By Lubor J. Zink
By the same author:
UNDER THE MUSHROOM CLOUD
The publishers wish to express their thanks to the Winniped Free Press and Peter Kuch for permission to use the cartoon which appears on the front cover, and to the University of Toronto Press for excerpts from the essay, “The Practice and Theory of Federalism”, by P. E. Trudeau, from Special Purpose for Canada, edited by Michael Oliver.
The excerpts from Lubor Zink’s columns and the cartoons by Andy Donato included in this book are reprinted by arrangement with the Toronto Sun.
By Lubor J. Zink
Copyright (c) Lubor Zink 1977
ISBN 88760 089
Published by Griffin Press Limited,
461 King Street West, Toronto, M5V 1K7, Canada
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced,
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval
system without the written permission of the publisher.
Printed and bound in Canada.
From the Thoughts of Chairman Pierre… viii
1. The New Society 1
2. Chairman Pierre 11
3. Happy Survival 35
4. The Ostrich Year 43
5. The Economy 51
6. Foreign Policy 73
7. Defence 93
8. Disunity in Diversity 109
9. The Sick Society 119
One could make the argument that the Canadians who appreciate Canada the most are not the native-born, but those who came here from other lands by necessity, whose own homelands have been lost to them through oppression, tyranny, the sword.
I happen to be one who believes that those who have witnessed the erosion — or rape — of freedom in their home countries tend to value it most. They comprehend better than those born to the luxury of freedoms, how fragile and vulnerable they are.
Most of us cannot imagine a life without basic freedoms — the freedom to criticize our politicians, the freedom to dissent, the freedom to leave the country, to travel, to change jobs or change cities. The internal passport is alien to those of us born to freedom.
And yet we are the minority in the world. Nearly 80% of UN member states are not free as we understand the world. In the scale of freedoms — civil and political — only seventeen countries are considered completely free. The number of free peoples in the world dropped from 32% to 19% in the five years between 1972 and the beginning of 1977.
In the years since Pierre Elliott Trudeau became Prime Minister in the summer of 1968, more and more Canadians have felt the chill wind that hints of freedom’s loss and authoritarianism’s gain. More and more Canadians worry for their collective future.
One of those who has seen the signs and read the winds is Lubor Zink, political columnist for the Toronto Sun. Called a Jeremiah by some, a prophet by others, Zink is a Canadian who twice saw freedoms savaged in his native Czechoslovakia. As a student he led protests against Hitler’s invasion of his homeland and when his name appeared on Nazi death-lists he escaped to Britain. He joined the Czech brigade and fought with Montgomery’s 8th army. He won a commission and three times was decorated for valour — the Military Cross, the Medal for Bravery and the Medal of Merit.
– vi –
After the war he returned to Prague and worked in the foreign ministry with Jan Masaryk, son of modern Czechoslovakia’s revered founder, Thomas Masaryk. He witnessed first-hand the 1948 Communist coup and when his name appeared on Stalin’s enemies-of-the-people list, he escaped once again (with his wife and baby son) to Britain.
This time he fought for freedom with the pen rather than the sword. He came to Canada in the fifties and entered journalism. He has won the two top honours in Canadian journalism — a National Newspaper Award and a Bowater Award. As a journalist, broadcaster, author, Zink has earned the reputation of being fearlessly independent and relentlessly determined.
Ever since Trudeau first appeared on the Ottawa scene, Zink has been uneasy. He spotted tendencies that his colleagues and other Canadians took years to identify. And he has been a sort of macabre Boswell to Trudeau’s years in power — ever recording, analyzing, probing, identifying.
In 1972 he published a book, Trudeaucracy, which comprises excerpts from his columns in the old Toronto Telegram and later in the new Toronto Sun, which were uncanny in their anticipation of Trudeau’s style. This book is a continuation of his earlier one — excerpts of his writings in the Sun which, when laid out, give a disturbing view of Canada.
It is my view that in future generations, when historians and social scientists seek to fathom what happened to Canada under Trudeau, Zink’s writings will be essential research material. No other Canadian journalist possesses his unique qualifications and insight. His is not a comfortable story, nor a happy one. But it is an honst, incisive one. And it may, I fear, be the most accurate.
For Zink is a man who has been through the fire and whose love for Canada and freedom and democracy is neither passive nor patient but angry and total. He has the courage and the integrity to stand alone and is a living admonition of the thesis that if anything in life is more important than your freedom — then your freedom is indeed in jeopardy.
The Toronto Sun
– vii –
From the thoughts of Chairman Pierre…
I should like to see socialists feeling free to espouse whatever political trends or to use whatever constitutional tools happen to fit each particular problem at each particular time. (page 372)
Federalism must be welcomed as a valuable tool which permits dynamic parties to plan socialist governments in certain provinces, from which the seed of radicalism can slowly spread. (page 373)
The drive towards power must begin with the establishment of bridgeheads since at the outset it is obviously easier to convert specific groups or localities than to win over an absolute majority of the whole nation. (page 372)
… the experience of that superb strategist, Mao Tse-tung, might lead us to conclude that in a vast and heterogeneous country, the possibility of establishing socialist strongholds in certain regions is the very best thing. (page 373)
And in terms of political tactics, the only real question democratic socialists must answer is: “Just how much reform can the majority of the people be brought to desire at the present time?” (page 374)
The above quotations are from P. E. Trudeau’s essay “The Practice and Theory of Federalism”, which was included in Social Purpose for Canada, a compendium of writings by academic socialists, edited by Michael Oliver and published in 1961 by the University of Toronto Press. The page references refer to this edition.
The political philosophy of the Liberal party is simplicity itself: “Say anything, think anything: better still, think nothing but put us in power, for we are best fitted to govern.” (Cité Libre, April 1963)
… the strength of the Liberal party is in the kind of cohesion that, when the battle is joined, we have always been able to show … I want to thank you as Liberals for having stuck with us when we were hanging there in the difficult times (after the
– viii –
1972 election), (Speech at the Liberal party convention in Ottawa, 14 September 1973)
… when they (opposition MPs) get out of Parliament, when they are fifty yards from Parliament Hill, they are no longer honourable members — they are just nobodies. (Hansard for 25 July 1969, p. 11635)
In Janiary 1969, while visiting England, Prime Minister Trudeau met Canadian students in London. One of the questions they asked him was: “What society would you choose to make Canada? Socialist or capitalist? Trudeau replied: “Labour party socialist — or Cuban socialism or Chinese socialism …”
… it looks as though the revolution of rising expectations in Canada can perhaps be satisfied, no matter how wild our dreams are. (Speech to the Canadian Club in Ottawa, 8 May 1972)
Any system of prices and incomes controls has thus far been rejected as ineffective in coping with inflation. (Statement, 4 September 1973)
Tomorrow, the government of Canada will ask parliament for the authority to impose severe restraints upon rising prices and incomes. (National TV and radio address, 13 October 1975)
… we haven’t been able to make it work, the free market system … the government is going to have to take a larger role in running institutions … It means there is going to be not less authority in our lives but perhaps more … (CTV interview, 28 December 1975)
… one of the reasons the country is in difficulty is that Canadians are living beyond their means. (Answering questions about record unemployment, Hansard for 16 March 1977, p. 4029)
If there is any one constant in my thinking it is to be against the establishment or the accepted ideas of the day. (Trudeau’s often repeated motto, quoted here from a 1975 BBC interview)
Viva el Prime Ministro Commandate Fidel Castro! (Cienguegos, Cuba, February 1976)
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Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosened upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats
“The Second Coming”
The New Society
… unswervingly strengthen the unity of the
fraternal socialist states and develop their all-
round co-operation in the building of a new society …
(Report to XXV Congress of the
Soviet Communist Party in Moscow
– 1 –
– 2 –
The New Society
Revolution by Stealth — 2 Jan. 76
What lies ahead? If Prime Minister Trudeau and his social engineers have their way, a complete restructuring of Canada and the end of it as one of the remaining free and prosperous countries of the world.
While not spelling out the details of his “new society” plans, Mr. Trudeau has made his intentions quite clear. The system of regulated free enterprise, he said, no longer works satisfactorily and has to be changed. Its basic values and institutions have to be changed.
Since the structure of parliamentary democracy, which is our safeguard of civil liberties and individual freedoms, needs for its very existence the free enterprise economic base, Mr. Trudeau is, in fact, launching a revolution.
Anyone who has read Trudeau’s earlier writings and analysed them knows that a fundamental social change has been his goal all along. Anyone who has followed closely his actions as head of an increasingly autocratic government also knows that he has been piecing together the social change he has in mind like a jigsaw puzzle, taking care to conceal the whole pattern from public gaze so as not to alarm people prematurely.
Even the anti-inflation program serves, as Mr. Trudeau now freely admits, as a device that buys time for the structural and institutional transformations the PM wants to complete. It is, in fact, a revolution by stealth.
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This explains why Trudeau didn’t mind letting the economy cut its own throat for 15 months after the 1974 election in an orgy of cost-price escalations the government actually encouraged. No serious attempt was made during that period to curb any of the excesses, because severe damage was needed as proof that the whole system is out of whack, beyond repair and must be scapped.
Changed Direction — 9 Oct. 74
On top of Trudeau’s domestic thrust, there is his left-wing activist role on the international scene heralded by his foreign affairs adviser, Ivan Head.
These moves have long been implicit in the change of course Trudeau initiated in 1968 but could not finish during his first majority period. After the NDP-manipulated moves of his minority administration, he is now back in a position to complete the change of direction which, as he put it, will take us to a different destination from the one most people think the ship of state is sailing for.
The ultimate objective, I suspect, is the gutting of the institutions of parliamentary democracy while keeping their empty shells to camouflage authoritarian rule.
The Meaning — 29 Dec. 75
What does Trudeau’s “new society” mean? A corporate state? Socialist regimentation? Some other form of collectivism?
It’s interesting to hear these questions from presumably sophisticated pepole who for years saw and portrayed Pierre Trudeau as a pragmatic politician in the best Canadian tradition — a man for whom ideological motives and objectives were anathema. Suddenly these elite soothsayers are gripped with fear that something has happened to the great pragmatist which has transformed him, virtually overnight, into an ideologue bent on turning Canada into a fascist or marxist state.
The fact of the matter, discernible by anyone who took the trouble to read Pierre Trudeau’s writings, is that our present prime minister has been an ideologically motivated man since his university days. Since 1968, as head of government, he has
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been systematically putting together a pattern of arbitrary rule he calls “social change.”
In its first stages this process was conducted surreptitiously under such catchy labels as “just society” and “participatory democracy.” By now, having successfully conned the electorate into returning him to majority position, Mr. Trudeau can go about his ideological objectives more openly.
Actually, the idea of using the previously ridiculed anti-inflation program for justification of all kinds of regulatory measures makes further playing of the cat-and-mouse game with the public unnecessary. Mr. Trudeau can now talk openly about the “new society” he has been envisaging all along, and the control machinery can be assembled fast instead of in seemingly disjointed bits and pieces.
Whether the new society Mr. Trudeau has always been after is labelled corporate state or socialism does not really matter. The differences between fascism and communism are negligible compared to the fundamental difference between any of the forms of regimented collectivism and democracy. Fascism and communism are in fact totalitarian twins. They are so alike that the best authorities on the subject (among them Solzhenitsyn) call communism “Red fascism” in their striving for descriptive precision.
Even if Mr. Trudeau’s political essays were not as clear as they are, it wouldn’t make much difference which form of big brother rule he was after. They all boil down to the throttling of the liberties we take for granted.
Considering what’s involved, the growing commotion over the meaning of Mr. Trudeau’s “new society” is hardly surprising. What’s surprising is that the concern, the questioning and the still half disbelieving alarm comes so late in a process that has been going on for many years.
There certainly is no excuse for the opinion makers, academics and politicians to be surprised. For while the Trudeaucrats have tried not to be too obvious in piecing together the new regime under various disguises, until the anti-inflation program gave them a virtually free hand, the prime minister himself never made any bones about his intentions.
Celebrating his first year in office as prime minister, Trudeau boasted in April 1969 to a team of CFTO interviewers: “One has to be in the wheelhouse to see what shifts are taking place. I know we have spun the wheel and I know that the
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rudder is beginning to press against the waves and the sea … but perhaps the observer, who is on the deck smoking his pipe, or drinking his tea, sees the horizon much in the same direction and doesn’t realize it, but perhaps he will find himself disembarking at a different island than the one he thought he was sailing for.”
Mr. Trudeau could hardly have been more frank about what he was doing and how he was doing it. He also could hardly have been more contemptuous of the observers (let alone the passengers) on the ship of state. He judged them incapable of even noticing that he was changing course and taking them to another destination than the one they thought they were heading for.
He was right. With a few ignored exceptions, no one noticed or paid any attention. Consequently hardly anyone realized the crucial importance of the 1972 election (and its finishing sequel in 1974) for the determination of the future of the country.
The commotion over Trudeau’s “new society” thus comes a bit late in the day.
Social Engineering — 30 Nov. 73
The Trudeau government prides itself on farsighted planning. It’s a special type of planning. Insiders call it blueprinting of social engineering.
Social engineering is an ideological concept. It starts with a preconceived idea of what a presumably ideal social structure should be and seeks to reshape reality to fit the postulated mould.
In this context, planning does not concern itself with the best utilization of given factors, but with transformation of the existing social fabric into the desired pattern.
Whatever stands in the way or resists the transformation process — institutions, traditions, habits and “undesirable” traits of human nature — has to be forcibly changed or removed from what the ideologues deem to be the path of progress.
Social engineering is thus an elitist concept rooted in unbounded intellectual arrogance. It is contemptuous of and basically incompatible with the political methodology of democracy. That’s why its full-fledged practice has been confined to the totalitarian states. But that is also why the totalitarian
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pattern of social regimentation has found many admirers among the intellectual elite of the free countries.
Trudeau’s introduction of social engineering into federal government in 1968 was an experiment in forcing preconceived social changes while preserving the semblance of democratic methods.
Modus Operandi — 30 Jan. 76
The essence of Trudeau’s political modus operandi is to create conditions that will necessitate the drastic changes postulated by the theories of his penthouse socialism. He then uses the mess he craftily brings about for justification of the “new society” (a Marxist euphemism for regimentation) that he has been after all the time.
While this may seem complicated at first glance, it’s really simplicity itself in practical application. The most obvious example is Trudeau’s handling (or rather mishandling) of the economy. First he all but ruiined the market mechanism and then he declared that the whole system must be fundamentally changed because it obviously did not and would not work properly in Canada.
The malfunctioning of our economy had indeed become so serious and obvious by the time Trudeau declared it unworkable that his pronouncements sound almost like straightforward and courageous statements of hard facts.
What’s not so obvious is that the hard facts are, to a great extent, Trudeau’s own handiwork. (As far back as early 1971, Dr. O. M. Solandt, then Chairman of the Science Council of Canada, warned that the Trudeau regime’s policies, coupled with mounting bureaucratic intervention and relentless undermining of incentives and work ethic, were bound to play havoc with the economy. Solandt’s early warnings were ignored by the media and dismissed by Trudeau’s admirers as quaint reactionary alarmism.)
15 Oct. 76
Whenever Prime Minister Trudeau runs into strong opposition to his “new society” projects, he follows a standard resistance-
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breaking routine. The gist of it is Lenin’s “two steps forward and one step back” formula.
In its simplest form it’s the technique every bully, horse trader and union negotiator uses by instinct and tradition: you grossly overstate what you are after, thereby shocking the innocents with a menacing extreme. Then, when the implications of the extreme position sink in and people get really scared, ou pull back a bit. The relief of the reduced discomfort is so great that you get not only what you really wanted but also credit and gratitude for being reasonable, conciliatory and surprisingly moderate.
Trudeau first used this old ruse for crippling Canada’s contribution to collective Western defence. Since then, with the exception of some outright deceptions of irresistible tactical expediency (such as the about-face on price-income controls), the shock-and-relief pattern has been Trudeau’s standard operating method.
The Brainwashing Machine — 12 Nov. 76
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was set up 40 years ago as a sort of electronics-age version of the iron horse. It was meant to do for the spirit of the country what the railroads have done for its material development.
A noble objective — a tremendous task.
The CBC went to work with dedication and zest. Up to and especially during World War II, the Corporation met, perhaps exceeded, the fondest expectations.
After this pioneering “golden age of radio” the initial elan and selfless dedication began to suffocate in layers of bureaucratic growth.
Accountable in theory to Parliament but in practice to no one (any probe of public broadcasting could always be smothered by cries of interference with freedom of expression), the CBC quickly became the choice haven of mandarin parasites and arty-tarty charlatans. It was jerked from this moribund path when programming came to be dominated in the “revolutionary ’60s” by self-styled radicals of the ideological left. To them broadcasting meant more than new technology of information and entertainment. They saw it as the most potent propaganda instrument. The CBC, financed by virtually uncontrolled public funds, offered unlimited misuse to anyone in
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control of programming. The fleur du mal of this period was the Watson-Lapierre This Hour has Seven Days TV program.
How far the CBC has advanced in building the mammoth brainwashing machine needed by Trudeau’s “new society” can be gleaned from these few samples of pertinent facts:
Albert (Al) W. Johnson, the present CBC President, is neither an electronic journalist nor technician but a career bureaucrat rooted in the so-called Saskatchewan Mafia. (The term describes a group of mandarins now dominant in Ottawa who started out as “builders of socialism” in Tommy Douglas’ CCF government in Saskatchewan.) Reflecting Johnson’s mix of mandarin methodology and ideological motivation, the CBC is making great progress in both empire building and brainwashing. The cost to taxpayers is currently close to half a billion dollars and rising fast.
The new major CBC Radio public affairs program (three hours of cleverly served bias called Sunday Morning) is produced by Mark Starowicz who proved his many talents as producer of Barbara Frum’s elegantly slanted As it Happens show. Not long ago, however, the same Mark Starowicz was the subject of questions in the Commons about alleged involvement in some peripheral Soviet spying. The questions, never satisfactorily answered, eventually ceased but left a peculiar smell in the air.
Co-host of the Starowicz program is Bruce Rogers. A fine broadcaster, no doubt. But so is, for example, Ron Collister who is leaving the CBC because the Corporation has made working conditions for him impossible. Both Bruce Rogers and Ron Collister once ran for Parliament, Bruce as an NDP candidate and Ron as a Tory.
Radio Canada International director Alan Brown last May imposed incredible censorship on broadcasts behind the Iron Curtain. When the facts came out, Al Johnson denied everything and Brown punished those who wrote the truth in internal CBC correspondence that somehow leaked out.
Most readers, I am sure, can figure out for themselves what this all amounts to.
Firmer Control — 17 Sept. 76
Just cosmetics of no ideological or political significance. That’s how most observers on Parliament Hill see Prime Minister Trudeau’s new cabinet. I don’t quite agree.
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Everything Trudeau does has ideological and political significance — not because the people he selects to perform government functions fit some fancy left-right labels, but because he is an intensely ideological and political man.
Anyone looking for ideological shifts therefore has to look to the 1968 Liberal party’s leadership convention which made Trudeau prime minister. That was the big ideological wrench in our federal politics.
From the start Trudeau has regarded cabinet postings as essentially technical assignments, which for practical vote-getting reasons must be made with certain basic regional, ethnic and perhaps denominational considerations in mind. But as for ideology, Trudeau expects his ministers to toe the line set by him. He neither needs nor wants ideologues in his cabinet. A good minister in Trudeau’s eyes is an efficient administrator and able communicator who does as he or she is told. Understanding of the ideological thrust of orders, instructions and guidelines emanating from the PM’s Office is not necessary. it’s actually undesirable. So are strong personal convictions, views and principles of any kind.
Seen from this perspective, which I consider validated by eight years of Trudeau’s rule, the fairly extensive cabinet changes emerge as a further step in the PM’s systematic replacement of remaining old-line Liberals he inherited from the Pearson era with presumably less individualistic, more malleable (and more personally beholden to him) MPs. In that sense the non-ideological shuffle has considerable ideological and political significance, because it will give Trudeau firmer control over pushing his new society scheme.
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When Man mistakes himself for God, he is sounding
the death knell of human freedom. For, when Man
comes to believe that he is God, he falls to
worshipping himself. And when Man worships him-
self, his human idol is not the individual human
being; it is the collective power of corporate
humanity. He worships the human ant-heap, not the
individual human ant. The idolization of collective
human power turns all the idolators into slaves.
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– 12 –
Key to Trudeau — 6 June 75
When Pierre Elliott Trudeau came across theoretical Marxism-Leninism in his university days, he already had a solid grounding in the sophistry of his Jesuit schooling. His intellectual arrogance, I suppose, thus stems from the early mixture of the two seemingly disparate but in fact mutually reinforcing doctrines of elitist absolutism.
In a BBC interview with Lord Chalfont, Trudeau described himself in retrospect as a loner. What he actually meant was the feeling of exclusiveness which is evident in his repeated statement: “If there is any one constant in my thinking, it is to be against the establishment or the accepted ideas of the day.”
This statement provides the key to Trudeau’s mind and character. It reveals that what really matters to him, and what he is after, is not the truth, justice, freedom, or simply the best attainable improvement of the human condition under the most enlightened form of government, but his exclusiveness. Right or wrong, he must be against the establishment and the accepted ideas of the day to show that he is different, above his fellowmen and their laws, rules and aspirations.
Such exclusiveness cares little, if at all, about facts and ascertainable truth, because it regards itself as the supreme, the ultimate fact and truth.
When this boundless intellectual arrogance is combined with a sense of ideological mission through political action, you have the making of a very capricious and dangerous autocrat.
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For if there is this compulsion in Trudeau’s mind to be against the establishment, how can he preside over a democratic government that, by definition, has to reflect the widest possible consensus, which can only be based on the accepted ideas of the day?
A prime minister of Trudeau’s mental make-up is thus inevitably in conflict with the very essence of his intended function in a parliamentary democracy. To overcome that conflict he has to turn the political party that put him in office, Parliament, and the bureaucratic machinery into instruments of his will.
To accomplish that without open resort to standard dictatorial methods, it is necessary to deceive, dissimulate, distort and disorient. All require a shrewd combination of big assaults and small retreats.
As a rule, the less justification there is for an attack, the fiercer it gets. This is the very essence of the Leninist tactic Trudeau employs.
Wrong Direction — 30 July 76
Pierre Trudeau’s ideological bent has been shaped largely by Fabian socialism (he credits particularly the late Harold Laski of the London School of Economics with profound influence) and by academic neo-Marxism. Where this led young Trudeau was clearly indicated by his perception of the life-and-death struggle with Nazi totalitarianism as an imperialist war (a definition of defence of freedom he shared with card-carrying communists until Hitler betrayed and attacked Stalin).
Unlike some wartime converts from the totalitarian left, Trudeau remained firmly plugged into the international circuit of abstract radicalism with which some of the beneficiaries of inherited wealth try to salve guilty consciences. The dominant and eventually the most fashionable postwar cause of the ivory tower radicals turned out to be anti-Americanism — a Soviet ploy to isolate its only serious opponent under the guise of a holy crusade against alleged American imperialism and neocolonialism.
When East-West tensions soared in the wake of the communists’ blockade of Berlin, their seizure of Czechoslovakia and their attack in Korea, the democracies took a few elemen-
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tary precautions against abuses and misuses of democratic freedoms by totalitarian agents and their dupes. The fellow-travelling Trudeau of that period was deemed unfit to hold a teaching position at the Catholic-dominated universities of Quebec and was for some time barred entry into the United States.
None of this was secret when the rich Montreal radical, who used to campaign for socialist candidates in federal elections in Quebec and who in his Cité Libre magazine called the Liberals “a bunch of idiots” and “a spineless herd,” ran for the Liberal party leadership in 1968. No one really had an excuse for the 1968 choice. The record was there and its implications were pretty obvious.
But even if one assumes some mysteriously induced mass blindness, or hysteria, or national self-hypnosis in 1968, no such assumption can be made about the 1972 and 1974 elections. For however misleading the initial media-fabricated image of Trudeau may have been, no one could have failed to notice the new PM’s almost immediate attempt to pull Canada out of NATO. Nor was it possible to overlook his systematic re-orientation of foreign policy away from Canada’s historical alliance with the democracies en route into the totalitarian orbit.
The results of the 1972 and 1974 elections therefore must have meant, among other disturbing things, that Canadians don’t really mind what Trudeau is doing to our foreign policy and especially to relations with the remaining democracies.
Intelligent Leadership? — 2 Feb. 77
“It is the property of intelligence to perceive things in germination.” So said ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. And he was right. The hallmark of true intelligence is the capacity to discern building trends in seemingly insignificant events and to prescribe a course of action to forestall or minimize harmful consequences.
Together with sterling character and courage, intelligence is thus the key prerequisite of wise and effective leadership.
Measured by this yardstick, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s intelligence rating is, contrary to the prevailing notion of his intellectual brilliance, pretty poor. For while he is undoubtedly quick-witted and flippantly smart (his debating sophistry is
– 15 –
deservedly legendary), his capacity to “perceive things in germination” and nip in the bud foreseeable trouble is virtually nil.
The record of his nine years in office as prime minister is literally crammed with examples of his failure to foresee and anticipate even short-term developments from their germinating stage. Typical of this blindness was his policy of prompting farmers with taxpayers’ money to limit grain-growing acreage at a time when world population and nutrition statistics indicated serious global food shortages in only a few years. Equally stupid was his decimation of our armed forces at a time of massive Soviet military build-up.
Another vivid example was Trudeau’s mishandling of the economy virtually from the moment he took office in 1968. His bungling, unless deliberately engineered to produce tensions and dislocations to prove that our whole system does not and will not work, culminated in his no-controls 1974 election and then, after grievous damage had been done, imposition of controls a year later.
In the political field Trudeau followed the same ruinous course in dealing with the provinces, and particularly withe Francophone separatism which he declared dead shortly before the separatist party swept Quebec’s 1976 provincial election.
As in everything else Trudeau has touched during his autocratic reign, here too his shortsighted dogmatism and elitist arrogance are exacting a heavy toll.
Two Views of P.E.T. — 6 Feb. 76
It’s standard practice for smart politicians when they get in trouble to create a spectacular diversion.
Prime Minister Trudeau, some observers believe, is a politician in trouble. The economy, which he never really understood but systematically abused by government overspending and waste, is faltering and spawning social unrest. The over-permissiveness and irresponsibility that Trudeau’s anti-establishment constant[y] encourage are tearing Canada’s spiritual and moral fabric apart. The resulting strains and stresses are warping our institutional framework so severely that even the imperturbable ruling Liberal party is getting upset and shows cracks.
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Purveyors of this interpretation of the growing turmoil maintain that Trudeau now realizes he is in real trouble despite his 1974 election victory and is doing his damnedest to divert attention from the mess years of mismanagement of public affairs have [sic] produced.
Since Trudeau’s way of diverting attention from his difficulties is to shock people, these oracles say, we have had a whole series of prime ministerial shocks since John Turner’s resignation. First there was the somersault on price-income controls. Then the dismissal of the free market system as unworkable in Canada, and the “Viva Castro” performance in Cuba.
This version of the big shocks would have us believe that the prime minister is essentially a vainglorious simpleton. Not knowing where he is going and what he is doing, he thrashes around wildly to distract attention from his predicament.
It’s a nice try to allay growing fears that Trudeau is, as a few of his early critics have been saying all along, a menace to the country. Unfortunately for the soothsayers, the PM has pulled the rug of self-deception from under their feet.
To consider their thesis remotely conceivable and believable, one would have to be utterly ignorant of Trudeau’s record. While many Canadians may still not have bothered to examine Trudeau’s political essays or deem them irrelevant, his impact on this country’s public life and general direction since he became prime minister is self-evident and cannot be ignored.
Even a cursory glance at Trudeau’s record in office shows a consistent, carefully planned and systematically applied effort to render the economic, political and social accomplishments of Canada’s historical evolution unworkable so that the PM could eventually say: The system does not work and has to be replaced by what he now calls new society. (In his political essays he called it, more fittingly, benign despotism.)
With nothing in this country’s history to prepare Canadians for the guiles of a messianic autocrat, it has been excruciatingly difficult for most people to face the mounting evidence of Trudeau’s real objectives.
The difficulty is still there, for the idea of our freely elected prime minister seeking to change the democratic structure of the country without being stopped by his cabinet and kicked out of office by his party before he could do any real harm is so strange and preposterous that it is indeed very difficult to swallow.
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Yet unless the emotional roadblock is overcome and the unbelievable faced squarely on the basis of accumulated evidence, it’s impossible to understand what is happening to Canada and how perilously close we are to losing the liberties we take for granted. Nor is it possible to grasp that Trudeau’s “Viva Castro” cry in Cienfuegos (which happens to be the main Soviet naval base in Cuba, not just a sunny sugar town) had a profound meaning in its revelation of our prime minister’s genuine feelings, aspirations and objectives.
Elitist Conceit — 21 Nov. 72
In his pre-Liberal days, academic radical Pierre Trudeau wrote in one of his cocky essays: “In terms of political tactics, the only real question democratic socialists must answer is: Just how much reform can the majority of the people be brought to desire at the present time?”
The question betrayed Trudeau’s essentially non-democratic political philosophy. No social democrat, let alone a liberal, would ever contemplate coercing the majority of the people, the very thing the “brought to desire” expression implies. The terminology itself reveals dictatorial elitism.
A democratic politician defines his concept of reforms and explains why he deems the proposed changes beneficial, but he leaves the judgement of desirability and acceptability to the electorate. That’s what elections are about. That is the essence of evolutionary change and the hallmark of freely expressed political choice.
To bring the majority of the people to desire what their free choice would reject is a totalitarian concept. It postulates political and psychological manipulation of the public mind to the point where common-sense judgement is replaced by Pavlovian reflexes. In the end the inevitable failure of attempts to pervert sound collective judgement leads to naked terror.
When he became prime minister under the eminently acceptable and reassuring Liberal party label, Trudeau set out to bring the majority of the people to desire his elitist blueprint of computerized social change. In his conceit the prime minister took it for granted that the majority of the people could be made to desire whatever he, and he alone, would ordain for them.
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5 Nov. 75
Such arrogance cannot be explained unless we assume that he feels so superior to everyone in sight (and perhaps in creation) that all existing laws and rules of behaviour are irrelevant. It was this limitless arrogance that prompted Trudeau to call MPs “nobodies” and to shout, from the warm comfort and safety of his armoured Cadillac, “Mangez de la merde” at freezing pickets on Parliament Hill. And it’s this limitless arrogance that prompts the prime minister to treat the whole population of Canada like a bunch of gullible idiots who can be manipulated in any way he desires.
Chameleon — 18 Dec. 72
No more buckskins and beads for Prime Minister Trudeau. No temper tantrums, no swearing in public, no snubbing of reporters. Not for a while, anyway.
The transformation is amazing. Almost as amazing as the cliff-hanger election which has brought it about.
Mr. Trudeau is now playing the role of the solemn, dignified and prudent man most Canadians apparently want as their prime minister. It takes enormous self-control and determination not to blow it.
At close quarters, the strain of the image-changing exercise shows in the taut muscles of what used to be a clownishly mood-mirroring face. It shows particularly in the expressionless stare of what used to be mockingly contemptuous, or snake rigidly charming, or icily murderous eyes. But on the TV screen this rigidly controlled surface transformation appears to come through as thoughtful attentiveness, laced on the fringes with a faint aura of humility. And that’s all that matters in this age of electronic image making.
Shrewd Tactic — 9 Feb. 73
Trudeau, while retreating from temporarily untenable positions, does not intend to give much ground. The pullback is in fact an integral part of the next leap forward.
The French have a marvellous phrase for this tactic: reculer
– 19 –
pour mieux sauter — a few steps back in order to gain momentum for a better jump.
Unbroken Record — 13 Aug. 75
Since he took office as prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau has accumulated an unbroken record of broken pledges to curb inflation.
In 1969 he said: “We just don’t have any choice but to fight inflation, fight it fiercely.”
In the 1974 election campaign Trudeau promised to “wrestle inflation to the ground” if returned to office with a majority.
In between he made a whole series of verbal assaults on inflation and at one point declared it licked.
In reality Trudeau has done nothing to combat inflation. His tripling of government spending and money printing has fed its flames. And his pooh-poohing of the seriousness of the problem during the 1974 election campaign amounted to economic sabotage, for it prevented crystallization of national consensus on mandatory price-income controls.
Trudeau has added yet another ringing verse to his litany of empty anti-inflation rhetoric. Saying that “it’s something we absolutely must solve,” he once again pledged to slay the dragon he feeds and then vanished on vacation without doing anything.
(13 Aug. 75)
Won’t Quit — 22 Sept. 75
Though initially the least conspicuous — except for his juvenile pranks — of the trio of socialists from Quebec who jumped into federal politics under Grit camouflage at Mike Pearson’s invitation, Trudeau is now firmly entrenched at the top, likes power and does not have the slightest intention of joining his comrades Pelletier and Marchand on their way to pre-retirement sinecures.
While no longer sliding down banisters and standing on his head at parties (he does not have to attract attention that way anymore), Trudeau is physically still quite vigorous and his doctrinaire mind seems to be free from the pangs of conscience that prompted John Turner to resign. And having successfully
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conned the electorate into giving him another majority mandate, no power on earth can dislodge him.
At the rate at which Canada has been coming apart economically and politically since the last federal election, Trudeau may have just enough time before the next vote to make the damage irreparable.
Destructive Talent — 29 Oct. 75
When demonstrators against the government’s anti-inflation program shout “Trudeau must go,” they are saying the right thing for the wrong reason.
What this country needs more than anything else is indeed to get rid of the Trudeau regime, but not because the PM had to reverse himself on price-income controls and step on some union toes.
Trudeau should go, or be thrown out by the Liberal party, because he has mismanaged and messed up the country to the point where disintegration and anarchy stare us in the face. All the mistakes and misjudgements of all our preceding prime ministers since Confederation pale to insignificance in comparison with the havoc wrought by Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Everywhere you look his influence is self-evident: in strained English-French relations at the very core of Canada’s existence; in deterioration of moral standards throughout the social fabric; in pampering of criminals, subversives, perverts and parasites; in atrocious, reckless waste of public funds; in the bloated pink elephant of federal bureaucracy; in weakened defence capability and paralyzed internal security structure; in unprincipled, self-destructive foreign and trade policy; and most emphatically, of course, in the crippled economy.
To do that much damage in less than eight years takes great destructive talent, especially in a country as rich in natural resources and as technologically advanced as Canada. Trudeau, a penthouse socialist who is using the Liberal party as a reassuring facade for his social engineering experiments, has supplied that talent.
* * *
– 21 –
15 Mar. 76
Doing violence to the most basic principles and key institutions of parliamentary democracy is a trifling is trifling matter in the eyes of our peerless leader, for the whole system, as he said last December, does not work and must be replaced. The only thing that matters is exercise of poewr as he sees fit.
So when some blunder or mishap that escapes concealment presents a choice between expediency and integrity of democratic principles, it’s no contest. Principles lose every time.
Liberalization — 28 May 73
Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker has quipped that Trudeau’s liberalization of the penal system makes it easier for criminals to get out of jail than to get in.
Boomerang — 10 Nov. 75
To sell his belated war on inflation (which organized labour adamantly opposes with his own arguments and ridicule), Prime Minister Trudeau needs media support. And the media, influenced by Trudeau’s glorification of negativism as a matter of principle and intellectual pride, don’t seem to realize that in this particular case the fashionable anti-establishment tune is deemed to be wrong.
So the prime minister, finding himself hoist with his own petard, has no choice but to change the one constant in his thinking and plead for understanding that there may be instances when the assumption that the authorities are always wrong need not be automatically correct.
It was, of course, perfectly all rights while he was on the outside looking in and the authorities were the regimes of Duplessis, St. Laurent, Diefenbaker and Pearson. In those days, it was the sacred duty and right of academic radical Trudeau to blast every existing authority in that little elitist viper of a magazine, Cité Libre.
Calling Duplessis a fascist tyrant, the federal Liberals a spineless herd and Pearson a defrocked priest of peace was good, progressive journalism seeking to smash rotten establishments that were doing harm to Canada.
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Now, however, when the establishment is progressive, the important thing is to rediscover what Trudeau calls community spirit.
It means, the PM says, “accepting some authorities. It does not mean following the popular line of always feeling that all authorities, whether they be of the church or the state, or the civil society, must be wrong all the time.”
That’s an interesting switch. But who decides which authorities are wrong and when? Tricky points.
Many disciples of Trudeau’s rejection of all authority, regrdless of merit, do not accept any exception to the simple, clear-cut rule of automatic rebellion. Then there are those who, while allowing for exceptions, use other criteria than the prime minister in making definitions. Who is to say which exceptions to Trudeau’s anti-establishment constant are to be allowed?
Among the union leaders and academic radicals, who not long ago regarded Trudeau as their front man and who now feel betrayed, there are many who consider themselves better qualified than the prime minister to decide what to do when the government demands restraints.
Since Trudeau preached and practised an automatic anti-establishment attitude as the guiding principle of progressivism, he is in no position to demand any exception from his erstwhile comrades and disciples. Nor can he expect to impress people with lectures on the necessity to obey the laws of the land when he himself, as head of government, has set the example of flouting a duly passed and valid law (capital punishment) because he personally does not agree with it.
The net effect of the combination of Trudeau’s lifelong anti-establishment philosophy and his example of making mockery of a law which does not reflect his views is the disintegration of all values and defiance of all the laws, rules and customs that keep society together and functioning.
Soviet Spy — 16 Dec. 74
They must be laughing their heads off in Moscow.
Imagine. They take one of their recycled KGB diplomat-spies, put a sports expert label on him, and appoint him liaison officer for the Olympic Games in Montreal to see how far they can go in Canada under Trudeau’s second majority regime.
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They realize that their man, Alexander Gresko, is known as a spy (his name is on the list of verified Soviet intelligence agents and master subverters in John Barron’s book on the KGB).
Gresko’s bosses could have, of course, changed his name and identity, the usual procedure in recycling blown spies. But in this instance they apparently wanted a brazen experiment and groomed Gresko for it.
While the sports people might not have known or couldn’t have cared less about Gresko’s expulsion from Britain in 1971 as a high level KGB agent in diplomatic guise, the Trudeau government knew and should have cared.
Gresko’s appointment was not rejected by official Ottawa and the man was not turned back at the border when he came to have a look at his new happy hunting ground. Arriving in Trudeaugrad, he was even received by and photographed with the prime minister.
Surprising? Not really, considering that Moscow’s Pravda gave Trudeau the highest accolade when it hailed his election win as a victory for socialist ideas.
It’s possible that even Gresko’s KGB bosses who ran the test o fopen spy recycling in Trudeau’s Canada are finding it hard to believe their easy success.
“Comrade Brezhnev” — 11 Aug. 75
Answering a CBC reporter’s question about the fishing dispute with the Soviets, Prime Minister Trudeau referred to his talk about it in Helsinki with “Comrade Brezhnev.” A Freudian slip?
(The official transcript of the answer the PM gave at his Ottawa press conference on 7 August 1975 reads: “I don’t have the exact date, but certainly the action that I urged upon Comrade Brezhnev has been followed up immediately.”)
Flashback — 8 April 68
When it was all over (at the 1968 Liberal party leadership convention), I listened for comment amid the roar of the Trudeau worshippers.
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A delegate from Quebec said: “Good-bye Canada.”
A Soviet journalist said: “Excellent choice. Trudeau will make Canada progressive.”
A woman, taking off her delegate’s badge, said: “This isn’t my party any more. God help us all.”
Youth Trauma? — 8 Mar. 76
A recent issue of the Germna magazine Der Spiegel offers an intriguing explanation of Prime Minister Trudeau’s rejection of the market economy. “Trudeau,” the magazine says, “never got over the early death of his father, who was sentenced by the Supreme Court for ‘irregularities in a tax declaration.’ The young Pierre Trudeau blamed his father’s tax difficulties and his death on the free market system and swore then: ‘If I become a politician one day, it will be reformed once and for all.'”
The magazine, quoting Trudeau family friend John Ahern, suggests that the PM’s “drive into socialism” may thus be prompted by his desire “to overcome a youth trauma.”
Security Hazard — 14 May 76
Shrugging off concern about the leaked changes in security checks guidelines, Prime Minister Trudeau maintains that there is no longer need to worry about separatist subversion or violence.
As Mr. Trudeau puts it, Quebec separatism is dead and those who still call themselves separatists are no longer dangerous because they are not seeking to break up the country by violent means.
While the Parti Québécois, which absorbed the various revolutionary hotheads into its tame and perfectly legal structure, may still advocate Quebec’s separation from Confederation, it does so by democratic means and therefore qualifies for exactly the same treatment as any other political party. The Mounties don’t keep an eye on Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats, so why should they watch the PQ?
That’s a flawlessly rational argument any fair-minded, reasonable Canadian who does not examine its cock-eyed premise
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is bound to accept. Once accepted, it makes all the fuss about lax security measures look irrelevant. And it explains the leaked confidential directive which no one would have worried about had it remained secret.
More than that, it also helps explain why Trudeau ignored the 1968 report of the Royal Commission on Security which he promised but never actually put before Parliament for debate.
The reason for that was the Commission’s conclusion that “the main current security threats to Canada are posed by international communism and the communist powers, and by some elements of the Quebec separatist movement.” That ran smack against Trudeau’s preconceived ideas and against the program for Canada’s ideological re-orientation with which he assumed office. He particularly wanted rapprochement (actually chumminess) with the very powers the Royal Commission considered dangerous to Canada’s security.
Much the same rationalization Trudeau used in downgrading the totalitarian threat is now used for explaining the alleged disappearance of the separatist danger. Marxists were deemed to have mellowed and embraced democratic methods. Communist organizations thus became regular political parties no one had to worry about. Trudeau went to sign a “friendship protocol” with the Kremlin butchers of millions of innocent people. (Solzhenitsyn’s estimate of the toll is 66 million.) To please Peking, he even declared an eccentric Canadian communist from Mao’s propaganda mausoleum our national hero.
In this way not only institutional defences against totalitarian penetration, espionage and subversion were dismantled or rendered impotent, but public awareness of the threat was blunted and dissipated. Separatism, which Trudeau ignored until the FLQ crisis shocked the nation in 1970, is now slated for the same treatment in the PM’s effort to ward off mounting political difficulties.
The game is, however, getting more contrived and more dangerous. Neither the Marxists nor the separatists have given up their common (and in some respects jointly pursued) objective of dismemberment of Canada and replacement of its democratic structure by totalitarian regimentation. Wittingly or unwittingly, Trudeau is clearing the way for this “new society.”
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Olympic Lie — 16 July 76
Since his meteoric rise on fabricated Trudeaumania in 1968, Pierre Trudeau has on many occasions been playing games with facts. In plain English it would be called lying, but that’s unparliamentary. Politicians, and prime ministers in particular, are supposed to be men of sterling character. They may be uninformed, mixed up or misunderstood, but they do not lie.
It’s a nice charade but it doesn’t change anything. A lie is a lie under any name. When, for example, a mature man maintains that he is younger than his birth certificate attests because he thinks it might help his career or some specific plan and then pretends not to remember his exact age when the discrepancy is discovered, he is quite simply lying.
That’s how it started with Trudeau. He lied about his age because making himself younger in the 1968 contest for the Liberal party leadership helped his dashing image and provided an excuse for his absence from the fighting forces in World War II. When he was eventually confronted with his birth date, he shrugged the whole thing off as ridiculously unimportant. It wasn’t. The episode revealed a characteristic contempt for the truth and a readiness to twist or disregard facts to suit desired ends.
Since then Pierre Trudeau has never hesitated to tell fibs (remember his 1974 election campaign) or manufacture evidence for phony arguments. Whenever caught at it (for example, when he accused Diefenbaker of squandering public funds on personal luxuries), he would use the same lapse-of-memory shrug he used for the lie about his age, implying that with weighty issues on his lofty mind he cannot be expected to remember trite details.
It’s very difficult for the opposition to nail Trudeau down because it cannot avoid being partisan and therefore suspect of trying to smear and discredit rather than seek or defend the truth. Until now no outsider of any consequence has made a public issue of being tricked or double-crossed by Pierre Trudeau. Fortunately, the first non-Canadian to speak out is neither a politician nor a diplomat (people in these categories could still be suspected of ulterior motives), but Lord Killanin, President of the Interntional Olympic Committee.
Lord Killanin, who has no reason to get involved in any way in our politics or dislike Canada, has made a statement which
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amounts to saying that Trudeau is lying. The specific charge concerns the PM’s endeavour to create the impression that his government notified the IOC in April 1975 of its ban on Taiwan’s participation in the Olympic Games in Montreal as representative of the Republic of China. According to official Ottawa, the IOC thus had 15 months for coming to grips with the problem.
Killanin maintains that our government, which in 1969 pledged to admit all athletes recognized by the IOC, did not state its objection to Taiwanese athletes appearing under the ROC flag until late last month. Who is telling the truth?
Asked if Canada notified him in April 1975 that Taiwan might be barred as ROC flag bearer, Lord Killanin replied: “That is absolutely untrue … It is untrue that there was any indication this (Trudeau’s political intervention on behalf of Peking) might happen.”
The Killanin statement is straightfoward and quite clear. There are no ambiguities in it, no possibilities of misunderstanding. If what Killanin says is true — and not one of the 67 members of the IOC has contradicted or disputed a single word of his statement — then our government must be lying. Though we should be used by now to any deceit by the Trudeaucrats, it still comes as a shock to have our prime minister caught and found guilty of international perfidy.
Truth Will Out — 11 March 77
Sometimes it may take quite a while, but the truth will out eventually.
When Prime Minister Trudeau visited the Soviet Union in 1971 his hosts took him to Norilsk, the showpiece of the Soviet Arctic. Trudeau was impressed and said we must emulate Soviet methods of northern development.
My comment at that time was that Trudeau was praising the results of slave labour while standing on a pile of human bones. This was brushed off with the standard “anti-communist paranoia” sneer that our presumably sophisticated progressives (the type Lenin called “useful idiots”) invariably use for smothering facts which do not fit their preconceived ideas and modish myths.
Six years later along comes Vladimir Bukovsky (internation-
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ally known young Soviet dissident whom the Kremlin exchanged last December for Chilean communist party secretary Luis Corvalan) and, thanks to CBC’s sudden frantic rush to veil its congenital bias, TV viewers not watching other channels hard him say: “I was in prison when Mr. Trudeau arrived in Miscow. He declared that he would like to have an exchange of experience — to use Soviet experience of development of northern territories. It was awful for us, for everybody in the Soviet Union. Everybody knew quite well how many millions of prisoners perished when developing those territories. It was awful …”
Bukovsky, who calls the whole fenced-in Soviet orbit a huge concentration camp and describes the 1975 Helsinki pact as “a stab in the back,” put a charitable interpretation on Trudeau’s praise of Soviet Arctic achievements by assuming that our prime minister muts have been unaware of the use of slave labour.
It’s a generous but untenable interpretation. No western politician, let alone one of Trudeau’s academic background and intellectual reputation could have possibly been unaware in 1971 of the use and dreadful treatment of political prisoners (Solzhenitsyn’s estimate of the death toll since Lenin’s days is 66 million) in the Soviet Union. Extensive documentary literature has been available on that subject for decades. Trudeau obviously has been deeply interested in the Soviet Union for a long time, because as a young leftist academic he led a Canadian delegation in 1952 (the height of Stalin’s era) to a communist economic conference in Moscow. In any case, as prime minister he is briefed thoroughly on every country he travels to in his official capacity, even if it doesn’t happen to be a superpower.
Trudeau cannot claim ignorance as an excuse for his mighty assist to communist propaganda in hiding the truth from the largely uninformed or disbelieving public in the remaining free countries, nor is there any excuse for the other cockeyed statements he made during that same trip — notably his equation of Soviet dissidents with FLQ terrorists, and his glib remark in Kiev that there is really not much difference between the Canadian and Soviet systems because both are federalist. As a renowned constitutional expert, Trudeau couldn’t have been unaware of the blasphemy of such a comparison.
While Trudeau is, as every head of government has to be, generally well informed and minutely briefed by his enormous staff, he sometimes feigns ignorance when it suits his purpose.
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His “Where is Biafra?” brushoff of a question he did not want to answer during the tribal bloodbath in Nigeria typified this technique. He used it again at a recent press conference when, dodging questions about clear endorsement of President Carter’s moral support for Soviet dissidents, and specifically for academician Sakharov, the PM said: “I am not quite sure what his case is, quite frankly. I have not received a letter from him that I know of, and I have not studied his case.”
Strange. Despite scant coverage, even a casual reader of the daily press cannot help knowing quite a bit about the famous Soviet physicist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. But Pierre Trudeau, who finds time and enthusiasm for demonstrative support of mass murderers (e.g., his “Viva Castro” last year), has “not studied” Sakharov’s case and is “not quite what his case is.”
Strange ignorance indeed. Unless, of course, it’s Trudeau’s way of filtering out anything (including Sakharov’s political essays and Solzhenitsyn’s books) which could conceivably upset the nice fit of his tidy abstractions and ideological thought-patterns.
Vanishing Support — 13 Sept. 76
So Chairman Mao is gone and Chairman Pierre, if backstage whispers are any indication, is on the way out after all, unless he eventually does what Indira Gandhi has done in India.
Mao died of old age. What’s causing the political decline of his Montreal admirer and disciple whom the Liberals made prime minister of Canada is less clear. Pierre Trudeau himself ascribes it largely to the anti-inflation program wihch, he says, people can’t help resenting because it curbs their aspirations, expectations and freedom.
There is some truth in that, but not the whole truth.
It was the cynical deception of his about-face rather than the belated and bungled anti-inflation program that turned people against Trudeau. Still, realization of having been conned is not the only cause of Trudeau’s vanishing support. The PM himself admits that there are at least one hundred and one reasons fot it, some big, some small.
Among the big ones undoubtedly are: perversion of the generally accepted policy of bilingualism into a power play and
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patronage feast; mismanagement and steady collectivization of the economy; appalling waste of public funds on weird, often demoralizing, and even destructive programs; arrogant disregard and mockery of the will of the majority (as in the abolition of the death penalty); mollycoddling of subversives and criminals; fragmentation of the country in insane confronta-
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tions with the provinces; virtual destruction of our defence forces; and a foreign policy that alienates our time-tested allies and courts our self-proclaimed ideological foes.
It may well be, as ex-socialist politician Doug Fisher maintains, that most Canadians don’t even look at, let alone give a thought to, foreign policy. But some manifestations of a conduct of external affairs that violates the general sense of what is morally and historically right hit sensitive nerve ends and cause outrage just the same.
Thus, while many people may be confused by conflicting accounts of the totalitarian dictatorship that calls itself the People’s Republic of China, most Canadians feel that something is fundamentally wrong when our government builds a communist fanatic (who fought for Marxism in Spain and China) into a national hero, while men who distinguished themselves fighting for Canada and democracy in two world wars are ignored.
Few people in the Western world may realize that what in Mao’s glowing obituaries is glossed over as “of course there was a reign of terror in the 1950s” represents the cold-blooded murder of millions (a study commissioned by the U.S. Senate lists a minimum of 35 million victims of the Mao regime). But many Canadians, including some of the most thoroughly brainwashed, feel that it’s wrong to canonize Dr. Norman Bethune, who in fact deserted his country, while authentic Canadian heroes, such as Lt.-Col. John McCrae (author of the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”) or Sir William Stephenson (The Man Called Intrepid) are officially neglected.
It’s the unmistakable symbolism of such seemingly unimportant gestures as the Bethune cult, Trudeau’s Viva Castro while Cuban troops were conquering Angola for the Kremlin, the PM’s sense of personal loss at Mao’s passing that illuminates otherwise obscure foreign policy for many Canadians and makes it count in political arithmetic.
While this factor may hardly ever become more than marginal, it could tip the scales when dissatisfaction with the ruling party starts piling up for other reasons.
Miracle Maker? — 27 Sept. 76
Pierre Trudeau fooled most Canadians in 1968. In the 1972 election he fooled only most Quebecers. Two years later he
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bounced back by fooling most of the “labour vote” in Ontario (particularly in Toronto). Now with popular support for his regime below 30 per cent (the lowest Grit showing in decades), Trudeau promises his remaining faithful to work a miracle and win the next election. “Naturally,” he says with undiminished arrogance.
How does he propose to work the miracle? By “responding to the needs of the average Canadian,” he says.
Translated from political jargon that means fooling most of the people all over again.
Can it be done? Of course it can. And no miracle is necessary. The way to do it is to lie and deceive more cleverly than ever before. Trudeau has plenty of time in which to do it.
Right now the PM’s urgent task is to convince people that the government they clearly do not want is good for them. The brainwashing campaign, costing $1.2 million, is financed by taxpayers’ money. In his boundless arrogance Trudeau has the gall to justify the propaganda drive by comparing it to the wartime promotion of Victory Bonds and austerity measures. Coming from a man who not only thumbed his neo-Marxist nose at the war effort but opposed it, such comparison is doubly offensive.
None of this, of course, prevents Chairman Pierre from declaring, without even blushing, that criticism of his mismanagement of the country is unpatriotic. His rationale for this outrage is the identification of his party’s interests, which he deems to embody and personify, with national interests. It is a Canadian version of the “L’état c’est moi” concept we see reincarnated with a vengeance in totalitarian dictators.
It’s this “L’état c’est moi” syndrome, which Trudeau revealed clearly in his recent pointed advice to newsmen to stop criticizing his government, that is really dangerous, especially if the electorate lets itself be bribed and conned again.
Watch out! — 6 Oct. 76
Once again we are led to believe that there is a new Trudeau. The last time it happened was after the 1972 election when Quebec’s tribal vote barely saved the PM from the defeat he suffered everywhere else.
Remember the subdued, humble prime minister of that
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time? Eager to go anywhere in the country and plead with anyone willing to listen.
The humble role was discarded the moment voters let themselves be conned into restoring a Trudeau majority in the Commons. P.E.T.’s comment on the result of the 1974 election was: “Now I don’t have to explain anything to anybody.”
In the euphoria of the victory that his Machiavellian cunning snatched from the jaws of defeat, Trudeau was confident that his social engineering would never again run into serious difficulty. The economy would ride the coattails of a strong recovery in the U.S. The rest would be fairly easy. All he had to do was bring the people to desire whatever his new society blueprints might call for.
It didn’t work out that way and there is plenty of explaining to be done. The country, as even Trudeau has to admit, is in a mess and in danger of breaking up.
So we have again a subdued (though this time not humble) Trudeau rushing from one part of Canada to another, rallying the wavering remnants of his troops with solemn warnings of impending doom unless they close ranks behind him in a hurry and bring the restive peasants in line.
It’s possible that some people may fall again for this repeat of Trudeau’s nation-saving performance. The best safeguard against being impressed, swayed, hypnotized or confused by the solemn act is to bear this fact in mind: if the country is in the perilous state Trudeau says it is, the decline can only be the result of almost a decade of his rule.
After such a long time anything that’s seriously wrong with this rich and spacious land must be due to systematic mismanagement.
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Was Chartrand suggesting that Trudeau and Marchand are still socialists?
He laughed and laughed. “Oh, you see, they and
Pelletier are the smart guys. They thought they
would get inside the Liberal party and take it over
and make it what they wanted.”
Quebec trade union leader
Michel Chartrand, quoted by
columnist Douglas Fisher in
The Toronto Telegram, 3 April, 1970
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No National Mandate — 13 Feb. 74
In the 1972 federal election the majority of voters in all but one of the ten provinces rejected the Trudeau regime.
The Trudeaucrats failed completely in Alberta, where all the 19 seats went to the Tories. In three provinces (Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia), they salvaged only one seat from the shellacking, while the Tories won 20.
The two major parties tied only in New Brunswick, where the Grits and Tories won five seats each.
The rest of the score, with the sole exception of Quebec, was in favour of the Tories (8 to 4 in British Columbia, 8 to 2 in Manitoba, 4 to 3 in Newfoundland and 40 to 36 in Ontario). The PCs also took one of the two seats in the Territories, while the other, previously held by the Grits, went to the New Democrats, who elected 11 members in British Columbia, 11 in Ontario, 5 in Saskatchewan and 3 in Manitoba. (The NDPs hold no seat east of Ontario and none in Alberta.)
The picture springs into focus with a reminder of the totals outside Quebec. In the nine provinces and two territories which comprise more than two-thirds of Canada’s entire population, the Grits elected 53 MPs, the Tories 105 and the New Democrats 31.
With more than half of its complement in the Commons hailing from one province (56 of the 109 Grit MPs in the 29th Parliament come from Quebec ridings), the Trudeau minority administration cannot claim to represent the will of the electorate across the country and is not a national government.
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Voters Don’t Count — 12 Jan. 73
The NDP is exploiting the accident of its balancing position in the 29th Parliament for distortion of the democratic process.
Since the Trudeau party, thanks to its hold in Quebec, won two more seats in the House than the Progressive Conservatives, it had both the right and duty to form a stop-gap government. But its wafer-thin numerical margin certainly did not indicate a vote of confidence.
The decision of the 31 MPs of the socialist NDP to sustain the Trudeaucrats in office on a blackmail vote basis thus constitutes flagrant and unsavoury defiance of the will of the majority of voters, including their own supporters.
Phony Saints — 10 Jan. 73
The New Democrats have always prided themselves on being a party unlike the others. The difference, their leaders kept stressing, lay in steadfast refusal to compromise, let alone sacrifice, principles to expediency.
The game is over. Virtuous posturing (which I used to call “immaculate deception” when it was masterminded by the saintly, cunning Rev. Tommy Douglas) has been sacrificed to political expediency.
Assurances from the not so saintly but persuasive NDP leader David Lewis that nothing has happened to the image of his party are of no avail.
As a practical politician whose sanctimonious pretensions have become untenable, Mr. Lewis cannot be blamed for supporting now what he had declared insupportable only a few months ago. He has every reason to fear heavy losses in a quick repeat of the march to the polls. So, being by chance in a balancing position, he is making the most of it and stalling for time, never mind principles, integrity and responsibility to the country.
It’s as simple and unsavoury as that. His hope that the electorate won’t see it that way could well be the costliest NDP self-delusion.
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Organic Understanding — 23 March 73
From the start of the 29th Parliament, the Progressive Conservative party has concentrated on finding an issue on which it could enlist the support of the New Democrats for a defeat of the cliff-hanging government. The Tories considered it their first and foremost duty to the electorate. The New Democrats interpreted the outcome of the 1972 election differently, not because they had misread the will of the majority of voters outside Trudeau’s Quebec fortress, but because the numerical closeness of the two major parties gave the socialists a black-mailing power they had never had before. They saw it as a chance for pushing through a good portion of their program, which only a small portion of the electorate supports.
Since Trudeau had been a CCF-NDP supporter before he joined the ruling Liberals in the mid-1960s in search of an effective power base for his brand of academic socialism, the New Democrats made the obvious choice between an ideologically congenial minority government and its less predictably pliable Tory alternative.
Although the socialists did not enter into a formal coalition with the Trudeaucrats, they sold them their crucial voting support in what became known as an organic understanding.
To maintain his blackmailing power from vote to vote, NDP leader David Lewis put the deal, as he himself defined it, on a cash-on-delivery basis. This means that in order to survive, the government had to bend in the NDP direction.
NDP Rule by Proxy — 25 April 73
Since the life of the Trudeau minority government depends on the 31 socialist votes in the Commons, what the New Democrats want they usually get.
The pattern of the informal coalition was set the very first day the 29th Parliament met.
From then on the Trudeau-Lewis organic understanding has been refined into a smooth symbiosis which is in fact giving the country NDP government by proxy. Quite an achievement for a party which polls about 17 per cent of the vote.
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Handy Paradox — 19 Sept. 73
One of the paradoxes of the 1972 federal election is that the near defeat of the Liberal party has increased Trudeau’s operational scope.
Since his minority government needs the NDP votes in the Commons to stay in office, Trudeau can now explain his version of any portion of the NDP program as an inescapable tactical necessity to keep the Liberal party in power.
It wasn’t David Lewis or Tommy Douglas but Pierre Trudeau who hit upon the idea of using the Liberal party for pushing the country down the socialist drain. The fact that the scheme now needs open NDP support in the Commons simplifies, not complicates, matters.
Political Piracy — 20 March 74
Until the 1972 election, opposition of genuine liberals to Trudeau’s pre-conceived policies of armchair socialism managed to blunt or moderate the illiberal impulses of his administration. Since late 1972 this internal check has been rendered ineffective.
The survival argument smothers any objection to anything the Trudeaucrats present as necessary payment for NDP support. The slightest internal criticism of the Trudeau-Lewis symbiosis is easily silenced by a simple question: “Do you want our party to stay in power?”
Since keeping their party in power comes first with virtually all the ranking Grits, Trudeau is now free to impose on the country the framework of “socialist” policies he had trouble smuggling through in bits and pieces before the excuse of buying NDP support swept aside all objections.
The New Democrats find the arrangement ideal because it gives them more power than they could ever expect to get from their voting support, without at the same time burdening them with any of the responsibilities that go with exercise of power. What it all boils down to is political piracy.
Old Ties — 12 Dec. 73
A few observers are now coming close to my long-standing
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contention of Trudeau’s use of the Liberal party as a camouflage for NDP rule.
The latest discoverer of Trudeau’s capture and manipulation of the Liberal party for the socialists is columnist Charles Lynch.
“What we may be seeing,” writes Lynch, “is the re-emergence of Trudeau the convinced socialist, acting on the beliefs he held until he put them into mothballs when he joined the Liberal party at the age of 45.
“If this is so, as recent events suggest, it means that I have been misreading this minority … Parliament in supposing that a reluctant Trudeau was yielding to NDP demands against his will …”
A wisened Lynch then goes on to say that “the picture changes somewhat if we perceive Trudeau the socialist emerging from the Parliamentary woodword, using the threat of the NDP to bend, if not break, the moderate Liberals in his cabinet and his caucus, and happy to be getting on with the building of a Canadian New Jerusalem.”
This, of course, should have been obvious all along, and certainly since the 1972 election. Why, then, was the perception of virtually all our political commentators clouded for so long?
Lynch explains: “So much has been written about Trudeau the small-c conservative that we have almost forgotten his old political roots, which were closely intertwined with the latter-day CCF and the early-day NDP.”
It’s not the whole explanation. It leaves out the sad fact that writing about Trudeau’s political roots means risking ridicule, condemnation and ostracism.
Hypocrisy — 4 Jan. 74
Trudeau’s claim that the New Democrats are not directing the ship but following it is justified. He does not need them as navigators, because the general direction of their course has always been his own. But he needs them for a semblance of legitimacy of his continued command.
In that sense the ship of state has now been actually steered for over a year by the 31 official socialists in the Commons, for without their support Trudeau and his crew could not hold on to the controls after the 1972 election.
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David Lewis’ claim that “we were elected to make parliament work” is cynical hypocrisy. Parliament represents the will of the people, not the will of any one of its members. In the 1972 election the will of the people signified rejection of the Trudeau regime, without conferring the mandate to govern on any other party. The New Democrats, who polled less than 18 oer cent of the votes cast, certainly did not receive a mandate to defy the will of the majority of the electorate in nine out of Canada’s ten provinces.
Union Veto — 13 Feb. 74
By keeping in office a government rejected by the majority of the electorate in all the provinces but one, the New Democrats are not only in contempt of the democratic process but are now primarily responsible for the continued mismanagement of the country.
For example, the absence of a firm anti-inflation program in Canada is due to the union-dictated NDP veto.
Dry Lemon — 3 April 74
The lemon of the nominally Grit minority government has been squeezed dry by NDP socializing pressures. There isn’t a drop of juice left in it. Trudeau, however willing, cannot stretch its usefulness to the strategy of Canada’s structural transformation under the cloak of liberalism.
As an instrument of camouflaged imposition of policies that the majority of voters consistently reject, the usefulness of the Trudeau-Lewis regime has therefore come to an end. Exhaustion of the opportunities created by the 1972 electoral stalemate will be marked by the coming budget, which Trudeau cannot keep from being reactionary, short of an open clash with his senior ministers.
Since there is little likelihood of any further significant advance towards democratic socialism under the Trudeau-Lewis regime, the time has come to drop the pretence of the duty “to make this Parliament work” and to risk an election before the lib-left symbiosis makes separate campaigning more difficult, if not impossible, for the two versions of what is now really one socialist party.
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The Ostrich Year
Liberal democracy is not an intelligent form of
government and cannot be made to work except by men
who possess the philosophy in which liberal democracy
was conceived and founded.
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The Ostrich Year
Escapism — 7 Aug. 74
Like Britain, Canada had this year the electoral choice between an urgently needed inflation-curbing program and an ostrich attitude which says grab and enjoy what you can today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.
In both Britain and Canada the electorate opted for the make-believe distortion, dishonesty and irresponsibility of the ostrich stance. The consequences in England are beginning to frighten all but those who seek to destroy the free society.
In Canada, whose economy still gives the impression of a spectacular firecracker, the awakening from comfortable self-delusion may take some time but it is sure to come, for the firecracker is burning itself out.
Win at any Cost — 21 Oct. 74
There are those who believe that in politics, as in love and war, all is fair. One would have thought that Watergate would destroy this guideline of amoral political strategists, but it didn’t.
The whole campaign of the Trudeau party in the 1975 federal election was squarely based on the premise that everything short of murder goes if it could be expected to contribute to
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victory on polling day. So distortion of issues, outright lying to voters, and dirty tricks designed to discredit political opponents went far beyond the wildest excesses of such practices in previous campaigns.
The ruthlessness and absence of any moral scruples, let alone principles,m was afterwards shrugged off with cynical references to the dictum that the end justifies the means.
“For us,” a Trudeau campaign planner told me, “the outcome of this election became synonymous with Canada’s destiny. The future we envisage for this country, and to some extent for the rest of the world, depended on the outcome of the vote. We simply had to win, no matter how”
Like the Nixon zealots in the U.S. who plotted Watergate, the Trudeau zealots in Canada (and presumably the Wilson zealots in the U.K.) came to see themselves as apostles and missionaries of an historical imperative.
This fanaticism entered our politics with the Liberal party’s selection of lifelong socialist Pierre Trudeau as its leader. Seen by the Canadian chapter of the fraternity of neo-Marxist intellectuals as a marvellous tool for advancing their concept of social change at home and international re-alignment on the world scene, Trudeau, whose near defeat in 1972 scared the daylights out of the armchair revolutionaries, had to be re-elected in 1974 with a majority at any cost.
The cost was wholesale deception of a confused electorate and goon squad tactics in those crucial Ontario ridings where Trudeau candidates feared defeat in honest contests.
While such campaign methods are as shocking as those employed by the Watergate schemers, they could perhaps be dismissed as mere stretching of rough play past established limits if, after the election, the winning party were to use its position of responsibility for the benefit of the whole community.
Unfortunately, the priorities of the new Trudeau majority government, s outlined by the PM and his aides (further downgrading of Parliament, more than doubling the percentage of Quebecers in the top echelons of federal bureaucracy, further decimation of the armed forces and a left-wing activist role in foreign policy) strongly suggest that the unsavoury election techniques were only a foretaste of things to come.
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Self-deception — 26 July 74
People who feared a swing to the left in the 1974 federal election are consoling themselves with the voters’ spectacular mauling of the New Democratic Party.
The NDP’s loss of half its seats in the Commons is indeed spectacular, but it does not automatically mean any weakening of the socialist trend in Canadian politics.
While the voters, sickened by the NDP’s blackmailing after the 1972 election, have dealt a punishing blow to the official socialist party, they have more than compensated by strengthening the position of the unofficial socialists who operate under the Grit label. There will be a stiff price to pay for that decision.
Election Pop Fizzles — 4 Oct. 74
During the last three months the Grit election pop lost all its fizz, and all the assumptions of Trudeau’s vote lures vanished with the bubbles.
The economy, left wide open to mounting domestic inflation pressures, came to a standstill. Labour unrest, which wasn’t supposed to occur in any significant degree, crippled a substantial segment of our exports. And food prices defied confident forecasts of stabilization.
In short, the impact of the inflation that Trudeau said would bypass Canada if he was retained at the helm is upon us.
For about three years now the Trudeau government has been saying that it had a contingency plan which would be used if inflation were to become a serious and urgent problem. Although the admission has now been made that the problem has indeed become serious and urgent, the contingency plan is not even mentioned. Why?
Because, as Mr. Trudeau admitted in the Commons shortly before the election, the contingency plan is based on the price and incomes controls the Tories said were necessary to curb inflation. Since Trudeau’s pretence that inflation was not a serious and urgent problem won him the election, he won’t touch the contingency plan. Not yet.
No use complaining, though. The country is getting what it voted for.
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The Ostrich Option — 30 Dec. 74
1974 was a year of the ostrich. A year of monumental self-deception of those who practise selective blindness to reality.
The year started with the New Democrats portraying the shameless prostitution of their political body and soul in the last House of Minorities as the epitome of virtue and conscientious public service; it ended with Members of Parliament trying to give themselves a 50 per cent pay raise while calling for voluntary wage restraints and scaling down of all demands on the economy.
Between these two outstanidng landmarks of hypocrisy, the plurality of voters performed their own ostrich act.
There is a deeply rooted assumption in our political folklore that the majority is always right. For some people this even serves as the essence and moral justification of democracy.
History and common experience show that there is strength in numbers, but not necessarily wisdom and truth and righteousness. In other words, equating majority and right can be just as risky as equating might and right. A majority can be, and sometimes is, 9as in the initial vote that put Hitler in power), damnably wrong.
The essence of democratic rule is that a freely formed and expressed will of the majority must prevail. No democrat would, therefore, question the legitimacy of the outcome of a free election and the right of the majority (or the party with the largest number of votes) to govern.
Acceptance of the verdict of the electorate does not, however, necessarily mean approval. Just as a good citizen may find some of the laws he scrupulously observes unwise or downright silly, the most exemplary democrat may find the decision of the majority he scrupulously observes grossly misconceived and perhaps even harmful to the best interests of the community as he understands them.
With costs, prices and interest rates poking holes through the ceiling, the paramount issue in 197 was inflation. The drifting minority government, which was kept afloat for 18 months by NDP hot air, actually had its budget defeated (the first Canadian government to be toppled on a budget) because it was adding inflationary pressures to the ailing and mismanaged economy.
For once the electorate had not only a clear-cut issue to
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government spending freeze to facilitate a thorough examination and basic adjustments of the complex economic machinery. The freeze was to be followed by selective controls where necessary.
The Liberals maintained that the economy was in good shape, that inflation was no big problem and nothing much could be done about it anyway apart from cushioning its impact on fixed low incomes because it was worldwide and would not respond to domestic curbs.
Since the Tory program called for some belt-tightening while almost everyone was crying for more money to offset rising prices, it wasn’t difficult for Trudeau propagandists to convince first the unions and then the general public that Stanfield was spearheading a big business attack on wages.
This nonsense celebrated a quick and big success because it provided the excuse many people were looking for as justification of a flat refusal to make any personal effort to understand and combat the menace of inflation.
Given the choice between comforting delusions and unpleasant facts, the bulk of the electorate took the ostrich option.
In the long run there is, of course, no escape from reality. And problems which might have been solved with modest effort, had they been tackled promptly, tend to grow into disasters.
Inflation, which the electoral ostrich refused to see, is turning fast from a relatively straightforward economic problem into an increasingly complex threat to the stability of our entire social system.
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The surest way to destroy a society is to debauch its currency.
Vladimir Ilich Lenin
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End of an Era — 9 Dec. 74
One doesn’t have to be clairvoyant to see that the great North American joyride of the postwar era is coming to an end.
The expectation of automatic growth and expansion of material affluence is still there, but the complex machinery delivering the synthetic bliss is plagues with breakdowns, and maintenance costs are getting prohibitively high.
For six successive months now the economies of Canada and the United States have shown no real growth. During the same period, however, wages, salaries, profits and government expenditures have continued to rise at a fast clip.
Inflationary pressures have thus been considerably aggravated. Strikes for higher pay to offset losses of purchasing power compounded the decline of the performance of the economy.
According to Statistics Canada, wages, salaries and supplementary labour income “recorded its largest quarterly percentage increase since early 1951,” while the economy remained stagnant. Corporation profits before taxes likewise continued to climb, and government spending, to use the marvellous StatsCan phrase, “also made an important contribution to final domestic demand.”
What is boiles down to is the monumental self-deception of confusing living standard with money, regardless of the state of the ecnomy. Inflation is undermining the money-tied value system but people continue to think and act in its terms.
Since the first visible effect of inflation is loss of buying power, everyone with economic or political muscle demands
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more money to offset actual and anticipated debasement of the currency. This automatic reaction to rising prices is so all-absorbing that it leaves no room for recognition of the simple fact that any increase in real wealth can ultimately come only from increased production.
Failure to understand this is the root of a whole thicket of inflation-spawned misconceptions and delusioons that imperil not only the mishandled economy but our entire socio-political system.
Since virtually all our values are expressed in monetary terms, money debasement undermines everything. A really serious economic disorder thus poses a direct threat to social and political stability.
Mismanagement — 21 Nov. 73
Serious mismanagement of our economy started iwth the Trudeaucrats’ artificial slowdown of the growth of the productive base. Then they used mushrooming unemployment to justify structural policy changes in the direction of their welfare state philosophy. The government embarked upon a massive income redistribution scheme which is pushing Canada steadily into the mould of economic and political regimentation.
In its tenth annual report the Economic Council of Canada documents the scope of the process and warns against the consequences of its continuation.
Transfer payments under the various welfare programs have increased much more rapidly than the Gross National Product or public expenditures in the last few years. Specifically, transfer payments to persons rose by 18.4 per cent in 1971 and 19.3 per cent in 1972, compared to the average annual growth of slightly over 11 per cent during the 1961-68 period. Next year the rate is expected to reach 21 per cent.
Consequently, government expenditures, which at the start of the 1950s represented 22 per cent of the GNP, have climbed to almost 40 per cent.
Unless other government spending is radically cut, the Economic Council says, additional transfers will have to be financed through increased taxation.
The report underscores the view I expressed on this issue last May: As the government takes more and more money out of
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the economy for public spending that tends to be more and more wasteful, it not only increases inflationary pressures, but also pushes more and more people into a parasitic existence in the spreading jungle of welfarism. This cannot fail to have political consequences, for dependence on government handouts breeds political dependence.
Chasing Utopia — 13 Dec. 72
In 1969 Prime Minister Trudeau abolished the Winter Works Program.
When the provinces cried out in anguish, the prime minister shrugged off their protests as manifestations of the fossilized thinking his government set out to rectify. In the brave new world the Trudeaucrats were programming on their flow charts, the economy was assigned a supporting role in social change schemes that were to turn Canada into a model welfare state.
This line was followed with unflinching consistency until its dire economic consequences started creating an obvious political hazard. It was this factor, not the human misery that the chase after Utopia was causing, that forced Trudeau to modify his policies.
Even then, however, he was not primarily concerned with easing the artificially aggravated hardship of winter unemployment. He was trying to fit the politically imperative bending of his course into his concept of social change.
The result was that the bulk of the public funds eventually earmarked for easing unemployment did not go to what used to be the core of generally useful pre-Trudeau Winter Works Programs but to the activists in the mushrooming social change groups. Since many of these groups are dedicated to the overthrow of our social system, taxpayers’ money was thus channelled in some instances through LIP and OFY grants to subversive elements.
Root of Inflation — 4 May 73
The buying power of our dollar has dropped since 1961 to 62.3 cents.
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What has caused this currency erosion?
What pushes prices up?
Mounting production costs.
What pushes costs up?
Some people think it’s high business profits — others blame fast-rising labour costs.
Statistics show that in the production of most goods and services wages are by far the largest cost factor. This is reflected in the structural composition of the Gross National Product.
Wages and salaries account for over 50 per cent of the GNP (in 1962 it was 52.3 per cent, in 1972, 56.2 per cent). Corporation profits before taxes account for about 10 per cent of the GNP (10.4 and 10.5 per cent in 1962 and 1972.)
In the cost structure the relative weight of wages and profits is considerably more pronounced than in the GNP, particularly in the labour intensive service industries.
How big the wage factor is can be seen from the index of labour income per unit of production in the non-farm sectors. This telltale index rose from 100.8 in 1962 to 145.2 in 1971. At the same time the index of profits per unit of production for all non-farm commercial enterprises rose to 126, but in the new wealth-producing manufacturing sector to only 101.
These data, culled from Statistics Canada and Bank of Canada publications, leave no doubt where the bulk of cost-price inflation pressures has come from. Yet they do not explain fully the steady erosion of the purchasing power of our currency, for wage, salary and profit demands are influences by the socio-political framework of economic activity.
Since that framework is shaped primarily by our governments, blaming labour and business for inflation misses the ultimate source of the malaise. For a comprehensive picture one has to look at government spending.
In 1952, when Canada’s population stood at slightly over 14 million and the Gross National Product at $24.5 billion, government spending on goods and services amounted to $3.6 billion.
From 1952 to 1962 the population increased by 28 per cent, the GNP by 74 per cent, and government spending on goods and services almost doubled.
While a discrepancy between the rate of economic growth
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and the rate of government spending did occur during that period, it was relatively modest in view of the fairly substantial population increase and caused no concern.
Figures for the following decade tell a different story.
From 1962 to 1972 Canada’s population increased by only 17 per cent and the GNP rose, in constant 1961 dollars, by 65 per cent. But government spending on goods and services more than trebled from $6.6 billion to over $20.5 billion.
Since the money for government spending comes from taxes, and since rising taxes put pressure on wage demands and other price-determining factors, there can be little doubt that the accelerating disproportion between population growth and GNP increase on the one hand and government expenditure on the other has generated much of the cost-push inflation that has by now cut the buying power of the 1961 dollar to 62 cents.
Update — 10 Jan. 77
Wondering how much our dollar, devalued some 6 per cent on the international money markets late last year, is really worth in terms of domestic buying power? A chart worked out by Richardson Securities of Canada shows that based on 1971 = 100, the Canadian dollar had the buying power of 347 cents in 1914 and 67.5 cents in mid-1976. Taking 1961 = 100, the buying power of our dollar was 50.6 cents in May 1976, and is probably less than 50 cents now.
Zero Growth — 3 Dec. 73
The zero growth enthusiasts should be happy. The growth of Canada’s GNP has dropped pretty close to stagnation. Unfortunately, the labour force has not ceased to grow.
The first inevitable consequence of economic stagnation is thus rising unemployment. The unemployment rate, which may for a while move up in relation to the growth rate of the labour force, soon starts rising faster. The reason for this is the psychological impact of zero growth conditions on consumer spending.
Even without soaring prices, an economy which does not
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create new job opportunities generates an atmosphere of uncertainty that eventually inhibits consumer spending. Dropping sales then force production cuts below the zero growth level. Production cuts force layoffs.
Mushrooming unemployment necessitates higher public spending on welfare. The cost eventually has to be extracted in higher taxes from the shrinking productive base of the economy. Higher taxes further reduce consumer spending.
Zero growth, towards which we are now heading, thus sets in motion a vicious cycle of mutually reinforcing economic inhibitors.
Since our economy has been unable, largely owing to political mismanagement, to shake off high rates of unemployment and inflation while expanding, there can be little doubt that zero growth would send it into a tailspin. It almost looks as if the Trudeaucrats were procrastinating to make sure that our economic system would suffer grievous damage.
This possibility revives the old suspicion, voiced in early 1971 by Dr. O. M. Solandt, then Chairman of the Science Council of Canada, that the Trudeau regime is deliberately playing havoc with the economy to make its private sector seem unworkable.
Beyond Economics — 27 March 74
When inflation outdistances the growth rate of the economy for several years at an accelerating pace and continues unchecked, it ceases to be a mere monetary-economic problem. A chronic case of escalating inflation attacks the whole fabric of society.
“If we allow inflation to continue at its present rate,” Tory finance spokesman and former economics professor James Gillies warned the Commons and the country last month, “the fabric of our society and of our economic system will not survive.”
Unchecked inflation steals from people an ever growing portion of the fruits of their labour. A system which allows this to happen can hardly seem worth preserving.
It does not take long for diluted currency to buy less. To compensate for the actual and anticipated loss of money value, organized labour demands and enforces wage increases far in
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excess of productivity gains and the GNP growth rate. Business passes increased costs and inflated profit margins on to the consumer, and the spin of the inflation spiral accelerates.
The progression is amply illustrated by the annual cost of living increases. In the late 1950s and early 1960s they averaged less than 1.5 per cent. During the Pearson years they rose to well over 3 per cent, with particularly steep increases following the jumps in government spending by 12.3 per cent in 1965 and 16.6 per cent in 1966.
Under Trudeau the annual average of the cost of living increase has now come within sight of 7 per cent and in the last year our inflation reached almost 10 per cent.
Less visible but even more ominous is the increase in currency supply.
8 April 74
In Canada the money supply has jumped since 1970 by more than 70 per cent. Last year’s rate was about 18 per cent.
The political and economic explosiveness of such a course can hardly be overestimated.
Sharing the Blame — 29 April 74
I have written at length about the role of big government, big business and big unions in spawning and feeding inflation. The biggest culprit, usually overlooked, however, is big everybody. By big everybody I mean everybody with big material expectations and demands. In our society of wasteful affluence that means almost the whole population.
The ultimate source of inflationary pressures is thus the ordinary citizen, for it is he who generates the demand for more of everything which our governments, unions and commercial enterprises must try to satisfy.
Telling voters that to take constantly more out of the public purse than they are willing to put in must generate money-cheapening inflation and eventually bankrupt the economy is so unpopular that a politician would have to be a very brave and selfless man to face the “gimme” mob with even a hint of such unpleasant facts.
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Courage of that order is rare in politics. It doesn’t have a chance anyway, for people don’t want to hear — let alone face — unpleasant facts which challenge comfortable illusions.
We are now reaching the point where even the large wage increases dictated by the big unions are wiped out in a few months. Attempts to blame any particular group for this madness are dishonest and futile. We all bear responsibility for the self-destructive tangle of blind greed which fits what Malcolm Muggeridge calls “the liberal death wish” of our society.
Mushrooming Bureaucracy — 27 Nov. 74
It may be hard to believe, but official figures show that by now one out of every seven Canadians in the labour force holds some kind of government job. Provincial governments lead with roughly 450,000 employees, the federal government has almost 300,000 people on its payroll (not counting innumerable politically favoured outside consultants who draw millions from the public treasury) and municipal workers number approximately 250,000. In addition to this rapidly swelling core of government bureaucracy there are about 200,000 teachers, some 150,000 employees of crown corporations, and 80,000 or so salaried positions in national defence.
With the exception of the armed forces, which the Trudeau administration is systematically destroying, the government establishment has been the fastest growing segment of the economy in recent years.
Available statistics show that from 1971 to the end of 1972 public administration has grown by 20 per cent while employment in manufacturing rose by only 10 per cent and in the non-governmental service sector by 13 per cent.
What this means is not difficult to understand. The slow growing (at present actually stagnated) productive base of the economy simply cannot support the skyrocketing cost of the fastest growing and increasingly wasteful public service sector.
So the government resorts to printing worthless money, and the inevitable result is inflation. And unchecked inflation, as even those who voted for rolling merrily along with it are beginning to discover, is legalized robbery which is bound to damage not only our economy but also its pluralistic political superstructure.
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Update — 28 May 76
In a recent study commissioned by the Treasury Board, ex-mandarin John Starnes found that the federal civil service was too large, overpaid, underutilized and yet growing like mushrooms on a compost heap. In the past eight years (the Trudeau era) the federal civil service expnded by 31 per cent (the increase for the whole labour force was 22 per cent during the same peiod) to 352,830 employees on the official payroll. Wages and salaries for this army of paper-pushers amount, according to the Treasury Board’s last estimates, to $4.8 billion.
For “professional and other services” (including the great patronage category of consultants), the Trudeau government spends another $982 million. With “other personnel costs” running to an additional $897 million, the total federal pay cheque comes to around $6.7 billion.
It’s common knowledge in Ottawa that there are whole departments in which up to half the people warming the chairs have literally nothing to do. Yet instead of making drastic cuts in numbers and in grossly overblown pay scales, Finance Minister Macdonald considers it a great austerity achievement that expansion of the civil service will be temporarily held down to 1.5 per cent. Thanks to this “restraint,” total government expenditure is expected to rise (excluding supplementary estimates of unknown magnitude) by about twice the rate the rest of us are asked to observe.
Courting Breakdown — 3 Jan. 75
Contrary to what popularizers of officially sponsored economic fairy tales are dishing out through the media, governments cannot spend us out of inflation. Money paid out in unemployment insurance benefits and welfare handouts isn’t ultimately worth the paper it is printed on unless enough people remain engaged in production of new real wealth to sustain the ever growing superstructure of services.
It shouldn’t be difficult to understand that pumping more and more money which is worth less and less into an economy that has ceased to produce new wealth must cause a breakdown of the whole system.
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Greed — 30 April 75
Since last fall our production costs have been rising faster than those south of the border, as a result of considerably higher wage demands and settlements in Canada. In the past three or four months the average wage increase in Canada has been running at double the U.S. rate.
The result is that unions in mny of our key industries have not only reached their long sought goal of wage parity with their American counterparts but in some instances are now ahead. That would be find if the high wage settlements in Canada were reflecting correspondingly high increases in productivity. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Our traditionally lower productivity rates not only persist but the gap, with some rare exceptions, is growing. In some industries it’s now close to 20 per cent. We are thus pushing our manufacturing and service costs above a competitive level with even the high-cost American production. That means pricing ourselves out of the one and only large mrket in the world which has been able and willing to buy some 85 per cent of all the finished goods we must export to avoid catastrophic unemployment and pauperization of the country.
Too Late — 15 Oct. 75
The government’s mandatory anti-inflation measures have come at least a year too late. Prime Minister Trudeau, who ruled out any such move in the 1974 election and ridiculed those who urged it at that time, is now slamming the door on a virtually empty barn.
Sloppy Start — 3 Nov. 75
The anti-inflation program that Opposition Leader Robert Stanfield urged the government to adopt and implement in February 1973, and which Trudeau ridiculed in the 1974 election, called for a 90-day price-income freeze to be followed by selective controls lasting 18 months to two years.
The freeze was essential for general acceptance and workability of the program. It was to reassure people that no one
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would either gain or lose while a thorough examination of the economy and adjustments for the stage of selective controls were under way. Trudeau left out the initial freeze to create the impression that he was doing something else than what Stanfield said was necessary.
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The result is that instead of providing a calm transition period for elimination of glaring inequities before introduction of carefully selected key controls, Trudeau’s straight jump into complex controls aggravated existing inequities and anxieties.
No wonder many people are incensed by the ineptness of the way the controls, which the Trudeaucrats dishonestly seek to portray as quasi-voluntary guidelines, have been brought in.
Fitting Analogy — 7 Nov. 75
Discussing Prime Minister Trudeau’s difficulties in marshalling support for his anti-inflation program, an old Liberal senator makes an interesting point.
“Trudeau,” he says, “can be no more effective in waging war on inflatioon than Chamberlain was in waging war on Nazi Germany. You can’t lead a crusade standing on your head at the bottom of a credibility hole you yourself have created.”
Drawing an historical parallel between Trudeau’s and Chamberlain’s belated about-face on fighting an obvious menace may seem a bit forced at first, but when you come to think of it the analogy is basically correct.
In both cases the prime ministers grossly misjudged a vital issue, refused to come to grips with it was manageable, and misled their nations into believing that no real danger existed.
While Chamberlain didn’t have to fight any serious political challenge to his misconceptions and misjudgments, he did, like Trudeau, exploit electoral reluctance to face unpleasant facts. Like Trudeau, he was for a while the hero of popular self-delusions.
When circumstances eventually forced Chamberlain to declare war on Germany — barely a year after his triumphant return from Munich as the saviour of peace — his chances of mobilizing and inspiring the type of dedicated effort necessary for waging an all-out struggle were practically nil. He had to be replaced.
Trudeau is now in very much the same discredited and impotent position Chamberlain was in after the collapse of appeasement illusions. Actually his credibility rating is even lower because he fought and won an election by resolutely rejecting war on inflation.
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Divine Justice — 24 Oct. 75
There is divine justice in organized labour’s rejection of the Trudeau government’s anti-inflation measures.
To win the 1974 election, the prime minister needed a large chunk of the so-called labour vote. So he concentrated on wooing the unions.
Towards the end of the election campaign, unions were so convinced that Trudeau was their only safe shield against wage controls that they advised (in some cases virtually ordered) their members to vote for Liberal candidates in preference to New Democrats to make sure of Conservative defeat.
Having convinced the unions that fighting inflation was unnecessary and useless, the prime minister can hardly blame labour for making his lessons on inflation a part of their economic and political gospel. And the PM cannot really dismiss what he taught them as a mere election campaign stratagem, because he continued to reject and ridicule price-income controls after the election — in fact right up to his about-face on Thanksgiving Day.
It is thus the prime minister rather than the unions who is to blame for the roadblock the belated anti-inflation program has run into. The unions are merely throwing Trudeau’s arguments against price-income controls back at him.
Will it Work? — 15 Dec. 75
Now that the Trudeau government’s long overdue anti-inflation program has the force of law behind it, will it work?
Having been deceived and given innumerable examples of grabbiness, dishonesty and fraud in high places, the general public has grown too cynical to respond to pleas, appeals, exhortations or even threats. The only thing that can still move people is vidi example.
When a prime minister, who sits on inherited millions, raises his take from public funds from $50,000 to $80,000 and bribes MPs and top mandarins with hefty pay boosts while calling for restraints, how can the little guy who earns a fraction of the PM’s raise be expected to believe that belt-tightening is necessary?
The auditor-general points out that government spending
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has quadrupled in the past 13 years of Liberal administrations and is almost uncontrolled. Government bureaucracy has doubled and its cost has increased by about 600 per cent, yet the Trudeaucrats spend close to a billion dollars a year on “consultant fees” and other such disguises of pork barrel practices.
It’s this type of shameless ripoff at the top that makes solid acceptance of the restraint progam at the bottom an agonizing problem, although most people now realize that something must be done to stop the country’s slide down the drain. But short of the government’s leading the way with personal examples of drastic cutbacks, the program’s chance of working is not very bright.
Gross Mismanagement — 17 March 76
Last year the real output of our economy increased by only 0.2 per cent. That means stagnation. No new wealth to speak of was created. But federal government spending increased by 20 per cent. Labour income (which accounts for 56 per cent of the GNP) rose by 14 per cent. Corporation profits before taxes fell by 2.9 per cent.
Government and labour thus took substantially more than before out of an economy which hasn’t produced more. The slight decline in the business share of the GNP from 13 to 11.5 per cent could not compensate for the larger government and labour slices in this “redistribution” of the pie. The difference had to be covered by deficit financing.
As Statistics Canada put it in its annual review, “with expenditure rising more rapidly than revenues, the government sector as a whole registered a deficit of $4.6 billion in 1975 (three times the budget forecast).” In foreign trade, much faster growth of imports than exports caused “a $3.3 billion deterioration in trade balance to a record deficit of $5.5 billion.”
That’s a frightening picture. It foreshadows difficulties for the Canadian dollar and raises the spectre of national bankruptcy.
What does the government do in these circumstances?
It preaches but does not really practise restraints, botches a woefully belated price-income control program, and actually raises — yes, raises — its own overblown spending (more than 50
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per cent of federal spending goes on salaries and wages of a bloated and overpaid bucreaucracy) by 18 per cent to roughly $40 billion dollars.
No wonder we are in trouble.
18 March 77
The Trudeau government has chalked up another record: the highest unemployment reate since the Dominion Bureau of Statistics started totalling the figures in the early 1950s. The number of jobless increased last month by 43,000 to 932,000. With those who have given up looking for jobs, the total of unemployed has now gone well over the million mark.
A staggering figure for a sparsely populated country blessed with enormous natural resources and substantial industrial capacity.
Massive unemployment, resurgent inflation despite price-income controls, dropping value of the Canadian dollar, declining exports and virtually no new investment (investment capital is now actually fleeing the country) are direct consequences of systematic continued mismanagement of the economy by the Trudeau regime.
A few basic figures should indicate the key causes.
Taking the past ten years alone (roughly the Trudeau era during which both money supply and inflation soared t unprecedented rates), federal government spending jumped from slightly over $9 billion to just under $45 billion — almost 500 per cent.
Bearing the last decade’s enormous increase in government spending in mind, the following data from three six-year periods come into focus:
Money Supply Growth
Real Growth of Economy
Oct. 58 to Oct. 64
Oct. 64 to Oct. 70
Oct. 70 to Oct. 76
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The staggering unemployment and the dropping exchange rate of our dollar are merely beginning to reflect the extent of the damage the Trudeaucrats have inflicted on the economy.
Out of Control — 26 Nov. 76
The auditor-general’s report confirms what even the sparrows on the Peace Tower gargoyles have been chirping for years. Government spending is fantastically wasteful, irresponsible and out of control.
So what else is new? Didn’t good old Maxwell Henderson in his annual reports tell horror stories of millions of taxpayers’ dollars going down the drain in bureaucratic extravagance, incompetence, stupidity or carelessness?
Sure he did. But those were still only sporadic and exceptional aberrations of a generally accepted concept of accountability for public funds. Some con artists, chisellers, outright thieves and bumbling idiots were always at the trough, but not in charge of it. What Henderson’s successor, J. J. Macdonell, tells us in his latest report is that the constantly growing number of serious and uncorrected violations of responsible handling of public funds has produced a qualitative, not just a quantitative, change. The whole attitude of the government and the bureaucracy to taxpayers’ money has gone haywire.
Public funds, the auditor-general points out “are in effect trust funds and must be treated accordingly.” This means that “financial controls and safeguards over funds in the public sector should be at least as reliable and strong as those over trust funds in the private sector.” The Macdonell report leaves no doubt that there is virtually no control over the government’s spending which now amounts to over $42 billion — a fantastic jump from $6.5 billion in 1961. How did it happen?
The process started in earnest with Prime Minister Trudeau’s systematic emasculation of parliamentary powers to scrutinize and analyze government spending.
Next, watching the government liberate itself from accountability for its skyrocketing spending, the mushrooming bureaucracy discarded careful husbandry of taxpayers’ money as an old-fashioned hindrance to enlightened progress.
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Pretty soon all remaining inhibitors of the competitive spending spree vanished.
By now, Macdonell report says, there is “an attitude on the part of managers at all levels that funds are readily available and that they themselves are not personally accountable for ensuring that public funds and assets placed at their disposal are under strict control at all times and that funds are expended prudently, economically, and with the utmost concern for value received.” This cavalier attitude, which is beginning to resemble the attitude of the bureaucracies in the socialist states, has not materialized out of thin air. Nor would it have become the norm of our increasingly bloated and self-important civil service had it not been modelled by the government. It was the example of waste of public funds by ministers (for instance, Pierre Trudeau’s splurge on luxurious refurbishing of offices and residences, or Otto Lang’s travelling style) which set the pattern the empire-building mandarins and their protégés emulated and embellished.
As always, in the words of an old saying, the fish started rotting from the head down.
The Tax Burden — 29 Nov. 76
Who pays for the criminal misuse and waste of public funds outlined in Auditor-General J. J. Macdonell’s report? The taxpayer, of course. Every cent of government expenditure must ultimately come from the pockets of the gainfully employed.
Taxpayers have been painfully aware of a constant growth in their compulsory contributions to the soaring cost of government. But no one could measure the increase.
Four researchers from the refreshingly unorthodox Fraser Institute in Vancouver have now devised a yardstick which they call “Consumer Tax Index” (CTI for short).
Calculating the CTI, the Fraser Institute team identified over 30 different federal, provincial and municipal taxes the average Canadian family pays. The sum total of these levies has increased by 239 per cent over the 1961-1975 period (two-thirds of it in the Trudeau era).
What this means becomes clear when the painstakingly established CTI figures are compared with changes in the official
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data available for income, prices and expenditures during the same period.
From 1961 to 1975 the average family income in Canada increased by 141.8 per cent. Expenditures for shelter rose by 127.7 per cent. Food prices increased by 66.1 per cent and clothing by 64.4 per cent.
“In other words,” the Fraser Institute study points out, “tax payments for the average family grew by at least 100 per cent more than payments for any of the necessities of life.”
The result of this taxation explosion is that by 1975 the average Canadian family was forking over a full 36 per cent of its total income to the government. This compares with 13.2 per cent of average income spent on shelter, 11.8 per cent on food and 4.4 per cent on clothing. Again, taxes are by far the largest item on this list.
“In summary,” to quote the researchers, “taxes constitute the largest single claim on total family income and the tax burden is increasing faster than any other item in the consumer’s budget.”
Ruin by Design — 30 March 77
It took the remaining liberals in the hijacked Liberal party nine years to admit that the Trudeau Government has “frittered away the country’s political and economic strength.”
Nine years is a terribly long time for political experts to recognize the destructiveness of a government. Ordinary voters in nine out of Canada’s ten provinces sensed it quite correctly back in the 1972 election. By now it’s obvious to almost everyone that even a country as lucky and as endowed as Canada can be ruined in a decade of systematic gross mismanagement. Which is what the Trudeaucrats have been doing since they took office in 1968.
So “frittered away” is actually a wrong expression. It implies squandering through carelessness, while in Trudeau’s case it has been ruin by design.
When I say by design I do not mean that Trudeau necessarily came in with a plan to wreck the country. What he came in with, though, was a blueprint of theoretical socialism which was to transfer Canada into the happy anthill of collectivist dreams.
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So it’s not necessary to assume from the results that Trudeau must have started with determination to do harm. Au contraire, his intentions may well have been to build his own version of Jerusalem (or Cité Libre). What, then, went wrong?
Exclusion of human nature from tidy academic abstractions, that’s what. People simply are not statistical digits. Nor are they building blocks or assembly line components which can be put together according to seemingly flawless social engineering blueprints.
Essentially, it’s the forever recurring clash of preconceived ideas with reality. As the old saying puts it, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.
Clashes of uninformed idealism and reality are a normal part of the growing up process, of shedding childish conceit and intolerance. Once they start earning a living, however, most people mature quickly.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Pierre Trudeau never faced the necessity and responsibility of earning a living. From childhood he has been used to having things his way and forcing his will on others. Tolerance, consideration for fellow men, compromise and consensus never became practical necessities to him. But they became the fashionable academic abstractions with which some of the more sensitive millionaire socialists seek to allay their vague feeling of guilt for unearned privileges.
When a person of this mental makeup gets hold of the power a majority government can exercise in our political system, the potential of tragic consequences is virtually unlimited. For such a person will try to impose his preconceived ideas on the reality of social consensus shaped by human nature and normal everyday experiences.
No matter how idealistic the blueprints of the ivory tower “just” and “new” societies may seem on paper, their clashes with reality are sure to disrupt practically every working arrangement of the existing structure. And as the living economic-political organisms resist imposition of life-killing theoretical perfections, the pressure to break the resistance by hook or crook mounts. All the patiently evolved compromises which make democratic institutions workable are gradually destroyed. Muted antagonisms flare up, consensus is smothered by polarization, and a relentless, fiendish splintering process sets in.
Which is, in broad generalities, what has been happening to
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us in the past nine years. The damage is now so obvious that even the people who put Trudeau in power (the Grit king-makers and the lib-left coteries of the academe and the media) are finally appalled by what has happened to Canada.
Trudeau, of course, shrugs off all responsibility. He blames the mess on individual selfishness, regional differences and polarization of society. His diagnosis, though woefully incomplete, is not wrong. But it doesn’t give the slightest hint of what accounts for the flowering of the blight. Trudeau does not say that greed and parasitism became Canada’s morbid obsession only after he, his ministers and top mandarins personally set the grabby norm.
The millionaire prime minister apparently does not realize that to most Canadians his recent sermons about the country living beyond its means must sound blasphemous after he had raised his take from the public treasury from $50,000 to $80,000 and increased government spending by almost 500 per cent. Nor does he seem to realize that exacerbation of regional differences and general polarization of our society are the fruits of his confrontation politics.
And the Liberal party’s “thinkers’ conference,” while bemoaning the mess created by the “elitist, remote, bureaucratic and secretive” Trudeau regime, didn’t have the guts to say that the narcissist Bonapartist must go — because, to repeat the old truism, the fish rots from the head down.
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The spirit of Munich dominates our time. The
frightened civilized world found notihng better
to counterpose to the sudden return of barefaced
barbarism than concessions and smiles.
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Collision course — 4 April 73
In the days of British colonialism, foreign policy for Canada was made in London. Then, with the decline and disintegration of the empire, this chore was presumably taken over by Washington. Ottawa’s own department for external affairs, our nationalists maintain, was simply an agency of British, and then American, “imperialism.”
All this was to change with the advent of the Trudeau regime.
As soon as he became prime minister in 1968, Trudeau ordered a fundamental reshaping of Canada’s foreign policy. He called it reassessment, but in fact postulated the result of the process. Canada was to pull out of the Western Alliance and through a neutralist transition period associate herself with the countervailing forces of the socialist countries.
The predetermined exercise, nominally entrusted to Mitchell Sharp as a reward for his nicely timed dropout from the Liberal leadership race, had to be modified when Trudeau ran into unexpectedly strong opposition to withdrawal from NATO.
Sharp, who wasn’t quite sure the road to independence in foreign policy lay in implementation of what was also the longstanding program of the Canadian Communist party, gladly arranged a compromise.
The resulting downgrading, though not complete abandonment, of NATO, mollified the alarmed Liberals, without de-
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flecting the Trudeaucrats too much from their chosen course. Trudeau, whose plans were also complicated by the FLQ crisis, merely had to postpone his trip to Moscow and when he got there had to be content with signing only a friendship protocol with the Kremlin instead of a full-fledged treaty.
Nonetheless, these temporary half-measures were extolled as big steps towards independence in foreign policy. It was, we were told, a carefully calculated diversification of interests through judicious association with countervailing forces which would enable Canada to play an independent role on the international scene. Henceforth all foreign policy decisions would be made in Ottawa as projections of domestic policies rooted in national interests.
The formulation of this stance, although it did not say so openly, clearly implied that the test of independence would be opposition to, or at least divergence from, American foreign policy. In other words, a display of independence even to the detriment of Canada’s identity of interests with the U.S. and our other partners in the Western collective security system.
This is the yardstick the Trudeau administration has provided for measuring its foreign policy.
Canada – U.S. Relations –22 Jan. 73
A steady deterioration of relations between Ottawa and Washington since 1968 seems to have reached the point where deliberate or blindly emotional disregard of common sense leaves little room for calm reasoning. How did it happen?
Looking back, one cannot help feeling that the trouble did not start in the economic field where pragmatic considerations have a high degree of resistance to emotionalism, but in the esoteric realm of political philosophy.
Putting it bluntly, Ottawa and Washington clashed over the ideological concept of external and some internal policies whose harmonious dovetailing had been taken for granted in both countries. The resulting tensions, aggravated in some cases by deliberately spiteful annoyances, eventually spilled into the arena of economic symbiosis. By then the irrationality of the political estrangement had spawned emotional reactions of sufficient momentum to give common sense a hard time
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even in the bread and butter issues of bilateral trade.
While this trade is not unimportant for the U.S., it is vital for Canada because it represents two-thirds of our external trade. And since exports provide one-fourth of Canada’s Gross National Product, access to the American market (which now takes four-fifths of Canada’s finished manufactured products sold abroad) is literally the alpha and omega of the nation’s material well-being and further economic development. So the need for at least some temporary patching up of the damage in Canadian-American relations is self-evident.
The Third Option — 9 April 73
Instead of a detailed examination of our complex symbiosis with the United States. External Affairs Minister Mitchell Sharp released last fall a generalized essay in a special issue of his department’s International Perspectives journal.
In his article Mr. Sharp outlined three options which the Trudeau government presumably regards as being open to Canada in relations with the U.S.:
(1) Maintenance of the status quo with a minimum of policy adjustments;
(2) Closer integration with the U.S.;
(1) A long-term strategy “to strengthen our capacity to advance basic Canadian goals and develop a more confident sense of national identity.”
Mr. Sharp left no doubt that his (and the government’s) choice was the third option.
Since Sharp’s pre-election article failed to engender a serious discussion. International Perspectives commissioned comment from four academics with expertise in Canada-U.S. relations for its first 1973 issue.
While arguing from different premises, all four found Sharp’s options contrived and outside the range of solid assessment because, as one of them pointed out. they lacked price tags and “one does not know their implications in practical terms.”
Professor Abraham Rotstein, the Toronto University guru of economic nationalism, rejected Sharp’s assumption that “no policy option is likely to be tenable in any context other than that of a harmonious relationship between Canada and the
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U.S.” as incompatible with the “categorical imperative” of national independence which he wanted Ottawa to pursue in the nation-state form at all cost.
Professor Harry G. Johnson of Chicago University and the London School of Economics found the nation-state objective an archaic conception destructive of genuine Canadian distinctiveness. He ascribed it to the peculiarly Canadian combination of a pervasive inferiority complex vis-à-vis the U.S. (a feeling which produces “the endemic anti-Americanism that permeates Canadian opinion at all levels”) and “the aspirations of certain members of the national elite for domination over a nation-state of the conventional and obsolete kind …
“If Canadians wish to be independent of the U.S.,” Johnson said, “the best way to do it is secure the maximum possible participation (through closer economic integration) in American affluence … and spend the resulting profits their own way …”
Johnson saw no reason for Sharp’s fear of loss of political autonomy. He cited EFTA and “Canada’s own experience with Commonwealth preferences” which showed “no tendency whatever for the members of the system to move towards a full union as a matter of internal logic.’
A reasoned discussion of these issues on both sides of the border is urgently needed to help avoid collision in Canada-U.S. relations.
The Alternative – 16 July 75
By 1980 “Canada will find itself one of the very few industrial countries without free access to a market whose population numbers over one hundred million.”
So says the Economic Council of Canada in its report on trade policy.
It’s not a startling discovery. Our drift into isolationism has been apparent ever since official Ottawa misjudged the significance of the budding European Common Market. This, and the subsequent nationalistic (or ideological) rejection of free trade in North America, knocked Canada out of the mainstream of postwar history.
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What’s startling, though, is that the semi-official Economic Council has somehow found the courage to back up, with thoroughly researched facts, the few unheeded voices that have been warning about the drift into isolation for several years.
Equally astonishing (and perhaps encouraging) is the Council’s clear-cut conclusion that what’s needed is not more of the currently fashionable philosophy of protectionism but a large dose of invigorating free trade.
The Council would like to see general liberalization of world trade (i.e. systematic lowering and eventual removal of all tariffs and quotas) through GATT negotiations. Failing that — and the Council admits that “the likelihood of reaching world free trade through GATT in the near future is small” — it urges “elimination of trade barriers on a regional basis.” What this boils down to is a free trade or common market arrangement with the United States.
Tiptoeing through the minefield of nationalistic fears that free trade with the U.S. would lead to political merger, the Council dismisses these much propagandized bogies as unfounded and says: “The fact is that Canadians have been slow to subject this concern to critical examination.”
Dealing specifically with the widespread myth of further increase in American ownership of Canadian economy under free trade arrangements, the Council points out that “it is Canadian tariff protection, not trade liberalization, that has provided a powerful stimulus to U.S. ownership and control.” Free trade would remove the tariff encouragement of American ownership and give us the advantages of specialized large-scale production. This is essential in the emerging world of regional units which make the nation-state as obsolete as the city-state once became in ancient history.
The government, not surprisingly, was quick to dissociate itself from the Council’s free trade thesis.
It’s obvious that the Trudeaucrats, who invented the so-called “third option” as a cover for Trudeau’s “re-orientation” of Canada’s historical course, find the Economic Council’s report embarrassing and want to kill it. Not because they are against free trade in principle, but because the report challenges virtually all the premises and assumptions of Trudeau’s ideologically-motivated policies which are basically anti-American.
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There are three major reasons for Prime Minister Trudeau’s concentration on external affairs before dealing with the pile-up of worsening domestic problems.
First, he knows that most people are too worried by the faltering economy to pay even the scant attention major changes in foreign policy would otherwise receive.
Second, those in the Liberal party who blocked Trudeau’s first attempt to pull Canada out of NATO have lost influence during the period of Trudeau’s seemingly miraculous clinging to power after the 1972 election.
Third, the handling of domestic economic and social problems Trudeau has in mind requires a substantially changed international framework. The endeavour to alter the framework therefore has priority.
With our armed forces reduced to Trudeau’s Praetorian guard, and with no voice in NATO, our dependence on the Americans will in fact increase unless, of course, we become a northern Cuba.
Balancing Nonsense — 1 Nov. 74
Studying history you find that virtually every major tragedy had a fairly long preparatory period during which identification and realistic handling of the key problems might have prevented disaster.
Going back to the two traumatic periods in living memory — the Great Depression and the Second World War — it’s pretty obvious in retrospect that much damage and suffering could have been avoided had the right corrective measures been taken when danger signals began flashing all over the place.
Unfortunately, it’s just as obvious that the meaning of danger signals becomes clear in the public mind only after tragedy has struck.
History does not repeat itself in every detail but its preventable disasters seem to come in repetitive cycles after periods of public refusal to face tough problems and challenges.
We entered such a period in the late 1960s and are now moving fast through its advanced stages of self-destructive blindness. Economic and political danger signals are flashing
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all around us, but as in the 1920s and 1930s, they are ignored or shrugged off as somebody else’s concern.
While none of the Western industrial countries has actually entered the stage of collapse, all are now eating up their economic substances and piling up debts to sustain the popular illusion that inflation can be ignored.
Unwilling and unable to tackle the core of the problem, the do-nothing governments try to divert attention from economic difficulties by beating the drums of nationalism.
This old ploy aggravates and complicates matters, because in this day and age there are no national solutions, and protectionism is suicidal.
(In a recent New York Times interview, Henry Kissinger warned of “dire consequences facing the Western world if it proves unable, unwilling or too cowardly to co-operate in dealing with the economic problems.” In his view “Western democracies may crumble and be replaced by authoritarian regimes, probably of a communist connotation.”)
What is clearly needed is close co-operation between North America and Western Europe. Canada’s logical and natural place is in the North American component of the core of the free world. Trudeau’s balancing nonsense plays into the hands of those whose planning of totalitarian expansion calls for isolation of the United States.
Contractual Link — 3 March 75
The reason given by Prime Minister Trudeau for wrenching Canada’s foreign (and defence and trade) policy out of its historical pattern is the need for strong countervailing forces (his favourite phrase) to offset what he regards as suffocating economic, cultural and political symbiosis with the United States.
When his initial rash moves threatened to wreck his domestic political base, he settled for withdrawal of half of our NATO contingent in Europe. Saying he wished Canada had the same type of relations with the Soviet Union we used to have with the United States, he then went to Moscow to explain his difficulties.
While there, he signed a friendship protocol with the manip-
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ulators of the harshest tyranny in the world and declared that developing special relations with the KremIin was necessary for Canada to counter what he called the U.S. threat “to our identity from the cultural, economic and perhaps even military point of view.” (Only Mackenzie King’s admiring remarks about Hitler in the late PM’s diaries come anywhere near this incredible entry in the annals of Canadian political history, and King at least had the excuse of naive ignorance.)
With our exports (particularly of high-priced manufactured products) to the U.S. market inexorably growing despite the ravings of our anachronistic nationalists and ideological anti-Americans, and with most of the Third World unable to pay the prices dictated by our cost structure, the Trudeau regime had eventually no other trade diversification prospect left except the relatively affluent huge Common Market of Western Europe.
So, politically secure at home after the 1974 deception of the electorate, Trudeau went to charm the Francophone members of the Common Market into supporting his belated attempt to arrange some contractual trade pattern with the free half of Europe he had previously insulted and ignored. Not surprisingly, even the European Francophones Trudeau judiciously chose for his initial approach showed little enthusiasm for his concept of countervailing forces.
The Common Market is, of course, interested in our raw materials and in selling us finished products. But that does nothing for diversification of our exports.
Diversification? — 1 Nov. 76
When he signed the umbrella agreement for economic cooperation with Japan last month. Prime Minister Trudeau described it as the last piece in the framework of his so-called third option policy. The other major pieces of that framework presumably are Trudeau’s contractual link with the European Economic Community, his friendship protocol with Moscow, his trade deals with the Soviet bloc and China, and his Viva Castro enthusiasm for Marxist totalitarians in the Third World.
The sum total of this mish-mash the PM has been piecing together since 1968 is supposed to provide a counterweight to the pull of American influence on Canada.
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Leaving aside the moral blindness of Trudeau’s balancing concept (how do you balance democratic friends with totalitarian foes whose avowed goal is to bury all the remaining free societies?), its basic requirement, namely diversification of our trade, is pure wishful thinking.
The reason why it cannot work is not ideology or politics but cost structure. With wage rates on a par or above the U.S. level, and with considerably lower productivity, our manufacturing costs are often the highest in the world. This means that our prices are too high on all the major markets, including the relatively affluent EEC and Japan. The only and increasingly , tenuous exception is the overpriced U.S. market.
A few basic figures will give you the picture.
Last year our trade with the whole world amounted to $67.3 billion. Of this staggering total, trade with the U.S. accounted for $45.2 billion, or 67.1 per cent. Two-thirds of all our exports went south of the border, and more importantly, over 80 per cent of all the manufactured goods shipped abroad were sold there. Japan took 6.3 per cent of our exports, almost all of it in raw materials. The EEC (minus Britain) accounted for 7 per cent and most of that was also unprocessed or semi-processed natural resources. The U.K. took 5.3 per cent of our exports in a lopsided mixture of raw materials and processed goods. The bulk of what we sold to the Soviet bloc and China was wheat.
This year our total trade is expected to reach $73 billion. Of that, trade with the U.S. will account for around $51 billion — almost 70 per cent.
The figures show that in spite of Trudeau’s diversification and balancing exercises, our reliance on the American market is increasing.
What accounts for this growing discrepancy between theory and reality? To a large extent, the year of mad grabbiness after the 1974 “no controls” election. It jacked up our cost-price structure so high that our exporters are finding it harder than ever to sell finished products outside the North American market, no matter how many contractual links Mr. Trudeau may negotiate.
Pretending, as the PM does, that diversification of our exports now depends on hard sell by private enterprise is another of the many public deceptions of the past decade. The government is laying the groundwork for blaming business should the third option cut our economic throat.
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Peculiar Role — 23 July 75
Funeral services for Eastern and Central Europe will be held in the Finnish capital of Helsinki on July 30 and 31 and August 1. The timing was Finally agreed on a few hours past the deadline set by the co-ordinating committee of the so-called European Security Conference in Geneva.
The conference of 33 European states (including such sovereign powers as San Marino, Liechtenstein, the Vatican and, of course, Russia’s European colonies) as well as Canada and the U.S. was ceremonially inaugurated in Helsinki two summers ago on Soviet insistence.
The Kremlin, which had shot down earlier plans and urgings of such a conference when it invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, was after three things: formal international acceptance and legalization of the Soviet-enforced division of Europe; deepening of détente illusions in Western Europe and North America; and economic and technological assistance from the industrial democracies.
In the eyes of Soviet bloc strategists the ceremony in Helsinki represents both the culmination — after 30 years of patient manoeuvring — of the process of digestion of the half of Europe that was virtually given to Stalin by Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference, and the beginning of a new phase of expansion westward.
Canada appears to be playing a curious role in this process. Outwardly our representatives at the long and painstaking negotiations in Geneva had always emphasized the Western insistence on free movement of people and ideas. In March of this year, however, during his tour of Western Europe, Prime Minister Trudeau privately urged the governments there not to press any further and to go to Helsinki for the wind-up ritual on Soviet terms because the Kremlin would not make any further concessions and might scuttle détente if pushed too hard. Then, when the Geneva Conference adjourned without any arrangements for the finale, it was Canada which jumped into the breach with a salvage plan to Soviet specifications for the funeral rites in Helsinki.
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A Moral Issue — 19 Sept. 75
The Trudeau government maintains that diplomatic relations and trade have nothing to do with moral considerations (unless, of course, decreed otherwise by the selectively outraged majority in the United Nations). Trade is deemed to be apolitical — strictly a business proposition — and diplomatic recognition has nothing to do with approval or disapproval of the ruling system. It depends on whether or not the regime in question is in effective control. The Hitlers and the Stalins thus qualify eminently. How they exercise control is deemed to be none of our business.
While these criteria could have been generally satisfactory for the international framework of the 19th century when the principal powers all subscribed to much the same political philosophy and played the diplomatic game by the same rules, they ceased to fit the international scene with the advent of modern totalitarian states after World War I. Attempts to apply those yardsticks to Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany came to grief in the League of Nations and the democracies eventually had to fight the Axis powers on moral grounds.
The experience should have prompted a thorough revision of all the assumptions of 19th-century liberalism which shaped the political thinking and habits of the democracies. But that would have required a considerable mental effort and structural overhaul at the end of World War II when everyone in the victorious democracies wanted to relax and live undisturbed forever after.
The quickest way to relax was to pick up old patterns of thinking and resume doing things as if the war had been just a brief disturbance that changed nothing of consequence. This required the sweeping assumption that whatever its cause and nature may have been, the totalitarian menace that generated the disturbance ceased to exist with the defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies.
This assumption was put in doubt even before the war ended (notably by Soviet subjugation of the Baltic republics and Poland) and totally invalidated soon after by the Soviet blockade of West Berlin and the communist coup in Prague.
By the late 1940s it was perfectly clear to anyone willing to look at the evidence that while we had fought and defeated
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one brand of totalitarianism, we were helping another brand to grow stronger and expand.
To admit that fully to ourselves would have required complete rethinking of our political, economic and defence concepts.
With Western Europe barely emerging from the ruins of war, only North America could have launched and led such a project. But to most Americans the new totalitarian threat seemed either too distant and vague, or too incredible (how can yesterday’s glorious ally turn into a menace?) to sacrifice voluntarily a quick recovery of peacetime comforts and fun.
So our leaders at that time settled for a disjointed combination of collective defence and business as usual with the totalitarians, in the hope that this would be salable to the electorate and sufficient to discourage further Soviet expansion.
With the exception of Korea, where the Kremlin miscalculated as a result of misunderstanding a chance remark by the U.S. secretary of state, the incongruous policy avoided a direct military clash between the democracies and the totalitarian powers. But it also confused people in the Western world. Why, they began to ask, should money be spent on increasingly costly defence when we do business with the presumed enemy and our politicians and diplomats clink champagne or vodka glasses with the top men in Moscow and Peking?
These questions became particularly upsetting and exasperating during the Vietnam no-win war when young Americans were asked to risk their lives fighting forces equipped and sustained in the field by the Soviet bloc and China with whom the democracies, including the U.S., were busily trading and fraternizing. Crazy.
No amount of sophisticated reasoning could explain the contradiction and, above all, the immorality of this policy. No wonder so many ordinary people with fairly clear notions of right and wrong became confused, cynical and contemptuous of politics and politicians at every level.
This process cannot be stopped unless basic moral principles are rediscovered and treated as the only solid framework for policy formation.
The lies, double standards, hypocrisy and self-delusions, which are reflected most clearly in our unprincipled foreign policy, trade and appeasement diplomacy, are slowly but surely destroying us.
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Viva Castro — 4 Feb. 76
The dates speak for themselves. A chartered plane, en route from West Africa to Cuba, made an unscheduled refuelling stop at Gander, Newfoundland, on Jan. 13. Another Cuban charter on the same route, with 48 passengers aboard, refuelled at Gander on Jan. 14.
Prime Minister Trudeau left for state visits to Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela on Jan. 23. He must have known at that time about the Gander stopovers and their inescapable connection with Castro’s military intervention in Angola.
In addition to the inadvisability of paying an official visit to a totalitarian country whose troops were conducting Soviet invasion by proxy in Africa, Mr. Trudeau had thus a very specific reason for not going to Havana at that time. He certainly wouldn’t have gone had the dictatorship there been other than Marxist.
That the Cuban misuse of Gander and implication of Canada in communist expansion in Africa was known and discussed at the highest levels in official Ottawa is attested by the fact, revealed by External Affairs Minister Allan MacEachen, that “the matter was raised with Canadian officials by the United States on Jan. 23.”
So it must be assumed that Mr. Trudeau left for Havana with full knowledge of the Cuban misuse of Gander. (There can really be no doubt on this score, for when New York Times correspondent Tad Szulc somehow got hold of the story, Trudeau immediately reacted by saying that Canada had told Cuba not to use Gander in connection with the war in Angola and was assured that the Castro regime wouldn’t dream of doing any such thing.)
When you put it all together, it boils down to this:
(1) Trudeau was fully aware, before he left Ottawa on Jan. 23, of the Cuban refuellings at Gander;
(2) Castro must have been so certain that Trudeau would not cancel his visit under any circumstances that he did not even bother making sure no plane serving his key role in the Sovietization of Angola would land on Canadian soil until after Trudeau left Havana.
It is indeed quite conceivable that the misuse of Gander well before Trudeau’s departure on Jan. 23 was deliberately staged
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to show how strong and unshakable was the link between the prime minister of Canada (who as a radical academic 16 years ago tried to paddle to Cuba in a kayak from Florida) and the communist dictator of Cuba. For neither Castro nor Trudeau could have expected that the Gander landing would remain secret for more than a few days.
Far from being a chance incident, the curious Cuban detour in flying home from Angola via Gander looks like a deliberate demonstration of what emerged from the Trudeau-Castro love-in as deep mutual admiration and resolve to work closely together come what may.
Trudeau’s vivas at the typical totalitarian mass rally in Cienfuegos — particularly his “Viva el Prime Ministro Commandante Fidel Castro” — certainly fit such a framework and are difficult to explain otherwise.
Some opinion makers maintain that the vivas were innocent, or at any rate meaningless, courtesy gestures virtually required by Cuban protocol. These things, they say, are expected from visitors. They are local custom.
It was local custom to shout “Heil Hitler” in Nazi Germany. Few official foreign visitors did, unless they themselves were admirers of Hitler and his ideology.
The same is true of communist dictators who evoke much the same sentiments and emotions in their followers and admirers. No official visitor has to ape the local hailing of these tyrants unless he wants to.
The late Prime Minister Mackenzie King didn’t find it necessary to shout “Heil Hitler” when he visited Berlin before the Second World War.
So whatever the custom and protocol in communist Cuba may be, there was no need for Trudeau’s vivas and bear hugs unless they expressed our PM’s genuine feelings.
If so, and with no excuse of ignorance of what Castro represents, this should tell us quite a bit about our prime minister. For no man can admire and feel comfortable in the company of a bloody tyrant unless he himself has a congenial mental make-up and aspirations.
That Castro is a bloody tyrant is attested by his ruthless liquidation of all opposition and dissent. His own sister Juanita, who ardently supported Castro’s fight against the Batista regime, could not watch the transformation of the revolution
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into a brutal communist dictatorship and fled the island together with some 800,000 of her compatriots. Juanita denounced Fidel as a tyrant who had turned Cuba into a dangerous base of Soviet imperialism in the Western hemisphere.
There is nothing strange or surprising in Trudeau’s obvious liking of Castro. It’s fully consistent with his whole record. What’s astonishing is that despite the increasingly outrageous embellishments of that record Trudeau retains the backing of the Liberal party that keeps him in office.
Paramount Issue — 13 June 75
Ardent nationalists maintain that our biggest problem is not inflation, unemployment, lawlessness, violence, moral decay, or even general social breakdown. Our biggest problem, they say, is lack of national identity. Balderdash.
I agree, though, that the paramount issue of our time is not inflation, unemployment and the attendant social ferment. Serious as these problems are, they are not insuperable. The discomfort they cause will eventually force people to put things straight — provided the reform machinery of the democratic system has not been destroyed or badly damaged in the meantime.
The paramount issue of our time therefore is preservation of the democratic system, which means preservation of the basic freedoms we tend to consider our birthright.
Most Canadians do indeed take their personal and political freedoms as much for granted as the air they breathe, for they have never experienced any real threat to them. Canada has been extremely lucky in the accidents of geography and history which placed it in one of the most sheltered and secure spots on the world map.
Of the two fortuitous factors, the accident of history has been the more important one, for the barrier of oceans could not and would not have protected Canada from a powerful predatory land neighbour. It’s no exaggeration to say that had our southern neighbour been a country like, say Germany or Russia, Canada would either not have emerged from the colonial stage as a separate political entity, or would have been swallowed shortly afterwards, in very much the same way Ger-
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many’s and Russia’s neighbours were swallowed when one or the other power gained dominance.
With governments whose perspicacity in international affairs is illustrated by Mackenzie King’s judgement of Hitler as a somewhat simple peasant but a good man and by Trudeau’s chumminess with equally reprehensible Red fascists, it should be rather obvious that Canada exists as a self-governing free country only because it is lucky to have democratic America as its big neighbour along the longest indefensible border in the world.
Moreover, with a new wave of totalitarian expansion clearly under way, it should be obvious also that the one and only real safeguard of the freedoms we take for granted is America’s strength. Alone we are defenceless.
Like it or not, admit it or not, it’s a simple and self-evident fact that only the U.S. among the democracies still has the power to make a direct attack on any member of the Atlantic Alliance too risky. It’s that and nothing else which has so far kept Soviet tanks, planes and missiles behind the Iron Curtain.
So for years the primary objective of communist strategy has been the splintering of NATO and the isolation of the United States. The pivot of that scheme is Canada, for if relations as close as those between Canada and the U.S. could be poisoned, the rest would be fairly easy.
Given the innocence of Canada in its sheltered life, ideological lures alone are relatively ineffective. Real damage to Canada-U.S. relations can therefore be done only through the more reliable emotional channels of nationalism — an unfailing standby the communists exploit without hesitation and to the hilt when the doctrinaire approach of proletarian internationalism fails to ignite hate-America fires.
Despite its obsolescence in an age when all the serious problems (inflation, resource management, food distribution, pollution, to name only a few) are beyond the scope of the nation-state, emotional nationalism can still be relied on to obliterate reason, especially when fuelled by envy and the holier-than-thou hypocrisy of impotence.
Nationalism in Canada, as can be readily seen in its Quebec separatist version, is a destructive anachronism. At stake is not our identity but our freedom. The fashionable craze of rabid nationalism blinds otherwise sensible people to that basic and paramount issue of our time.
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Kissing Don — 3 Nov. 76
External Affairs Minister Don Jamieson, whom you may have seen recently on your TV screen hugging and kissing a somewhat surprised Soviet trade minister Nikolai Patolichev at Moscow airport, says that Canadian exports of manufactured goods to the USSR are likely to double next year. That sounds great. But what does it mean?
Last year our exports to the whole world totalled $33.3 billion. The Soviet Union accounted for $409 million, or 12 per cent. Of that, manufactured goods represented $55 million. The rest was mostly wheat.
For comparison, our exports to the United States ran to $21.65 billion, or close to two-thirds of the total. Manufactured goods accounted for better than four-fifths of the lot. The European Economic Community took 12.3 per cent of our exports; Japan 6.3 per cent.
If present trends continue, our total exports in 1977 are expected to top $40 billion. Assuming Russia’s wheat purchases do not drop, Mr. Jamieson’s most optimistic expectations would bring the total of our exports to the USSR next year to about $500 million. Of this roughly $110 million would be manufactured goods. That’s about 0.25 per cent of our anticipated world exports.
To achieve even that much, Mr. Jamieson had to offer the Soviets a line of credit totalling half a billion dollars. They have virtually nothing to sell in Canada (last year our imports from the USSR amounted to $28.5 million) and their reserves of hard currency are exhausted. Since Soviet indebtedness to Western commercial banks already exceeds a staggering $35 billion (up from about $2 billion in 1970) and lenders are getting scarce, it’s the Canadian taxpayer who will finance the deal Jamieson made with kissing cousin Patolichev.
That’s a pretty expensive and risky way of making a headline or two in support of the strenuously fabricated impression that Trudeau’s “third option” policy is working.
Worse than the business side of the deal, however, is the moral (or rather immoral) aspect of the whole thing.
It’s no secret that the Soviet Union has been, and is, pouring its regimented energies into a massive military build-up designed to give the Kremlin irresistible blackmail power. Nor is it a secret to moderately informed politicians anywhere that
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Lenin’s goal of global expansion of communist rule (Khrushchev simplified it into “we’ll bury you” and Brezhnev talks of “world victory of socialism”) remains the constant ultimate objective of Soviet policy through all its tactical twists and turns.
It is also known, from painstakingly gathered intelligence and from the best men Russia has produced in our time, that the Soviet economy would be unable to sustain the massive military production without substantial help (material, financial and technological) from the democracies the Kremlin seeks to smother.
Nobel Prize laureates, physicist Sakharov and author Solzhenitsyn, have told us plainly and repeatedly that any material help, direct or through subsidized trade, enables the Kremlin to concentrate on military build-up for external expansion, and on tightening repressive measures at home. Far from promoting world peace and “liberalization” of the totalitarian system, as the greedy traders pretend to believe, Western help to the Soviet economy accomplishes the exact opposite. Selling or giving the Soviets advanced technology is, quite obviously, downright suicidal. But even wheat helps their military effort, because the energy and attention the regime would have to devote to food production can be concentrated on armaments and military training.
The latest anguished comment on the blind Western folly comes from recently exiled Russian historian and writer Andrei Amalrik. In an interview he gave in Paris Mr. Amalrik said: “As long as the West aids the Soviet Union, there will be no reforms (in Russia or anywhere else in the Soviet orbit). If America and the entire West stopped all credits and aid to the USSR, that country would reach a state of crisis, followed by reforms.”
What we have instead of a sane united Western policy buttressing peace and freedom are the ebullient Don Jamiesons hugging and kissing the Kremlin mass murderers and their accomplices. Sickening.
One can only ask with ex-Gulag slave Dimitri Panin in his shattering Notebooks of Sologdin: “How can anyone who is aware of the tremendous burden of crime that our leaders have perpetrated continue to support them?”
What’s the answer. Kissing Don?
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Ten years from now the Soviet Union could be militarily strong enough to defeat the Western powers without firing a shot.
RAF Vice-Marshal Stewart Menaud
The Soviet War Machine (1976)
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Double Whammy — 19 Nov. 75
Canada’s painfully obvious internal decline and disarray under the Trudeau regime is now matched by her loss of influence and prestige on the international scene.
The latest indication of this decline was the snub France administered by excluding Canada from the economic summit meeting held near Paris.
Another shock came almost simultaneously from Brussels. Actually it was a double whammy. First. Joseph Luns, Secretary-General of NATO, said in public what our allies have been saying in private for years, namely, that Canada was, to all intents and purposes, welching on commitments to collective defence. Second, word came from the headquarters of the European Economic Community that the contractual link the Trudeau government is seeking with the Common Market will depend on Canada’s show of serious interest in Western Europe — by playing a useful role in NATO.
Contributions to collective defence are measured in terms of (a) total national security effort, (b) specific contribution to NATO requirements in troops and equipment.
Our total security effort has, since Trudeau became prime minister, nosedived to the point where, as Luns politely put it, “Canada is an extremely weak military power.” A less polite but more accurate assessment would be that Trudeau has all but destroyed Canada’s armed forces.
The fact that the outlay of 1.8 per cent of our Gross National Product on defence is the lowest, after Luxembourg’s, among NATO countries (in Britain it is 4.9 per cent, in Nor-
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way and the Netherlands 3.3 per cent, in France 3.1 per cent, in the United States 6.2 per cent) speaks for itself, especially when only 8 per cent of our defence budget goes towards equipment, while the rest covers salaries, pensions, bureaucratic luxuries and waste.
As for our contributions to NATO requirements, Trudeau cut our meagre contingent in Europe from 10,000 to 5,000 men and let their equipment fall to pieces. The few combat troops we still have among the nominal 80,000 bodies on the defence department’s payroll are impotent, because their remaining tanks, planes and ships are museum pieces.
The net effect is that we are not only defenceless (and therefore more dependent on the United States than ever before) but that, unilaterally disarmed, Canada is ignored and drifts into isolation under Trudeau’s all-embracing mismanagement.
Anti-militarism — 2 April 76
The damage inflicted on our armed forces by calculated neglect over the past eight years goes too deep to be wiped out by a few new planes and tanks the Trudeau regime finally has to buy under pressure from our allies. Moreover, the philosophical and ideological preconceptions that led the present government to inflict the damage have not disappeared. They will continue to plague any effort to restore our armed forces to useful size and operational efficiency.
Canadians should therefore know what it is that ruined their once proud and first rate defence establishment.
People who knew Pierre Trudeau at the outset of the Second World War maintain that the then bright university student not only did not volunteer to translate his professed quest for justice and civil liberties into fighting against Nazism, but became active in Quebec anti-war agitation which happened to have a strong communist flavour at that time. There are even stories of Trudeau’s roaring through the streets of Montreal on his motorcycle in bits and pieces of Nazi uniform while many Canadians of his age were risking their lives in the Battle of Britain.
Questioned about these things when he ran for the leadership of the Liberal party in 1968, Mr. Trudeau shrugged it breezily off and explained that he was, like almost everyone
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else in Quebec, brought up “to keep away from imperialist wars.”
That was an interesting statement which should have been carefully examined for at least two weighty reasons. First, if an intelligent young man failed to see and understand that justice and freedom could not survive unless the Allies managed to defeat totalitarian Nazi Germany, wasn’t there something very wrong with his mind? And second, where was Trudeau’s celebrated negation of a prevailing view? If it were true that he simply followed the herd in Quebec when he repeated the imperialist war nonsense, how and where would he lead us?
Nobody bothered to pose those questions, let alone to analyze the implications of the obvious answers. It was deemed irrelevant, impolite and even improper to raise these matters. And so the bewitched electorate enthroned a man whose deeply ingrained ideological preconceptions confuse defence of freedom with militarism and totalitarian disarmament posturing with pacifism.
It was quite logical and inevitable that Trudeau’s first major move as prime minister was his attempt to pull Canada out of NATO. When that proved politically insupportable, he at least cut Canada’s contribution to collective defence by half. Then he froze the defence budget. That guaranteed gradual ruin of the armed forces, which were not only deprived of any new equipment but had to keep reducing manpower to stay within the budget.
According to Brig. Gen. Dan Loomis, Chief of Staff for Operations of Mobile Command, Canada would need at least 150,000 men to meet all her defence commitments at the same time. The actual strength is down to 78,000 and most of the equipment the operational units have belongs in museums.
All that is the direct and deliberately sought result of Trudeau’s contempt for the military. Why then is he allowing any increase in the defence budget now?
Because when he started seeking a contractual link with the Common Market in order to loosen our ties with the U.S. still further, the Europeans made it clear that our atrophied contribution to collective defence must be dressed up a bit.
It’s this pressure that gave the defence minister the slight leverage he is now fighting to preserve. But that’s all there is to it. The basic hostility of the Trudeau regime to the military remains.
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Disparity — 21 Nov. 75
At first glance it seems odd for our allies to worry at this time about Canada’s virtually worthless contribution to collective defence. After all, hasn’t the big East-West conference in Helsinki last summer on security and co-operation in Europe made all worries about defence obsolete? Aren’t we all safe in the balmy atmosphere of détente?
Well, it may be fashionable to talk glowingly about détente, but the cold fact of the matter is that behind all this talk Western Europe feels more threatened now than at any time since World War II.
The reason is that despite the sonorous declarations and pledges of the best intentions the Soviet bloc, and the USSR in particular, continue their massive military build-up while communist internal subversion intensifies. Moreover, Moscow just demonstrated the worth of the Helsinki accords when it forbade physicist Andrei Sakharov to go to Oslo to collect his Nobel Peace Prize. If the Kremlin does not hesitate to make mockery of the clauses of the Helsinki Declaration dealing with freer movement of people and ideas (clauses the West fought for so hard in two years of negotiations in Geneva), who can expect it to honour any other provision?
A look at the juxtaposition of conventional forces along the key dividing line today shows clearly why Western Europe is worried and why Canada’s impotence to meet even its token commitments to collective defence is causing concern.
On the northern and central front in Europe (where direct Soviet attack would be most likely because of the tank route across the wide German plain to the key allied capitals), the Warsaw Pact has 70 divisions poised against 25 NATO divisions. While Soviet bloc divisions are numerically smaller than their Western counterparts, the ratio is about a million Warsaw Pact troops facing about 600,000 NATO soldiers.
In tanks the disparity is 20,000 to 9,000, and in combat planes 4.000 to 2,000. Moreover, all the Warsaw Pact troops have standardized Soviet equipment whereas NATO troops have a wide array of nationally produced hardware and consequently are hampered by logistics problems. Also, the Warsaw Pact has enormous reserve forces available within a few hundred miles while NATO’s main reserves are across the Atlantic ocean.
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In these circumstances it’s not difficult to understand why Western Europe worries about defaults on commitments to collective defence.
4 Oct. 76
The research service of the Library of Congress published last January a revealing study of Soviet and American military strength. It put the total of Soviet armed forces at 4.4 million men, that of the U.S. forces at 2.1 million. In addition the Russians have some 3 million men in reserve units, while U.S. reserve forces of 850,000 are being drastically reduced.
The Soviets have 168 divisions against America’s 16. Of the total, the Russians have 113 mechanized, 47 armoured and eight airborne divisions. The U.S. figures are 4 mechanized, 4 armoured and 1 airborne.
The Russians have 40,000 tanks against 10,000 U.S.; 17,000 artillery pieces against 2,100. In anti-tank missiles the ratio is 6,000 to 2,400; in SAMs (surface-to-air missiles) 10,000 to 2,700; in attack submarines 253 to 73. In land-based nuclear forces Russia now has 1,575 ICBMs against 1,054 U.S. Not counting reserves, the Soviets operate 70 atomic-powered submarines carrying 720 missiles (range 4,700 miles) while 41 U.S. subs carry 656 missiles (range 2,500 miles). And so it goes. The only category in which the U.S. still has an edge is military aircraft, but with their new and as yet unmatched strategic bomber the Russians are closing this gap as well.
Since Soviet military spending is, despite a much smaller GNP, about the same as the U.S. defence budget (about $100 billion) and the Soviets earmark over 60 per cent to new equipment while America spends 60 per cent on salaries and maintenance, Russia’s military build up is sure to put the U.S. in an increasingly inferior position.
Correlation of Forces — 23 July 71
Comparing East-West power positions one has to bear in mind that Marxist strategists use a different yardstick from ours. They regard our concept of balance of power (i.e.. the juxtapo-
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sition of military and economic factors) as too narrow and obsolete.
Even before they seized power in Russia, the communists evolved the concept of correlation of forces, which includes all the components of psychological warfare in addition to military and economic strength (e.g., ideological penetration, confusion, subversion, and demoralization of the adversary). Within this framework all supporters of the communist line wherever they may be (in Marxist terminology every “progressive element”), regardless of motives and objectives, are counted as a component of the correlation of forces. Those in positions to influence public opinion — writers, journalists, artists, academics, politicians, clergymen, trade union and business leaders-are particularly valuable.
Depending on their scope and effectiveness, these witting or unwitting tools of totalitarian expansion are counted as the equivalent of platoons, battalions, regiments, even divisions.
Measured by this yardstick, the Marxists reckon they have already reached substantial superiority over the democracies whose strategic thinking remains encased in the 19th-century concept of balance of military and economic power.
Soviet War Doctrine — 7 April 76
While the democracies have been reducing their defences (none more sweepingly than Canada under the Trudeau administration), the Soviet bloc has greatly increased its military strength in recent years.
The result is, as the remarkably similar data provided by Peking and by NATO authorities make abundantly clear, that the armed forces of the Soviet Union are now twice as large as those of the United States.
What is this enormous military power for?
In their propaganda for the Western world, Soviet spokesmen continue to maintain that the build-up of armed might is purely defensive. The “socialist camp,” they say, while committed to supporting “liberation wars” and all other forms of the “international class struggle,” is not gearing for attack. But it needs all the military strength it can muster to discourage or smash any “imperialist aggression.”
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Western and neutral military experts point out in unison with their Chinese counterparts that the level of Soviet bloc forces and their equipment has surpassed any conceivable defence requirement years ago. And since the U.S. and its NATO allies have been reducing their force levels and defence spending, why would the Kremlin continue depriving Soviet bloc citizens of a better standard of living by not only continued but accelerated arms build-up?
And why would virtually all the new Soviet weaponry be more suitable for offensive than for defensive purposes? The inescapable answer is that the Soviet bloc is building an offensive capability to enable Moscow to blackmail even NATO countries with little risk of resistance.
To accomplish that, the Soviet Union needs a massive military superiority over the combined strength of its potential opponents. Détente was designed to facilitate and speed up the necessary military build-up, which the Soviet bloc could not accomplish with its own faltering economy. Moscow badly needed assistance (capital, technology and food) from the capitalists. Since such aid was difficult to obtain while the West felt threatened and harassed by the cold war, the counter-productive strategy was scrapped and replaced by the peaceful coexistence-détente lure. The deception worked like a charm.
At the same time, however, the Bolsheviks tightened the repressive system at home and never stopped preaching to their cadre relentless struggle against the class enemy everywhere in the world with all available means. Even nuclear war, though treated with some caution since Stalin’s death, has not been ruled out in the communist doctrine of conquest.
The most recent authoritative restatement of the military aspect of that doctrine can be found in the November 1975 issue of the top Soviet military journal Communist of the Armed Forces. Anyone who thinks or believes that the communists share the prevalent Western conviction of the impossibility of a major war in the nuclear age would do well to read the authoritative Moscow line on that subject.
“The premise of Marxism-Leninism on war as a continuation of policy by military means,” the article says, “remains true in an atmosphere of fundamental changes in military matters. The attempt of certain bourgeois ideologists to prove that nuclear missile weapons lead war outside the framework of policy and that nuclear war moves beyond the control of
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policy is theoretically incorrect and politically reactionary. The historical correlation between policy and war is fully valid for the use of weapons of mass destruction. Far from leading to a lessening of the role of policy in waging war, the tremendous might of the means of destruction leads to the raising of that role. After all, immeasurably more effective means of struggle are now at the direct disposal of state power.”
The article makes it clear that what matters in Soviet decision making is not the size of a war or the destructiveness of the weapons used, but the nature of the war from an ideological point of view. “Soviet scholars have proved the unsoundness of attempts by bourgeois ideologists to classify wars only in terms of their scale or military technical features. Marxism-Leninism takes as the basis of classification the socio-political essence of wars and determines their main features according to the social struggle which has developed in the world arena.
“In the complex present-day international situation an extraordinarily important role is played by the military might of the socialist countries.”
Its purpose is to assure “global victory of socialism” (as Brezhnev is fond of putting it) even if it requires use of nuclear weapons.
Put in a nutshell, Soviet military doctrine is every bit as aggressive as the Nazis’ was. And the degree of militarization of the Soviet Union is now judged to have surpassed that of Germany on the eve of World War II.
Flagging Will — 4 Oct.
Credible power has two key components: means and will . America, while beginning to fall behind the Soviet Union in military muscle, still has ample means of power. But in the latest series of Communist expansion probes she has been found lacking the will to use those means effectively.
Since American power has been, after World War II, the only serious obstacle in the path of Soviet imperialism, credibility of that power as an effective deterrent of totalitarian pressures is vital. Literally every country that wasn’t swept into the socialist bloc in the big Communist push of the 1940s depends on it for survival.
For almost three decades the credibility of American power
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withstood all Soviet campaigns to destroy it (including Krushchev’s attempted shortcut in nuclear blackmail from Cuba), until a combination of the disastrous no-win stance in Vietnam and illusions generated by Kissinger’s détente policy eroded America’s will to hold the line around the world.
With the will component of the power formula shattered, the means alone, though still formidable, are of little avail. Just the fact of their existence, as Angola has demonstrated, is no deterrent if the will to use them swiftly and effectively is lacking.
It appears, however, that the Kremlin isn’t satisfied with merely knocking the obstacle of American power out of its path. It wants to make sure that the will to use the means of power that remains will not revive in some extreme emergency. It seeks to convince Americans that no resistance is possible anywhere.
This, the Soviets believe, can be accomplished by building such a crushing military superiority that no alternative to surrender would be even contemplated.
Master Plan — 10 March 76
What is the purpose of the enormous Soviet bloc military machine? Is the Kremlin planning to use it for rolling over Western Europe? For piecemeal advance in Africa, Asia and Latin America? For trying to knock out the U.S. to get rid of the last serious obstacle to communist world domination? Or is the tremendous military might mustered just for backing political blackmail?
While no one outside the Kremlin can answer those questions with absolute certainty, a fairly authoritative outline of Soviet intentions and plans is available, it was provided by General Jan Sejna who in early 1968 fled to West Germany from Prague where he was the top Czechoslovak Communist party official in the ministry of national defence until the short-lived Dubcek liberalization experiment.
A Stalinist who for ten years attended top planning meetings of the Warsaw Pact, Sejna revealed (and substantiated with volumes of documents he brought with him) a long-term strategic plan the Warsaw Pact adopted at a 1965 meeting in Moscow. The plan, summarized last year in the London Times, stipulated four distinct phases and assigned detailed tasks for
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Soviet bloc diplomacy, foreign trade, espionage, subversion and psychological warfare.
The preparatory first phase (Khrushchev’s peaceful coexistence) was over when the plan was adopted. Its chief purpose was to persuade the West that the communists had abandoned Stalin’s policy of military confrontation in favour of economic competition.
The prime task of the second phase (1960-1972) was to promote disunity of the West and accelerate social dislocation. Play on French nationalism was chosen for cracking the cohesion of NATO. In the U.S. the aim was to foster isolationism, domestic unrest and protest movements against the “military-industrial complex.” The Vietnam war provided a multiplier of the scope and intensity of these campaigns.
The third phase (1974-1985), called “the period of dynamic social change,” is to bring about the total demoralization and institutional collapse of the Western world. The détente stratagem serves merely as a launcher of the confusion in which the West is to be convinced that the democratic system does not work and has to be replaced by Marxist “new society.”
Finally the fourth phase, starting in the second half of the 1980s, is to usher in “global peace” under world communist rule. The last holdout of resistance in the U.S. would by then be completely isolated by an overwhelming superiority of communist forces and the “reactionaries” would have to give way to a “progressive” administration in Washington.
That’s the scenario. World events to this day leave little doubt that the 1965 master plan has been and is being followed. The only changes in it are adjustments of the timetable to faster than anticipated disintegration of the Western world, and to greater emphasis on use of military muscle.
Service to Moscow — 26 July 76
People who take détente rhetoric at face value find it hard to understand why we should be spending a billion dollars on a new patrol aircraft. What does peace-loving Canada need an expensive submarine tracking plane for?
For tracking Soviet submarines, obviously.
But why? Didn’t Prime Minister Trudeau sign a friendship protocol with the Soviets? And aren’t they commited to dé-
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tente which rules out the use of force in any shape or form? Yes they are — on paper. Just as they were committed to non-aggression, to respect of national sovereignty, to territorial integrity and, indeed, to friendship with the Baltic republics and with Poland at the time they pounced on those countries. Just as they were committed to fraternal socialist alliance with Czechoslovakia when they sent their tanks and half a million Warsaw Pact troops to crush “socialism with a human face” in that communist-ruled country.
Like all totalitarians, the Soviets make any pledge, sign any treaty and sing any sweet song when it suits their purpose. But they do not hesitate to break every undertaking the moment it ceases to be useful to them. Soviet international conduct follows Lenin’s dictum: “Promises are like pie crusts — made to be broken.” Stalin gave this leitmotif of communist policy and diplomacy more precise meaning when he said: “Words must have no relation to action-otherwise what kind of diplomacy is it? Good words are a mask for the concealment of bad deeds. Sincere diplomacy is no more possible than dry water and iron wood.”
In the mid-1960’s the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate examined Soviet treaties and agreements. Committee Chairman, Senator James Eastland, reported that since the Soviet Union came into existence, its government had broken its word
to virtually every country to which it ever gave a signed promise. It signed treaties of non-aggression with neighbouring states and then absorbed those states. It signed promises to refrain from revolutionary activity inside the countries with which it sought friendship, then cynically broke those promises. The study gave details of more than 100 specific instances of Moscow’s international perfidy. Since then the Kremlin has considerably lengthened the list of broken treaties.
But back to Soviet submarines and the need to keep an eye on them, regardless of friendship protocols and détente delusions.
According to an official British analysis of the Soviet arsenal, the USSR completed over 90 (yes 90) nuclear-powered submarines in the last ten years and added 30 new units to its already largest fleet of conventional submarines in the world. “This indicates,” the British study says, “the priority accorded to, and the scale of investment in, submarine construction during that time.”
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Why the concentration on submarines?
With less than 100 U-boats Hitler almost succeeded in scuttling Allied shipping in the first phase of World War II. It’s not difficult to visualize the havoc Russia’s 300 plus ultra-modern subs could wreak even if they were not used as missile-launching platforms.
To keep track of Soviet submarine movements is therefore one of the basic requisites of Western collective defence. Canada is responsible for patrolling a considerable segment of the northern Atlantic. The Argus plane we still use for that task was rendered obsolete by submarine technology years ago. By delaying the needed replacement for almost a decade Trudeau has done a considerable service to Moscow, and we now have to pay three times as much for the same plane our defence experts chose and urged the government to buy in 1969.
Belated Concern — 31 Jan. 77
For years no politician or journalist with an eye on fame and fortune would touch the subject. Now suddenly every with-it limelighter is discovering the menace of a massive Soviet military build-up.
That’s all to the good, but the concern comes a bit late in the day.
A massive build-up of Soviet offensive capacity has been going on for at least the past 15 years — and particularly since the detente stratagem made Western technology and capital easily available to the Soviets in the early seventies. At the same time, communist detente propaganda, geared to a broadly based psychological warfare campaign, systematically weakened both the external and the internal defences of the democracies. An important, though largely unwitting, role in this process was played by the detente beguiled lib-left mass media and by shallow with-it politicians in the increasingly confused and demoralized democracies. In some cases entire governments (typified by the Trudeau regime) played the part of “useful idiots” (Lenin’s description of Western intellectual fellow-travellers).
The objective of Soviet concentration on military build-up was rapid attainment of global striking capability. A simultaneous enfeeblement of the defence structures of the democracies
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was to produce overall Soviet military supremacy before the Western nations could perceive the consequences of such a basic shift in global power structure.
Although the dawning realization of the implications of the horrendous growth of Soviet military might is probably coming a bit sooner than the Kremlin thought it would, the objectives of the policy may, by and large, have already been reached.
According to numerous expert assessments, the Soviet empire is attaining strategic superiority (its substantial edge in conventional forces has never been seriously challenged since the end of World War II) and is miles ahead of any Western country in building a comprehensive civil defence system designed to withstand nuclear war. At the same time, after years of neglect and mindless anti-militarism, NATO has lost much of its credibility as a reliable deterrent to Soviet conquest of Western Europe. On top of this, Italy and France are teetering on the edge of internal communist takeover and Britain’s ruling party, apart from having virtually paralyzed the country, is heavily infiltrated by Marxists.
Even now, however, as the recent awkward tip-toeing around the peril by our new Defence Minister Barney Danson has illustrated, politicians still consider it risky to face the issue squarely.
After describing the Soviet threat — something no member of the Trudeau government would have dared to do a year or even six months ago — Mr. Danson noted that “there is a problem in refocussing public attention on Soviet intentions in Europe.” He omitted to say how that problem arose. He did not say that Trudeau and his government spent considerable effort in defocussing public attention from support of Western collective defence and on convincing Canadians that there was no Soviet threat to the democracies.
Suddenly, Barney Danson tells us that a Soviet military threat not only exists, but by menacing Western Europe imperils our own security and freedom, because “we can’t have a free North America without a free Western Europe, and Western Europe cannot be free without a free North America.”
This home truth was perfectly obvious to most Canadians before Trudeau set out to convince them that NATO was a cold war anachronism and an obstacle to detente.
It’s the residue of this folly, sold to voters as saving on allegedly unnecessary defence, which now haunts Danson and
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makes him lament: “How do you talk of the very real Warsaw Pact threat and not sound like a redneck? Worse yet, how do you talk about it and not attract the support of the lunatic fringe, which would immediately destroy your credibility?”
Quite a problem, Barney, eh? But only because the real lunatic fringe is the Trudeau clique which has done its level best to ridicule and discredit as redneck paranoia every sign of realistic concern for the steadily growing Soviet threat.
Detente Ploy — 15 April 77
In a speech Leonid Brezhnev allegedly made in 1973 to assembled satellite satraps (a report of the speech by British Intelligence was, according to a recent revelation in the Boston Globe, suppressed by Henry Kissinger), the Kremlin boss is reported to have said: “We are achieving with detente what our predecessors have been unable to achieve using the mailed fist … We have been able to accomplish more in a short time with detente than was done in years pursuing a confrontation policy with NATO … Trust us comrades, for by 1985, as a consequence of what we are accomplishing with detente, we will have achieved most of our objectives in Western Europe. We will have consolidated our position. We will have improved our economy. And a decisive shift in the correlation of forces will be such that we’ll be able to extend our will wherever we need to.”
Disunity in Diversity
Historically, French Canadians have not really
believed in democracy for themselves; and English
Canadians have not really wanted it for others.
P. E. Trudeau
in Federalism and the French Canadians
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Disunity in Diversity
Divisive Idiocy — 19 Nov. 75
Bilingualism in the federal civil service was sold to the public by the Pearson government as an essential nation-saving measure.
The argument that bilingualism in public service was no more than the long overdue application of the good old principle of equality of opportunity was accepted with the usual Liberal mixture of strained goodwill and guilt feelings that envelops belated reforms. The cost of the fairly modest scheme envisaged at that time was generally regarded as part of the cost of being Canadian.
It didn’t take long, however, for Quebec to indicate that bilingualism wasn’t really of any great importance. A generation ago, when the cry was for at least some bilingual federal services, it would have been a great thing. In this age of skyrocketing expectations it was, regrettably, too little too late. What really mattered now was power.
It was at this stage of growing irritation and fear of violent breakup of the country that Pierre Trudeau appeared on the federal political scene as the saviour of national unity. A flawlessly bilingual Quebecer, he seemed uniquely suited, indeed destined, to save Confederation. The vote support he got in the 1968 election reflected the high hopes he personified for a great many Canadians at that moment.
In 1968 Trudeau thus had a chance to come to grips with the power play of Quebec separatism. He also had a warning.
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almost as soon as he assumed office, from the Royal Commission on Security about political violence hatching on the ideological fringes of the separatist movement.
He shrugged it all off and told the country that the only reason the cure of bilingualism didn’t seem to work too well was because it had been applied in too small doses. Increase the dosage dramatically and all would be well.
So staggering sums of money were poured into French language courses for higher echelon civil servants, and Francophones received discreet but unmistakable preference in recruitment and promotion. Trudeau himself brought legions of his Quebec friends into top federal positions. Cabinet ministers from Quebec, whose number increased dramatically, followed his example, creating new positions where a vacancy could not be manipulated quickly enough.
Eventually, after hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars were spent on French language courses (which in most cases produce what Languages Commissioner Keith Spicer calls “coffee-break French”), the country was told that the concept of bilingualism itself wasn’t enough. What was needed to do justice to the principle of two official languages was a system of unilingual French units in the federal civil service.
So, in addition to the much larger number of designated bilingual positions than was initially envisaged, there are now unilingual work units in both official languages. This not only mocks the intended purposes of the whole bilingual program but wastes public funds in an atrocious and absolutely inexcusable way at a time when the federal government talks about cutting expenditures.
Bilingualism, while a monumental political flop (it hasn’t stopped or slowed down Quebec separatism), at least flexes and stretches bureaucratic minds. The French-only scheme does not have even that justification. It’s pure regressive and divisive idiocy.
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Grim Prospects — 17 Nov. 76
It’s useless to pretend that the stunning separatist victory, which not even the Parti Québécois expected, will not mean splintering of the country.
For no matter how many of the voters who turned to the PQ in despair over an inept and corrupt government do not really want to leave Confederation, they have put in power a party whose very raison d’être is establishment of a separate Quebec state.
With a solid PQ majority in the National Assembly, the real question no longer is “Will Quebec separate?”, let alone “Can it happen?”, but when and how.
No one is in a position to prognosticate authoritatively right now. but several scenarios are obvious possibilities.
The mildest among them would feature the type of reform government Rene Levesque was painting in his campaign, whose aim was a friendly separation after a pro forma referendum. The most drastic possibility is that the militant Marxist wing of the PQ will use Levesque for establishing a totalitarian dictatorship hostile to the rest of capitalist Canada and the United States.
Since such a wrenching structural change as breakup of an established country tends to generate severe social storms, the most extreme scenario cannot be ruled out. Actually, it’s the most likely to be followed, for the revolutionary faction of the PQ. which has strong backing in Quebec’s militant unions, academe and the media, will try to combine national liberation with Marxist regimentation.
If this course scares away investment capital, as can be expected, and if socialist Quebec turns to Moscow for assistance, the splintering of Canada could become a major international issue of tremendous implications and consequences.
Considering how heedless of risk and cost the Soviets and their satellites have become in their global efforts to isolate the United States, Moscow is sure to exploit to the hilt any turmoil Quebec separation will cause right on the U.S. border. Even if the rest of Canada somehow managed to survive for a while the shock of dismemberment, a base in Quebec would be invaluable to Kremlin strategists.
Canadians who think that the U.S. simply could not let this happen are kidding themselves. Faced with growing Soviet
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military superiority, a new untried President and a week-kneed Congress in Washington could hardly be expected to challenge a Soviet hands-off-Quebec blackmail.
On top of everything we now also face the prospect of Trudeau’s finishing his systematic ruin of Canada by conning the English-speaking electorate into extending once more his initial nation-saving mandate.
No wonder so many people are seeking refuge in self-delusions.
Pollyanna Exercises — 25 Nov. 76
The PQ regime obviously expects to convince Quebecers in the next two to three years that there really is no alternative to separation. This is to be accomplished by pressing Ottawa for piecemeal transfer of powers the federal government cannot cede entirely if it is to retain some degree of control over national affairs.
Each of the specific demands will, of course, be formulated by the Levesque government so as to strike most French-Canadians as eminently reasonable and indispensable for Quebec’s cultural and economic needs. Ottawa’s refusal to yield all the way should gradually create the impression of intransigence which could only be broken by formal separation. At the same time the PQ regime should have no credibility problem in blaming all its difficulties on Ottawa and “les Anglais.”
With the media, the schools, the patronage-dispensing bureaucracy and the militant unions in Quebec dominated by leftist separatists more firmly and aggressively than before the election, it’s difficult to see how such tactics could fail to convince the majority of Francophone Quebecers that a separate state is the only solution. A final referendum, if needed at all to round out the process, would be mere icing on the secession cake.
The separatists and other revolutionary strategists in Quebec must chuckle when they observe the efforts in the rest of the country to cushion the shock of the November 15 election with elaborate rationalizations of mutual assurances that nothing has really changed. These Pollyanna exercises, which range from Eric Kierans’ fascinating vision of the PQ regime as
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“perhaps the most conservative government in Quebec history,” to tranquilizing parallels with relatively harmless past eruptions of French-Canadian nationalism, provide a welcome excuse for dismissing the whole problem with an indulgent same-old-Quebec shrug.
Any such bromide fabricated and consumed in the English-speaking provinces makes things easier for the manipulators of Quebec separatism by inducing the comforting delusion that the crisis will fizzle out in much the same way that all the preceding Francophone strains on Confederation petered out.
Looking at the history of French-Canadian nationalism and the alarmist reactions to some of its more irritating manifestations (e.g., the conscription crises in the two world wars), it is indeed tempting to draw facile parallels and jump to soothing conclusions. Unfortunately, fundamental changes in both domestic and international circumstances make such comparisons invalid.
At home the technology of communications alone has made an enormous difference. Internationally, the ideological orientation of the now dominant leftist strain of Quebec nationalism assures the separatists of support from the so-called socialist bloc. Ultimately that means the military muscle of the Soviet Union.
Add to this brand new setting for Quebec separatism Trudeau’s ideologically motivated federal government and the domination of Canadian television, radio and most newspapers by assorted leftist zealots, and the picture comes into focus.
Common Goal — 19 Nov. 76
Prime Minister Trudeau maintains he has no mandate “to negotiate any form of separatism with any province.” That’s correct. But it doesn’t mean much. He had no mandate, either, for imposing price-income controls. More reassuring, perhaps, is his statement that he does not intend to negotiate Quebec’s separation. But again, don’t bet your life on it. Didn’t he assure us he had no intention of using mandatory inflation curbs? He even won an election ridiculing such measures. Having destroyed his credibility, Trudeau cannot expect to be readily believed even if what he says is what people want to hear.
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The country has learned the hard way (and I am not even dwelling on his assurances that inflation had been licked or that separatism in Quebec was dead) that what matters is not what Trudeau says but what he eventually does. And what he does depends on the requirements of the ” ” jigsaw puzzle he is putting together.
There can be no doubt that Trudeau’s plans have always embraced the whole of Canada. So his rejection of Quebec separatism may be sincere. But that does not necessarily mean that he and Lévesque have nothing in common and must be on a collusion course.
For quite some time during Quebec’s quiet revolution, Trudeau and Lévesque shared basic political ideas and aspirations. Both fancied themselves then, and still do today, as democratic socialists dedicated to structural transformation of our society and its institutions.
In this sense their goals remain similar, if not identical. What has come to divide them is tactics. Trudeau wants to restructure Canada from coast to coast. Lévesque limits his new society blueprints to Quebec for the time being and uses Francophone nationalism for establishing his own sphere of operations.
Neither man has, as far as I know, renounced his ideological base and objectives. This means that they disagree only over methods, not over substance. Trudeau sees the federal structure as an advantage; Lévesque considers it a hindrance. He wants to build a socialist fortress on the geo-political and cultural base of Quebec nationalism.
These tactical differences need not be insurmountable.
In his seminal political essay The Practice and Theory of Federalism, Pierre Trudeau wrote: “Radicalism in different parts of Canada must be implanted in different fashions. Perhaps even parties with different names may preach the same ideology in different provinces.” Lévesque and his Parti Québécois are doing exactly that. Trudeau’s only objection concerns Lévesque’s selection of nationalism as the principal tool of socialism.
This is not a wild guess or a far-fetched speculation, for Trudeau wrote: “I should like to see socialists feeling free to espouse whatever political trends or to use whatever constitutional tools happen to fit each particular problem at each particular time.” Lévesque could argue that he is following Trudeau’s advice. And he does, except for his separatism which
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violates Trudeau’s injunction that “federalism must be welcomed as a valuable tool which permits dynamic parties to plant socialist governments in certain provinces, from which the seed of radicalism can slowly spread.”
But that is the only point on which the two French-Canadian socialists really clash. It’s also the point on which Levesque parted company with the Liberal party just as Trudeau was beginning to exploit his switch to the Grits from the impotent NDP where both he Levesque belong.
Neither Trudeau nor Levesque is likely to give up his chosen approach to building socialist strongholds in North America. But it shouldn’t be impossible, or even too difficult, for them to work out parallel and mutually advantageous courses of action.
17 Oct. 67
My reading of Quebec’s mood is that spiritual separation has already taken place and that the practical consequences of the break are merely a matter of time.
7 Dec. 67
Within the context of escalation and radicalization of Quebec’s aspirations, the Bi-Bi scheme for equalization of the two official languages has, in my opinion, only marginal relevance. The real issue is no longer language but power.
5 April 68
A delegate from Quebec at the (1968) Liberal party’s leadership convention told me: “All the separatists hope we’ll elect Trudeau because they are certain that a federal government under Trudeau will assure and hasten Quebec separation.”
27 Sept. 68
The worrisome thing is that the prime minister’s constitutional
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rigidity may push a good portion of Quebec voters into the arms of the separatists. In a strange twist of fate, the major beneficiary of Trudeau’s meteoric rise to what smacks of autocratic power in Ottawa may well be René Lévesque. Polarization of the forces that could destroy Canada will certainly be quicker now.
Totalitarian Spectre — 6 Apr. 77
The separatist government in Quebec City maintains that it does not discriminate when it seeks to restrict future English education to children whose parents meet certain residence and school attendance requirements. It merely wants to protect the French language and culture in the projected Socialist Republic of Quebec.
Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist government maintained that it was merely protecting the Aryan race in Germany when it started excluding Jews and Gypsies from certain aspects of everyday life and then herded them into concentration camps.
True, the PQ regime does not actively persecute the non-French minorities in Quebec. So no mechanical parallel even with the beginnings of the Nazi blight is applicable. But the National Socialist extreme should serve as a reminder that once a government starts discriminating against some specific group of citizens — even if only by arbitrarily limiting their freedom of choice in education — it is on a slippery path.
In the once touchy issue of language discrimination, we in Canada have tended to pride ourselves in the last decade or so on having found a solution in the formula of two official languages. When the theoretical panacea of bilingualism collided with even the best intentioned reality, we tried to persuade ourselves that the difficulties are temporary and will be overcome by more money and gimmicks.
The Lévesque government’s “charter of the French language in Quebec” has wiped that particular mirage off the screen of our collective wishful thinking.
Beyond that looms the spectre of the PQ not only splintering the country but dragging Quebec down the slope of regimentation. For once a society bases its actions on the notion of sanctity of its alleged exclusiveness — be it based on race, class, religion or lanuage — it is inexorably pushed into the totalitarian mould by the momentum of the fanaticism it is unleashing.
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The Sick Society
No one can afford to remain ignorant of the fact that
democracy can be destroyed through its own institutions.
in The Collapse of Democracy (1976)
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The Sick Society
The Symptoms — 7 Feb. 73
A society which pampers criminals, bankrolls subversion, inhibits law enforcement, fosters mind pollution and admired depravity is a sick society.
We have all the symptoms of the sickness — from mockery of justice to glorification of mental and emotional excrement as art.
The disease does not strike all of a sudden. It has a long gestation period during which its initial signs tend to be mistaken for manifestations of robust health.
For example, relaxation of law enforcement provisions is seen at first as confidence in the unshakable strength of the social organism.
So is lowering of safeguards and defences in all other fields. A bit more leeway and compassion for the alienated, it is felt, poses no threat. And who can say what limits, if any, should be placed on freedom of self-expression?
As the underlying notion of the relativity of all values spreads, the accompanying growth of permissiveness is interpreted as progressive broadening of enlightened tolerance.
For some time this rationalization of the systematic dismantling of the conceptual and institutional frameworks of responsible, orderly freedom remains unquestioned because its philosophical underpinnings appear to be a direct extension of the generally accepted and respected doctrine of liberalism.
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The onset of over-permissiveness is thus accepted as the organic evolution of liberal reforms which, by and large, have produced beneficial results in the almost full century of their pragmatic application in the democratic countries. People simply assume that any change enacted by their elected representatives is a change for the better.
Moreover, influenced by “modern” notions of behaviouristic psychology, the public mind is unsure of individual common-sense perception of right and wrong. Doubts on this score are smothered by the tone-setting elite whose relativism absolves the individual of responsibility for his actions.
Man is depicted as the product of social factors. A criminal is therefore the victim of certain configurations of bad social circumstances and cannot be held accountable for rebelling.
Punishment is thus seen as aggravation of social injustice.
It was this combination of perverted 19th-century liberalism and fashionable misconceptions of the causes and effects of individual behaviour which ushered in the era of runaway permissiveness. The process took on the respectable guise of enlightened tolerance of every form of rebellion against presumably unjust social norms and conditions.
The result, as we are not belatedly discovering, is greater freedom for the pathologically criminal and subversive elements to do the maximum harm with the minimum risk.
The Camouflage — 9 Feb. 76
In a way Parliament can be likened to a sports arena in which the major league clubs (political parties) field their representative teams. There are no great problems when all those involved play the game by the existing rules. But the system obviously cannot work when the captain of the strongest team makes mockery of the rules and then starts playing an entirely different game. That is what Prime Minister Trudeau has done in the past eight years.
First he disrupted and paralyzed the system by thumbing his nose at its fundamental principles. Next he broke, one after another, virtually all its rules. And now he says: Look, the system does not work. Let’s play a different game; I’ll make the rules.
In such circumstances the British type of parliamentary de-
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mocracy is virtually defenceless because it never anticipated a prime minister hostile to its very essence. So it has no practical provision for removal of a chief executive except by a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
Our prime minister, when in command of an absolute majority in the Commons, is virtually impossible to dislodge, no matter what he does, unless his own partisan supporters turn against him. Given the tradition of the Liberal party to stick with its leaders and avoid risking loss of power, and given the PM’s bribe of parliamentarians with high salaries, he need not worry about losing any confidence vote in the Commons. Hence his increasingly brazen drive to smother parliamentary democracy and the free market system on which it rests so that he can put in place the “benign despotism” he admired in his political essays.
How safe Mr. Trudeau feels in ruining the system he was chosen to administer and protect can be judges from the blunt betrayal of his 1974 mandate and from his now open admiration for such far from benign tyrants and patrons of international terrorism as Fidel Castro.
The fact that these outrages, while causing some consternation and alarm, do not make Trudeau’s position as prime minister and leader of the Liberal party untenable attests to the paralysis he has already accomplished. It was achieved by gradual conditioning of the country with breaking of rules, undermining of basic values and downgrading of Parliament to the point where confusion and fear, ably fanned by the mass media, are clearing the path for Trudeau’s autocratic rule.
That Pierre Trudeau has come this far without a serious challenge and feels secure enough to show his true colours is due not only to his cunning but also, and to a large extent, to a strange paralysis of the opposition and a truly disastrous gullibility and apathy of the electorate.
The Causes — 6 Nov. 74
Public spending has come to be shaped more by political expediency than by sound economic considerations.
Political expediency prompts elected governments to keep expanding public services (and the bureaucratic empire-building structures they spawn) without corresponding tax increases.
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The gap between revenue and expenditure, which grows with public appetite and pressure for free services, is filled for some time with deficit financing.
When borrowing becomes difficult, irresponsible governments resort to printing worthless money to finance vote-luring operations. The inevitable result is debasement of the currency, which is the root of homegrown inflation.
As money buys less and less, prices and wages are pushed higher and higher in an attempt to compensate for the loss of buying power.
For a while strong pressure groups may manage to keep pace with the rate of inflation they help aggravate, or even do a bit better, at the expense of those with less economic clout and political muscle. But eventually they too get hurt. The abused and overstrained economy burns itself out and everyone suffers.
With the dollar debased to half its 1960 value, we are now moving to the point where the whole structure of our abused freedoms may collapse under the accumulated strains and stresses of shortsighted political expediency, economic blackmail, mismanagement and, above all, blind greed.
A society in which people earning $50,000 a year (e.g., senior airline pilots) threaten to strike for inflation compensating pay increases; in which firemen let blocks of houses burn in an illegal walkout (and perhaps resort to arson) to enforce what they consider good for themselves; and in which farmers claim to be driven to destruction of food while millions of people face death by starvation — such a society is not only sick but suicidal.
The Scope — 18 March 74
As inflation pressures grow, the range of those ravaged by them expands.
With this progression in mind, the official Opposition now sees inflation not only as a major economic problem the present government seems unable to tackle, but as a potentially fatal disruption of our entire political and social structure.
Tory finance spokesman, James Gillies, gave a closely reasoned lecture on this theme in the House.
Careful to understate rather than overstate the issues, Gillies
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reached the conclusion that “if we allow inflation to continue at its present rate, the fabric of our society and of our economic system will not survive.”
Radicalization — 24 March 76
For the leadership of the Canadian Labour Congress the demonstration on Parliament Hill was a fiasco. For the militants of the labour unions it was an excellent radicalization exercise.
The fiasco took place in the Railway Committee Room after CLC President Joe Morris delivered organized labour’s blistering condemnation of the price-income control program to the assembled cabinet. Morris himself opened the trap door under his feet when, after using the strongest language ever heard at these annual CLC-government encounters, he said he believed the Trudeau regime had “a sincere desire to solve the problems of inflation and unemployment and to set the economy on a basis from which all groups can receive an equitable share of stable and sustained growth.”
Prime Minister Trudeau, whose ears were ringing with the trade unions’ fundamental and unflinching rejection of what the CLC brief called “callous and brutal treatment of all who must toil for a living,” seized on the one odd sentence, took it out of context and in no time had Mr. Morris meekly arguing about some details of the program he condemned.
It was a neat trap, and poor Joe Morris, who has no debating chance at the junior high level, let alone in the Trudeau league, fell in and vanished without a trace.
Out in the frosty sunshine, where shivering thousands of union activists from across the country clustered on snow-cleared sidewalks under multicoloured placards and banners, it was a different story.
Joe Morris and his lieutenants drew cheers from the freezing throng. The forest of signs swayed in windy salutes as Morris denounced Trudeau’s “destructive and discriminatory economic policies.” The government, he said, “deceived Canadians, degraded the political process, spread cynicism throughout the land, endangered individual and collective freedoms, and set the country on the road to authoritarianism.”
Even the large blood-red banners of the communists, who have no use for the elected Morises (except as their unwitting
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tools), waved enthusiastically. And why not? The demonstration was a happy hunting ground for the radicals whose target is not Trudeau’s botched anti-inflation program but our whole economic and political system.
The Marxists of all denominations (Stalinists, Maoists, Trotskyists) cheer both Morris and Trudeau, for in their book the CLC is no less bourgeois than the government, and if these class enemies can be manoeuvred to tear themselves apart, the easier the whole wrecking job will be. So three cheers for Joe Morris whose unions played such a big role in restoring Trudeau to majority in the 1974 election and who now seeks revenge for what he considers betrayal of that support.
The demonstration was brief in the unseasonably perishing cold, but in the two hours or so of solidarity forever, piles of communist propaganda were distributed on the Hill.
And while the printed venom came from three competing Marxist sources, the message was essentially the same: class war, hate, revolution.
But where, you may ask, did the communists come from? Didn’t the unions kick them out some years ago?
They did, but with détente fooling governments, the CLC had its own appeasement bout. As Bruce Magnuson, Industrial Secretary of the Communist Party of Canada, put it triumphantly in the World Marxist Review (December 1975 issue), the CLC has felt compelled to rescind its anti-communist clause. Moreover, at its 10th convention in May 1974, “The predominant ideas influencing the debates were those of the genuine left political spectrum, and particularly of communists”
The results are beginning to show.
Defying Parliament — 9 May 75
With growing union militancy and the declining prestige of Parliament, defiance of back-to-work legislation was merely a matter of time.
Defiance of an order issued by Parliament is automatically defiance of the whole legal system. It’s not just lawbreaking by individual union members that constitutes the offence — although indictable offences by individuals may be involved —
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but premeditated collective flouting of an act of Parliament by an organized group which puts itself above the law.
This attitude is blindly destructive but hardly surprising. Unions have, for a long time, expected and received special considerations by politicians and law enforcement agencies. This has given them a feeling of immunity from prosecution for violence committed on picket lines, in inter-union warfare, and in disrupting essential public services.
The special treatment of union hooliganism developed as a compensation for the persecution unions suffered for a considerable time during their formative period. Public sympathy for the underdog produced an overreaction which lingered on long after unions gained great power and in fact blackmailing privileges.
Treated as untouchables by latter-day liberals (whose 19th-century laissez-faire predecessors had been largely responsible for the persecution of budding labour organizations), trade unions escaped classification as legal entities. That kept them immune from prosecution for collective lawbreaking even after the bloom of public sympathy began to wither. Their musclemen had come to take union violence as a labour right in which the police and the courts had no business to interfere.
Union lawlessness had, however, certain tacitly recognized limits. Among them was unquestioned compliance with back-to-work legislation on the rare occasions when Parliament had found it unavoidable to terminate some particularly harmful strike that eluded all attempts at a reasonable settlement.
Recently, strikers ordered back to their jobs for weighty reasons of national interest refused to comply immediately. They insisted on considering the special legislation, thereby making compliance with the law contingent on union approval.
The Quebec dockers merely pushed this unchallenged process of the unions becoming a state within a state to its logical conclusion.
I don’t think it’s sheer coincidence that this defiance happened as the MPs were giving themselves a big pay raise and the moral authority of Parliament was sinking to its lowest point in living memory. It’s also hardly coincidence that the open rebellion (and that’s what group defiance of the law amounts to) came from Quebec, where unions are fast becoming a political instrument of the class struggle demagoguery of their ideologically-motivated leaders.
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The whole thing is indicative of a much wider and far more serious trouble in the making.
Union Power Grab — 21 May
In every society, whatever its ideology and institutions, economic power seeks the most effective political expression. Whenever and wherever the two merge, the result is at best benign despotism, at worst bloody tyranny.
One of the great achievements of the far-from-perfect democratic system is its diffusion of economic power influences in politics.
Although it is theoretically conceivable for all the economically strong elements in an open pluralistic society to rally without exception behind one political party, in practice it does not and cannot really happen.
Thus, while the strongest party in a democracy usually attracts the opportunists among the economically strong, it never achieves anything approaching total control of material, let alone human, resources. The voter is sure to have a choice in the next election.
It is this diffusion of resources through the structure of the pluralistic system which, more than anything else, safeguards what the lucky minority of mankind that lives in the remaining democracies regards as fundamental human rights and freedoms.
To preserve those precious rights and freedoms, it is essential, in addition to defence against external perils, to maintain internal safeguards. Particularly, no segment of the economy should be allowed to establish itself as an extra-parliamentary political structure holding the powers of veto or blackmail over the rest of society.
These are precisely the powers the Canadian Labour Congress is grasping for in its Quebec City Manifesto. It wants “political power on a national basis” so that trade unions could enter into an equal tripartite planning and ruling partnership with government and business. In other words, the CLC wants a corporate state structure (the Manifesto calls it “social corporatism”) operating outside Parliament. This is seen as “progressive change.”
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Corporatism is a feudal concept which was revived in the brown and black fascist versions of modern totalitarianism. Hardly a model for us to copy. Since the demise of the feudal structure (North America was lucky never to experience it), progress has been understood to mean allround improvement of the human condition, not only in the material sense, but also and even more importantly in the expansion of individual rights and freedoms. Only the pluralistic economic and political structure of democracy has provided conditions in which phenomenal advances in both areas occurred. No other system, including the industrial models of corporate and Marxist fascism, has produced anything remotely comparable to the affluence, not to mention the freedom, of the democracies which their blinkered leftist detractors sneeringly call capitalist or bourgeois.
Any attempt to re-introduce corporatism is therefore a mockery of progressive change. Corporatism would in fact be not only regressive but dangerously reactionary, for the tripartite planning and ruling deal the CLC wants would inevitably smother what still remains of parliamentary democracy in Canada after eight years of Trudeau’s leftist Bonapartism.
The unions, while representing only about one-third of Canada’s labour force, have become self-serving monopolistic structures outside the law, with power to blackmail and cripple the economy. Their baronial bosses would dearly love to have corresponding political power.
As the chief backer of the New Democratic Party, the CLC has had, and continues to have, every chance the democratic system provides to seek dominant political position in open competition for public support. The resort to the tripartite corporate scheme in the Manifesto apparently means that the CLC chiefs have given up hope of persuading enough voters to let the NDP do to Canada what the union-dominated Labour party has done to Britain.
Hence the attempt, presented to rank and file unionists as an heroic fight against wage controls, to grab the power the electorate shows no intention of entrusting to the NDP-CLC hierarchy.
To justify such a preposterous proposal, the CLC moguls say that all they want is parity with the position business allegedly enjoys. That’s a typical nonsense of socialist rhetoric. If anything, business is less organized to act collectively than labour.
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Moreover, it has been for eight years now the target of what is belatedly recognized as a strong anti-business bias and thrust of the Trudeau regime.
Having jointly helped to keep Trudeau in office (especially in the 1974 crusade against Stanfield’s anti-inflation program), labour and business should certainly join forces for correcting the bad mistake and put the country back on its feet. But the democracy-saving business-labour co-operation Canada so badly needs is an entirely different proposition from the reactionary corporatism the CLC Manifesto demands.
“It Can’t Happen Here” — 9 June 76
Watching the barrage of cheese, butter and milk irate Quebec dairy farmers were hurling at riot police in front of the main entrance to the parliament buildings, an old senator said in disbelief: “This couldn’t be happening in Canada!”
Later in the day, as the rioters set fire to park benches and clumps of evergreens when they ran out of ornamental lamps to smash, a young press gallery reporter who got pushed around a bit in the melee, groaned: “I didn’t think this could ever happen in Canada!”
Both the old senator and the cub reporter were expressing one of the fondest Canadian myths: a notion that somehow we are more reasonable, more tolerant, better tempered and better behaved — in a word more civilized — than any other people on earth.
This belief, which is both comfortable and comforting in a world that is tearing itself apart with all sorts of violent disorders, may seem justified in a country which not only escaped revolutions and war damage but perfected the old political trick of procrastinating until apathy smothers potentially explosive issues. A closer look at Canada’s advance from conquest of Indian lands to European colony to independent North American state does not, however, sustain or even substantially support that pleasant thesis.
There is really no justification for any feeling of exclusiveness (most Canadians would be horrified to hear it described as faintly racist, but that’s what our smug nationalism really amounts to). Yet in recent years such a feeling went to our collective head as we watched other countries — especially the
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U.S. in the Vietnam and Watergate crises — suffer the damage of massive social turmoils, political scandals and moral traumas. Such things, we fondly believed, could not happen here.
So when political kidnapping and murder, or ugly riots, did shake the pleasant self-delusion, we reeled under the shock until the soothsayers rationalized the whole thing as a freak exception, an explanation that reinforced the smug myth of refined exclusiveness.
But the escapist routine is wearing thin. The dairymen’s mob performance last week was the third riot on Parliament Hill in less than three years (during the 1973 railroad strike, union goons wrestled with the protective staff inside the Centre Block, and in September 1974 the special RCMP riot squad had to be called to quell an Indian and Marxist attempt to storm the place).
Quite apart from these and other indications that anything which afflicts the “lesser breeds” can also happen here, a recently published book deflates all the popular Canadian myths and shows their phoniness in historical perspective. Written by Walter (Shrug) Stewart and published by Macmillan of Canada under the fitting title But Not In Canada, the book details the hypocrisy of our endeavours to present sheer circumstantial luck as some special virtue. Moreover, it points out that we can no longer take our unearned security and affluence for granted.
Anything can happen here now — especially, as Stewart tries to warn us, if sanctimonious smugness remains our national religion and national disease.
Real Reactionaries — 14 July 75
NDP leader Ed Broadbent is right when he calls the Trudeau regime “the most reactionary government” Canada has had. He is wrong, however, when he tries to ascribe the fact to Pierre Trudeau’s alleged conservatism.
Trudeau, who started calling himself a Liberal in 1965 when he entered federal politics with Gérard Pelletier on Jean Marchand’s coattails, has always been an academic socialist and CCF-NDP supporter. When he captured the leadership of the Liberal party in 1968, Trudeau saddled Canada with its first ideologically-motivated government. The ideology was his
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brand of ivory tower neo-Marxism, which he draped over with reassuring Grit clothing.
Canada thus acquired, without voting for it and without most people realizing it, a socialist federal government. And as in all countries where socialists rule, it turned out to be a reactionary government.
It cannot be anything else. For while starry-eyed idealists (particularly among the inexperienced young) can still be emotionally and intellectually seduced by socialist theories, practical application of socialism everywhere inevitably produces reactionary governments.
The reason is that the flawless social engineering postulated in all the Utopian blueprints goes haywire the moment it is applied to human beings. And the reason for that is that human beings are not engineering material which can be precisely measured, cut, shaped and assembled to specifications. Desires, talent, flaws, temper and motives simply cannot be treated as bricks and mortar or nuts and bolts.
No matter how logical, beautiful and desirable social engineering blueprints may look on paper, every socialist administration is thus sure to clash with the reality of enormously complex human nature. The misery that results from the endeavours of socialist planners to make men and women conform with preconceived ideas and rigid doctrines ranges, according to the concentration of power, from the horrors of the Gulag Archipelago described by Solzhenitsyn to the bureaucratic chicanery that pervades democratic socialism in the semi-regimented welfare states.
The common denominator of all versions of applied Marxism and its derivatives is the reactionary character of their governments. They can’t help being reactionary, for their attempts to make people conform to dehumanized schemes of uniform harmony and egalitarian well being force them to apply ever tighter regimentation. They have to interfere with and restrict basic freedoms of individuals and curb initiative — and all of this is reactionary. The more socialist a government becomes the more reactionary it has to be.
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in which, as Stalin told Churchill during World War II, millions of peasants were slaughtered or starved to death.
Millions more were sent to slower death in slave labour camps which started the Trudeau-admired development of the Soviet Arctic.
In the Ukraine alone this communist madness, which dwarfed Hitler’s mass slaughter of European Jews, cost in excess of seven million lives.
The net result was permanent crippling of Soviet agriculture.
With all this in mind, it should not be impossible to realize that selling food to communist regimes simply because they have the money to pay for it is not an ordinary, let alone an honourable, business deal.
Anyone who helps to perpetuate tyranny associates himself with its crimes.
Inverted McCarthyism — 3 Dec. 75
Every time the federal government stumbles over a pile of dirt with high Quebec content and someone dares to mention that aspect of it, the Trudeaucrats blanch with rage and cry “racism.”
The first few times that dreaded accusation was made, all criticism and questioning of the government abruptly stopped. Fear of the label of bigotry was greater than any desire to pursue the truth. But when the Trudeau government began to use the charge of racism as an automatic silencer of all criticism and probing, in much the same way as the Communists use the charges of McCarthyism, fascism, or warmongering, the mortifying effect of the cry of racism from Trudeau’s Francophone ministers wore off a bit. The administration’s critics in the opposition and the media still wince when called racists while exploring the new piles of dirt over which the Trudeau government keeps stumbling, but they no longer give up questioning and probing.
The inhibiting magic of the charge of racism began to wane after the 1972 election, and lost much strength after the 1974 contest. The reason for the decline was the Trudeaucrats’ unabashed appeal to racist feelings in Quebec, with such election slogans as the one which defined the choice for Francophones as between Monsieur Trudeau and Mr. Stanfield.
When Stanfield, who scrupulously avoided using any such
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divisive tactics in reverse, was subsequently accused of racism by some cabinet ministers when they came under fire in the Commons, the silencing power of the charge vanished. By now it is acquiring a tinge of the mixture of hypocrisy and farce it deserves.
Labelling — 7 July 76
The process started in earnest with Trudeau’s leadership campaign. Anyone who seriously tried to examine Trudeau’s political philosophy in 1968 and probe his fascinating background was promptly accused of smear tactics and witch-hunting. It got so ridiculously bad that even the use of straight quotations from Trudeau’s writings was made to appear in the public mind as despicable peddling of hate literature and added a curious twist to the meaning of “McCarthyism.”
Later this perverse untouchability was extended to the new sacred cow of bilingualism and anything connected with Quebec’s definition of partnership in federal politics. No matter how crude, inept, wasteful or corrupt assertions of the Trudeau-Marchand-Pelletier concept of the French fact turned out to be, they became increasingly more difficult to examine objectively, because the slightest criticism would be immediately branded as intolerance, anti-French bias, redneck obscurantism or, if that didn’t shut everyone up, racism.
The sum total of this attitude amounted to blackmail of Canada’s English-speaking majority by the French-speaking minority. It was justified as redress of past wrongs done by the majority to the minority.
This nonsense, which happened to fit the Zeitgeist feeling of guilt that totalitarian psychological warfare had injected into all Western democracies (with eager and able help from the radical intellectuals whom Lenin fittingly called “useful idiots”) ruled out asking even the obvious question: What wrongs?
For considering the demographic structure of this continent of immigrants and Quebec’s clinging to a closed mediaeval social structure until the 1960s, it’s hard to find any other country in the whole world where the equivalent of Canada’s French-speaking minority has been treated equally well by the majority. As a Canadian of neither English nor French origin, perhaps I can state these basic truths more bluntly and unemo-
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tionally than any of my colleagues from the two founding races.
Scandals — 10 May 76
Shed a tear for the maligned Liberal party. Far from being the villain in the assorted scandals that are now unfolding (to use Pierre Trudeau’s favourite phrase) as they should, it is the innocent victim of crime.
Rubbish, you say? Well, better make sure no one hears such a careless remark, or the federal job, contract or licence you or your children may seek one day will go to someone with a cleaner computer card.
Correction of what the public considers to be the ruling party’s smelly entanglement in corrupt affairs comes from unimpeachable high authority: the solicitor-general and the prime minister himself.
Parliamentary rules decree that in the Commons their word cannot be doubted. To suggest outside the House that our peerless leader and his “flaw and disorder minister” might be lying would be uncivilized. It simply is not done.
Nonetheless, you still want proof? Well, police investigation has revealed that Senator Giguère (Hon. Louis De Gonzague de la Durantaye as he is listed in the Parliamentary Guide), whose “little business on the side” in Skyshops shares created the unfortunate impression of Liberal involvement in shady deals, actually is charged with having pocketed money collected for the party.
So instead of being involved in criminal activity, the solicitor-general tells us with the righteous relief of a man who has known the truth for months but had to suffer its abuse in silence, that the Liberal party is actually the victim of a crime.
The RCMP’s finding that Senator Giguère may have misappropriated some $16,000 of party funds on top of his $95,000 profits on Skyshops shares he bought for $5,000 thus does not take the Trudeau party off the hook. On the contrary. It reinforces the impression of not just impropriety, which the PM admitted in the dial-a-judge affair, but illegality and criminality near the very pinnacle of the Grit (or rather Trudeau) power structure.
Senator Giguère happens to be a Trudeau appointee and
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personal friend. When a man so closely linked with the prime minister is charged with criminal offences the charge inevitably casts long shadows, for people know from their own experience that the old adage “birds of a feather flock together” is essentially correct. They also know that had it not been for the effective prodding by soft-spoken Tory MP Elmer MacKay, no one would have heard about the Skyshops affair or about the alleged robbing of the Liberal party by a Trudeau friend.
Smelly Mess — 1 Dec. 76
Kickbacks, payoffs, palm greasing, fraud, corruption … these sins, we know, are commonplace wherever the lesser breeds live. Lately, to our malevolent glee, they also plagued our mighty neighbour to the south.
Nothing like it, thank goodness, here. There may be an occasional small bad apple, perhaps — unavoidable with so many strange newcomers everywhere — but our major established companies remain clean, solid, above suspicion. Especially our exemplary crown corporations which combine the vigour of private business and the Canadian version of socialist ownership.
So when the crown corporations are caught using much the same marketing practices for which, not long ago, the abominable American Lockheed firm was righteously pilloried, it’s not bribery or any of the other vices we deplore across the border. No sir. Just special “invoicing practices,” as Prime Minister Trudeau put it, and “marketing inducements.”
The sum involved in what Auditor-General J. J. Macdonell has stumbled across is about $20 million. Peanuts, maybe, for a government which is now spending, virtually unchecked, over $42 billion a year. But an awful lot of money in the eyes of the taxpayer who sees around 36 per cent of his earnings vanish in the bureaucratic pipeline.
Take, for example, the $18 million Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (one of the pristine crown corporations) paid to Shaul Eisenberg. The money, extracted from our pockets, was paid to the Tel Aviv based international wheeler-dealer for alleged agent’s services rendered in the sale of a CANDU reactor to South Korea.
I happened to be in Seoul when negotiations for the
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CANDU sale seemed to have reached a crucial point in mid-1974. Discussing the sale with Korean officials, I had a distinct impression that they were quite anxious to buy the Canadian system. Their chief worry was that political opposition in Canada might scuttle the much desired deal. Mr. Eisenberg’s intervention in Korea was about as superfluous as would be his attempt to persuade Israel to buy American weaponry. This makes the $18 million paid to Eisenberg by one of our crown corporations look not only ridiculous but very fishy.
The CANDU sale to Argentina may have been different. Still what explanation is there for what looks like a $2.4 million bribe to clinch a deal from which, our government now admits, Canada is emerging with a loss of at least $25 million? What’s an agent’s commission for in such a disastrously idiotic transaction? And why is it impossible to find out who the agent was?
The way the Trudeaucrats have been squandering taxpayers’ money, they had to stumble sooner or later in their dance around the trough. The really sad thing is that the abuse could last so long without a public outcry.
Sanctimonious Hypocrisy — 22 Dec. 76
Last August a 47-year-old Protestant pastor named Oskar Bruesewitz set himself on fire in front of his church in Zeitz, East Germany. Hand-lettered placards he placed nearby said: “The churches accuse communism,” and “Don’t pervert and destroy our youth.”
Pastor Bruesewitz did not manage to kill himself on the spot. He suffered severe burns and died, reportedly in unrelieved agony, four days later.
Self-immolation is not an everyday form of protest. So the human torch in Zeitz made headlines in Western Europe. That is how I learned about it.
In an interview on West German television a close friend of Bruesewitz, also a priest, said: “Since the ninth congress of the (East German Communist) party a massive campaign of hate has been conducted among the youth. Pastor Bruesewitz tried to counter the torrent of lies and venom.”
When every avenue he could think of was blocked, he sacrificed his life.
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These are the bare essentials of the human torch drama in Zeitz. Why weren’t they picked up by our media when it happened, as it happened?
Too far away? Perhaps. But wasn’t a headlined burning Buddhist monk in Saigon even farther away? So distance does not explain the vastly different treatment of much the same event. Nor does anything else when you examine the possibilities, except one intangible thing: bias.
A Lutheran pastor turning himself into a living torch in a desperate attempt to draw attention to tightening communist oppression does not fit the détente delusions of our media tone-setters. So the event is ignored, passed over in silence. This type of slanted selectiveness has been so pronounced for so long (especially in the taxpayer-funded CBC) that it’s now considered normal.
People do not, however, expect the same kind of bias in church publications, especially when the subject is persecution of religion.
Not being a regular reader of church periodicals, I may have missed some mention of Pastor Bruesewitz’s sacrificial protest, but I don’t think I would have missed a pained outcry had there been any.
Take, for example, the national newspaper of the Anglican church, The Canadian Churchman. Instead of spotlighting communist repression of religion with the tragedy in Zeitz, the September issue carried a front page apologia of the neo-Marxist course steered by the World Council of Churches. Inside, the paper had lots of room for promotion of understanding of homosexuality, but none for protest of the self-immolation of a priest.
The October issue again had nothing to say about Bruesewitz’s sacrifice but went a step further in whitewashing the WCCs pro-communist line.
WCC General Secretary Philip Potter, The Canadian Churchman said, “protested when he was asked why the central committee (of which Archbishop Ted Scott is moderator) issued strong statements of condemnation against the South African and Rhodesian governments for human rights violations, and refused to direct a statement at Eastern European socialist countries for persecution of religion.” It was suggested to him the committee was not acting even-handedly.
“Christians don’t believe in even-handedness,” he (Dr. Pot-
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ter) said. “Call us inconsistent if you like. But evenhandedness is not a Christian concept …”
When this WCC brand of Christianity and selective indignation did not seem to convince Dr. Potter’s critics, he added that the WCC was often the last to receive statements regarding alleged cases of violations in Eastern Europe, and that “it is difficult to know precisely what is happening.”
It is indeed difficult to know precisely what is happening in the closed communist tyrannies behind their facades, but even Dr. Potter and his holy comrades could not fail to draw a few correct conclusions from such events as the self-immolation of a priest, and from the available documentation of savage repression of basic human rights in communist-ruled countries. Since these conclusions would upset a whole religio-Marxist complex of preconceived ideas, it’s easier to feign ignorance or lofty aloofness. Reminders of what is happening, such as the self-immolation of Pastor Bruesewitz or the apocalyptic massacres in Cambodia, can always be either rationalized away or simply smothered by silence. The silence of sanctimonious hypocrisy.
Subversive Schools — 3 Sept. 75
For generations schools have been regarded as the society’s principal tool for moulding young minds and characters. Together with accumulated knowledge, they transmitted the society’s basic spiritual and moral values held in common by parents and teachers.
The school was thus an extension and reinforcement of family influences on the child, supplying the facilities and educational expertise the family in most instances could not provide.
This harmony of purpose, which tended to strengthen the social fabric in its generational process of renewal, was thrown out of kilter in the democracies during the Great Depression. It was then that some of the tone-setting educators and academics embraced Utopian socialism which seemed to offer a way out of the mess.
Since then the theoretical lure of the various social engineering doctrines of the political left has virtually transformed the higher echelons of our education system into strongholds of neo-Marxism, despite all the clear and amply available ev-
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idence of the horrors every practical application of real socialism has produced.
In the 1960s this spiritual and moral blight started creeping from the universities to high schools. Now the process is gradually engulfing elementary schools, as retiring old teachers are replaced by freshly graduated radicals.
This would be of little or no consequence if these teachers were able to keep their ideological befuddlement isolated from their professional task. But like all the self-styled progressives whose minds have been deformed by the Marxist poison, they regard themselves as missionaries of what they conceive to be higher justice and freedom. And so they turn classrooms into indoctrination and propaganda incubators.
The result is that the disciples of Marx’s class war doctrine are steadily enlarging the scope of their destructive work by reaching younger and younger minds. And since many parents, scared by the pseudo-scientific mumblings of with-it sociologists and psychologists, have abdicated their responsibility for shaping the spiritual and moral foundations of their children, elementary school teachers get almost entirely blank minds to work with.
The advantage is obvious. For while a university student, and to a lesser extent a high school teenager, might be able to put up some resistance to brainwashing, the grade school pupil is entirely at the mercy of an ideological zealot.
As in the mass media (and lately also in the churches), missionary ideological work in the education system is done individually. Signs of attempts to co-ordinate and organize these solo efforts began appearing (particularly in militant teachers’ unions and under the guise of new teaching methods) only recently.
One such sign was the introduction of the “commune experiment” to some Ontario schools last year. Based on a reader titled China’s Way: The Commune as an Idea for Change, the experiment consists of elementary school children being led to believe, through playing communes, that society should be structured that way.
Parents who hadn’t quite abdicated their responsibility for the future of their children were quite horrified, particularly when their protests to school authorities and the provincial ministry of education fell on deaf ears.
What’s next? Class warfare in kindergartens?
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Are we really so apathetic, confused or stupid as to let democracy perish this way?
Abuse of Freedom — 21 May 75
Theoretically, the freedom of expression that is basic to genuine democracy is its greatest strength. For when, in open competition of information and views, the public forms a certain predominant opinion which the representative process transforms into policy, that policy has the invincible strength of convinced voluntary majority support.
In practice, however, the process of opinion formation in a free society is wide open to distortions and abuses, which can turn the greatest strength of the democratic process into its mortal weakness.
Since elected representatives do and must reflect public opinion, their decisions can be shaped by manipulation of public opinion. And manipulation of public opinion is a fairly simple matter of systematic slanting of information and comment.
All that is needed to accomplish the goal is to staff the media with people who hold certain basic premises of social philosophy, economic theory and political doctrine in common. Their perception, presentation and interpretation of events will automatically produce a systematic, all-pervasive slant, which in due course will be reflected in public opinion pressures and ultimately in policy decisions.
Staffing the media with like-minded zealots may seem difficult but in fact poses no great problem when the education system keeps producing precisely such a biased fraternity.
The education system in almost all the democracies was virtually taken over by socialists during the Great Depression of the 1930s which convinced a large number of educated and sensitive people that the industrial democracies were unable to meet the requirements of technological and social change of the 20th century. And so, as onetime socialist Malcolm Muggeridge puts it in his Chronicles of Wasted Time “wise old Shaw, the venerable Webbs, Gide the pure in heart and Picasso the impure, down to poor little teachers, crazed clergymen and millionaires, drivelling dons and very special correspondents like Duranty, all resolved, come what might, to be-
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lieve anything, however preposterous, to overlook anything, however villainous, to approve anything, however obscurantist and brutally authoritarian, in order to be able to preserve intact the confident expectation that one of the most thoroughgoing, ruthless and bloody tyrannies ever to exist on earth (Communist Russia) could be relied on to champion human freedom, the brotherhood of man, and all the other good liberal causes to which they had dedicated their lives.”
Since that time the school systems of the democracies have graduated three generations of neo-Marxist radicals. The more recent crops may no longer be smitten by Soviet Russia but have found new models in Maoism, Castroism, Allendeism or Marcusism. The media, which attract the most imaginative types, are by now almost completely staffed with zealots from top to bottom. (The few surviving individualists who do not sing with the lib-left chorus are ostracized, ridiculed, vilified and denied access to television and radio audiences.)
The result is that while freedom of expression remains nominally intact, the public is getting in fact a systematic slant of virtually all its information and comment. Public opinion, and therefore policy, in the democracies can thus be manipulated in the interest of the totalitarians who in their domain are free from any public pressure on policy formation. What this leads to was vividly demonstrated in the final phases of the conflict in Indochina when the U.S. Congress, responding to manipulated public opinion, denied support pledged by the administration (under the Paris Peace Treaty provisions) to South Vietnam, while Moscow and Peking stepped up their backing of North Vietnam.
More than a century ago Abraham Lincoln said that “he who moulds public opinion goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”
In the age of television and radio brainwashing techniques, abuse of this awesome power could be fatal if the bastions of democracy, while materially strong but disabled intellectually and morally by their own mass media, could not match the resolve of the totalitarians.
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Packaging News — 27 Aug. 76
Leaving deliberate misinformation and disinformation aside, one of the great sins of the mass media is distortion through oversimplification and glib labelling of complex issues.
Almost invariably the distortions are the result of best intentions. So many issues are so complex in our day and age that their public presentation cannot be attempted without some synoptic simplification. Few people have the time and patience to wade through a maze of details in print and would switch off their radio or TV if anyone tried to inform them thoroughly.
It was, in fact, the entirely different technique of electronic journalism which introduced oversimplifications as the basic requirement and standard of reporting. To retain the attention of the listener or the viewer, every issue, no matter how complex, has to be condensed into a short beep which leaves room for little more than an extended headline. Packaging and labelling of news — and by now of comment as well — has thus become more important than content and accuracy.
As in all packaging and labelling, the process is dominated by fashion trends which produce, despite fierce competition between broadcasting networks, newspapers and magazines, an amazing uniformity. Once a trend is established and certain labels become popular, they are automatically and unthinkingly parroted by almost every communicator. The whole process thus lends itself ideally to mass brainwashing of societies, even where the information industry is not yet subject to official censorship or central direction by the ruling authority.
Media Slant — 17 Jan. 73
The idea behind two national television networks — the publicly owned CBC and the free enterprise CTV — is to assure competition and thereby offer the viewer a choice. Putting it bluntly, competition is meant to eliminate the danger of TV brainwashing.
It’s a fine theory. Unfortunately it does not work in practice. The reason is quite simple. The information media, and television in particular, attract primarily the pseudo-intellectuals who see themselves not as reporters and analysts of the world
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we live in, but as missionaries of a dream world they have constructed in their minds from the fashionable mixture of alienation and undigested ideological precepts of Utopia that is served by our universities.
For this type of confused mind, the sum total of existing conditions is an intolerable obstruction of the higher reality it has concocted out of idealized, preconceived ideas. Striving for the higher reality, which is deemed attainable only over the ruins of the existing order, is therefore a moral obligation of every progressive journalist.
Once communicators whose minds operate along these lines get hold of the major technical facilities of mass information, the safeguards of free competition cease to operate. For no matter how many separate broadcasting networks (or newspapers, for that matter) there may be, their only competition will be in the intensity, and pehaps ingenuity, of the onesided slant.
The Info-filter — 5 April 76
Public apathy in Canada to both domestic and international events of far-reaching implications is unmatched. So is the it-can’t-happen-here smugness, and above all the ostrich escapism of “if it’s unpleasant, I don’t want to hear about it.” In the media, which are supposed to give people in a free society all the available facts and views on which to base reasoned conclusions, this means that “if the facts contradict what you have been led to believe, we’ll leave them out or minimize and discredit them.”
Last month forcibly exiled Russian writer and Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn issued two urgent warnings to the democracies. One was in the form of a TV interview, the other a statement. Both were aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation in London.
Since then, American TV viewers have had a chance to see the two programs. Also, newspapers and magazines everywhere in the non-communist world carried extensive excerpts, quotes and summaries. Everywhere, that is, except in Canada. Why?
Because, with rare exceptions, our media are almost completely dominated and operated by a combination of lib-left zealots and ideological ignoramuses (the anything-for-the-buck type) who filter and manipulate news and comment to fit
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certain preconceived ideas that have been brainwashed into the public mind and are considered sacred.
When anyone with wider experience and devotion to unvarnished truth comes along and challenges not just the postulates but the premises on which the whole progressive delusion has been built, he is destroyed. First he gets a brief flare of publicity as a curiosity and then, if he cannot be silenced by such idiotic labels as reactionary warmonger and fascist, he begins to be shrugged off by the tone-setters with a condescending smirk reserved for crackpots. Finally he is ignored. The idea is that what people don’t see and don’t hear about is not happening. Unwanted facts and views thus do not interfere with opinion and policy formation. Canada leads the Western world in this self-deception.
The biggest filtering and slanting establishment in our media setup is unquestionably the CBC. Theoretically answerable to Parliament but in fact accountable to no one behind the shield of its elegant misinterpretation of freedom of speech, the publicly-financed CBC is the most efficient brainwashing machine outside the totalitarian orbit.
Monolithic Thinking — 30 Aug. 76
In the August issue of Maclean’s magazine, Vancouver Sun columnist Allan Fotheringham worries about growing public annoyance with, and resentment of, the antics of the mass media. The beast has grown too big, self-important, arrogant and irresponsible. Instead of reporting events, newsmen (particularly the “electronic babblers” with their truckloads of equipment) now dominate or even create them.
When, for example, fewer than 7,000 athletes at the Olympic Games are covered by almost 8,000 journalists, or a political convention has more newsmen than delegates in attendance, something is obviously wrong.
Swarming over every public event and turning it into a media happening would not necessarily be bad in itself, says Fotheringham, “if it bred diversity of opinion.” But it doesn’t. “It merely encourages monolithic thinking, group conclusions, herd clichés.”
That is indeed so. But the fault does not lie entirely, as Fotheringham seems to imply, with the men and women in the
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field. A good deal of responsibility for the amazing uniformity of opinion, carbon-copy arguments and conclusions, rests with the people in charge of newspaper publishing and broadcasting. When those who hire, fire, promote, and decide what will be printed or broadcast make it perfectly clear that certain views, arguments and even facts are frowned upon, reporters and commentators get the message loud and clear even if it is not spelled out in direct instructions. Those who want to make journalism their career naturally try to produce what’s wanted and shun what would harm their chances of advancement.
The selection our major newspapers, magazines, radio and TV networks make from available material leaves little doubt that what is wanted is a definite lib-left slant with a sanctimonious anti-American overtone. This is deemed to be the progressive, popular and patriotic line. So journalists who want to keep their bread buttered supply it.
This does not necessarily mean that all or most newsmen are intellectual mercenaries or prostitutes. Far from it. Products of a lib-left education system and mod radicalism, most of them deliver the desired slant out of conviction. The knowledge of what is wanted, what sells, what brings promotion, respect and material rewards does, of course, strengthen what Fotheringham deplores as “monolithic thinking, group conclusions, herd clichés.”
The media are sure to reject this criticism of uniformity and maintain that different views, even controversial opinions, are encouraged. That’s true, but only in the very limited sense of controversy within the lib-left slant. What this means is that anyone can argue how progressive (or radical) the correct lib-left position should be, but no one may question the premises and postulates of that position. Whoever ventures into this forbidden territory and dares to examine or question any of the sacred articles of lib-left faith is blacklisted as a dangerous character who must be silenced or at least isolated and discredited. Views that challenge “monolithic thinking, group conclusions, herd clichés” therefore find few, if any, outlets in our media. The public is thus protected from exposure to independent thinking which might, if given a wide circulation, shatter some comfortable delusions and upset various cosy arrangements.
Could it be that the work of the challengers of blinkered orthodoxy does not meet the standards of our newspapers,
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magazines and radio-TV networks? Hardly. The lone truth-seekers in our media happen to be winners of Canada’s highest journalistic awards. So why not let people know what they have to say instead of limiting dissemination of their work as much as possible?
The answer is that the limousine liberals and penthouse socialists who dominate our communications industry do not really want people to hear any other presentation and explanation of events than their own. That’s why even the most ardent nationalists among them prefer to use kindred souls from across the border as sources for comment that fits their preconceived ideas to Canadian commentators whose views differ.
The result of the “monolithic thinking, group conclusions, herd clichés” is even more alarming than the Fotheringham lament indicates. As the Trilateral Commission put it in its report on the crisis of democracy earlier this year: “The media have become an autonomous power … (and) play a most decisive role in the present drift of Western society.”
Repeat Performance? — 4 March 77
Remember Prime Minister Trudeau’s reaction to his near-defeat in the 1972 election? Almost overnight he turned around virtually all the weird policies which irritated and offended the electorate. In his humble eagerness to regain popularity, he didn’t hesitate to steal from the opposition ideas and policies he had previously ridiculed and rejected.
The same thing is now happening all over again, with one marked difference: the image-changing effort is this time mounted before the election. That’s not only prudent after the 1972 experience but absolutely necessary if the Trudeaucrats intend to risk another regular political contest.
Ever since the price-income controls deception, the Trudeau government has been in trouble with the voters. Despite the Tories’ selection of a relatively unknown and colourless young leader, an unprecedented reverse popularity gap opened up between the ruling party and the official Opposition. Last year it came for a while close to 20 per cent.
To go to the country in these circumstances would obviously spell the end of the Trudeau regime, no matter how fuzzy the Clark alternative may seem to be. So a dramatic change in the
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mood of the electorate has to be engineered before the next march to the polls is set in motion.
The best way to go about it is to suspend temporarily everything that obviously irritates and antagonizes decisive segments of the electorate, and keep saying and doing for a while whatever the public wants.
This does not mean abandoning long-term programs and objectives. Nor does it mean really embracing markedly different positions and policies.
All that is needed is to create a fleeting impression that major changes are being made. It’s the latest impression that matters as far as the next vote count is concerned. And virtually any desired impression can be created by short tactical zig-zags which do not alter the general course Trudeau set in the first four years of his autocratic reign.
The government’s loss of popularity, even among pedigree Liberals and coldly calculating opportunists, has been so drastic that no single dazzling trick can recoup the lost ground. But a series of them might, especially if they came in quick succession.
Can it be done?
The impact of Trudeau’s performance in Washington shows that the possibility is there. Given an attention-grabbing setting, escalating fear of disintegration of the country, and Trudeau’s readiness to say whatever people want to hear, the effect could be astonishing.
Since almost everything the PM has done since the 1974 election has run against the wishes and strong feelings of a vast majority of Canadians, Trudeau now has to eat his words repeatedly to reassure and please voters. For an admirer of Machiavelli and Mao that’s no great problem. Declaring private enterprise unworkable one day and swearing by it the next poses no problem. What counts with a mind cast in this mould is whether a certain action serves a pressing tactical need, not whether the move is principled, moral, or consistent with previously stated positions and policies.
Trudeau’s pressing tactical need right now is to raise his electoral rating and enlist support, wherever he can and in any way that works. It was with a shrewd grasp of maximum effect that he chose Washington for his first spectacular trick, namely, reversal of his consistently hostile attitude towards the United States. Who will recall that it’s the same man who went
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to Moscow to rant about American threats to our identity from the cultural, economic and perhaps even military point of view, and who only a year ago shouted “Viva Castro!” And who will recall his systematic ruin of our armed forces and weakening of NATO when his defence minister is now lecturing on the importance of collective defence and buying a few new tanks? Who is likely to keep in mind what a happy hunting ground for spies the Trudeau regime has provided in Canada when at the moment people hear of spies being expelled, and Trudeau’s former external affairs minister makes pious noises about violations of human rights behind the Iron Curtain he passed over in silence for years?
All this is part and parcel of a massive image changing campaign in preparation for the next election. I am sure Trudeau wouldn’t hesitate to sell his grandmother, and perhaps even break relations with the USSR, China and Cuba for a while, if that would get him the votes he needs to win. The comrades in Moscow, Peking and Havana would understand the tactical need and go along with it.
The big question is: Will Canadians see through the unfolding series of vote-luring tricks and realize that they are being conned all over again? In other words, will the great deception work once more for Trudeau despite the clear warnings of his record? Can public memory really be that short?
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