Sunday, March 26, 2017

Senator Beyak and the Residential Schools






Senator Lynn Beyak is in trouble in the press and with her colleagues for rising in the Senate chamber and saying recently:

“I speak partly for the record, but mostly in memory of the kindly and well-intentioned men and women and their descendants — perhaps some of us here in this chamber — whose remarkable works, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unacknowledged for the most part.”

As a result, she has been asked to step down from the Aboriginal Affairs Committee. Her comments, Lillian Dyck, chair of that committee says, were “ill-informed and insensitive.”

“While I respect the right of all senators to express their own opinions, I am concerned that Senator Beyak's comments may have tarnished the good reputation of the [committee] and that her opinions may negatively impact the future work,” Dyck said in a statement.

“Aboriginal people must be able to feel that they can trust the members of the committee and that we respect them.”



This reaction is revolting, and tarnishes Canada’s reputation in a way the residential schools did not.

The majority of those who worked in the residential schools are not just guiltless, but unusually admirable people. They tended to be motivated by compassion and idealism—rather like the folks who volunteer for Habitat for Humanity today. They accepted a life of isolation, often of hardship, in order to help the native people.

And now they are reviled for it, and anyone even speaking in their behalf is reviled for it.

“In the 1960s, when I lived and worked in residential schools,” recalls one former staffer, “it was the evangelistic calling for committed Christians similar to rebuilding houses following disasters in South America. Most residential school employees worked for very little pay, less recognition, and many sleepless nights.”

Consider the hardships the first missionaries encountered to bring knowledge to the various First Nations groups. One might have heard of the slow torture of Jean de Brebeuf or Isaac Jogues? But even more recently,

“There are no more arduous mission fields in the world,” writes William Withrow in 1895, “than those among the native tribes of the great North-West.” 



The devoted servant of the Cross goes forth to a region beyond the pale of civilization. He often suffers privation of the very necessaries of life. He is exposed to the rigour of an almost Arctic winter. He is cut off from human sympathy or congenial companionship. Communication with the great world is often maintained by infrequent and irregular mails, conveyed by long and tortuous canoe routes in summer or on dog-sleds in winter. The unvarnished tales of some of these missionaries lack no feature of heroic daring and apostolic zeal. But recently one, with his newly-wedded wife, a lady of much culture and refinement, travelled hundreds of miles by lake and river, often making toilsome portages, once in danger of their lives by the upsetting of their birch-bark canoe in an arrowy rapid. In midwinter the same intrepid missionary made a journey of several hundred miles in a dog-sled, sleeping in the snow with the thermometer forty, and even fifty, degrees below zero, in order to open a new mission among a pagan tribe.”

“With the conveniences which civilization has placed at the disposal of the modern wayfarer,” writes Adrien Morice in 1910, “it is impossible to form a correct idea of the perils and fatigues such a voyage [to a Northwest mission] involved.”

Barring the dangers due to the wild hordes of Indians, constantly clashing with one another and ever ready for robbery and pillage, the missionary had many a time to ford swollen rivers with the water up to his neck, or swim across streams while clinging to the mane of his horse. And then who will adequately picture to himself the weariness of a six-month ride under the deadly rays of the sun, tempered by no other shelter or shadow than that afforded by one’s horse, with improper food, numberless accidents and unmentionable hardships?

If it was difficult for some Indian children to be separated from their families for most of the year, how difficult was this for their first European teachers?

Once at the mission, things were little better, according to Morice. 



The extent of the poverty common to all the northern posts was truly amazing. Even flour was then, and remained for many years afterwards, a veritable luxury in the north, many missionaries passing several years without tasting bread. If we consider that most of these hailed from France, where the daily diet is based on bread incomparably more than it is in America, we will better realize the intensity of their privations.

As a rule, two sacks of flour were sent yearly to each mission, one of which was for the priests themselves, and the other for their engage and his family. Nor should we forget that the missionaries were generally two, sometimes three, in a place. A few bags of pemmican, tough, stale and rancid from age, were added to this, and the fathers, in spite of their bodily exertions while building up their homes or appurtenances and toiling during their travels over several feet of snow, had to rely on the denizens of the lakes for their staple food.

This was fish, annually caught in large quantities for themselves and their sleigh dogs. After having been cut open, and spread out by means of wooden spits, this was left to dry hanging from poles laid on scaffoldings. As a result of this treatment, it lost all the flavour it might have originally possessed, when, in course of time, the stench it emitted and the “animation” of which it became the theatre did not render it absolutely repulsive to anything but a famishing stomach. Famine was indeed a familiar experience with all the missionaries in the north, who usually made light of it, and replaced a missed meal by tightening their belts, as they would good-humouredly put it.

If therefore we add these privations to the fatigues and discomfort of long voyages on foot, or, worse than all, on snowshoes (the inexpressible agony of which one must experience to properly appreciate it), we will understand why a publicist felt warranted in writing that “it is well known among all the religious Orders that the missions of Athabasca-Mackenzie are the most difficult and painful in the whole world, without excepting those of China, Corea and Japan.”

And would the children have been better off in the care of loving parents? It is not clear this was always an option.



“By 1960,” the Truth and Reconciliation Commission itself reports, “the federal government estimated that 50% of the children in residential schools were there for child-welfare reasons.” “Some children had to stay in the schools year-round because it was thought there was no safe home to which they could return.” Shubenacadie, the one residential school in the Maritimes, was always primarily an orphanage. “In 1977, Aboriginal children accounted for 44% of the children in care in Alberta, 51% of the children in care in Saskatchewan, and 60% of the children in care in Manitoba.” Today, although aboriginals are only 4% of the Canadian population, half the children in foster care are aboriginal.

This was an important reason for the original formation of the residential schools. “In February, 1884,” writes Andrew Brown, 

the Rev. Hugh McKay was designated a missionary to the Indians of the North West... and, after some exploring, found an opening among the Crees in the Qu’Appelle valley at Round Lake. He began in a small way to take a few starving and half-naked Indian children into the little log house that served him for bachelor quarters. He fed them, clothed them and taught them, and from this modest beginning has grown the circle of eight boarding industrial schools under the care of the Presbyterian Church.

A Grey Nun writes from the Northwest in 1867, 

I must give you a few instances to show you what is the depth of the moral misery which we are called on to relieve. What I tell you will shock you to hear, as it sickens me to tell. It was a rather general custom of the savages in these countries to kill, and sometimes to eat, the orphan children, especially the little girls. Religion has made a great change in this respect, but infanticide is still by no means rare.

A mother, looking with contempt on her newly-born daughter, will say, “Her father has deserted me; I am not going to feed her.” So she will wrap up the little one in the skin of an animal, smother her, and throw her into the rubbish heap. Another mother, as she makes her way through a snow-field, will say, “My child’s father is dead; who will now take care of it? I am hardly able to support myself.” Thereupon she makes a hole in the snow, buries her child there, and passes on. There was a case of an Indian father who, in a time of sickness, lost his wife, and two or three of his children. There remained to him one child still in arms. For two or three days he carried the little fellow, then he left him hanging on the branch of a tree, and went his way. I have said more than enough to grieve you. Now you will quite understand that all these wretched people would rather have given their children to us than have killed them, or let them die. 

Father Duchaussois tells of two of the orphans taken in to the Grey Nuns’ school, Gabriel and Rosalie: 

Gabriel … belonged to a pagan group of the Sekanais tribe, living near the Rocky Mountains, in the neighbourhood of Fort Nelson, in the northeast corner of British Columbia. He was about eight years of age when he saw his mother kill his father, and throw his little brother into the fire. He himself was saved from the same fate by his grandmother, who took him to a Sekanais named Barby, who had no children of his own. A few days later Barby’s wife sickened and died. Barby after some incantations, thought the Spirit told him that the adopted child was the cause of his wife’s death. Accordingly he left the boy alone, on the bank of the Nelson river, near his wife’s grave, and he removed his tent to the opposite bank. He left the little boy without food or fire, and almost naked, and watching him across the river, he took deliberate aim at him with his gun, whenever he saw the boy wandering around the grave, or coming to the water to drink, or pulling up roots to satisfy his hunger. At the end of ten days, a Trader of the Hudson Bay Company at Fort Nelson, Boniface Laferty, who had been one of the first pupils of the Nuns at Fort Providence, was passing northwards to Fort Liard. He heard of the case from the little boy’s grandmother. He told the two Indians whom he had with him to take the boy and hide him in a certain place, whilst he himself distracted the attention of the fierce Sekanais. The child, when found, was little more than a skeleton, on which vermin and mosquitoes had been trying to feast. He was left at Fort Liard, “for the Nuns,” by Mr. Laferty, and he was taken to Providence, 300 miles away, by Father Le Guen, O.M.I.

In the Orphanage there, Gabriel remained for two years, learning how to pray to the Great Spirit and His Divine Son. But Gabriel had brought lung disease from the Nelson river, and in spite of tender care, by day and by night, he died very young.

The story of Rosalie is different. .... Rosalie, when left an orphan at four years of age, went to live with her uncle. The Dog-Ribs are all Christians, so she was not killed. …

For a year Rosalie followed the camp, eating whatever she could find left over by others, and having for her only bed-clothes such odds and ends of peltry as were of no use to others. One night she felt she was getting frost-bitten, and she tried in vain to rekindle the dying embers in the hut. Next day, as she could not walk, she was taken away on a sledge, “for the Nuns.” At Fort Rae, on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake, the Company's officer, with his pocket knife, cut off both her feet, and so saved her life to be the baptized and educated. 

How depraved have we become, that these are now the people and the acts that we condemn as unspeakable?


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Making Masturbation Illegal



Jessica Farrar’s essential premise is spot on, and she does well by drawing attention to it: the current abortion regime, in the US and Canada, is an extreme violation of human rights. But past that point, she goes off the rails.

Even leaving aside the most obvious violation of human rights involved –cough, cough-- it involves profound sex discrimination. The mother can currently unilaterally decide if a child lives or dies. Morally and biologically, the child’s father has an equal interest. Yet he is given no say.

An abortion law that did not discriminate, if it did not ban abortion outright, must at least address this. Either the father too must give consent for an abortion to be performed, or either parent can demand one. Not sure how much support either option would be given by “feminists.”

Farrar wants to add legislation prohibiting masturbation. Perhaps there is a justification for this, but, then, it cannot be limited to only one sex. If the object is to restore a sense of the sacredness of the sex act, female masturbation is equally wrong, and must also be outlawed. If the object is not to “waste” sperm that might become a child, as is indeed claimed, female menstruation is equally culpable. And rather easier to prove.

Still onside, feminists? Does equality of the sexes still look good to you?

Farrar wants to require a rectal exam for any man getting a vasectomy. Sexual equality and simple logic demands that the same procedure be applied to women requesting a tubal ligation. That ought to be fun, then.

There is no available female equivalent to Viagra or Cialis, so there is no chance to make a ban sex-neutral. But given that all the rest of the proposed legislation seems intended to promote procreation, and this one to prevent it, it seems to serve no public purpose. Unless, God forbid, the purpose is simply to discriminate against men. Surely this can’t be so. Perhaps men should be required to prove they are married in order to purchase Viagra. And then women must in order to buy birth control pills. That would be fair.

The Farrar bill would also provide legal protection for any doctors or healthcare professionals who refuse to perform a vasectomy, or to prescribe Viagra, “due to their personal, moral, or religious beliefs.” There is something wrong here. This should go without saying. It need not be enshrined in law. Are doctors really legally obliged to perform voluntary procedures on demand? That is a violation of freedom of conscience. It is unconstitutional. Of course, doctors and nurses are entitled not to do something they consider immoral.

Er, is there some current procedure for which this legal right has currently been placed in doubt? And what voluntary procedure might that be?

Farrar ironically objects to women being subjected to medically unnecessary procedures—like an ultrasound. Again, she seems to hit the nail on the head. Obviously, then, ban abortion. It is probably never medically necessary.

Farrar is to be congratulated  for raising these issues.





Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Federal Tory Platform



Borden.


Kellie Leitch’s proposal for values testing of immigrants is clearly popular with the public—75% want it. I hope that, whoever wins the Tory leadership, they take it on. It’s not just a good idea. It is a vote-getter.

I hope they also take on Maxime Bernier’s plan to end “supply management.” It is a cruelty to the poor. Sure, it is a great deal for a few farmers. But it probably hurts more farmers than it helps. It also complicates any free trade negotiations with other countries. It ought to be a vote winner too: everyone will notice a drop in the price of eggs and milk. At no cost to government.

And I like Erin O’Toole’s support of free trade, free movement, and coordinated security among Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Nobody will likely care one way or the other in Quebec, but in the ROC, it ought to be attractive for lessening our unilateral dependence on the US. It will open up opportunities for Canadians, and attract desirable immigrants to Canada.

I also hope that whomever is chosen takes up Hugh Segal’s Guaranteed Minimum Income concept. Besides being a sensible idea, it would do a lot to counter left-wing claims that the Tories are only for “the rich.” And we must do something to respond to the current crisis of the North American working class. People are dying. Properly done, if we can count on it being properly done, it might not cost more than what we are doing now. Money now going to bureaucrats would simply go directly to the poor.

Last up, the Canadian Conservatives should embrace Trump’s idea that any new regulation must come with the elimination of two old ones. For one thing, it is a promise that would cost nothing in tax dollars. For another, of course, it would actually lessen the costs of government. For a third, it would encourage business formation, and so boost the economy. What could be better? Sliced bread?

There are lots more things that should be done, but these ideas seem to be out there now, and, together, look to me like a winning platform in the next election. And one that could unite all the strands of the party behind it: libertarians with the end of supply management and cutting regulations, Red Tories with the GAI proposal, traditionalists with CANZUK, Trump-types with the immigrant vetting.




The Pig Proposal







In the wake of the new terrorist incident in London, one is left once again feeling helpless. What can we do to counter this sort of atrocity?

London is not new to bombings. There used to be the IRA. But then, at least, it had a clear purpose, and a clear demand. It was a demand that the UK leave Ireland. In the case of the ISIS and Al Qaeda attacks, there is no actual demand. “Get out of the Middle East”? The US was not there, when 9-11 happened. Other than Afghanistan, Obama pulled out; bombings intensified.

In the end, to radical Islamists, it is an unacceptable offense simply not to be Muslim. That makes you a “kaffir,” and properly to be slaughtered.

Under these circumstances, there is simply no path of appeasement available.

So how to respond?



Simply catching and punishing the criminal will not do it—obviously. These are usually suicide attacks. The perpetrator is expecting death; no penalty for getting caught is meaningful.

Those planning such attacks must somehow be shown that they do the opposite of what is intended.

Someone once suggested that, whenever a Muslim terrorist attack occurs, a mosque should be blown to rubble. Starting with the most prominent. We have the drones and missiles. We can time it for the middle of the night, so that casualties are limited.

I think that has possibilities, but I think it is misdirected, because it does real harm to innocent Muslims. As well as to some of the world’s shared heritage. I have another idea: cheaper, simpler, less destructive.

You remember that fad years back when cities were putting up fiberglass statues everywhere? I think it started with Chicago and cows. Then Toronto did moose, Dubai did camels, and on and on.

Obviously, these statues are not terribly expensive to produce.

I propose that whenever a terrorist attack occurs, for each resulting death, a fiberglass statue of a large pig be erected, with the nameplate “Muhammed” on the pedestal. On or near the site of the attack.

Nobody is harmed. No Muslim is harmed. It is just a pig named Muhammed.

Islamists will go crazy. Fine, if you are inclined to go crazy over it, that pretty much proves you are an Islamist of the sort who opposes our traditions of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. You have just carefully self-selected as an appropriate target for the insult.

Add closed-circuit cameras to catch anyone trying to smash the statues. They have self-identified as potential terrorists. Great. Now we know.

And for any pig that goes down, we put up two in its place.

Will honest, responsible Muslims also be offended? Only if they have not accepted our traditions—Christians put up with this kind of thing all the time. Even insisting on seeing the statues as religious is a matter of interpretation. It’s just a pig named Muhammed. We like pigs.

At the same time, if the intent of the terrorists is to glorify Islam, this makes their efforts counter-productive. The pigs go up in direct response. Moreover, they go up exactly where the terrorists have chosen to leave their own message—usually places of maximum publicity, like Westminster. So from now on, indefinitely, Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament will be decorated, for all the tourists to see, with big brightly painted pigs named Muhammed.

This brings Islam into disrepute, you say? And who exactly, has brought Islam into disrepute? Isn’t this just a reminder of that fact? Isn’t this what they wanted? Doesn’t this just show what they did?

Picture three thousand big bright pigs in lower Manhattan.

It also sends the message: we will not be cowed. We will not adjust our own ideals to please Islam. We accept no blasphemy laws. We demand freedom of speech.

Who’s in? We can start a private fund. Perhaps it is best if governments can just shrug their shoulders when dealing with Muslim countries and say, “What can we do? It’s our tradition of freedom of speech.”

A good lesson in itself.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Painful Blockage of the Memory Hole?






John Ivison writes in the National Post, “If the elites are wrong about their ‘man-made climate change’ fixation, they’ll pay dearly for it.” He figures that have gone so all-in that their credibility will be shot.

I don’t see why. The mistakes of the elite seem generally to disappear quietly and completely down the memory hole. Why should this time be different?

Remember “peak oil”? Remember how we were going to run out of water? Remember how the world would soon dissolve in war over basic resources? Remember how we were going to run out of food? Remember global cooling? Remember the population bomb?

When you’re my age, you’ll remember when it was imperative to get out and get some sun, then it was imperative to stay out of the sun, now it’s imperative to get out and get some sun. You must not eat eggs. You must eat eggs. Cholesterol is bad. Some cholesterol is good. You need cholesterol. Use artificial sweeteners to get thin. Avoid artificial sweeteners: they make you fat.

What usually happens is just silence regarding the previous, disproven error. Nobody says anything.

What sometimes happens is that it is claimed later to all have been a joke. You mean anyone took me literally? This is especially the case, it seems, with feminist inventions, like the one that “rule of thumb” originally meant the right to beat your wife with a stick. It turns out such things were always meant “ironically.”

If all else fails, or even when it does not, the cutest tactic is to run around to the head of the parade and start to denounce those guys who believe such old nonsense. A good thing you have experts like me to enlighten you that the “general opinion” is wrong! Never noting that it was not the general opinion, but the opinion of the experts in the field. Sometimes including the speaker.

Has anything changed to make it no longer so?

Perhaps it has. At least the elites no longer have a lid on the media. And you can Google up old news stories now.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome to the Philippines





One of the things I like about the Philippines is that it is so full of life.

We live in the continuous built-up area of the country’s second-largest city. And in a bit of a ritzy neighbourhood, a new gated community. And yet, on our daily walks, we regularly see, within a couple of blocks of home, a street with dozens of game cocks; a litter of seven puppies we are keeping tabs on; a yard with three cats, always there; a nanny goat and her kid; two budgies living outdoors in a cage; many other dogs and cats running free (but not strays). A few months ago there was a cow and a calf in a little field within a couple of blocks of us; now and again we see a sheep in the block behind us. 



Lots of vegetable life too, of course, including berries and leaves growing wild you can just pick and eat. And not only in summer. If something doesn’t grow here, it is just trying to be difficult. We have some beautiful lush basil of our own out front.

And there are always small bands of kids driving by on their bicycles. Littler kids play outside their homes in the afternoons with their moms watching. There are about two little variety stores in every block, and some of them have street food cooking. So there are always grownups around too. Always guys working on their cars. 



It’s a big contrast from Saudi Arabia, where, thanks to the heat, you almost never saw anybody or anything in the street. Maybe the odd mad dog or Englishman. And if you wanted to go for a walk, there was nothing to see.

All photos are from within two blocks of home, all taken on the same day, during our daily walk.









Sunday, March 19, 2017

On Jobs Becoming Obsolete





This article claims that, despite all the fuss and worry we are hearing these days, automation has actually killed only one occupation in the last sixty years.

And as soon as you read that line, I bet that you, like me I, could immediately name it.

Wasn’t that long ago. Remember the Bill Dana show on TV?




At first I thought I could immediately think of another: typesetter. I painstakingly taught myself to typeset electronically, back in the day. Totally useless skill now.





But the article is right not to include it. The job has not disappeared. It is now part of graphic design. And really, it always was. Once, the mighty typesetter was given the task of laying out the page as part of his job. Now, the guy who designs the page, as part of that job, chooses the type.

Another one for which I happen to be personally trained is switchboard operator. I used to be a demon switchboard operator. And enjoyed it. It required skill, you met people, sort of, and you could get good at it. I would have said it was gone now: I have seen switchboards like the ones I used in museums. But many of the same functions have melded into the job of receptionist. If we no longer need someone to connect the wires and ring in, we do still sometimes want a human to field our call and direct it for us.





Telegraph operator also occurred to me. Not a job I’ve ever done, but a skilled job that probably as very satisfying. Thomas Edison started out as a telegraph operator. I did get to learn to use a teletype machine, and loved it. But I discover that in Canada, as a matter of fact, you still can send a telegram.




This is all good news. It means we may be wrong to worry about inevitably growing unemployment, our jobs taken over by machines. What really happens, or has happened so far, is that automation makes it cheaper to do things, lowering costs to the consumer, and so boosting demand. So we make, buy, and get more stuff. Employment remains buoyant. At the same time, it tends to take away the more boring aspects of a job, leaving the more interesting parts.

Not that I don’t still get nostalgic over the satisfying clicks of an adding machine, or the whirr of a big cash register, or the thrill of a call smoothly connected, the phone rung, and answered. They were therapeutic sounds, and they are gone. There is satisfaction in rolling your own.

Mine was more modern than this, but it still had a hand crank in case the power went out.

There are other jobs that have gone, and some have gone through technology, but not directly. The iceman, for example, no longer cometh. Not that ice is obsolete; you can still sell ice, and could probably arrange to deliver it too. So you can’t quite say the job is obsolete. It’s a particular use of ice that has gone.


Some jobs are probably coming back. For a while, as we all became urbanized, the old catalog store business seemed to have died.



But isn’t that what Amazon is?


In the Annals of Really Lame Headlines

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Globe Reports the Dutch Election


The dear old mainstream media is incorrigible. They’ll never change.

The headlines after the Dutch election read:

BBC: European relief as mainstream triumphs  
PBS: Dutch reject far-right Geert Wilders in national election for prime minister 
Guardian: GreenLeft proves to be big winner in Dutch election 
Independent: Green Party big winner of Dutch elections. 
Globe and Mail: Centre-left shift in Dutch elections deals blow to populism

These headlines range from spin to fake news.

This is mostly not malicious. But then, neither is most “fake news.” The problem is the need to come up with a striking headline, that will tempt the reader to keep reading the story. “Click-bait” is no new thing—the print equivalent has always been at the core of the news business. Nor is this, in itself, wrong. There is nothing bad about making things sound interesting. The problem is that, too often, the story seems to be falsified for the sake of a good lede.

Here, specifically, the problem is that the election results were indecisive. And they closely reflected the final polls. So what can you say to make them sound important and surprising?

And, then again, some of it is just partisan hackery. The last three headlines, the Guardian., the Independent, and the Globe and Mail, really cannot be explained on other grounds.

Would you know from this glance at the days headlines that the government coalition collapsed? And the “Greens” came in tied for fifth place, with less than 10% of the seats? That’s as though the Liberals or the NDP pulled 30 seats. Big win?

Mark Rutte’s centre-right VVD hung on to the title of largest party, losing eight seat and ending with 33 in the 150-seat house. Seems less than a ringing endorsement. But that is why the headline cannot be “Dutch government falls.” The ruling coalition did indeed fall; but as the head of the largest party, Rutte has first chance to form a new one.

The biggest story is probably that his coalition partner, until now the second-largest party, Labour, sister to Labour in the UK, was crushed. They lost 29 of their 38 seats.

Okay, “second-largest party crushed” does not draw well. But then, how is the collapse of the largest party on the left a move to the left?

The new second-largest party is Wilders’ Trumpesque PVV. They picked up five seats, for 20. If Rutte cannot cobble together a working coalition, he'll get a crack at it. But his chances look to be slim to none.

The second-biggest shift was the Green Party picking up ten seats. But this is no ideological shift to the left of the electorate: the votes that Labour lost had to go somewhere. It turns out that only a third of them stayed on the left, then, with the Greens. Who are clearly also-rans here.

The Christian Democrats, on the right, picked up six seats. And they have five more seats than the Greens. The leftist Socialist Party dropped one seat. D66, whose main issue is direct democracy, picked up seven. Does that count as left or right?

Given the results, at least four parties will be needed to form a government. And they won’t all be on the same side ideologically. So it looks as though any new government may not last. The

Since he heads the largest party, Rutte get first crack. Looking at the seat totals, and who can likely agree on policy, the best bet seems to be a coalition of Rutte (conservative), the Christian Democrats (conservative), D66 (not clear), the Christian Union (conservative), 50Plus (conservative), and maybe the Party for the Animals (you decide). This would be a significant move to the right; remembering that Rutte’s own party is conservative. There are no available coalitions that would move the government to the left. There are available coalitions that would move it further than this to the right—but Rutte has vowed not to allow Wilders into government.

There you go: “Centre-left shift in Dutch elections deals blow to populism.”

You read it in the Globe first.


Happy St. Pat's