The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Moral Cowadice and Idolatry Among Today's Christian Leaders

Almost a century ago, poet and critic T. S. Eliot famously remarked “If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.” This was in a Cambridge University lecture given in 1939, on the eve of the war that was precipitated by the short-lived alliance between these rival alternatives to God, the text of which would be included in the book The Idea of a Christian Society. Seventeen years earlier a young Eliot had decried the cultural and spiritual bankruptcy of post-First World War Western Civilization in the poem “The Waste Land.” Five years later he had found the roots he had been looking for – note that he would later write the forward to Simone Weil’s The Need for Roots – when he converted to orthodox Christianity, joined the Church of England, and swore his oath of loyalty to the Crown becoming a British citizen. He had found the true path and in the words quoted above warned those who were pursuing materialistic ends and placing their hope in democracy of where their path would ultimately lead them.

It is just under eighty years since Eliot spoke those words and Western Civilization has not turned back to God in the interim. Indeed, it has become far more godless, materialistic and secular than anyone could have imagined back then, and in the process, despite Stephen Pinker’s recent arguments to the contrary, become far more crude, vulgar, and immoral. Sad to say, much of the blame for the state of our civilization belongs to the leaders of the church. If you read the historical and prophetic books of the Old Testament you will be struck by the number of times a particular cycle recurs – the leaders of God’s people go whoring after heathen idols, the people follow them into sin, and judgement and a curse comes upon them and their land as a result.

That the leaders of the church in our day and age were just as prone to lead their flocks into worshipping the false gods of the day as the leaders of the ancient Israelites are is evident in the moral blindness or cowardice that so many have displayed in their response to the recent events in Charlottesville even while tooting their own horns about their great courage in daring to resist the evil of white racism. It requires no courage whatsoever to speak out and condemn white racism in this era. All you have to do is go along with the mob. The true test of your moral courage is whether or not you dare to condemn the anti-white racism that hides behind the mask of anti-racism. Those who do so risk incurring the wrath of both the mob and the corporate globalists. The vast majority of church leaders, even among the supposedly orthodox, have failed this test badly. This is because they have bowed the knee to the false deity that presides over today’s pantheon of idols – the idol of diversity.

The events in Charlottesville as reported by the mainstream media seem to have produced a wide-spread breakdown in moral reasoning. Which is interesting because the disparity between the facts and the interpretation placed on those facts by the media is particularly glaring when it comes to this incident. We are told that because the “Unite the Right” rally was unambiguously pro-white and because neo-Nazi and KKK-types were unquestionably among the participants that all of those participating in the protest were white supremacists, and that therefore because of who they were, and because one of the counter protestors, Heather Heyer, was killed, it is organizers and participants of the rally who must be singled out for blame and moral condemnation over the violence that occurred that day. This is morally bankrupt nonsense. It confused consequences with culpability – just because the former were unevenly distributed between the protestors and counter protestors with the most severe consequence of death falling to one of the latter it does not follow in the slightest that in the allotment of blame the largest share must go to the former. Worse, it requires the premise that if a group’s views are regarded as repugnant or even if those views actually are repugnant, it is to be blamed for the violence that ensues when another group attacks them.

The facts of the case are these: the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally went through all the legal hoops to get a permit to hold a legal demonstration; the antifa showed up armed and masked with the intention of shutting the demonstration down with violence; the Charlottesville authorities declared a state of emergency and ordered the police to shut down the legal demonstration; the police forced the demonstrators to evacuate the park leaving them only one way out – through the antifa; and the antifa then attacked the demonstrators with baseball bats, clubs, homemade flamethrowers, and projectiles of various sorts. The man, James Alex Fields, who drove into the crowd injuring several and killing Heather Heyer may very well have been acting out of fear for his life rather than homicidal malice – that remains to be determined. What is clear, is that the bulk of the blame for this event going violent is to be divided between the Charlottesville authorities and the antifa.

Although the media have been consistently portraying the antifa as “counter protestors” it would be more accurate to call them terrorists. They do not show up to picket, hand out literature, and forcibly but peacefully express their disagreement with those they consider to be racists. They show up masked and armed, to intimidate, harass, and attack, to block access and shut down events. Although “antifa” is short for anti-fascist, in their tactics they bear a far closer resemblance to the thugs who followed Hitler and Mussolini than their opponents, which can be explained by the fact that they are generally fronts for Marxist-Leninist groups, Marxist-Leninism or Communism being the parent ideology of which Fascism and Nazism were mutant offspring. They claim they are fighting racism but you will never find them trying to shut down a lecture by a Marxist academic who calls for the abolition of whiteness or a concert by a rapper who explicitly calls for violence against whites in his lyrics. They show no sign of comprehending either that a racist might not be white or that a white might not be a racist but instead treat racist and white as if they are synonymous. This is itself, of course, a form of racism.

The voice of moral clarity in the aftermath of Charlottesville has been that of American President Donald J. Trump of all people. He unequivocally condemned white supremacism and neo-Nazism, but rightly distinguished between white supremacists and neo-Nazis on the one hand and those who were neither but participated in the rally to protest the erasure of history and the changing of culture. He did not shirk from calling out the antifa and allotting them the share of the blame that they so rightly deserve. This refreshing moral clarity, was sadly lacking among many Christian leaders.

Take Timothy J. Keller, for example. Keller is the founding pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. An apologist and the author of numerous books, Keller has something of a celebrity status among evangelical Protestants. In an article for The Gospel Coalition that came out the same day that President Trump gave his press conference, Keller began by asking the question:

How should Christians, and especially those with an Anglo-white background, respond to last weekend’s alt-right gathering in Charlottesville and its tragic aftermath?

Note the words “especially those with an Anglo-white background”. Keller is guilty of the very racism that he condemns so vehemently in this article. Indeed, he is guilty of the worst form of racism possible – racism against your own people.

Later in the article, Keller commits gross eisegesis when he reads the modern political discussion of race into St. Paul’s address to the Epicureans and Stoics at the Areopagus in Acts 17. The Apostle was not addressing the Greek idea that other peoples were barbarian, when he said that God had made “of one blood” every nation on the earth, but was establishing that the God he was preaching and Whom he identified with their “unknown God” was not a tribal deity but the One True God Who created the universe and to Whom all people owe worship. Furthermore, I find it difficult to believe that Keller does not know this and that this was an honest hermeneutical error on his part rather than sheer mendacity in order to pander to the spirit of the times.

Keller makes reference to “the idolatry of blood and country.” Keller has written extensively about idolatry in his book Counterfeit Gods. There too he refers to the idols of blood and country or race and nation. Now, I have no objection to what Keller says about this form of idolatry. Obviously blood, country, race, and nation can be made into idols, as the history of the early part of the last century proves all too well. Let us return to the quotation from T. S. Eliot with which I began this essay. “If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.” Hitler, was the very embodiment of the idolatry of blood, country, race and nation. Note, however, that Eliot saw another option for God-rejecters in Stalin.

What I don’t see anywhere in Keller’s article – or his book for that matter – is any condemnation of the idolatry of those who brought the violence to Charlottesville on August 12th – the antifa. Again, it is easy to rail against the idols of blood, country, race, and nation, for these are the idols of a century ago. These idols were popular in the early twentieth century, but when they devoured their worshippers in the bloodbath of the Second World War, twentieth century man rejected them. He did not, however, turn back to the true and living God, but erected yet another idol – the idol of diversity. It is this idol whom the Stalinistic antifa worship and barring a revival in which there is a mass turn back to the true God, she, by the time her cult has run its course, will have exacted more in the way of blood sacrifices from her worshippers than her predecessors ever did. It is this idol that the faithful and courageous man of God is called to speak out against in our day and age. This is precisely what Timothy Keller – and far too many other – Christian leaders refuse to do, preferring to bow their knee to the new idol, just as the “Positive Christianity” cult that Keller rightly condemns as heretical, prostituted itself to the idols of the Third Reich.

Orthodox Christian teaching is that God divided the nations at Babel but in the Kingdom of God outside of history (the Fall to the Second Coming) He will gather “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” before the throne of the Lamb. Within human history, the Kingdom of God is represented on earth by the church, the body of Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit, that accepts into its membership through baptism, anyone from any nation who believes in Jesus Christ. There is nothing in orthodox Christianity that requires us to support efforts to undo Babel politically, whether they be by dissolving the nations of the world into a global order of world federalism or by maximizing diversity within countries through mass immigration and then attempting to administer race relations bureaucratically. Indeed, to do this is to commit the utmost folly, to do the very thing most likely to exacerbate racial tensions, hostility, and violence. It is what the idolatry of diversity looks like.

Those who today are returning to the idols of blood, race, and nation are doing so because they have had a glimpse of the apocalyptic disaster that lies ahead of us if we continue down the path of the idolatry of diversity. Their solution is no solution – we must turn back to the True and Living God, through Him Who is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.” It is not likely that this will happen, however, if Christian leaders continue, like Timothy Keller, to whore around with the idol of diversity, and refusing to name the evil of anti-white racism disguised as antiracism, while hypocritically pretending to a moral courage they do not possess by reserving their vehement denunciations only for those evils the mob is howling after.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Brief Thoughts on Assorted Matters: Special Charlottesville Edition

- While I am, on principle, opposed to all republics and presidents - states should be headed by royal monarchs - I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and the Donald deserves much credit over his press conference the other day. How refreshing to hear someone tell the truth - that it was not only neo-Nazis and white supremacists participating in the protest of the tearing down of Robert E. Lee's statue, that the antifa counter protesters who unlike the "Unite the Right” crowd did not get a permit were violent thugs, that there was blame on both sides, and that the tearing down of the one statue could lead to the tearing down of others, such as Washington and Jefferson. The press were furious because finally someone who could not be silenced, no-platformed, or ignored was saying these things and exposing them for the unmitigated liars that they are.

- Progressives – in which category I would include John McCain and Mitt Romney - don’t like it that the Donald treated white nationalists and the antifa as moral equivalents. They are, in a sense, correct – the two are not moral equivalents – but not for the reason they think. The antifa are much, much, worse. Spare me the snivelling, hypocritical, handwringing about the one group being racist and the other being opposed to racism. “Antiracist” activists only ever seem to oppose racism when the racists are whites. This is itself a form of racism, racism against white people. The real moral difference between the two groups, is that the one went there to hold a peaceful demonstration after having obtained legal permission to do so, the other went there to shut down the other group with violence. It was one of their own that ended up dying from the violence that day but that does not alter the fact that they were the ones who turned it into a violent event and went there with the intention of doing so.

- In Canada today, those who honour our country’s British history, heritage, traditions, and institutions are frequently accused of being Nazis by the followers of the Trudeau Liberals’ cult of diversity. It was British Canada, of course, that went to war with the Third Reich in 1939, and it was because we were British that we did so. The architect of Canadian multiculturalism was a draft dodger who reputedly expressed his contempt for Canada’s war efforts by wearing a German army helmet and a swastika.

- There are only really two kinds of people in North America today that would – other than ironically or when portraying a role on film – goose step, wave a swastika flag, or wear a Nazi uniform or Klan robe. The first group is the mentally ill. Liberals ordinarily demand that we look upon members of this group with compassion and, if they happen to have committed a heinous crime like beheading a fellow passenger on a bus, excuse them, but they make an unprincipled exception in this case. The second group is government agent provocateurs. In Canada, for example, the composition of the Canadian Nazi Party of the 1970s and the Heritage Front of a couple of decades later, both resembled that of the World Council of Anarchists in G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, i.e., almost entirely government agents.

- If, for some reason, you actually wanted to radicalize white people to swell the ranks of a resurgent Nazi movement, the way to go about it would be to do exactly what the liberal left has been doing since 1945. You would reduce their percentage of the population in Western countries through ongoing large-scale immigration and blame them for all the woes of the world while denying them any legitimate means of protecting their collective interests by vehemently condemning any individual or group that attempts to speak for these as racist.

- If you take the way soi-disant “anti-racists” talk about white people and substitute “Jews” for “whites” you will end up with something that sounds like a Nuremburg Rally speech or reads like a chapter of Mein Kampf. Now you know who the real Nazis are today.

- The left have always, first and foremost, been scapegoaters. Unwilling to accept that sin, sorrow, suffering, and woe has always been and always will be a part of human existence east of Eden and this side of the Second Coming, they are always looking for someone to blame for the inevitable failure of their schemes to retake lost Paradise by force. In the eighteenth century it was the king, the aristocrats, and the church. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was the bourgeoisie and middle class. For the National Socialists it was the Jews and today it is whites, Christians, males, heterosexuals, and especially, white, Christian, heterosexual males.

- Nazism was a movement of the left not the right. The left began its life in the eighteenth century as the revolutionary movement that deposed the Bourbon monarchy in France. A militant movement, with the flashy slogan “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” and holding the “Rights of Man and of the Citizen” as its ideal, it formed the first totalitarian regime in what is known as the “Reign of Terror” in which, having murdered the king and queen, and whatever aristocrats had failed to flee its clutches, it then turned on its own, as the Jacobin club divided into warring factions, and the Montganards led by Robespierre ousted the Girondists who had led the Revolution in its early stage, sending the latter and a host of their other enemies to the guillotine before eventually being hoist on their own petard. In the nineteenth century Marxism became the leading ideology in the continental left, producing the Communist movement which in Russia, split like the Jacobins into warring factions the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, with the former coming to power to form the Soviet Union. In Italy, when Benito Mussolini left the Communist Party to found the Fascist Party which, when in power, put the Communists in prison, this was yet another example of the left dividing into warring factions, for the repressive terror state of the Italian Fascists resembled nothing else so much as what the Bolsheviks had put in place in Russia. Even closer in its resemblance to the Soviet Union was the Third Reich in Germany, established by Adolf Hitler whose rise to power began with his taking over a German labour party and transforming it into the National Socialist German Workers Party. Hitler, who fully acknowledged his debt to Marxism, gave his party the name of two nineteenth century left-wing movements – socialism, of course, but also nationalism which was recognized as liberal, progressive, and left-wing in the nineteenth century because its basic concept, the sovereignty of the nation, came from the philosophy of Rousseau and had been used by the French Revolutionaries to challenge the sovereignty of the king. The Nazis were revolutionaries rather than reactionaries. That they themselves recognized this is reflected in the words of the Horst Wessel Lied. They were fundamentally opposed to everything that the right stood for, whether it be the king, aristocracy, and church of classical Tory conservatism or the classical liberal individualism and middle class capitalism of the American right.

- Nazism was the bastard child of Communism and imitated its parent’s evils – secret police, show trials, mass murders, forced labour and other worse types of camps, etc. - but it was a short-lived threat that died with its Fuhrer in a bunker in Germany in 1945. The same cannot be said of Communism which retained the power that it had seized in Russia in 1917 until 1990, conquered a much larger portion of the world than Nazism had, retained control of it longer – the Communist Party is still in power in China today – and committed atrocities on an even larger scale, having murdered over 100 million people in the last century. It is only Communism that has a vested interest in promoting the idea that its estranged child, Nazism, is a universal threat that can pop up anywhere at any time and if you look closely at the various anti-racist or antifa activist groups today I suspect that you will find that apart from Christophobic hate groups like the Anti-Defamation League and hypocritical money-making scams like the Southern Poverty Law Centre they are virtually all fronts for Stalinist, Maoist, and other Marxist-Leninist organizations.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why We Need the Monarchy

With His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston’s term as Governor General of Canada coming to an end a new vice-regal representative has been chosen. Her name is Julie Payette, she hails from Montreal, Quebec, and has an impressive resume albeit one that is rather unusual for the position for which she has been selected. At first a computer engineer, she underwent training as an astronaut in the 1990s and served in this capacity for most of the first decade of this century. Her experience as an astronaut included flights into space aboard both the Discovery and the Endeavour shuttles. The National Post quoted Robert Finch, the Dominion Chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, as saying that this breaking of new ground in appointing someone whose experience is outside the political provides “a good opportunity for her to elevate that office right across the country.” Juxtaposed with Finch’s comments was one by Philippe Lagasse of Carleton University who is quoted as saying:

The reaction might be, well, look, why do we need Royals when we can have such stellar people as our head of state, as opposed to our head of state’s representative? It calls into question, I would say, the necessity of having the monarchy.

Thanks to decades of failure on the part of our educational system to teach our history and civics with the respect they deserve there are many, sadly, who would like to complete the Liberal Party’s agenda of Americanizing our country by turning it into a republic. While this sentiment is most often found on the left, there are, sadly, a number of prominent neoconservatives – or perhaps pseudoconservatives would be the more appropriate term – such as Anthony Furey, Lorne Gunter, and J. J. McCullough who have also indicated their support for republicanism. Conversely, of course, there are a handful of individuals on the left who as staunch monarchists are better conservatives than the aforementioned. Green Party leader Elizabeth May is one, the late leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, was another. The following is my answer to republicans, whether of the left or the phony right, who raise this question.

First, the false Canadian nationalism that says that we should become a republic and have someone who was born and who lives here as our head of state, goes against the very idea of Canada.

150 years ago the Fathers of Confederation had a certain idea in mind when they founded our country. The building blocks out of which they fashioned the Dominion of Canada were the provinces of the British Empire that had remained loyal when the Thirteen Colonies rebelled and which had fought alongside the British army in repelling the American invaders in the War of 1812. The idea the Fathers of Confederation had, was to join these provinces into a federation that would be large enough and strong enough to resist being pulled into the orbit of the United States whose institutions would not be drawn up from scratch based on the abstract ideals of Enlightenment philosophy, like those of the United States, but would be borrowed with some appropriate adaptation from those of the United Kingdom with which we would deliberately maintain our connection. The monarchy that America’s Fathers rejected, the Fathers of Confederation embraced and to say that Canada ought to replace the monarch with some other kind of head of state is like saying that the United States ought to abandon “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for “death, slavery, and the pursuit of misery.”

Second, a hereditary, royal, monarch is the best possible head of state. Although this is considered heresy in our democratic modern age it is nevertheless easily demonstrated to be true. A legislative assembly consists of elected representatives. Except for city-states small enough to include all of their citizens in the assembly this will inevitably the case. Our legislative assembly, the House of Commons, is formed by members elected as the representatives of constituencies. This, by the way, is the best way to elect an assembly. The alternatives, such as proportional representation, that are much touted by progressives today, would have the effect of producing a more partisan, ideological, assembly in which the representatives, even more than is already the case, would be accountable only to their party and its party line. This would in no way be an improvement. The members are ideological and partisan enough as it is, but it is the role of each to represent and speak for the interests of the constituency which elected him. None of them represents the country as a whole, nor do the parties to which they belong. Even the Prime Minister, who heads the party that commands at most a majority, often merely a plurality, of the elected members, does not represent the country as a whole. This most important of roles falls to the head of state. For the head of state to perform this role properly she must be above partisan politics. This cannot be the case if the office is filled by popular election. Consider last year’s presidential election in our southern neighbour, the hostility and division it generated and how the United States remains bitterly divided still.

There is another dimension to the way in which a royal monarch can represent the whole of a country in its unity better than any president. A royal monarch inherits the throne from those who reigned over the country in past generations and passes the throne on to those who will reign over future generations. A monarchy, therefore, embodies and represents the organic unity of a country over time. This is sorely needed in our day and age as a counter to the temptation to forget the past and ignore the future in pursuit of our interests in the present.

Those who point to the unpopularity of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in comparison with his mother as an argument for breaking with the monarchy at the next secession fail completely to grasp these points. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very popular indeed but the republicans see the relative unpopularity of the Prince of Wales in the present as an excuse for robbing future generations of a more popular king and queen. Furthermore, it is precisely the fact that the monarchy does not derive its legitimacy from the fickle whims of a present day electorate but from tradition, that the monarch can transcend partisan politics to represent the country as a whole. Those who make an idol out of democracy would do well to pay heed to G. K. Chesterton’s wise words about how “tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.”

It is a fiction of liberal and American thought that equates hereditary monarchy with tyranny. Plato and Aristotle knew better and warned that democracy was the seed from which tyranny springs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau is called both “the father of modern democracy” and “the father of totalitarianism” for a reason. The government should be the voice of the “general will” of the people, he maintained – democracy – and those who dissent from the general will must be “forced to be free” and if he resists exiled or put to death – totalitarianism. Those most susceptible to being corrupted by power are those who desire it for themselves and to be elected to office, a person must first run, thereby indicating his desire for power. Tyrants, typically, begin as demagogues who rally the masses behind them and history’s most notorious despots are those who saw themselves as belonging to and speaking for the common folk, as the first among equals or, in Orwell’s phrase “Big Brother.”

The monarch who, by contrast, stands in loco parentis to the nation is a safeguard against tyranny. Sir Winston Churchill famously observed that had we not at the insistence of the Americans forced the monarchs of Austria and Germany off their thrones at the end of the First World War, Adolf Hitler would never have risen to power. In our own country freedom, as John Farthing and Eugene Forsey pointed out, “wears a crown” and the Liberal Party started us down the path to Prime Ministerial dictatorship eighty-nine years ago by challenging the royal prerogative to refuse a requested dissolution of Parliament and so hold the Prime Minister accountable to the assembly.

Our monarchy is, as the Fathers of Confederation intended, the source of internal unity in our country. The first English Canadians were the Loyalists who refused to join in the Thirteen Colonies’ rebellion against the Crown, were consequently persecuted by the American republicans, and fled up here. It was also the Crown which offered protection to the language, religion, and culture of the French Canadians against Puritan bigotry and with whom the native tribes entered into treaties. Immigrants who wish to become citizens have been required to pledge their allegiance to the monarchy thus joining them into our national unity. The monarchy is also, however, and this is my final point, our connection with something beyond our own borders, something larger than our own country.

It is as Queen of Canada that Elizabeth II reigns over us. It is as the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that she reigns over Great Britain. The distinction between the two crowns is an important one because the one country is not subservient to the other. That the same person wears both crowns is also important because it joins the two countries with each other – and with Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu over each of which Elizabeth II reigns as Queen. The crowns are distinct, none of these countries is subservient to any of the others, and each parliament passes laws for its own country and not for the others. Yet through the Queen who reigns over all of us we are connected.

A connection with other nations of this sort that in no way infringes upon our own right to pass our own laws and determine our own policies is a rare and precious heritage. The kind of “nationalism” that would throw this away is introspective and short-sighted and completely out of sync with the spirit of the Fathers of Confederation. Let us, as true Canadian patriots, ever be on our guard against this kind of thinking.

Congratulations to Julie Payette on her appointment. May she remember what Liberal nominees have been prone to forget in recent decades, that the job of the Governor General is to represent the Queen in Canada and not to represent Canada to the world.

God save the Queen!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Obnoxious Self-Righteous Jerks versus Basic Human Decency

The late Fred Phelps was a man who earned for himself the reputation of being a jerk. Not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, jerk, either, but a jerk on such a scale that the character which Denis Leary portrayed in the song “Asshole” from his 1993 album No Cure For Cancer had absolutely nothing on him. It is not just that the founder and “pastor” of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas disavowed the conventional Christian wisdom that God hates the sin but loves the sinner and that we ought to do the same in favour of an extreme five-point Calvinism that proclaimed God’s literal hatred for certain people. It is also, and perhaps most importantly, the way he choose to publicize his message. It requires an astonishing level of low-life creepiness to intrude upon the grief of people who are mourning the loss of a loved one by picketing a funeral. Indeed, perhaps the kindest thing that can be said in Mr. Phelp’s favour, is that he never – at least to the best of my knowledge – took it a step further and attempted to prevent the funerals he picketed from taking place.

As we shall see in a moment, that cannot be said of certain other people. First, however, let us consider just how contrary to the wisdom of the ages this sort of thing actually is.

Of the ancient Greek poets, none was more inspiring and influential than Homer, the epic poet of the eighth century BC. The most important of his works was the Iliad the story of which is set in the last year of the Trojan War. The many different conflicts and intrigues that take place among gods and men over the course of the poem’s twenty four books are tied together by the poem’s theme, identified in its very first line: μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος “Sing goddess, of the wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus.” At the beginning of the poem, that wrath is directed against Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and the leader of the Greek forces. Achilles, in his anger withdraws his Myrmidons from the war. His mother Thetis secures from Zeus the promise that the tide of the war will go against the Greeks until Agamemnon gives Achilles the honour he deserves and he returns to the war. When the Trojans are on the verge of burning the Greek ships, Achilles’ closest friend Patroclus obtains his permission to lead the Myrmidon army back into the battle. Wearing Achilles’ own armour, Patroclus is mistaken for Achilles and, ignoring the latter’s instructions to fight only in defence of the ships, he drives the Trojans back to their city where he is killed by the crown prince of Troy, Hector. At this point Achilles’ wrath turns from Agamemnon to Hector, and he re-enters the war himself, lays waste to the Trojan forces, and eventually kills Hector. Then, however, Achilles takes his wrath too far. Rather than turn the body of Hector over to the Trojans for proper burial, he ties it to his chariot and drags it around the walls of Ilium. This is in violation of the laws of the gods but he continues to do this until his mother arrives from Olympus with a message from Zeus telling him in no uncertain terms to knock it off. So rebuked, Achilles turns the body over to Hector’s father, King Priam, when he, smuggled by Hermes into the Greek camp, pleads for it, and assures Priam that he will make the Greeks abide by an armistice that will allow Priam sufficient time to bury Hector with all the proper honours.

The idea that it is against divine law to refuse a proper burial even to an enemy recurs in the Antigone, one of three surviving tragedies by fifth century BC playwright Sophocles that deal with the curse that Oedipus brings upon himself and his city, Thebes, by unwittingly killing his father and marrying his mother. After Oedipus learned the truth, blinded himself, and went into exile one of his sons, Eteocles, drove the other, Polynices, into exile. The latter found refuge in Argos where he married the daughter of king Adrastus who then supported him in an expedition against Eteocles in Thebes. In the course of the battle, both brothers were killed. Creon, Oedipus’ uncle/brother-in-law was then made king of Thebes and he decreed that Eteocles was to be fully honoured, but Polynices was to be left to rot, imposing capital punishment upon anyone who defied this edict. This is where the Antigone begins for the title character, daughter of Oedipus, refuses to obey the edict and performs the burial rites for her brother. Although he is warned by the seer Tiresias, Creon persists in defying the law of the gods and orders Antigone to be buried alive. Divine judgement falls upon him in the loss of his own house, as his son Haemon who had been betrothed to Antigone kills himself in anger and grief, to be followed into suicide immediately thereafter by his mother Eurydice.

That one ought not to interfere with the proper burial even of those who were your enemies was evidently an idea that the Greeks felt rather strongly about. The Romans had a saying, de mortuus nil nisi bonum dicendum est – “about the dead, nothing except good, must be spoken” – which, while not entirely the same concept, nevertheless indicates a sort of consensus among the ancients, that the grievances we have against people in their lives ought to be buried with them in the grave and must not be allowed to interfere with the duty owed by the living to the dead.

There are some here in Canada today, I am sorry to say, who disagree with the wisdom of the ancients and have recently shown it in actions that make Fred Phelps look classy by comparison. It is not merely the ancient tradition dictating respect for the dead and mourning that they have disregarded, however, in their recent attempts to shut down a memorial service for an Ontario lawyer, but some of the most foundational principles of our system of justice. Their indecorous posthumous vendetta against this woman is based entirely upon who her clients were. One of the fundamental principles of our system of justice is that it is better for the guilty to escape punishment than for the innocent to be unjustly condemned. This too is a principle with ancient antecedents. Socrates argument against Polus in Plato’s Gorgias that it is better to suffer wrong than to commit it is one example, Abraham’s negotiations with God over the fate of the righteous in the condemned cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis is another. Upon this foundation rest such other basic principles as the right of the accused to confront his accuser and to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial. Imagine what would happen to these principles if we were to allow the precedent to be established that defence advocates are to be treated as participants in the guilt of their clients.

If that were not bad enough in this case the lawyer’s clients were not people accused of crimes that are universally recognized as such – murder, robbery, rape and the like – but rather of thought crimes.

There is a backstory to all of this that goes back several decades. For a long time certain groups lobbied Parliament to have laws against “hate literature” passed. NB that hate literature does not mean literature that literally expresses hatred of the “I hate you, you lousy rotten sonuvabitch, I wish you were dead” type but rather literature that portrays racial and religious groups in a negative light. Unless, that is, the racial and religious groups are whites or Christians. In the 1960s, Lester Pearson appointed a committee to look into this and in 1971 Pierre Trudeau, who had been a member of that committee, added Section 318, the “hate propaganda” clause, to the Criminal Code. Those who wanted these laws were still unsatisfied, because those charged under this law were entitled to the full protection of the rights of a defendant and so Trudeau passed the Canadian Human Rights Act which prohibited discrimination in 1977 and this included Section 13 that defined the communication via telephone of anything “likely to” expose a member of a protected group to “hatred or contempt” as a discriminatory act. Later Jean Chretien would add Section 13 b) that extended this to all electronic communication to cover the internet as well. Since the Canadian Human Rights Act is considered civil rather than criminal law it was much easier to charge and convict people under this law than under Section 318.

For anyone acquainted with the history of the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes or with the body of literature by authors such as Arthur Koestler, George Orwell, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn that shone a light on the nature of such regimes the outcome of these laws will be chillingly familiar. A list of prohibited books was drawn up which were seized at customs and removed from libraries, public and academic. About a decade after these laws were passed widely publicized show trials of a handful of individuals accused of this new form of crimethink were held. The press tried these individuals in the court of a public opinion which they manufactured by making these individuals the subjects of a two-minute hate but remained largely mute about the much larger number of people who were being dragged before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunals under Section 13.

That would change, of course, in the late 2000s when two magazines with national circulation were charged under the provincial equivalents of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Hoist with its own petard, the media which had stood by and said nothing while Section 13 was used to ruin the lives of Canadians for daring to express forbidden thoughts, but now aware of the threat to its own freedom, began to report on Warman v. Lemire, the last Section 13 case to be heard by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The light this shed on Section 13 and the shady behaviour of the Canadian Human Rights Commission generated enough of a backlash that Conservative MP Brian Storseth was able to garner sufficient support in Parliament for a bill that brought about the repeal of Section 13. Nevertheless, there is much more work that needs to be done to completely rollback this Soviet-style thought control and recover the atmosphere of freedom that Canadians used to know and which our Common Law birthright as subjects of the Crown.

In this fight for traditional Canadian freedoms against this kind of soft totalitarianism those who deserve the most honour are those who stood up against it from the beginning. It is one thing to speak out when someone tries to censor MacLean’s magazine. The true test of commitment to freedom of conscience, thought, and speech is when you dare to speak out when they go after an Ernst Zündel, James Keegstra, or John Ross Taylor. This is a point that Pastor Martin Niemöller would certainly have understood. Foremost among those who demonstrated such commitment were BC lawyer Doug Christie and his long-time associate Barbara Kulaszka of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Although Christie, who passed away four years ago, was the better known of the two, Kulaszka had been a key figure in the fight for free speech from the beginning, when she worked alongside Christie in the Zündel case back in the 1980s. She passed away from cancer this year on the fifteenth of June.

The Canadian Association for Free Expression rented space in the Richview Public Library in Toronto for the purpose of holding a memorial service for Kulaszka last Wednesday. When word of this got out several individuals and organizations placed pressure on the Toronto Public Library system to cancel the event and a number of newspapers and other media outlets expressed manufactured outrage when the library, to its credit, refused to do this. Keep in mind that this was a memorial service – an occasion for those who had known Kulaszka, had worked with her, and whom she had defended in court, to remember her and pay her public tribute. It was not, despite the dishonest way in which it has been reported in many media sources, something akin to a Klan rally.

Overlooked and ignored by Kulaszka’s detractors is the fact that while many of her clients are said to have expressed admiration for Nazism and the Third Reich and questioned the accuracy of the crimes and atrocities attributed to it – I use the words “said to” because hate speech laws by their very nature are intended to prevent us from having access to what the thought criminal has actually said and to force us to rely upon the word of hate speech experts, themselves extremely hostile to the thought criminals, to tell us what they think and say - in fighting on their behalf against those who sought to penalize them for their ideas she was fighting, not for the ideology of National Socialism, but for the principles of freedom and justice that belong to the tradition of Great Britain and the Commonwealth – the countries that went to war to defeat Nazism. It is this desire to silence people with laws that penalize them for their thoughts and words that lies behind the hate laws that Kulaszka fought against which is akin to the spirit of the totalitarianism that was Nazism, not her brave and dedicated efforts to fight this tyranny.

So who are these people who are so utterly lacking in class as to begrudge Kulaszka her memorial?

Well, there are the politicians of course. John Tory, the present mayor of Hogtown, and Toronto City Councillors James Pasternak and John Campbell all gave quotes to the media expressing their dismay over the library’s decision to allow the memorial. Politicians being what they are it is reasonable to suspect that if the media had taken the opposite approach to the story they would have been quoted as supporting the library’s decision. So take their words for the nothing they are worth.

Then there are the usual suspects – the professional anti-bigots. Richard Warman, Bernie Farber, and Warren Kinsella were all on hand to vent their impotent rage at the library that actually dared to defy their edict as to who should or should not be allowed to rent public facilities for a memorial service. It is easy to see why these three are so upset. Warman, whom the media describe as a “human rights lawyer”, is a former investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission who went on to become the complainant in the vast majority of Section 13 cases. Farber was the CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress until it was swallowed up by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs about six years ago. The CJC was the chief organization that lobbied for hate literature laws before the Liberals acquiesced and while this was before Farber’s time as CEO he was himself an avid supporter of hate laws throughout his career. Kinsella, lawyer, Liberal Party strategist, and political commentator, has also been an outspoken advocate of hate laws over the years. It is people like this, who have devoted their lives to the cause of fighting views that they perceive to be bigotry, who, blinded by their zeal, seem incapable of distinguishing between lawyers and their clients or understanding that those who hold the views they object to do not thereby forfeit their rights.

Smug, soulless, and absolutely convinced of their own righteousness, they see no need for showing the basic human decency of allowing their opponents to mourn their dead in peace, and so they have been carrying on with the lack of class we have come to associate with Westboro Baptist Church. Is it that surprising, therefore, to learn that Fred Phelps in his first career, before starting Westboro Baptist Church, was a lawyer who specialized in racial discrimination cases?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Truth Versus Canada’s National Media

This year on July 1st, the 150th anniversary of the British North America Act’s coming into effect and establishing the Dominion of Canada as a new country, a disgraceful event occurred. It is not, however, the event which the national media has been harping on.

Some idiots decided that an appropriate way to celebrate the sesquicentennial was to stage a protest at the statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax. Edward Cornwallis, a Lt. General in the British Army, had founded, back in 1749, the settlement that would develop into the provincial capital of Nova Scotia. The protestors, carrying an upside-down Canadian flag, defaced the statue with crude anti-Canadian slogans, and a woman who identifies herself as Chief Grizzly Mamma cut off her hair and put it on the statue accusing Cornwallis of genocide and saying “You took their scalps, you can have mine too.”

She was referring to the bounty that Cornwallis had placed on the scalps of Micmac Indians, (1) on October 2, 1749. Cornwallis had done so after the Micmacs had carried out the Raid on Dartmouth three days earlier in which they scalped and beheaded a number of the British settlers. Cornwallis’ proclamation was, therefore, both defensive and retaliatory, although it was not effective, even when the bounty was raised a couple of years later. Chief Grizzly Mamma and her co-protestors had cherry-picked Cornwallis’ proclamation out of its historical context in order to insult our country on its birthday.

This protest is the disgraceful event to which I refer. It is not, however, what the national media focused on. During the protest, five young men, carrying the Canadian Red Ensign, came up to observe the events. These men, who were members of the Canadian Armed Forces – four navy, one army - politely and respectfully expressed their disagreement with the way the protestors were distorting history and then peacefully left despite the protestors’ belligerent attempts to pick a fight. The national media has ganged up on these men and, if you will excuse the metaphor, called for their scalps. Sadly, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Defence Minister have been all-too-willing to comply with this demand.

In addition to being servicemen these men were also members of an organization called Proud Boys. This is an organization founded last year by Gavin McInnes, who decades ago as co-founder of Vice Magazine, earned himself the sobriquet “the godfather of hipsterdom”. In more recent years he has developed a reputation as a kind of right-wing libertarian “shock jock.” He writes a regular column for Taki Theodoracopulus’ eponymous paleolibertarian e-zine and is also a commentator on Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media, a sort of online samizdat that was established to fill the hole that had been left when the Sun News network shut down. The media have been portraying this organization he founded as some sort of Nazi-sympathetic white supremacist organization but anyone familiar with Canada’s national media will recognize this as their worn out, nasty trick, of smearing anyone who dissents from what the liberal-left decides we must all think about race and race-related issues as a Nazi. McInnes, who despises political correctness almost as much as I do, goes out of his way to say things that offend the oversensitive and provoke the politically correct thought police but nobody who listens to what he has to say with an honest heart and an open mind could make the mistake of thinking that he is a true believer in racism of the ideological sort or that he would found an organization committed to such.

Listening with a honest heart and an open mind excludes most members of Canada’s national media, I am afraid, and so it doesn’t surprise me that apart from Rebel Media, the only person I have seen with the balls to report honestly on this story was the National Post’s Christie Blatchford. Sadly, her colleagues at the National Post do not all share her journalistic integrity. This is where I find myself, much to my amusement, dragged into this story.

In honour of Canada’s 150th I wrote two essays this year. One of these, a tribute to the great patriot Eugene Forsey, was posted on my own site, Throne, Altar, Liberty, on July 1st. The other, an essay entitled “Canada: More Than Just a Land” I contributed to the 2017 symposium at Northern Dawn, a traditionalist/neo-reactionary website where, as it so happened, it was also posted on the holiday. The title of the essay alludes to the fact that the English lyrics of "O Canada", declared to be our official national anthem in 1980, speak of Canada only as a northern land, omitting any reference to its history, traditions, and institutions, unlike "The Maple Leaf Forever", which had served as an informal national anthem alongside "God Save the Queen" since Confederation. The essay is about how "O Canada", the anthem of choice of the Liberal Party, reflects what our country is in danger of being reduced to by the Liberal Party’s long-standing campaign against the original vision of the Fathers of Confederation. Whereas the Founding Fathers of the United States had built their republic on the foundation of rebellion against and separation from the British crown and empire, the Fathers of Confederation chose to build our country on the opposite foundation of loyalty, honour, and maintaining our ties to the British crown and the empire that would soon become the Commonwealth. The Liberal Party, ever since, has tried to re-write Canada’s story into another version of the American story and has sought to divest us of our British heritage, including our traditional symbols, and in the process has threatened and weakened our parliamentary form of government and the Common Law, and the rights and freedoms of which these are the source.

This essay was quoted, earlier this week, by Graeme Hamilton, the Quebec correspondent of the National Post. Under some circumstances this could be considered an honour but Mr. Hamilton’s article is entitled “Former Canadian flag, the Red Ensign, gets new, darker life as far-right symbol.” Now if “far-right” means further to the right than the neoconservatives, or better yet what “the right” originally meant in the eighteenth century – a supporter of royalty, the institution of monarchy, aristocracy, nobility, and the established church – then I have no problem with the term being applied to myself. When the media speak of the “far-right”, however, they ordinarily mean and intend their audience to understand them as meaning admirers and followers of Adolf Hitler. This is what Mr. Hamilton, who makes reference to both the Aryan Guard and John Beattie who founded the Canadian Nazi Party decades ago, has in mind. As I have said many times, I have nothing but contempt for Adolf Hitler, his tyrannical system of government, or the left-wing movement he headed – for National Socialism, like Communism, was a direct ideological descendent of the original eighteenth century left, i.e., the anti-king, anti-church, anti-aristocracy French Revolutionaries.

Mr. Hamilton begins his article by talking about the Red Ensign’s having been used by the Proud Boys in the incident in Halifax, and using this as a launching point for a discussion of the way in which the Red Ensign has been “adopted as Canada’s equivalent of the Confederate flag by some extremists.” In the context of this discussion he includes the following paragraph:

Northern Dawn, a Canadian alt-right website launched last year to defend Western heritage against “chaos,” has used the Red Ensign as its Facebook cover photo. In a July 1 essay on the site, Gerry Neal decried the 1965 replacement of the Red Ensign with the current flag as evidence of a Liberal revision of national symbolism “to eliminate reference to our British heritage.”

Now, taken by itself, this paragraph does not misrepresent what I had to say about the replacement of the Red Ensign, but placed within the context of Mr. Hamilton’s article as a whole, which at no point acknowledges, let alone discusses, any of the differences between the groups and individuals it describes as “far right”, it presents a rather distorted picture of my essay in which race is not even mentioned, let alone discussed.

There is much that I could have said about race in that essay had I not been writing within the confines of a word limit. I could, for example, have pointed out that the Liberal Party of Canada, under Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, reintroduced racial bias into our immigration policy after it had been removed by John Diefenbaker. It was John Diefenbaker, by the way, who led the opposition to the changing of the flag, who insisted that the Red Ensign rather than the current flag should drape his coffin at his state funeral. Diefenbaker was an outspoken champion of the Old Canada, our ongoing family connection to Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth, our constitutional monarchy, parliamentary government, and Common Law heritage as the basis of our traditional rights and freedoms – all the things I argued for in my essay. He was also the Prime Minister who at a meeting of the Commonwealth leaders stood up and insisted that the Commonwealth must be colour blind in its policies. Diefenbaker removed race as a selection criteria from our immigration laws in 1962. Pearson and Trudeau put it back in there and, furthermore, the racial bias they introduced, was worse than the racial bias Diefenbaker had removed.

Prior to 1962, by an all-party consensus, our government considered race in the selection of immigrants for the purpose of maintaining the ethnic status quo. This is condemned as racist by liberals today, but it can be defended on grounds that have nothing to do with racist ideology. Indeed, the desire not to import a lot of new racial conflicts into a country where the peaceful co-existence of English-speaking Protestants, French-speaking Roman Catholics, and the various aboriginal tribes was already filled with tension, is arguably the exact opposite of racism. The racial bias introduced by Pearson and Trudeau, however, was the opposite of the original racial bias – rather than seeking to preserve the ethnic status quo, they wished to smash it to pieces by making Canada as ethnically diverse as possible, as fast as they could, with utter disregard for any potential negative consequences such as the atomization of communities and the balkanization of the nation as a whole.

Moreover, whereas Canada’s original race-based immigration policy had been carried out openly and honestly, as had Diefenbaker’s introduction of racial neutrality, Pearson and Trudeau introduced their new, reverse racial bias, in the sneaky, underhanded, dishonest manner that is the Liberal Party’s modus operandi. Instead of putting it down on paper in a bill, debating it in Parliament, and seeking public approval at election time, they simply instructed our visa officers to give priority to applications from the Third World and snuck millions of people past the race-neutral points system through a loophole. Then, if anyone dared to notice what was happening, let alone say anything critical about it, they loudly and aggressively cried “racist.” Worse, to deal with the increase in racial tension and conflict that would be the inevitable result of their reverse-racist immigration policy, they, following a precedent set by the Americans in the 1960s, passed laws dictating what employers, landlords, and a host of other people can or cannot be thinking in conducting their everyday business in complete violation of our traditional freedoms of thought and association, and established what is essentially a “friendly Canadian” version of Soviet/Nazi style thought police to enforce these evil and unjust laws in a manner that itself displays racial bias of the reverse type.

There are two lessons that we can learn from this history, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see. The first is that race, like sex, is a fact of human existence that we cannot escape from, and no good can come from pretending that it is otherwise. The second, is that when men forget God, the idols they erect in His place will eventually devour them. The Germans in the early twentieth century made just such idols out of their race and the man who appointed himself to be the voice of that race. The post-World War II liberal West, understandably recoiling from the horrors perpetrated in the name of that idol, but unwilling to return to the true and living God, have embraced the idol of diversity. We will eventually learn the hard way that this idol is no less monstrous than the other one.

I very much question whether Mr. Hamilton possesses either the intelligence to understand the difference between what I have said in the last four paragraphs and a Nazi screed or the honesty and integrity to acknowledge that difference. It does not bother me, however, to be smeared by association with the likes of the Aryan Guard in his article, because I am in good company with the much-maligned servicemen – two of whom are Metis – who stood up against the defamation of our country on its birthday. If you too think that these men did the right, honourable, and patriotic thing in not standing by and letting our country be insulted on its anniversary, then please sign Gavin McInnes’ “Save the Five” petition which can be found here:

(1) My use of “Indian” and the traditional English spelling “Micmac” is not out of any disrespect for the people so designated but out of a refusal, under any circumstances, to obey the dictates of political correctness. Anyone who has read George Orwell’s 1984, will recognize in political correctness’ demands that we use this word instead of that, or this spelling instead of that, what Orwell called “Newspeak” in his novel.

Appendix: My Correspondence with Mr. Graeme Hamilton

Graeme Hamilton to Gerry T. Neal
Friday, July 7, 2017, 11:21 AM
Subject: National Post inquiry

Hello Mr. Neal
I’m a reporter for the National Post, based in Montreal. I came across your blog through a link on the Northern Dawn site. I’m working on a story about the adoption of the Red Ensign as a symbol by what some call the alt right. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the flag’s appeal and was wondering if you would have time to talk today.


Graeme Hamilton
National Post Quebec correspondent

Gerry T. Neal to Graeme Hamilton
Saturday, July 8, 2017, 12:00 AM
Subject: Re: National Post inquiry

Dear Mr. Hamilton,

I have just now received your e-mail. It is after eleven in the evening in Manitoba, which means that it is after midnight in your time zone. I am assuming, therefore that it is too late to call.

With regards to the Red Ensign - the Canadian Red Ensign, that is, rather than the provincial flags of Ontario and Manitoba - there are various people who still prefer it to the flag adapted in 1965. For Canadian veterans of the Second World War, for example, it is the flag they fought under and that many of their comrades in arms died under. For others, the present flag is a symbol of the massive top-down changes the Liberal Party wrought in this country during the premierships of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau and they therefore embrace the Red Ensign as a symbol of their rejection of these changes.

I am far too young to have fought in the Second World War and so it is for the latter reason that I display the Red Ensign on my blog. For me it is not just a negative symbol, however, of rejecting the changes introduced by Pearson and Trudeau - although it is that - but also, and primarily, a positive symbol - representing the Canada that the Fathers of Confederation envisioned in 1867. Our constitutional monarchy, our Westminster-based parliamentary system of government, our Common Law heritage, and the Victorian era Christian worldview shared, with nuances of course, by English-speaking Protestants and French-speaking Catholics alike - these are the things that I, as a High Tory, argue for on my blog and which the Liberal Party, for over a century, has worked to undermine. The Liberal Party's "revolution within the form" was far more extensive than national symbolism, of course - they have systematically undermined the powers of the Crown, Senate, and Opposition to stand in the way of Prime Ministerial dictatorship in their efforts to turn Canada into a people's republic over which they will perpetually rule - but symbols are important, and in this essay, written for the fiftieth anniversary of the flag change, I explain the sinister significance of that change:

That explains why I use the Red Ensign myself. I don't presume to speak for anyone else. "Alt-right" is short for "alternative right", and in the broadest sense that would apply to anyone on the right who does not conform to the neo-conservatism that has become the mainstream right in the last thirty-forty years or so. I doubt that anyone could accurately speak for such an array of vastly differing individuals and groups.

Gerry T. Neal

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Khadr and Zündel Revisited

I have argued that since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of Canada's constitution, and Canadian laws, constitutional or otherwise, are only in effect within the Dominion of Canada, the Charter rights of Omar Khadr could not have been violated in either Afghanistan, where he was captured by the Americans, or the detention centre at the American naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because neither of these places is within Canadian territory and subject to Canadian law. It has been objected, against that argument, that because Canadian officials were involved in the interrogation of Khadr at Gitmo, his rights were therefore violated because Canadian officials are still bound to act within the limits of the Canadian constitution outside Canadian territory.

Let us grant the validity of the premise. It is, after all, a valid one. If Canadian officials were not bound by the constitution outside of Canada then Canadian citizens upon whom the sitting government looks with displeasure could conceivably be in danger from agents of that government every time they set foot outside of the country. That having been said, the conclusion does not follow from the premise.

The reason for that is simple: if Canadian officials are bound to act within the limits of Canadian constitutional law outside Canadian territory then that is true of the constitution in its entirety, including Section 33 of the Charter. Section 33 authorises both Parliament and each provincial legislature to pass legislation that violates the fundamental freedoms listed in section 2 of the Charter and the basic legal rights enumerated in sections 7 through 14, provided that legislation is set to expire within five years of the date it comes into effect (section 15 can also be overridden by the terms of Section 33 but it contains neither fundamental freedoms nor basic rights). As it so happens, at the time that agents of CSIS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were participating in the interrogation of Khadr at Gitmo, just such a bill was in effect, the same antiterrorism/national security bill that was used to justify the detention of Ernst Zündel in a tiny isolation cell on Canadian soil for two years without charge or trial and his deportation to a country where he stood to serve prison time for controversial opinions expressed outside of that country's territory. If the law that allowed our government to do this to Zündel in Canada was constitutional by the terms of Section 33 then, quod erat demonstrandum, it also renders the involvement of CSIS and the Foreign Ministry in the Khadr interrogation, constitutional and legal.

As it happens, while I am satisfied with the conclusion of that reasoning, that the way our agents treated Khadr was constitutional and legal, I am not particularly thrilled with the part of the Charter that renders it valid. I reiterate my longstanding objection to Section 33 of the Charter. This clause is the reason that Brian Mulroney said that the Charter was not worth the paper it was printed on. Former Senator Eugene Forsey, who was one of our leading constitutional experts - his booklet explaining our form of government is still published by the government - was quoted by Charles Taylor as having called this clause "ghastly" and having said "if you are going to have a charter of rights - on balance I'm for it, but not without reservations - it had better be entrenched." (1) I have long maintained that Canadians were freer and their basic legal protections and rights were more secure prior to 1982 than after.

I am also not a fan of legislation passed in the wake of terrorist attacks that enhances government powers at the expense of civil liberties and legal rights. I can see the need for governments to detain and interrogate suspects quickly in the midst of an actual crisis situation but the kind of legislation the American government tried to pass in 1995, did actually pass in 2001, and which our government passed in 2001, all struck me as opportunistic power grabs. My long time readers will recall that prior to the last Dominion election I cited Bill C-51 as the reason why I could never vote Conservative again as long as Stephen Harper led the party.

All of that having been said, I stand by my judgement that it is the Zündel case and not the Khadr case that demonstrates the problem with both this kind of national security legislation and the constitutional loophole that allows for it. My critics may object that in so judging I show greater concern for a non-citizen (Zündel was only a landed immigrant) than a Canadian but in doing so they have elevated a technical distinction that happens to be irrelevant over the real differences between the two cases.

To preserve the corporate integrity of a state and the value of citizenship itself, legal citizenship must contain privileges not fully extended to non-citizens. Basic rights and freedoms, however, belong not to the category of the privileges of citizenship but rather that of the protections extended by the law of the land to all who fall under its jurisdiction, i.e., everyone who happens to be in the country at the time whether citizen nor not. Section 33 of the Charter certainly makes no distinction between citizen and non-citizen when it allows these rights and freedoms to be overridden.

The distinction between citizen and non-citizen is therefore irrelevant to the comparison being made. (2) The only thing further that needs to be said about it is that it ought to be of far greater importance to us that the laws of our country are justly enforced and their protections fully secured to everyone who falls under the jurisdiction of those laws than that privileges of our citizenship are respected abroad. It boggles the mind that anyone could find that ranking of priorities to be controversial.

As to the real differences between the Khadr and Zündel cases, note that the legislation that allowed the Chretien government to override basic rights and freedoms for the sake of national security was passed in order to combat the threat of terrorism of the type the United States had experienced in September of 2001. Omar Khadr actually was such a terrorist. He was fighting for al-Qaida, the same terrorist group to whom the 9/11 attack was attributed. He was at war with an American-led coalition in Afghanistan to which our government under Jean Chretien had committed Canadian troops and hence at war with our country but not as any sort of legitimate soldier for he fought out of uniform. He is exactly the sort of enemy Parliament had in mind when it passed Chretien's antiterrorism bill.

Zündel, on the other hand, was a political prisoner. He was not a terrorist and has never been a violent man. Indeed, when he was living in Canada he was himself the victim of terrorism - a bomb attack on his Toronto home incited by left-wing antiracists during his highly publicised trials. He posed no realistic threat to Canada's national security and the only motivation for the treatment he received was the desire to punish him for saying unpopular and controversial things and to silence him.

Zündel's case, therefore, was clearly an abuse of the legislation that gave the government the temporary power to override our basic rights and freedoms to combat terrorism whereas Khadr's case is an example of the real threat that inspired the legislation to begin with. It is Zündel, not Khadr, to whom we must point to demonstrate what is wrong with that kind of legislation and the section of the Charter that allows for it.

The basic rights and freedoms of Canadians as subjects of the Crown were protected by Common Law, grounded in centuries of prescription, long before Pierre Trudeau passed the Charter, Section 33 of which, rendered them less protected and secure than before. National security legislation, while understandable in a crisis, creates too much potential for abuse, as demonstrated by the Zündel case. The best way to combat terrorism, therefore, is not to fight wars abroad while undermining our own rights and freedoms to create a surveillance state at home. Rather, it is to leave other people alone in their own countries, and tighten up our immigration policies and citizenship laws so that terrorists from other countries like the Khadr family cannot get in, much less have anchor babies here who they then raise elsewhere to be enemies of our country and of Western Civilization of which we are part.

(1) Charles Taylor, Radical Tories: The Conservative Tradition In Canada, (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 1982), p. 122)

(2) To the objection that citizenship v. non-citizenship matters when it comes to the question of deportation and denial of entrance, I answer that this is true but still irrelevant to the present comparison for the following reasons: a) While it is true that a citizen cannot be deported but a non-citizen can it is against Canadian policy to deport people to countries where they will become political prisoners, as was the case with Zündel's deportation to Germany; b) While it is true that Canadian citizens cannot be denied entry to the country except under extraordinary circumstances this does not mean that the government is in violation of a Canadian's rights whenever it places an obstacle in the way of his return - otherwise, the taxpayers would be liable every time a customs officer keeps a citizen waiting for hours while he does a thorough investigation - and at any rate, Khadr's having been convicted of murder, terrorism, and war crimes constitutes the extraordinary circumstances that justify the government's not wanting to take him back; c) Chretien's anti-terrorism bill may have expired by the time the government tried to block his repatriation but, since it was still in effect during the time in which our agents participated in his interrogation, their actions were therefore legal and constitutional under Section 33 of the Charter and the role the interrogation played in securing the conviction referred to in the previous point cannot invalidate the government's raising that conviction as an objection to his repatriation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Senate Should Not Be Condemned For Doing Its Job Right

A couple of weeks ago Jim Warren, a Liberal strategist who worked for Dalton McGuinty in Ontario and who writes a weekly column for the neoconservative Sun newspaper chain explained why he has become a convert to Senate abolitionism. The Grits, over the last century, have been guilty of a great many crimes against the constitution that the Fathers of Confederation drew up for us in the Charlottetown, Quebec, and London Conferences, but unicameralism was not typically one of them. They left that to the socialists in the NDP. The neoconservatives in the Reform Party had advocated reforming the upper chamber to make it more like the American Senate – democratically elected, with each province being equally represented. The sin of the Grits, however, who have held power in the House of Commons more often than any other party, has ordinarily been to treat the seats in the Red Chamber as rewards for Liberal partisanship.

The Conservatives, who are the only other party to have ever formed a federal government, have succumbed to the same temptation when in office and five years ago the media decided to shine its spotlight on the dubious travel and expense claims made by a handful of Senators most of whom had been Conservative appointees. Far more heat than light was generated in the scandal that erupted and rather than just going after individual Senators for abusing their appointment and treating their seat as a means of personal enrichment instead of an office of public service, the media attacked the Conservative government that had appointed the Senators as if the Liberal Party, to which most members of the Canadian media are loyal sycophants, had a squeaky clean record of appointing only upright, honourable, disinterested, and dutiful individuals. Stephen Harper’s method of dealing with the scandal only added fuel to the flames. At any rate, in addition to the Conservative government, the media also made a target out of the Senate as an institution, mostly on the grounds of its being unelected, and there were loud calls for it to be done away with. Here again the media was being disingenuously selective in the facts it reported. Elected members of the House of Commons are no strangers to the temptation to abuse their expense accounts and enrich themselves at the expense of the public treasury. Indeed, I dare say the problem is much worse in the House than in the Senate.

Was it this scandal that drove Mr. Warren into his newfound belief in unicameralism?

No, he wrote that after that “I was prepared to give the Senate one last chance.”

What has happened since then to make him change his mind?

After a brief mention of the ongoing Senate inquiry into the harassment claims against former Senator Don Meredith he devoted several paragraphs to complaining about how the Senate had delayed the passing of Justin Trudeau’s budget bill. Then he wrote the following:

“Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back for me is the Senate delaying passage of Bill C-210. This is the private member’s bill of the late Mauril Belanger that changes the lyrics of O Canada to make them gender neutral.”

Now let us think about that for just a moment. Mr. Warren was “prepared to give the Senate one last chance” after the scandal in which Senators were accused of dishonestly claiming inflated housing and travel expenses against the taxpayer-funded public treasury but their delaying passage of a bill is the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” What that translates into is “I am willing to overlook it when you do your job badly, but I refuse to forgive you for doing your job right.”

If Bill C-210 were a bill authorizing the government to take some initiative that needed to happen immediately in order to save thousands of lives then this level of anger over its delay might be understandable. The bill is nothing of the sort. Ironically, Mr. Warren blames the delay of the bill on “pathetic partisan politics” in the Senate when the bill itself is nothing more than an example of playing games with a national symbol in a lame attempt to virtue signal to feminists, one of the interest groups in the Liberal Party’s support base. Think of all the other issues there are out there for Parliament to meddle with. There are probably at least a trillion more important than this one.

As for Justin Trudeau’s budget bill, we are talking about an omnibus bill of the sort that the Liberals complained about during the Harper years and claimed that they would do away with, containing a budget with a deficit close to $30 billion. This is not exactly the kind of legislation that deserves to be fast-tracked through Parliament.

Even if these bills were better and more important than they actually are, however, the Senate, in taking its time passing them, would merely be doing its job. Sir John A. MacDonald, a Father of Confederation and the first Prime Minister of Canada, said, when they were putting the constitution together, that the role of the Senate would be to provide a “sober second thought” to the decisions passed in the House. In other words its job would be to do precisely that which Mr. Warren is complaining about – slow down the passing of bills, by taking the time to think critically about them.

The Fathers of Confederation, in adapting the Westminster model of Parliament to the use of the new country they were building, knew and respected its history and traditions, and understood that the role of criticizing, objecting to, and slowing down legislation was just as important – indeed, more important – than the role of writing and passing legislation. Legislation that is quickly written and hastily passed is likely to be bad legislation. Furthermore, it is not good for the Prime Minister to get his way whenever he wants just because he commands a majority in the House.

This is why there are several hurdles that a government bill must pass before it can become law. It is not enough that it be written by a government that commands a majority in the elected House. It must be heard, and Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, traditionally the second largest party in the House, must be given the opportunity to scrutinize it, criticize it, raise objections to it, and basically hold the government accountable to the House and the people they were elected to represent. Having cleared that hurdle, it must then be heard by the Senate, who review it, and if necessary, recommend alterations or delay its passing. Anyone who thinks that this stage of review is unnecessary, needs to read the chapter of Eugene Forsey’s memoirs, A Life on the Fringe, in which he describes his years in the Senate, and all the poorly-written bad laws they had to deal with.

Mr. Warren appears to think that the Official Opposition is sufficient to hold the government accountable, but the Fathers of Confederation thought otherwise. Mr. Warren objects to an “unelected group of people” holding up government bills but, here too, his thought is miles removed from that of the Fathers of Confederation who deliberately built our country as a parliamentary monarchy. He does, however, reveal himself to be, with apologies to John Wayne, a “true Grit”, for the Liberal Party has never liked the roadblocks our parliamentary system places upon the Prime Minister, who as as head of the elected government is seen the voice of the will of the people, getting his way, and have sought to eliminate these obstacles wherever possible and to reduce the Crown, the Senate, and the elected House as a whole, to mere rubber stamps of the Prime Minister’s will.

Where Mr. Warren feels the Senate deserves condemnation, I insist that it deserves praise, and would suggest that if anything, the powers of the Senate to hold up the Prime Minister’s bills ought to be increased. The only thing that really, desperately, needs to be fixed with our Senate is that the Prime Minister controls the appointment process. For the Senate to truly provide the “sober second thought” that Sir John A. MacDonald envisioned, it needs to be independent of the Prime Minister who ought to surrender his right to advise the Crown on the appointment of Senators to some other group that is in no way beholden to the office of the Prime Minister – perhaps the provincial legislatures.