Westerners know Trudeau, Singh & Legault harbour unacceptable views (Part 3)
By J.R. Werbics
The natural inclination found in the majority of people in any community is to build. A few will always want to tear things down and start over. And even fewer will simply want to pick a fight without there being an end game that is neither defined or nowhere in sight. Populist movements everywhere will always find themselves confined within either the second or third tier described above. Call it the first phase or act one of accomplishment and motivation, for any populist revolution. And for most populist movements, this is where they end. Why?
The answer is because once in government, the populist finds it nearly impossible to govern in the name of the people.
The contradiction between providing good government that works for the will of the people eventually clashes without end with the ideals of a populist revolution that looks to oust the political and economic ruling elite from power. For proof, one has to look no further than the government of Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom and the 5 Star Movement in Italy.
Over time, the logical contradictions of the two spelled the end of the first phase of their populist movements and their respective governments as well. As such, it became impossible to build and as stated above, they could not fulfill the desires found in the majority of people. It is this ability to build and govern, let’s call it the second phase or act two, that every Western Canadian populist needs to think about.
In the two previous essays, it has been documented that Western Canadian populists and conservatives have achieved very little when it comes to changing the progressive culture in Ottawa. It has also been shown that this failure has only created a Western Canadian populist and conservative politics that have been predicated upon the premise of pulling ‘the West out of Confederation.’
In either instance, this is an emotionally and intellectually destructive attitude. Central Canada and Quebec see the Conservative Party of Canada as a destructive force looking to dismantle their progressive politics and ideology. As for Western Canadians in general, they see a similar fate in regard to their place within Confederation, when populists and conservatives create legislation like the Alberta Sovereignty Act.
Furthermore, in the two previous essays in this series it has been argued that western and territorial populists cannot look to the Conservative Party of Canada to effectively seek the change many want to see adopted in Ottawa. Also, it has been effectively pointed out that the options put forward by western provincial politicians in the last two decades to counter our political alienation and powerlessness at the hands of Ottawa have run their course.
So let’s face it and be honest with ourselves. For the populist who lives in Western Canada and in the Territories, the federal government and the bureaucracy that call Ottawa home, still does not work for us. Thus, it is time to give up on this destructive motif and quasi-intellectualism, in favour of one that embraces the same individualism, resiliency and fortitude that the settlers had when they first came to this land. And like them…
let’s start to build something.
If Western Canadians and those who live in the Territories want real change, it must begin with ‘real’ implementable ideas that excite the imagination of those who have not yet joined the populist movement here in Western Canada. First and foremost, these ideas must embrace the political definition of freedom that exists out here in the west. Second, these ideas need to embraces an economic and political system where prosperity is achievable for every individual who calls Western Canada and the Territories home.
Canada has just recently encountered the precipice that leads to a world of populist politics. Due to this late re-entry into the race for more political and economic freedom, Canadians have yet to intellectually develop their own populist answers to today’s economic and political problems. Moreover, if one wants to inspire their fellow citizens you must look to yesteryear and the work of certain Western academics, public intellectuals and political activists and the events that their work inspired.
In that regard, to help understand the populist momentum sweeping Western Canada today, you have to look no further than recent history and the populist uprisings in the United Kingdom. Here, events like Brexit and the recent decision to block Scotland’s Transgender legislation,1 have shown that there is a groundswell of support for ideas other than progressivism.
To corroborate this political trend, just look south of the Canadian border where Roe v. Wade was recently overturned. Along with another recent decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled the EPA does not have sweeping power to regulate carbon emissions,2 these decisions show that laws can be reversed. In many respects, all these events show that the long march of progressivism through the institutions of the English speaking Western world have come to an end, full stop.
More importantly, these historical events show those who do not identify as a progressive one very important fact. And that is progressive Social Justice is like every other form of Justice that came before it, including those ideas from philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle who first introduced the idea of justice – it is transient.3
Although there is a real dearth of Canadian ideas that can best explain today’s Western populist zeitgeist, some have put their best foot forward when it comes to filling this void. Certain Canadians have argued it is economic inequality that is the cause, the have nots verses the haves. Others have offered an answer for today’s populist uprising as seen through the prism of geography. One man in particular, former Prime Minister Stephan Harper defines this issue as a problem between the ‘nowheres’ and the ‘somewheres.’4
From this philosopher’s perspective, I would argue that each of these descriptions about today’s populist uprising is not incorrect. However, I would argue that these explanations are somewhat superficial. The true driving force of populism here in Canada is an intellectual battle between two competing philosophical positions that are directly associated with the philosophers John Locke5 and Thomas Hobbes.6
Ironically, with Pierre Poilievre being elected as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and his stated aim of making Canada the ‘freest’ country in the world, it would make sense to look at the two competing definitions of ‘freedom’ that each have put forth. To begin this examination, all you have to do today is look around and you will see these competing philosophies in every day political discussions and mainstream televised debates.
According to Locke, we are born into perfect freedom. We are naturally free. We are free to do what we want, when we want, how we want, within the bounds of the “law of nature.”7 Thomas Hobbes believed that, "a free man is he that in those things which by his strength and wit he is able to do is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do"8 To better understand both of these vastly different philosophical definitions of ‘freedom,’ it is necessary to trace back these arguments to a point where each first diverged. That point of inflection is called the ‘state of nature.’
Simply stated, the state of nature in moral and political philosophy, religion, social contract theories and international law is the hypothetical life of people before societies came into existence.9 From this shared point of reference, John Lock defined his understanding of this point in time as one where, individuals lived in mutual respect for one another, and these moral characterizations included full-blown rights and obligations.10
As for Thomas Hobbes, he saw the state of nature as being very barbaric and a primitive existence—a “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” existence, a condition of war “of every man against every man,” a war in which there is no industry, no culture, and no real society.”11 With this rough outline in place, it allows you to begin to see the growing chasm between the two definitions of ‘freedom.’
In Canada today, it is easy to see where both definitions of ‘freedom’ are at work. In simple terms, this country can be divided in half at the Manitoba and Ontario provincial boundary. Looking west, the Lockian perspective is the driving force politically and intellectually. And when looking east of this border, a majority of people have embraced a more Hobbesian outlook of society.12
Over time, many have tried to bridge this gap between these two competing definitions. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has put forth the idea that freedom means being able to do what you want, without any external obstacles. And that real freedom is achieved when significant social and economic inequalities are also considered.13
If you are not familiar with the thoughts of Professor Taylor, it must be stated here that he is a darling of the progressive academic community. His work is also widely read and quoted among progressive activists and politicians. It is no wonder then that if you drill down further into his definition of ‘freedom,’ it is easy to see the influence Social Justice has over his thinking.
With both the Lockian and Hobbesian viewpoints present in Canada, it is difficult for the average Canadian to know which definition of freedom has the upper hand when it comes to influencing policy by any government be it at the municipal, provincial or federal level. However, there is one place within the Canadian context where one philosopher’s idea of freedom reigns supreme without opposition.
That place is Ottawa.
It is here that there can be no doubt, that Thomas Hobbes’s work ‘Leviathan’ which incorporates his definition of freedom lives without opposition in the political, economic and bureaucratic halls of power. With the work ‘Leviation’ Hobbes argued that the absolute power of the sovereign was ultimately justified by the consent of the governed, who agreed, in a hypothetical social contract, to obey the sovereign in all matters in exchange for a guarantee of peace and security.
If you closely examine the policies and legislative accomplishments of the Trudeau & Singh government, with their technocratic progressive politics14 there exists a ‘Leviathan’ foundation of centralized dictates that touch upon nearly every aspect of Canadian life. Some even go so far that they intrude on constitutionally protected areas of provincial jurisdiction. When looked upon holistically, it is plain for everyone to see in Western Canada and the Territories where Trudeau & Singh will be taking the country with their pending ‘Just Transition’ legislation.
Luckily for those living in Western Canada and the Territories, John Locke had his own understanding of what freedom is and what a social contract should look like. And it is important to mention here, that when Pierre Poilievre the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada says, “The most important guardian of our living standards is freedom,”15 he is specifically talking about John Locke’s definition of freedom.
Despite there being a Lockian politician in Ottawa that wields considerable power as leader of the Kings Loyal Opposition, freedom as defined by John Locke is far from being a certainty in this country. As has been shown in the two previous essays, even if the CPC wins a majority government in the next federal election, it will still be virtually impossible for Western Canadian populists and conservatives to stop the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes from taking over out west.
Therefore, the only viable political option in Western Canada and the Territories, is to carve out our own Lockian society within the Canadian context. So what would a Lockian social contract look like? And what new freedoms would it bring?
The first step in creating this new social contract, is accepting the fact that it would have to be constructed, defined and implemented solely within provincial legislation. It cannot be a private sector endeavor since the private sector has limited rights and responsibilities within the Canadian constitutional context. In essence, any law that Ottawa passes would undercut and usurp the power of the new social contract. Therefore, it will be necessary to protect this new social contract with the notwithstanding clause (Section 33).
The construction of this arrangement between individuals (the social contract) would have to accept as its foundation or definition, the idea that individual rights, their protection and promotion would have precedent over almost any other collective political device. This contract would also have to endorse a ‘state of nature’ where all though free, equal and independent are obliged under provincial law to respect each other’s rights to life, liberty and property.16 In order that the implementation of this new social contract is accessible to all, it must also embrace the digital revolution and the social contract that it has already been building for years.17
With this new Lockian social contract in place, the discussion can begin as to what and how far a concept like the virtual nation of Buffalo (see part 2) could interact with other western provinces, territories and the rest of Canada. With this in mind, the remainder of this essay is devoted to outlining three specific provincial pieces of legislation that have as their raison d’etre, the creation of a new set of natural rights and freedoms that are now possible due to the existence of this new digital social contract.
The first of these new provincial legislative commitments, deviates slightly from what has been Canadian political tradition since Confederation. Instead of representational democracy at the municipal level of government, this new western political paradigm is rooted in a more robust democratic process that creates a municipal government that is direct, digital and democratic (D3).
The two remaining provincial legislative initiatives deal with very specific areas found in the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. One focuses on Section 15, an area that deals with Employment Equity. The third and final initiative deals with that section of the constitution that enshrines and protects provincial rights in regard to education. To ensure that all three of these new provincial and territorial initiatives remain politically sustainable over time, each uses the notwithstanding clause in a new and exciting way that expands, rather than limits, the rights and freedoms that Canadians enjoy today.
Make no mistake, by wielding the notwithstanding clause found in the constitution as a political weapon, it will ensure that once these reforms are enacted into law, Ottawa will not be able to interfere with their longevity or sustainability over time. Thus, allowing Western Canadians or those living in the Territories to reform these new legislative endeavors, as they see fit, and as the ‘General Will’ of Western and Territorial Canadians evolve and change.
Municipal Direct Digital Democracy and the Natural Rights Associated with Digital Speech
There can be no freedom, without democracy.
Social media is a progressive term Thomas Hobbes would have invented himself, if he was alive today. The time has come to replace the words ‘social media’ with a definition that properly reflects its true Lockian beginnings, and that term is digital association.18 This term aligns seamlessly with John Locke’s other writings about political freedom. And as such, digital association is endowed with a new set of natural rights and freedoms that apply to all individuals equally.
Petitions and referenda in the modern era of governing offered a realistic expression of individual political power and proved to be an excellent barometer that described the current state or direction the General Will within society was headed. But in the postmodern era, they do not offset the power, authority and influence that is being centralized in Ottawa today.
Only through the use of subsidiarity,19 the notion of reducing centralized control over decision making by pushing it down to lower levels, in this instance local government, can Western Canadian democracy be preserved. In many respects, this concentration of power is actually nothing more than an accruing of power in fewer and fewer hands. Premier Doug Ford’s idea and legislation that empowers a strong mayor, is a slap in the face to the fundamental Canadian idea of municipal democracy.20
When envisioning and constructing a digital platform that is Direct, Digital and Democratic (D3) for a municipal government, it must ensure that a number of natural rights and freedoms are protected. On the one hand, it must allow for individual political input, association and democratic participation (voting). And on the other, it must offer a space, let’s call it the digital estate, where an expanded definition of freedom protects digital or online speech from any legislation emanating from Ottawa.
When looked at structurally, the ideal platform would incorporate a new decentralized social graph like Lens, developed by Aave.21 It converts speech itself, whether it is memes, text, images, and anything else that is the creation of the individual into a new political natural right associated with digital speech.
By converting all forms of digital concepts into private property and protecting them legally. In essence, this new political digital platform will allow the user population of any given province that develops it, the ability to mint a profile, follow others, and create and collect posts all on-chain.
If you think that this technology used in this way, where direct digital democracy merges with freedom of speech or expression is too futuristic, complex or unsustainable - Twitter is already beginning to move in the direction of a decentralized future.22 With something like the Lens protocol embedded within this new digital political platform, it offers up a concrete definition as to what digital freedom of speech really means. A definition that in many respects is the complete opposite that the Trudeau & Singh government is pursuing in Bill C-11.23
Most importantly, by using such a protocol it opens up the opportunity to redefine what is allowable by Ottawa’s regulated hate speech laws. It also creates a new political environment where digital political organizing and digital speech can be protected by provincial statute. Furthermore, this new digital platform will allow users the ability to link their followers, community and content to their own NFT profile.24 Thus, further expanding the embedded Natural Rights of digital association.25
By imbedding new natural rights and freedoms in this new digital platform (Internet), it is simply replicating what has been, up till the digital revolution, a structural power base found in the modern world. In essence, all that is happening is the transference of ideas, principles and values associated with great modern philosophers like John Stewart Mill and John Rawls, into the digital world. Such that, these principles are now being aligned with John Locke’s definition of freedom, and away from any Hobbesian model.
Naturally, there will have to be some form of legal enforcement and oversight for these new natural rights and freedoms. In an ideal world they would be offered the same protection and legal remedies that exist today for any individual human right found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In each province there exists a Human Rights Commission. By retooling and creating a new digital mandate or authority for these Provincial Human Rights Commissions, it becomes possible to ensure that there is no interference with these new natural rights and freedoms. This avenue would also open up the opportunity for the creation of new case law over time as these natural rights and freedoms evolve within this new digital platform. To ensure that these new judicial courts, digital platforms, natural rights and freedoms are allowed to exist without political or legal interference from Ottawa, they will have to be protected with the notwithstanding clause.
In closing, by using the notwithstanding clause it will also override the Trudeau & Singh digital charter found in Bill C-11. It will also safe guard the future for this new digital political platform, should any further legislation specifically dealing with today’s modern Internet come into existence.
Furthermore, it cannot be stressed enough that there needs to be a provincial remedy to the coming federal legislation from Ottawa that will regulate the entire Internet in this county. Even though it was recently returned to Parliament after spending time in the Senate where it was heavily amended, it still represents a formidable attack on the freedoms that all Canadians enjoy as they surf the World Wide Web.
From allowing the Government of Canada the legal authority to dictate the algorithms that a social media company can use.26 To the possibility that there will be a federal court that would adjudicate upon the type of content that would be allowed.27 Bill C-11 is a clear and present danger to anyone who feels that the Internet should be a free and open space, without government regulation.
Critical Race Theory and Section (15) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
You may never see the specific words Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the Canadian Constitution or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but it is definitely there. The section where it is not only emboldened by legal fiat and by Hobbesian progressive ideology, is Section 15 better known as the Employment Equity Act.
In almost all of our universities across this country, CRT has been debated, refined and written about for decades. As with any intellectual idea, it is useless unless there is a process that can take theory and turn it into an actionable policy. Section 15 of the Charter is the tool upon which Critical Race Theory is institutionalized from coast to coast in this country. From this section it is cultivated, shaped and implemented throughout almost the entire Canadian labour market.
Despite what many Western Canadian populists and conservatives may have been told or think about Employment Equity, not a single court case has explicitly enshrined Critical Race Theory in Section 15 of the Charter. But what has never been talked about within progressive academic, legal or political circles is the fact that our current regime of Employment Equity has never been thoroughly tested in any court in regard to its constitutionality.
If you want to speak truth to power, then it must be stated that in its current form, Employment Equity may violate section 15 due to its unproven causal link between underrepresented groups and the legal interpretation of the term Disadvantaged. In today’s Hobbesian progressive environment, simply being underrepresented within a working environment, automatically qualifies or anoints a minority group with the legal status of being ‘disadvantaged.’
Another interesting fact that is never talked about within the legacy media, is that Employment Equity is the tool that progressives around this county use to implement and strengthen their ideological grip over every Canadian. In many ways, Employment Equity and Critical Race Theory represent the pinnacle of Hobbesian morale and political thought.
For many progressives in the past, the problem has always been that if each entity is applied independently upon society, it is hard to reproduce the desired results that Thomas Hobbes describes in ‘Leviathan.’ But combined, Employment Equity with its distorted definition of ‘disadvantaged’ and Critical Race Theory’s dubious definition of ‘racism,’ it is more than possible to bring about a level of social engineering that even George Orwell would not believe was possible.
From a Lockian perspective, the most troubling aspect of Section 15 is that it subtly correlates underrepresentation with Cultural Race Theory. If John Locke were here today, he would see CRT as a philosophically and scientifically unproven cross-disciplinary intellectual endeavor. But this fact has not stopped the Trudeau & Singh government from doubling down on their belief in this ideology. They continue to press forward with their program, Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism strategy found within Heritage Canada.28
For Western Canadian populists and conservatives, a prudent second pillar in the pursuit of creating a society built upon John Locke’s definition of freedom, would be to restore a level playing field to the labour market. A provincial affirmative action policy that favours equality of opportunity over equity, and one that defines disadvantage from the angel of individual hardship instead of CRT, would certainly be worthwhile.
Here it must be stated unequivocally, those groups who have endured a historical disadvantage (Indigenous people, Black and 2SLGBTQ communities) should continue to be protected within the legal context that currently exists in the Employment Equity Act. As with the implementation of a municipal government founded upon the idea of a direct digital democracy, the notwithstanding clause would have to be used.
For those scholars and academics who believe that there is a limitation on the power or use of the notwithstanding clause, recent political events in Quebec should offer one the opportunity to re-evaluate ones opinion. In particular, the Quebec government informed those who work for federally regulated companies in Quebec that they fall under Quebec’s new restrictive language laws.29 This novel and expanded use of Section 33 shows that it could definitely allow for a new provincial affirmative action program that could replace today’s Employment Equity law.
For Western Canadian populists and conservatives this is possibly a game changer. If Quebec’s use of the notwithstanding clause in this manner is found to be legal, and trumps any law Ottawa may pass, the possibilities abound. And, it begs the question, what federal jurisdiction is safe?
Post-Secondary Education, Academic Freedom and Free Speech on Campus
If you were to look up the word enlightenment today, you would be met with a definition that states – the act or means of enlightening:30 To understand how this fits into the endeavor of creating a society that is built upon John Locke’s understanding of being free, it is important to look to the synonyms of this word for governance – to understand, to be insightful, to educate, to learn and to know (knowledge).
To understand just how essential John Locke’s definition is, just presuppose the words ‘The freedom’ before each of those synonyms. Only then will it be possible to build a robust and free education system from kindergarten through to university in Western Canada that could be considered to be free from ideological and political influence.
In the Constitution of Canada that was repatriated in 1982, education and all its infrastructure falls within provincial jurisdiction.31 Due to the constraints that are imbedded in a short essay such as this, the focus of this discussion will be confined to the post-secondary level.
In this new post-secondary system, it is imperative that it has as its Telos, a definition of freedom that is applied from top to bottom and includes the idea that this education should also be free. Access to this post-secondary system should not include, internal regulation of lawful speech, universities distorting the curriculum on ideological grounds and universities investigating staff and students for lawful expression of ones views.32
When looking at the entire university system that exists today across Canada, you will find a homogenous system without much in the way of difference, either within the administration of the system itself or the curriculum studied. In fact, the only province to really stand out as distinct and unique is Quebec and their CEGEP academic structure.33
If Western Canadian populists and conservatives wish to build a society that is founded upon the ideas and concepts put forth by John Locke, there will have to be a complete overhaul of the post-secondary education system that currently exists in each western province or territory. It will also entail the restructuring of the curriculum in such a way, that those forces that today restrict and hinder the student and the faculty from embracing the 5 pillars of enlightenment discussed earlier, are no longer the driving force in any post-secondary institution.
Thomas Hobbes wanted an education system that emphasised that human nature is selfish and base.34 It is this philosophical perspective that also undermines post-secondary institutions in Western Canada today. Progressive ideologues have over time, saturated and populated the university’s internal administrative\executive architecture to the point where it is best defined as one that is of homogenous conformity. This conformity has also been extended to the various subjects that are taught. Combined, the two have fulfilled the ideal of a banal education that Hobbes put forth many years ago.
Many western populists would like to just scrap the whole post-secondary system and start over, but that is neither desirable nor feasible. Even if around every corner of the university lurks ‘Leviathan,’ what will be required to sustain and grow a new Lockian society is a process of gradual change. The reasons for this are twofold. On the one hand, it will allow these institutions to retain the best and brightest. And on the other, it will give those who do not agree with this new direction ample time to find gainful employment elsewhere.
In order to offer the freest post-secondary education system possible, it would also be prudent to look around the rest of the Western world and cherry-pick the best from all known systems. To that end, what better way to begin this process than by asking a simple question…
How far has the Canadian university system fallen when compared to what John Henry Newman proclaimed as the principles and virtues of university life in The Idea of a University35? Those principles and virtues being: 1) the nature of knowledge; 2) the role of religious belief in higher education; and 3) a defense of liberal education for university students.
It is not a stretch of the imagination that many Western Canadian populists and conservatives would agree that, the teachings of John Henry Newman nor John Locke are nowhere to be seen. Where Truth once stood tall, now stands ideology. Micro-aggressions and trigger warnings exist where there once was open and free debate. Not to mention the fact that today’s academic standards have fallen so far into the pit of Social or Education Justice, that anyone who can fulfill just the bare minimum that is required to achieve a PhD, and acknowledges that they are ‘woke,’ can begin teaching.36
The first step in redesigning a post-secondary system that restores the historical tradition that the university embodied in Newman’s definition, is to understand that there is a difference between freedom of speech and academic freedom. In English speaking countries like the United Kingdom this definition of freedom is derived from the 1998 Human Rights Act. In the United States the definition of freedom is attributable to the First Amendment. And in Canada, the definition of freedom comes into force from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In each of these circumstances, emphasis is on freedom from, not freedom to. What Isaiah Berlin conceptualized as negative and positive freedoms, respectively.37
In many respects, Canadian academic freedom had for years been defined as one that tilts toward the idea of a negative freedom, where the emphasis is placed on a situation that recognizes the right to be free from something (Negative liberty), and not a freedom to do something (Positive liberty). But in recent years, the Canadian post-secondary institution has drifted away from both versions of freedom.
In place of freedom, a new academic quasi-right has emerged. Some call it a right not to be offended.38 This new quasi-right does not adhere or gather its authority from anything found in the Canadian Constitution or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Its power and definition originates in the Hobbesian administrative and bureaucratic structure that oversees the daily functioning of the university.
From the diversity office and the equity officer, to the quasi-tribunals found within the university that meter out punishment for transgressions against stated administrative policy,39 this unlawful right consumes the academic freedom and the free speech that once existed. The recent upheaval at the University of Lethbridge is a prime example of this lawless attitude.40
To address these unacceptable situations regarding free speech on campus and the lack of academic freedom, it will take a bold step in an unfamiliar direction. John Locke, if he was still alive today would argue that both academic freedom and freedom of speech must be treated as fundamental rights.41 Thus, it will require provincial legislation in the form of a statute dedicated to protecting the Academic Natural Rights and Freedoms of all students.
Within this restatement, there are three specific principles that must anchor any definition enacted by such legislation regarding academic freedom. 1) There needs to be far reaching individual rights to expressive freedoms for members of the academic community for both staff and students. 2) Collective and institutional autonomy for the academy in general including faculties, research units, etc., must be strictly enforced. 3) And finally an obligation for the public authorities to respect and protect academic freedom and to take measures in order to ensure an effective enjoyment of this right and to promote it evenly throughout the institution.42
In crafting such a piece of legislation, it would be wise to look to the United Kingdom for guidance.43 And, as this is the only path forward to ensuring academic freedom and free speech on campus, it will be necessary to once again invoke the notwithstanding clause.
When all is said and done, enlightenment in Western Canada and the Territories not only means a right to learn in an environment free of coercion, but also the right to study any subject in the way or direction the pupil wishes, without the threat of sanction or penalty. Naturally, those who wish to make such changes are faced with the problem of finding likeminded people and kindred souls within today’s university setting. For those interested in such an endeavor, a good starting place would be the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS).
In conclusion, the Trucker Convoy for Freedom not only had a tremendous impact in this country, but its influence and tactics have spread around the Western world. Yet, back then it can be stated with certainty, that when the Trucker Convoy for Freedom rolled onto Wellington Street in Ottawa, and the border blockades went up at Coutts Alberta and the Ambassador Bridge crossing in Windsor, nobody knew who was going to benefit from this protest movement.
Today, we know who the big winners are, Western Canadian populists and conservatives. From a very small protest movement that essentially grew out of simple grassroots organizing in Western Canada, this populist movement has not only managed to dominate the news cycle in this country for the entire year, but has also blossomed into a very real political force, that has invigorated the base of the Conservative Party of Canada.
In many respects, the Canadian populist has had the privilege of shaping the second phase of the populist revolution that first began in Western and Eastern Europe in 2014. Domestically, not only did it resurrect a dormant populist movement in Western Canada, it had the ability to throw back the curtain that has shrouded Canadian politics for years, and offered a glimpse at the deep seated philosophical divisions about Freedom, that exist from coast to coast.
Internationally, this populist movement inspired copycat protests in New Zealand and the United States, and offered up a blueprint to the Dutch farmers’ protest44 movement on how to challenge their government over their fertilizer caps. For all these achievements, the Convoy for Freedom and those who led it have cemented themselves into the history books.
Just as there were domestic winners associated with this Freedom Convoy, there were losers too. The biggest losers were the Trudeau government and their Hobbesian progressive friends that have kept them in power over this past year. As these three essays have shown, much of what the Convoy showed or revealed, was the continued institutional and political bias towards Western Canadians within the elite political and bureaucratic circles that run Ottawa.
No example better illustrates the longevity, influence and power of ‘Leviathan’ in today’s federal government in Ottawa, than the invocation of the Emergencies Act to disband the Freedom Convoy. Even retired Justice Rouleau and his Emergencies Act Commission reinforced this fact by concluding that the situation that brought about its invocation was completely avoidable.45
If there is one simple message to be taken away from the accomplishments of the Convoy for Freedom and these three essays it is this - if we in Western Canada and the Territories cannot alter the political and intellectual trajectory of those in Ottawa, Ontario and Quebec as we wean them off of their love of Thomas Hobbes’s oppressive philosophy - we can at least make sure they don’t change us.
As has been stated in these essays, this philosopher earnestly believes that the CPC under the stewardship of Pierre Poilievre will not find enough votes in Quebec to remove themselves from the benches as Loyal Opposition. This opinion is further born out as fact, by the results of the most recent provincial election in Quebec, where the conservative party there failed to win a single seat.46 Furthermore, the latest poll conducted by Abacus Data found that the Conservative Party of Canada was stuck at 22%, well behind both the Liberals and Bloc.47
If you want to create the freest country in the world as Pierre Polievre has stated, a sentiment that many Western Canadians agree with, it will take serious intellectual thinking and a concerted set of political actions. The starting point for action in these three essays is the intellectual creation of a virtual nation called ‘Buffalo.’ From here, a new political philosophy can be forged around John Locke’s definition of freedom. And, with the help of the notwithstanding clause it will be almost impossible for Ottawa to intervene.
In closing, for many Canadian conservatives these three essays will create much disillusionment. For many, their faith and hopes are so intertwined and rest solely with the success of the CPC that defeat in the next federal election would be crushing. Even harder to accept is the fact that even if the CPC somehow pulls off an electoral victory and majority government in the next federal election, it will only produce limited change.
For example, many still cling to the idea that the CBC can be defunded. But as shown, change on this scale is not possible with the current political and parliamentary structures found in Ottawa.48
Now, not wanting to end on such a pessimistic note, I offer up an anecdote of inspiration and hope from recent history. If these three provincial legislative ideas that have been described here are fully enacted across Western Canada & Territories, and a new Lockian society slowly takes hold within the population in earnest, it will be possible to say that one day the CBC will not have a single office out here.
Why such confidence you might ask?
It is due to the fact that years ago the National Film Board of Canada once had offices across Western Canada. Today, the NFB only exists in Montreal. Change can be shaped and it can happen, but it takes time. If you do not forget how to play the long game that has been described here within these three essays, there can be victory and success. In doing so, those with ‘serene’ Hobbesian progressive beliefs will be made to see, that their future of a ‘Just Transition,’ will not work out here in Western Canada and the Territories.
3 The thoughts of a Peasant Philosopher, Vol. I, Politics Anniversary Edition, 2014, p.222-223
10 The Thoughts of a Peasant Philosopher Vol. I, Politics Anniversary Edition, p.142, 2014
23 Bill C-11 441 An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts | Projet de loi C-11 441 Loi modifiant la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et apportant des modifications connexes et corrélatives à d’autres lois (parl.ca)
25 The Thoughts of a Peasant Philosopher Vol. I, Politics Anniversary Edition, 2014, p.148