Tag Archives: Westminster System

One Victory Against the Encroaching Totalitarianism

Posted on by

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

One Victory Against the Encroaching Totalitarianism

 
 
If anyone was under the impression that my harsh, negative, assessment of our civil leadership’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in my last essay was overblown, they need only look at the dirty trick the Liberals tried to pull this week. Parliament, which adjourned on March 13th until Hitler’s birthday – draw your own conclusions, was temporarily called back on Tuesday to vote on an emergency spending bill. The problem was not the $82 billion that the government was seeking permission to spend. The problem was that the bill, as originally drafted, included several provisions that would give them the power to increase spending and taxation without submitting the increases to Parliament for a vote.

Perhaps they thought that the panic that the media – which in Canada is almost monolithically the mouthpiece of the Liberal Party – has generated would be sufficient for them to get away with this. Or possibly they thought that all of their efforts over decades to get Canadians to devalue the traditions and institutions we inherited from Britain and to forget the history and significance of those traditions and institutions had finally paid off, and that we would be willing to let them overturn the Magna Carta and the very foundation of Parliamentary government and our Common Law liberties.

Mercifully, it appears they were wrong. Tuesday morning it was reported that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition were doing their job and firmly standing up for our traditional, constitutional, limits on government powers and that in the face of this staunch defence, the Liberals had backed down from their proposed power grab. Which is grounds for hope in this troubling times. The spirit of liberty has not yet been entirely crushed within us.

Later in the day, it was clarified that the tax powers were all that the Liberals had removed from the bill and that they were still pushing for the spending and borrowing powers. The Tories dug in in their opposition to these as well. The parties entered into negotiations but the day ended without the House being called upon to vote. This Wednesday morning – the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – it was announced that the Liberals had dropped all the provisions for extended powers from the bill, which as an emergency spending bill has just passed the House, and will undoubtedly clear the Senate and receive Royal assent within a day or two.

I have been very critical of Andrew Scheer’s past performance as Opposition Leader and his bumbling in the last election but now, when it counts the most, it looks like he has come through for Canadians. Andrew Cohen, writing for the Ottawa Citizen, has praised the Prime Minister’s performance in this crisis saying “This has been his finest hour.” I beg to disagree. This – not the Kokanee Grope, not the costume party in India, not the Blackface/Brownface Scandal, not the SNC Lavalin Affair – has been Justin Trudeau, revealed at his worst – an opportunistic, tyrant, who has tried to take advantage of a global health crisis to attack the foundations of our constitution and expand his own powers. This is Andrew Scheer’s finest hour, not Justin Trudeau’s.

I am under no illusions that the majority of my countrymen see it my way rather than Cohen’s. Canadians have been far too apathetic for far too long towards the riches of our inheritance in the Common Law and the Westminster System of Parliament. It is almost one hundred years since the famous incident when Lord Byng, Governor General of Canada, exercised the reserve powers of the Crown and refused Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s request for a dissolution of Parliament. King, who had been allowed to form a government despite not having won the plurality in the House, wanted the dissolution to save his own bacon because he faced an imminent censure in Parliament over a corruption scandal. Lord Byng’s refusal was an entirely appropriate use of the Crown’s powers to protect Parliament’s right to hold the government accountable, as such champions of our constitution as John Farthing and Eugene Forsey demonstrated in their books on the subject. In the next Dominion election, however, the Canadian electorate bought King’s execrable lies about the matter hook, line, and sinker and awarded him a majority government.

That the government’s first thoughts with regards to dealing with this crisis were that they need to expand their powers beyond what the constitution allows them is itself sufficient evidence that they do not deserve to be trusted with such powers.

The approach they have been taking to the COVID-19 pandemic is further grounds not to trust them. Remember that this is a virus which in over eighty percent of the cases we know about has produced no symptoms to moderate symptoms. The actual percentage of those who have contracted the virus of whom this is true is probably closer to 99.99%. Most people who are asymptomatic would not have been tested unless they were in a situation where they were known to have been exposed to the virus. Thus, an approach to containing the disease which focuses on protecting those most vulnerable to experience it at its worst rather than protecting us all by shutting everything down and forcing us all into isolation makes the most sense. Countries that have aggressively pursued such an approach have succeeded in containing the spread of the disease without going into extreme shut down mode. Ironically, the countries which Mr. Cohen lists in the second paragraph of his column have all followed this approach, unlike Italy and the United States whose mishandling of the crisis he decries, despite the fact that they are following the same kind of approach, albeit with varying degrees of severity, as our own government.

The model which Mr. Trudeau is following is that of advising – and probably eventually compelling – all Canadians to stay at home, away from the threat of contagion, and also from the sun and fresh air which are man’s most important natural allies in the fight against disease. This involves shutting down all “non-essential” businesses and promising that the government will take care of the huge segment of the workforce which now founds itself unemployed. Since government is not a wealth generating institution – despite sometimes having delusions to the contrary – this means that the burden it is taking upon itself must fall upon the only part of the private economy that remains open – the “essential” businesses that provide food and other necessities, putting a strain on these which will, if this lasts for any lengthy period of time, cause them to fail. This would result in far more deaths than the collapse of the medical system that Mr. Trudeau is trying to avoid by the long-term strategy of slowing the spread of the virus and pushing its peak into the future ever would. The modern economy is the way in which we have avoided the Malthusian consequences of our population size. Anybody who is not an idiot knows this. “Lives are more important than the economy” is a lie concealed behind a moral truism. Destroy the economy, and you destroy the lives that it sustains. The Holodomor of almost ninety years ago is an historical example of how a regime used that principle to destroy lives deliberately with malice aforethought. If the Trudeau Liberals accomplish the same it will be primarily through stupidity.

Nor is shrinking the economy to the point where it cannot possibly feed our population and so causing the deaths of masses by starvation the only way in which the model the Trudeau government is pursuing could produce disastrous results. As unemployment skyrockets, suicide rates are likely to rise as well. Furthermore, if “extreme social distancing” is kept in place for as long as the Liberals are saying is necessary – months rather than weeks – there will be a general breakdown in psychological and emotional health. Human beings are social creatures. They are not meant to live apart from each other. Force them to live contrary to their nature for a lengthy period of time and they will start to go bonkers. This too would contribute to a rise in suicide rates as well as other dangerous and destructive behaviour.

Furthermore, just as an extended shut down will rapidly burn up accumulated material capital, so an extensive period of “extreme social distancing” will burn up social capital – the trust between members of a community and society that enables them to function in a civilized way and cooperate for their own common good. The only kind of government that would want to destroy that is a totalitarian government that hates and persecutes all social interaction that is not under its direct planning and control, which demands the total undivided allegiance of its citizens, and which fears any and all rivals for its peoples’ loyalty, trust, and affection.

Those who would rather not live under that kind of a government, who still value our constitution in which Queen-in-Parliament and not Prime Minister-in-Council is sovereign, and our Common Law rights and freedoms won a victory today. Let us practice eternal vigilance and pray that it is not short-lived.