Canadian Liberalism Is Dead & The Liberals Are The Ones Who Killed It
By Spencer Fernando, Exclusive to the National Citizens Coalition
Canadian Liberalism is dead.
And the Liberals are the ones who killed it.
No, I’m not talking about the Liberals as a party, as their hold on their core base (about 28-30% of the electorate) remains solid even as they decline in popularity more broadly.
I’m talking about the idea of liberalism – in the classic sense of the word – having any connection to the Liberal Party as it exists today.
Now, it’s no coincidence that ‘liberalism’ and ‘liberty’ sound similar. Liberalism and liberty were supposed to be inextricably linked.
Liberalism once stood for a focus on individual rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, economic freedom, and limits on government power. In many parts of the world, it still does.
But not in Canada. Not anymore.
The death of Canadian liberalism has been caused by the Liberal Party’s transformation into a personality cult centred around Justin Trudeau.
Had Justin Trudeau turned out to be who he campaigned as in 2015, this wouldn’t have been as big of a problem.
Remember Justin Trudeau’s ‘Canadian Liberty’ speech? He portrayed himself as a fan of freedom and as someone who was skeptical about the use of government power. His ‘three small deficits’ promise also seemed to many Canadians like a small but temporary deviation from balanced budgets.
That ‘Canadian Liberty’ speech was juxtaposed with his praise of Communist China’s ‘basic dictatorship.’ At the time, the comment was dismissed by most as just a mangled attempt to criticize Prime Minister Stephen Harper (realizing how bad his comment looked Trudeau tried to backtrack and claim it was Harper who wanted the centralized power of China’s government).
The question was whether ‘Canadian Liberty’ or ‘China’s Basic Dictatorship’ more accurately represented Trudeau’s real worldview.
Now, over seven years later, we know the answer.
Whatever else could be said about past Liberal Leaders (excluding Trudeau’s father of course) is that despite their flaws you could at least assume they tilted a bit more to the individualist side rather than the collectivist side.
At the end of the day, they generally believed that the basic values of Western civilization – free speech, individual rights, limited government, and fiscal responsibility – were good values.
The same was true – even more so – for the Conservatives. Objectively, Stephen Harper was the most ‘pro-liberty’ Prime Minister Canada has had in decades. Taxes were cut, the budget was balanced – even after a massive financial crisis – the media remained independent, and individual rights were preserved. The attack on law-abiding gun owners also ceased, with the government showing greater respect for the private property of law-abiding Canadians.
So, what makes Justin Trudeau different?
What sets him apart from past Conservative & past Liberal leaders?
The answer is simple: Justin Trudeau is a collectivist, not an individualist.
Justin Trudeau wasn’t joking or flubbing an attack line when he praised Communist China’s dictatorship. He was saying what he really believed. He was articulating – however poorly – his vision of the role of government.
A basic dictatorship “gets stuff done.”
And that is indeed true.
A basic dictatorship can get a lot of stuff done, since it doesn’t have to contend with human rights, individual freedom, human dignity, opposition, a free press, and private property.
It’s easy to get a lot of stuff done in those circumstances, though those things tend to be quite appalling.
The collectivist mindset is all about subordinating the individual to the ‘collective,’ which is embodied in the government. Everybody lives for everybody else. Wanting your own success or your own wealth is ‘selfish.’ The government exists to keep the ‘selfish’ in check. This isn’t a vision of government as a servant, it’s a vision of government as a ruler.
The ‘collective good’ – as determined by the head of the government of course – is to be pursued at all costs, and the pesky ‘individuals’ who get in the way are to be marginalized, silenced, or even punished.
Collectivism claims to have utopian ends, but uses dystopian means to achieve them, and that leads to a dystopia. But the collectivist leaders are certain the suffering – which is always somehow avoided by those very same collectivist leaders – is worth it because the suffering is ‘necessary’ to reach the utopian end state.
You’ll notice that you can’t really reason with collectivists because they see themselves as beyond reason. Their intentions – not the consequences of their actions – are what matter most to them. You can show Steven Guilbeault all the charts in the world indicating that the impact of Canada’s anti-energy sector policies and carbon tax is outdone by a mere fraction of China’s expanded coal power usage, but it doesn’t matter. He’s not arguing rationally. He’s arguing from – in his mind – a position of moral superiority and as the vanguard of a utopian future. He’s ‘saving the planet,’ so what is a bit of economic suffering for Canadians in the face of his purity of intention?
You can see that mindset at work in the Liberal government, and in Liberal partisans who have decided to go all-in on Trudeau’s collectivist agenda.
At their recent policy convention, the Liberals opposed balancing the budget, supported the implementation of a ‘Universal Basic Income’ (taking money from productive Canadians and giving it to those who chose not to produce). Thus, fiscal responsibility is dead and gone in that party.
Amazingly, that’s not even the worst of it.
The Liberals also approved a policy calling on the government to ban reporting that doesn’t have “sources that can be traced.”
It’s as bad as it sounds.
It’s exactly as it sounds.
Such a policy would make the journalism that exposed China’s election interference illegal. Those reports would never have been released. We never would have known what China was doing.
News outlets would have to expose their sources to the government, meaning an end to whistleblowing and an end to freedom of the press. It is the next step of a process that Trudeau has long been pursuing with media bailouts, the massive expansion of the CBC, and legislation like Bill C-11 and C-18 – the transformation of the Canadian media into a Communist China-style appendage of the state propaganda apparatus.
Most disturbingly, it wasn’t only Justin Trudeau pushing for this. It was his own party members who wanted it.
This is why I say Canadian liberalism is dead, and why it should be obvious to all of us that it’s the Liberals who killed it.
The Liberal Party of Canada is now a full-blown collectivist party, intent on imposing a neo-Communist vision on the country and wiping out the pro-freedom, pro-liberty foundations upon which Canada was built.
Spencer Fernando is one of the most popular and prolific political voices in Canada. He is a Campaign Fellow for the National Citizens Coalition. For more from Spencer, visit his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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