The Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP are all running on the same platform. Of course, the NDP always says this of the other two parties; but it is true this time of the NDP as well. This is deadly for democracy—it withholds policy choices from the electorate, allowing all to be decided by some unaccountable elite. Aside from one’s position on the issues, it is important for the sake of Canadian democracy that we vote for Maxime Bernier. Vote for Bernier now, or forever hold your peace.
There is a concurrent effort by a faction of the population to prevent Bernier from being heard, and even by violent means. A recent event in Hamilton with Dave Rubin required police protection, and was almost cancelled. This again makes it vital for democrats to vote Bernier. Such tactics must not succeed.
Even leaving this aside, Bernier is the only candidate running who is qualified to be prime minister. It is as my friend says, of Scheer, Singh, and May: “can you imagine any of these representing Canada abroad?” As with Trudeau, none has done anything particularly impressive in either politics or any other field. No career in senior cabinet positions, no Nobel Prizes, no Canada Steamship Lines, no great battles over principle fought.
Bernier alone has held senior cabinet positions, including Foreign Affairs, often considered the number two spot in cabinet. He had a prominent career in business before entering politics. He led, alone, on the issue of supply management.
Bernier deserves support as well for showing principle: he came out against supply management in Quebec, home to much of the dairy industry, even though representing a riding in which dairy farming was a major business. He probably lost the Conservative leadership on this issue—the dairy lobby backed Scheer as a result.
If we want honest politicians, such commitment to principle must be rewarded, even regardless of the particular principle involved. If we want true leaders, we need someone who, like Bernier, shows the ability to lead on an issue.
With his free market creed, Bernier represents a promising trend in Quebec politics, away from the eternal and unproductive federalism-separatism issue, towards a more healthy liberal-conservative divide. The CAQ has risen provincially on this basis; only Bernier embodies it at the federal level. For the sake of Canadian unity, and for Quebec’s economic health, it would be a very good thing if this focus on practical rather than ethnic issues were to succeed. Accordingly, those who want Canadian unity and prosperity ought to vote Bernier.
All of this is without even considering the rights and wrongs of Bernier’s stands on the issues. Even if you disagree with him on these, you should vote PPC. But now let’s look at the issues.
Bernier, and only Bernier, wants to end the government-enforced cartel that forces up the price of milk, cheese, and eggs. Legally mandated cartels are intrinsically violations of human rights, giving special privileges to a favoured group. They also violate good economic principles, encouraging inefficiencies. These particular restraints on trade have been a stumbling block in negotiating better trade deals with other countries; other parts of our economy have had to suffer for it. Subsidizing the dairy and egg industry deprives us of the right to object to similar subsidies elsewhere, which prevent Canadians from entering those markets.
Most importantly, these particular price controls are a cruel imposition on the poor. The rich do not spend their surfeit on extra eggs or milk; these are staples. Eggs, milk, and cheese are in most places the cheapest protein sources. This is a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.
And it is in particular babies who need milk to thrive.
Bernier, and only Bernier, also wants a values test on new immigrants. This caught a lot of hostile attention in the last Conservative leadership campaign; we all hate values any more. But it is obviously necessary. Canada is not based on ethnicity, as most states are. So what can it possibly be based on, what brings us together in this shared enterprise, if it is not shared values? Without a strong shared commitment here, Canada is not viable. It will fall apart at the next real stress.
Nor is it hard or should it be controversial to come up with such shared values. Shared values are plainly stated in the Canadian Constitution.
It ought to be self-evident that all new immigrants should sign on: this is the Canadian social contract.
Bernier, and only Bernier, wants to end funding for multiculturalism. Again, this is almost a no-brainer. A Canadian government should be supporting Canadian culture, not Icelandic or Somali or Vietnamese culture. A nation is a shared culture, by definition. Promoting cultural differences is promoting factionalism, tribalism, and mutual distrust, in opposition to the nation and its common interests. Nazism was multiculturalism: it believed there was an Aryan science, and a Jewish science. And was not keen on letting them mix.
On top of building a society of peace, order, and good government, the entire process of civilization is a process of mixing and merging cultures: one selects the best options available from all sources. The idea of artificially nurturing cultural differences is accordingly a deliberate descent into barbarism. It is to do the work of Babel.
I am not spontaneously enthusiastic about Bernier’s desire to lower levels of immigration. I agree with the argument that we need more immigrants for economic reasons: people are the prime economic resource, as well as being an end in themselves. Canada, moreover, is objectively underpopulated. As a Christian and a liberal, I endorse the view that people have an inherent, God-given right to freedom of movement. And the process of civilization should accelerate with the closer contact of cultures: it is the reason we once held World’s Fairs.
However, there can still be such a thing as too high a level of immigration. We are dangerously ignorant of the problem of culture shock. Immigrants to a very unfamiliar culture are likely to go more than a little mad and assume that here, anything goes. They can be hostile to the resident population. It can even take a few generations for this to settle down. For most of last century, the face of crime in America was Italian. Before that, the Irish went through a similar spell of “gangs of New York” and Tammany Hall corruption. Less well known, but there were also ethnically Polish criminal gangs, and ethnically Jewish criminal organizations, like Detroit’s “Purple gang,” and so forth. If some groups have been less of a problem, this can be accounted for pretty consistently by relative lack of initial cultural difference, smaller numbers, and greater initial dispersion.
We are currently striving for maximum initial cultural difference, maximum numbers, and everyone is settling in Toronto and Vancouver.
If the body of immigrants is too large, too distinct, too concentrated in urban centres, and going through culture shock, we have a big, expensive, and dangerous problem. People can get killed, towers may be toppled, and the system can be subverted.
Given this, Bernier’s limits on immigration, while favouring immigration that makes the most sense in economic terms, seem right.
Bernier wants to abolish the Indian Act. This is again almost self-evidently good. The Indian Act was passed as a transitory measure. It enshrines the improper notion that there are two classes of Canadians, with different rights and privileges. It obviously violates the fundamental moral principle of human equality. It had to be given a special exemption from the Charter of Rights. Indian leaders ever since have blamed almost everything on the Indian Act, and declared it paternalistic and racist. This seems to be one thing we can actually all agree on. Indians governed by the Act are demonstrably, objectively, doing worse than other Canadians.
Bernier notes that any existing treaties must be respected.
How could anyone object?
Bernier’s views overall mesh notably better with those of Donald Trump’s administration in the US than those of any other candidate. Adolescent anti-Americanism aside, it is obviously in Canada’s extreme interest to be on good terms with America’s government. The US is our largest trading partner, and we depend more on trade than any other developed country. We could never defend this vast land mass, either, without the American guarantee. Anyone else would have long ago swallowed us up. We ought in good faith as well as in our interests to always seek common ground.
We are still in the middle of an election campaign. Calculations may change. But for now, it seems important to vote PPC and Bernier.