excellent way to tame a country’s citizens and make them think twice before planning a prison break. In fact, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been routinely violated by the Liberal government, leaving ordinary people helpless before illegal coercion reminiscent of a police state. One thinks of the Cormac McCarthy novel (and Coen brothers’ film), No Country for Old Men, in which the sheriff-protagonist, a decent and principled man, feels that crime and corruption have reached a level where it can no longer be contained or resisted.
Meanwhile, the fire sale of the national patrimony proceeds apace. The re-interpretation of Canadian history as a series of colonial predations, an unchecked despoliation of the environment, a reign of settler incontinence, and a spectacle of unbridled racism is indicative of a political and intellectual elite that has lost faith in the country and of a largely compliant and ignorant electorate willing to sell their country cheaply. The ubiquitous mask may as well be covering the eyes. The problems, fiscal and cultural, are mounting by the day but far too many people are willing to kick Canada down the road, believing that the plexiform bubble we live in will protect us from the virus of civil and economic collapse.
Trudeau has boasted that Canada is the world’s first “post-national state,” a country with “no core identity.” A country that is apparently not a country and that has no core identity is surely a country without a future. Which is to say, Canada is no country for young men. Americans need to take a good look up north. Should there be no course correction in the conduct of public affairs and the extravagance of economic policy now bedeviling the Republic, it’s their tomorrow they are witnessing.