You can rely on Brian Lilley for stupid columns, and the Sun published a corker yesterday. I won't link to it but the title is Canada doesn't need fixing and it's about how Canada needs fixing. Apparently Canadian progressives want the country to be more like Greece, and we all know how that's working out for them! Lilley and his fellow travellers look south for their policy inspiration, because things are peachy in the land of liberty, apple pie, crushing national debt, and an unofficial unemployment rate hovering around 20%.
But that's not really what I wanted to write about today, I'm fairly sure Lilley's idiocy is generally acknowledged. Instead I want to scratch an itch I've had for some time. In his column Lilley suggests that Canada needs to get back to its heritage of liberty and limited government. This is a meme the new right has picked up over the past decade or so. It has been given a sheen of academic legitimacy thanks to Brian Lee Crowley's silly free market manifestos and received popular attention through The Macdonald-Laurier Institute "think" tank. Crowley has made Wilfred Laurier the hero in his rewriting of Canadian history, and, keeping with the ahistorical theme, completely transformed one of Canada's greatest Prime Ministers into someone almost completely unrecognisable.
A moderate late-19th Century liberal has mutated into a radical post-1980s liberal, a Reagan, a Harper, a Palin. People seem to be buying into it. Even relatively intelligent liberal commentators have adopted Laurier as their new patron saint. The thing is though, it's not who Laurier was, at least not in his policy. Laurier continued the National Policy. He went on a spending spree that's considered a bit much even by today's standards. Canada's protectionist policy remained in place and even proposed reciprocity was watered down. The settlement of the west continued under the federal government's hand. Aside from the rhetoric and the appeal to Quebec, Laurier was a continuation of the policies that built the country.
It's sad that Crowley and company can get away with this nonsense.
3 weeks ago