This Is Canadian Nationalism
The Canadian economy isn't capable of surviving without free trade. Our entire economy depends on free trade not only with the United States, but with countries around the world. So it's a good thing that immigration and free trade aren't connected in the ways that most politicians would like us to believe. When the words nationalism and populism appear in headlines, they always appear as pejoratives. Usually, populism and nationalism are presented as synonyms for racism and bigotry without any honest discussion about why more and more people are identifying with nationalistic views. Journalists and the commentariat in Canada seem overly eager to strike down any thoughts or ideas that revolve around Canadian identity, values and border security. With this unusual eagerness to shut down contrary ideas comes a complete disregard for what a growing number of Canadians are feeling.
The CBC, Huffington Post and other mainstream news providers in Canada won't even entertain a debate about Canadian identity or Canadian values. Any talk about populism, values and better border security is always one-sided with the intent to demonize anyone with an opposite view. The institutions that were tasked with encouraging and creating debate have opted for polemics. Their intention isn't to stir healthy debate, but to argue on behalf of one side until their heads explode or the other side submits. The CBC, in particular, has become a campaign machine for left-wing ideology. For instance, take Ian Capstick's recent comments on a Power & Politics panel, in which he calls all whites “fundamentally racist”:
“Fundamentally, though, this is not a far right problem as was defined. This is not a right-wing or a left-wing problem, this is fundamentally that most white people have racism living inside of them and they have grave difficulties confronting them.....We live in a white supremacistic society.” – Ian Capstick, Power & Politics
Bless her little heart, Althia Raj was the only member of the panel who spoke up against Capstick, only to be cut off by Rosemary Barton who – instead of arguing Capstick's point – chose to agree with him on the point that racism is not exclusive to right or left. The host never bothered to argue – or let Raj argue – that not all whites are racist. Instead, Barton submissively agreed and cut to commercial, ending the debate.
What makes Capstick's comments at the CBC so important in all of this is his school of thought. The fact that Ian Capstick is a regular panel member at the CBC and that Rosemary Barton's first instinct was to end the debate are also important in all of this. These things prove my point that Canada's left wing is groomed to believe that all whites are racist and that the science is settled. Stemming from this belief is the idea that populism and nationalism can manifest themselves on both sides of the political spectrum. To the left, dumb white people are a problem and must be shut down, shut out and properly schooled when they believe something different. If a dumb white person believes they aren't racist, it's only because they're too dumb to realize that they are. Only leftists like Ian Capstick know best. There is no debate, they tell themselves.
This mentality is what causes Canada's left to inherently reject any mention or thought of nationalism, identity and Canadian values. This weird group-think has even managed to seep into Conservative ranks. The bizarre Twilight Zone hivemind – that believes increased vetting of immigrants, border security and Canadian values are racist – has a source. This mentality, as Capstick mentions during his tirade, is rooted in academia. “I think that from the school and from the philosophy that I come from, which is yes, perhaps, a bit academic, we live in a white supremacistic society,” he told Barton and the panel. You can watch the whole clip here.
So, before we go any further, it's important to accept that Canada's left views most white people as inherently racist. This is why academia, media and journalism in Canada have rejected any talk about nationalism. Since Canada is a majority white nation, they believe nationalism only works to strengthen white culture and supremacy. It's why they deliberately ignore the hordes of non-white Canadians who share similarly nationalistic views, believe in something called Canadian values or have supported stricter immigration requirements and tightened border security. In many cases, the left also believes that silly minorities who reject the notion that all whites are racist have been brainwashed or have fallen under the spell of white culture. They, too, will need to be schooled by people like Ian Capstick.
How Can Nationalism Work In Canada?
It's simple. Canada is a multicultural society, but most of the immigrants who have come to Canada over time share the same values. Most immigrants believe that freedom is a part of Canadian culture. The fact that Canadians can freely identify with any religion or philosophy without going to prison is why most immigrants have come to Canada in the first place. Others have come to reap the rewards of a freer economy. But, as time has gone on, many immigrants have realized that Canada is now accepting people who may not share the same values.
When values like freedom, free speech, democracy and free association come under threat from an opposing ideology, immigrants get just as uncomfortable as we dumb, racist whites do. Second generation children of immigrants and their non-white children also get uncomfortable when their freedom and safety as Canadians are threatened. Wanting to identify as a Canadian, wanting secure borders, stricter immigration controls and shelter from certain ideologies isn't exclusive to whites. The only ones obsessed with skin colour are people like Ian Capstick. Having a brown skin tone doesn't exclude you from wanting to be Canadian and preserving your Canadian freedoms.
In terms of religion, most immigrants haven't tried to impose their Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism or Islamism on the majority. Most religious minorities have minded their own business and practised their religions peacefully, because they cherish their right to do so in Canada. Because they have Canadian values.
Canadian nationalism isn't about being white or belonging to any particular religion. Canadian nationalism is about being Canadian. Unfortunately, some of the refugees and immigrants that have crossed our borders and attempted to make Canada home have no intention of ever identifying as Canadian. Therefore, strict vetting and a possible reduction in immigration numbers are reasonable to most Canadians of all colours and backgrounds. This is a reality that Canada's left is having trouble dealing with. The left's inherent belief that everything remotely nationalistic is a result of white racism won't allow them to reconcile the fact that 67% of Canadians want better screening for anti-Canadian values. In more than one scientific poll, that 67% crosses all party lines and ethnic backgrounds. Uh oh!
What About Free Trade?
What about it? Nationalism doesn't necessarily equate to economic protectionism. Having free and open trade relations with foreign countries isn't the same as opening your borders to unsavoury cultural practices and residency. Canada can maintain all of its free trade relationships around the world with stricter immigration policies and border controls. No one lends their neighbours gardening equipment with the expectation that those neighbours must be invited in for dinner, a nightcap and a slumber party.
Unless you require your neighbours to leave their front doors wide open in order to have healthy borrowing relationships, free trade and nationalism can coexist.
If you need a better explanation from someone on the right, Brink Lindsay from the Cato Institute explains how certain trade policies were packaged dating as far back as the New Deal to create leverage in foreign policy matters. The truth is, having to choose between nationalism and free trade is a false dilemma:
“What’s happening here? Why are conservatives running away from a cause that promotes tax cuts and deregulation? One explanation is that conservatives are being asked to choose between their nationalism and their free-market economics. It’s a false dilemma: The conflict arises not from the nature of free trade, but from the way it has been packaged and pursued.
It’s not just that free traders have sold their cause on foreign policy grounds. Through linking trade liberalization exclusively with international negotiations, they have actually conveyed the impression that free trade requires the subordination of the U.S. national economic interest to broader concerns. After all, in trade talks countries agree to reduce their trade barriers only on the condition that other countries do likewise. Thus, trade barriers are treated like nuclear missiles in arms control talks — prized strategic assets that are given up only in exchange for foreign assets of equivalent value. (Indeed, in the parlance of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a commitment to reduce tariffs is a “concession.”)
With the issue so framed, the military metaphors proliferate. Trade “hawks” argue that relatively open markets amount to “unilateral disarmament,” and urge that we close off access to U.S. markets unless foreign countries let in more American goods. Free traders, by resisting such calls, get cast as 'doves'.
Of course, the equation of trade with war is economic nonsense. Trade, unlike war, is not a zero sum game: one country doesn’t 'win' at another’s expense. In particular, openness to foreign competition is not a vulnerability. On the contrary, it allows a country’s citizens to enjoy the best goods and services the world has to offer, and to specialize in those pursuits at which they are relatively more productive. And the benefits of open markets accrue regardless of whether other countries maintain similarly liberal policies.” – Brink Lindsay, “Free Trade Nationalism”, The Cato Institute
Lindsay's commentary is worth your read. He also calls for less or no tariffs in free trade to help eliminate the use of trade as a means to coerce and play politics with other countries. Give his article a read and you'll get the gist. You'll quickly realize that accepting nationalism poses no threat to free trade, unless you let your politicians continue presenting a false dilemma to voters. It's time for conservatives to start thinking outside the box if they want to make their big C party work for more Canadians.
What About The Population?
Nationalism doesn't need to be about closed borders. It's about having stricter eligibility requirements. Canada can – and always will – continue to accept immigrants who share Canadian values. Reducing immigration and making eligibility for Canadian citizenship more strict would have a potential impact on Canada's population and GDP growth, but there are ways around it.
One incentive to grow Canada's natural population is with better pro-natal policies, as pointed out by Jeff Hodgson. To some conservatives, maternity leave and various other forms of government intervention around child care are a touchy subject, but it's something that makes sense and should be considered.
“Today there are more seniors than kids in our country. As a result of this, our focus is more on healthcare than education. Pensions and benefits are more important than innovating future prosperity. Our economy has annually grown by only 1.59% over the past nine years despite the Harper Conservatives doing everything they could to encourage growth.
Is it our fate to simply sit back and slowly manage Canada’s decline? Do we just focus on borrowing money in order to feather the old folk’s sofas? Are we going to just pack it in and watch our national wealth be consumed tending to the needs of a dying population? Do we just rally behind expanding 'death with dignity' policies and start killing everyone of a certain vintage?” – Jeff Hodgson, “Canada Needs Pro-Natal Policies”
Hodgson argues for doubling maternity leave and allowing mothers on leave to keep a full wage while pointing out Brian Mulroney's mass immigration policies and how they only offered a temporary solution to Canada's looming population problems. Pro-natal policies may also offer a political advantage to Conservatives:
“Canada needs people. We are an aging, mostly empty country and immigration isn’t going to cut it. It’s time to think bigger and bolder. Conservatives need to adopt a muscular pro-natalism policy that encourages family and resonates with voters. This will unite multiple branches of conservatives and bring in regular apolitical voters that might otherwise head for the leftist alternatives.
But seriously, can we afford it?
Our half measures right now aren’t working and it’s time to experiment with bigger and better policy. If conservative-minded politicians don’t address demographic problems with forward thinking policies, then someone else will and the reward will be power. The question moving forward with conservative policies isn’t, 'Can we afford it?', it’s 'What needs to be solved and how do we win by solving it?'” – Jeff Hodgson, “Canada Needs Pro-Natal Policies”
There are several ways to encourage the growth of families in Canada. By making child care and birth less expensive, more Canadians may opt to grow families. At the moment, one of the biggest disadvantages in raising a family is cost. On top of that, a growing culture of housewife guilt is convincing young Canadian women that staying home to raise a family is something to be ashamed of. Women are the natural child-bearers and the most naturally compassionate kinds of parents, yet modern feminism is trying to make raising a family an immoral undertaking for young, non-Muslim women. A growing number of women who choose to identify as housewives are accused of betraying their gender. Whatever that means in a world where gender isn't supposed to matter.
Some conservatives are probably reading this and thinking that restricting abortion may also help increase Canada's natural population. They're probably right, but before that happens we would need to see improvements in our foster care and adoption systems. Currently, those systems are either broken or too restrictive. Children who are raised in foster homes are statistically more likely to be considered “unsuccessful” by social standards when they reach adulthood. That needs to change. Maybe Conservatives could benefit from playing a role in some much needed reform, both federally and provincially.
What About First Nations?
No one would benefit more from nationalism than Canada's First Nations. Indigenous communities seem to have fallen for the Liberal notion that immigration and tolerance must go hand-in-hand. Much like how nationalism and free trade are taught as opposites, tolerance and open borders are taught to be synonymous. They aren't.
If First Nation communities honestly believe they have something to gain from open borders and mass immigration, they're wrong. How can they be right? Minus the temporary growth in GDP offered by mass immigration, there is no monetary benefit. Even with mass immigration, how much have First Nations benefited thus far? That's a good question to find an answer to. I won't go into detail here, but judging by some communities across Canada, mass immigration and strong GDP haven't elevated most of Canada's First Nations communities. This is mostly due to horrific federal policies by all past Canadian governments.
Past governments have failed to properly enforce and uphold treaties and agreements signed by Canada. The Trudeau government is no different. There is no getting around that fact. Conservatives often have a hard time comprehending treaties and contractual agreements signed on behalf of all Canadians, but this needs to change. One unquestionable conservative principle is the enforcement of contracts. When conservatives sign their name and make an agreement, they always stay true to their contracts. Personal responsibility is one of conservatism's most important tenets. We may not agree with all the contracts that were signed on behalf of Canada as a nation, but we have a duty to uphold them.
Do First Nation communities really believe that treaties will be better understood and, thus, better enforced by a growing foreign population with little regard or understanding for those treaties? Call me just another preachy white boy, but I don't think so. Most immigrants have to spend years learning our customs, languages and basic laws. I'm not sure what makes us believe they'll have time to learn the ins and outs of Canada's complicated relationship with First Nations. I'm sorry, it's not happening.
If we keep Canada's current immigration levels, the country's general population will continue to outpace the population growth of Canada's First Nations by five to one. At the current rate, First Nations will never gain sizeable traction in population growth and will always remain outnumbered by significant margins. To most true, non-Indigenous racists, that probably sounds good. Luckily, despite what media would have you believe, there aren't that many Canadians who want to see First Nations fail. Our governments have just been incompetent and the media has been complicit.
First Nations should probably have more autonomy and wealth, but trends have been heading in the opposite direction for quite some time. Dramatically and artificially increasing Canada's population won't help change that trend. It hasn't thus far. If Canadian nationalism is about being Canadian, no one group of people are more Canadian than Canada's First Nations.
Canadian Nationalism Is Good
If we're going to let Canada's left dictate what we accept as Canadian values and identity, we won't have an identity left in a few generations. If the left gets their way, Canada will have stronger hate speech laws, no values and a government that rationalizes and makes excuses for dangerous, regressive ideological practices.
Canadian nationalism doesn't have to be Trumpism, or something race-based like the left believes all forms of nationalism are. Canadian nationalism is about sharing and preserving what we cherish the most, together, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Canada and the US share almost identical values, but we've coexisted separately for nearly 200 years. Both our countries rely on free trade and that's not something that will ever change as a result of Trumpism or Canadian nationalism. Separating the false narratives and dilemmas that politicians on both sides pedal for political gain won't be easy, but it's necessary if Canadians want to protect the freedoms and liberties that immigrants from around the world have decided to be a part of.
The first step in protecting our freedoms is to identify the dangerous ideologies that threaten to upend them. The second is to do everything we can – together – to keep them out of our country and to stand up against the ones that have already made it in.