The Canadian Temper: A Warning to America
Canadians have long thought of themselves as morally superior to the supposedly vulgar and abrasive Americans. According to the self-justifying Canadian mythos, we embody a more enlightened and humane outlook on the world. In addition to oil, maple syrup, and lumber, our most valuable export — our gift, we imagine, to our southern neighbors — is our vision of a sustainable and irenic future. Let us examine the most current incarnation of that vision.
Canada is essentially a socialist country, closer to the increasingly decrepit European welfare and statist paradigm than to the (now faltering) classic American model of individual self-reliance. Canada instituted social programs like state-funded medicine relying on major tax hikes long before it became an issue in the U.S., and gambled on multiculturalism as a viable national project, in effect, as a kind of political eschatology. There is no question that the Canadian temper has always been more politically Arcadian than the American.
The current refugee question in particular has become a pivotal and collective expression of this temper, with citizens opening their wallets, hearts, and homes to a migratory influx from the Islamic world. Our self-congratulatory generosity is amply demonstrated in the writings of celebrated Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey. Pontificating in the Montreal Gazette, Grey urges the welcoming of thousands of Syrian migrants as we proceed “to create a society which has, on the one hand, citizens of myriad origins and, on the other, no barriers between them.”
The problem that Grey refuses to confront or even identify is that immigrants and refugees from historically backward, theocratic, anti-Semitic, Sharia-dominated, and terror-sponsoring nations are precisely the ones who are creating “barriers,” such as purpose-built ghettos, no-go zones, closed neighborhoods, special privileges and spaces, an atmosphere of threat, and who have no interest in Western-style “individual autonomy and freedom” — Grey’s chosen vocabulary. Grey is the lawyer for the Muslim-friendly socialist New Democratic Party, but there is not much sunlight between the NDP and the governing Muslim-friendly Liberal Party.
Indeed, in the October 2015 Federal election the Liberals, the NDP and the splinter, reactionary-left Greens ran between them a total of 23 Muslim candidates (the leftist/sovereignist Bloc Québécois fielded two Muslim candidates, raising the combined total to 25 Muslim hopefuls), representing approximately 7 per cent of available parliamentary seats, over twice the Islamic percentage of the population. (The ousted Conservatives fielded only four Muslims.) In the end, the combined electoral seats won by the four left-leaning parties, the Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Greens, clocked in at 71 per cent; the center-right Conservatives polled just 29 per cent. This is the face of Canada today.
During the election campaign, Islam became a prominent issue, with Liberal PM Justin Trudeau claiming that there was no place in his Canada for the previous Conservative government’s “divisive” Islamophobia and exaggerated concern for national security. In his victory speech, Trudeau uttered the inevitable pieties à la Obama: “We beat fear with hope, we beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together.” To a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, he promised “a government that believes deeply in the diversity of this country.”
A perverse illustration of this stupefying attitude comes from the Bank of Nova Scotia (commonly known as Scotiabank), which has welcomed the migrant onslaught with its Welcome Syrians program. (The original webpage featuring large print and colorful graphics now seems to have been scrubbed.) Canada’s third largest bank is offering every Syrian a hundred dollar gift deposit, a $2000 limit unsecured credit card, a free safety deposit box for one year and a $50 unsecured overdraft. Customers who bank at the Scotia and pay monthly fees to maintain their accounts have good reason to feel resentful — unless, of course, they happen to be migrant sympathizers and soft on Islam.
These “Syrians,” not all of whom are Syrians and some of whom are almost surely ISIS jihadists, receive housing, benefits, and gifts without having contributed an iota to the nation’s economy; indeed, they will be a limitless drain on our resources.
The $1.2 billion cost of bringing in these refugees is only the beginning of our fiscal woes. Quoted by the CBC, coordinator Carl Nicholson said “many factors have made the task of housing government-assisted refugees more difficult, including the larger-than expected size of some families that have arrived.” The accompanying photo shows a couple with six toddlers. No wonder the Liberals’ shopworn immigration minister John McCallum has solicited the business community for donations in the amount of $50 million. “I would encourage all Canadians, companies, individuals, communities, to continue to support the effort because we are entering a critical phase,” he said. Darn right on the latter score.
My parents and grandparents, fleeing starving, war-torn Ukraine, worked to the bone to earn a living while contributing through taxes to the national welfare. Many Canadians share the same history, yet they are expected to receive and bankroll a large number of migrants who will take advantage of the innumerable perks that our forebears, who fled famine and civil war and who helped build this country, had never enjoyed or even considered their due.
Richard Butrick cogently argues in an important article for American Thinker that immigrants who came to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries “knew they had to work hard to survive,” at the same time contributing to the nation’s commercial, industrial, and scientific advances. “Immigrants today,” he continues, “know the U.S. is a fail-safe environment,” where they are subsidized and coddled. The so-called “re-energizing” immigration narrative has been superseded by, let’s say, a parasitical model based on muddled sentimentality and false calculations, which Canada has bought into without sober forethought. A country built on welfare migrants is not a country built on hardworking immigrants.
There are some signs that the “Syrian Covenant” is becoming more complicated than originally envisaged, as the initial euphoria for the migrants seems to be waning under an unforgiving reality. I have heard that families that have gloatingly affirmed their “Canadian values” and freely taken Syrians into their homes are petitioning their government for financial help. The City of Ottawa, Canada’s capital, has called for a pause to its hospitality for lack of housing, facilities and funds. Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax have also asked for a hiatus. The bloom is starting to come off the rose — and the hue off the rose-colored glasses — for many of these fallow enthusiasts. But with further government subventions and the media propaganda blitz saturating what remains of the Canadian mind, the early stages of skepticism and reluctance will probably lead to nothing much.
This is how we do things in Canada. We throw out a Conservative government — itself an anomaly in our political landscape — that steered us safely through the devastating market crash of 2007/8, and objected to Islamic face coverings in citizenship swearing-in ceremonies and to the acceptance of “barbaric” practices in the cultural habits of these new citizens — and bring in a Liberal administration dedicated to increasing the national debt and gradually submerging the country in an effluvium of Muslim migrants and refugees.
The U.S. is clearly heading in the same direction with its national debt swelling exponentially and the inpouring of unvetted “Syrian” migrants exacerbating an already problematic Islamic infiltration. In effect, it’s the same set of cultural attributes, a big spending mentality and an open door policy, of which Canada has long been a shining exemplar. This is why the coming election is perhaps the most critical in U.S. history. A Democrat administration under Billary or Bernie would close the gap between our two countries dramatically. And this is why the candidacies of Donald Trump, for all his flaws, and of the Cruzio amalgam despite the media-generated flap over their eligibility, may determine whether America can return to some degree of sanity and a semblance of its former vitality — or, heaven forfend, become Canada South.
First published in the American Thinker.