Comparing the Canadian and the American Right – updated to 2021 (Part Three)
By Mark Wegierski
The intellectual, cultural, and academic life of Canada is clearly dominated to a greater extent by “political correctness” than is the case in the United States. Unlike in the U.S., homeschooling is comparatively rare in Canada, there are fewer private schools at the primary and secondary level, and there are very few private, post-secondary institutions. The hundreds of private, more traditional, usually religious-affiliated colleges in the U.S. may allow for the existence of a community of more traditionally-oriented scholars that can have some effect on U.S. politics. Intelligent persons of conservative or traditionalist outlooks are almost completely isolated in Canada, and have almost no hope of achieving the dream of (for example) a tenured academic appointment – or even of finishing a Ph.D. Policies similar to employment equity operate, de jure or de facto, at virtually every Canadian university. These determine admissions (to undergraduate, as well as graduate programs -- and especially to professional programs like law and medicine); the disbursement of scholarships and other aid to students; and the hiring of all academic faculty, librarians, library assistants, and other academic and non-academic support staff.
The Canadian media, including the publishing world, is also more hostile to persons of conservative or traditionalist outlooks than is the case in the United States. The so-called “alternative media” and “alternative publishers” in Canada usually embrace very left-wing outlooks and are even more hostile to conservatives than the so-called mainstream publishers. So, again, we see the Right being stymied in Canada. Even the sharpest and most reflective persons of conservative or traditionalist outlooks in Canada are highly unlikely to achieve the dream of becoming opinion-columnists in Canadian newspapers, or acclaimed authors with books appearing with credible publishers. Virtually the entire government-subsidized world of “CanLit” is inimical to conservatism.
The atrophy of the broader Right in Canada means that Canadians are cut off from many stimulating intellectual and creative ideas and political options. It also means that any remaining socially conservative instincts of the general populace are untutored, and therefore easily pejoritized as “bigotry” by the left-liberal elites. Many people go through their entire lives in Canada without ever hearing even one seriously-presented, conservative or traditionalist argument. It could be argued that it is diversity of thought that is the most important, and most Canadians of any cultural or social group will never get beyond the prevalent, politically-correct, dogmas and taboos.
Because of the atrophy of traditional religion in Canada, the gay rights and radical feminist agendas have certainly advanced more quickly than is the case in the United States. The birthrate in Canada has also fallen far below replacement level, in marked contrast to the United States, where even the birthrate of “non-Hispanic white” (to use the official term of the U.S. Census) women is comparatively high. At the same time, Canada has a very high rate of abortion. There is a general climate of social decadence, ill-discipline, and a never-ending war against the so-called “authoritarian personality.”
Many Canadians are to some extent accepting of all these various Canadian syndromes because they are linked to a very generous welfare-state. Apart from the obvious “true believers” in the left-liberal cadres (most of whom also clearly enjoy very comfortable lives), most ordinary people also tend to fall into line, unwilling to jeopardize their public sector job, or the government subsidy to their business, for the sake of what seem like distant and questionable notions.
It should also be pointed out that Canada prides itself on its very generous medical system. The issue of healthcare is growing increasingly salient in Canada, especially with a rapidly-aging population. It seems that many people would be willing to accept virtually anything as far as the social and cultural outlooks they are required to profess, if they could be guaranteed high-quality medical care.
At the same time, Canada today fails to meet many of the traditional criteria of a state. It fails to properly control its borders, and its armed forces have (except under Harper) been critically underfunded, to a point of near-atrophy. The federal government under the Chretien Liberals (1993-2003) had been able to achieve a budget surplus owing mainly to the high income tax rates; the 7% Goods and Services Tax (which is levied on virtually all economic activity) (Harper had lowered it to 5%); the reform of Unemployment Insurance (now called Employment Insurance), which significantly cut benefits; the so-called clawback of Old Age Pensions, over a certain, relatively modest income threshold; and the reduction of federal transfer payments for healthcare to the provinces. Considering these facts, the achievement of a federal budget surplus under Prime Minister Chretien and his Finance Minister, Paul Martin Jr. (who was Prime Minister in 2003-2006) is less of a “miracle” than it might appear.
To be continued.
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.