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As a classical liberal who believes in individual liberty, the pursuit of happiness, secular democracy, rule of law, social equality, free trade, fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense, I was politically homeless in Canada long before canceling my Laurier Club membership and leaving the Liberal Party in October 2023.


The Liberals have always been a “big tent” political party. Membership ranges from the infamous red Tories to radical centrists and Islamists to undercover communists. Its tolerance knows few limits, if any. Everyone is welcome. Even supporters of terrorist groups like Hamas apparently. This moral ambiguity is irreconcilable with our Canadian values, including the rule of law, human rights, and gender equality.


There is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. One is a beacon of liberalism and progress in a region characterized by illiberalism, failed statehood, and authoritarian repression. The other is a despicable Iran-backed terrorist group guilty of committing atrocities against Israelis and Palestinians alike, including the October 7 terrorist attack.


Principles are non-negotiable. Despite our differences, Israel is a democratic partner. Yet the Liberal government imposed an arms embargo against it during a desperate time of war. That is not how liberal democracies treat each other. Betraying Jerusalem to appease the anti-Israel mob is a dereliction of duty. The Liberals have failed to learn that appeasement does not pay. Nor does it make your problems go away.


Welcome to Canada in the year 2024. The Liberal Party has taken all Canadians on this ride with them.


The state of Canada’s national defense is abysmal. Nearly half of our military equipment is unserviceable. A high-security bio-lab was infiltrated by agents of the Communist Party of China. The Liberals and NDP began by blocking the investigation, just like they delayed the foreign interference inquiry last year. Don’t get me started on our failure to arm Ukraine, jump start our defense industrial base, and secure the Canadian Arctic.

Law and order have been forsaken. Two years ago, Ottawa was illegally blockaded for three weeks in a row. Local businesses were shut down. Residents were harassed. An injunction was obtained. Police did nothing. Now, anti-Israel fanatics blockade Jewish institutions and chant genocidal slogans while Canadian jews, our most at-risk minority, are reminded of the crimes committed against their fellow Israelites before, during, and after the Holocaust. Laws exist on paper. Enforcement remains a rarity.

Economic growth has been sacrificed on the altar of magical thinking. The private sector drives the economy through the pursuit of profit. The state is supposed to chaperone businesses along the way. Liberals seem to think the opposite. We have spent the better part of the last 9 years following Europe down the long road to economic stagnation. Padding our stats by expanding the size of the federal government will not solve our economic problems. In fact, it is more likely to create new ones.


Human and financial capital are finite resources. The world is globalized. Canada must compete internationally for the best of both of these, regardless of what separatists in Quebec or isolationists in Alberta might think. Bigger government means more spending. As borrowing increases to meet these expenditures, so do taxes and interest payments to service the resulting debt. The following are some of the unintended consequences.

First, a bigger state necessitates a more complex regulatory environment. The private sector, not the federal bureaucracy, is tasked with achieving economic growth on behalf of Canada. Now, businesses have an additional hurdle to navigate in pursuit of this objective.

Second, it undermines technological innovation. New technologies are at the heart of economic growth. The private sector, not the federal bureaucracy, develops them. Yet workers avoid private sector jobs, or starting new businesses, because they could earn equal or higher wages, assume less risk, and enjoy better employment security by opting for a career in the public sector instead. Fewer brains focused on technological innovation also weakens Canada’s long-term economic outlook.

Third, it causes brain drain. Canadians seeking higher wages and a lower cost of living leave Canada for lower tax jurisdictions. Some launch their businesses in more favorable regulatory environments abroad. Top foreign talents either avoid Canada, or we fail to retain them after obtaining their education here. This results in less investment, less competition, and less innovation at home. It also translates into fewer employment opportunities in the private sector, and therefore lower productivity.


That doesn’t mean the state shouldn’t maintain a competent civil service, nor intervene when the private sector runs into serious problems. Far from it. A case in point is the urgent need to reform Canadian competition law. Consider, for instance, the ten biggest companies in Canada by market capitalization. Only one, Shopify, is a startup. The rest are traditional, even colonial enterprises. Now compare that to the United States, where 8 of the 10 biggest companies are startups.


Not only does Canada’s economy favor those with legacies, but so does our political system. Canada’s current Prime Minister is the son of a former Prime Minister. The premier of Canada’s biggest province is the brother of the former mayor of the biggest Canadian city. The current mayor of that city is the widow of another famous politician. The list goes on and on. In Europe, they were called aristocrats. In Russia, they’re referred to as oligarchs. I will let the social scientists determine what these pillars of power constitute in Canada.


The Liberal Party is either ignorantly unaware of, willfully ignoring, or deliberately enabling the economic and political constraints that prevent Canada from achieving its full potential. It has recently entertained infamous psyops, like unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood, on behalf of the NDP. At other times, it has fought with the provinces over petty jurisdictional issues despite appeasing them when they enact unconstitutional legislation. In the battle of the egos, the loser always wins.


Canada is a federation. We are a young country. We didn’t inherit an enormous bureaucratic apparatus from ancient empires, like France or Britain. We are more than capable of modernizing and simplifying our federal government. It is better to do a few things well, than to do many things inefficiently. Be pragmatic. Focus on core jurisdiction, such as foreign policy and national defense. Give the provinces their space in matters that concern them more directly.


Take immigration as an example. Individual provinces have divergent demands and objectives. Nova Scotia’s needs are different from Alberta’s. Prince Edward Island might seek skilled workers. Meanwhile, Quebec prioritizes immigrants who speak French. Ottawa is not well-placed to judge on their behalf. Cut the bureaucracy. Ease the quotas. Simplify the process. The federal government could do the background checks. Give the provinces the rest of the powers.  


Leadership is not about controlling everything nor about making everyone happy. It is, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, about bringing the people you are responsible for from where they are to where they have never been. Then, once your work is complete, those same people will say that they did it themselves. Put simply, leaders have a duty to leave things better than they found them. After 9 years in power, the Liberals have unfortunately failed in this regard.


In the contest between liberalism and illiberalism, our future is a blank canvas. What Canadians make of it will depend on the decisions we take today. Canada might have a mountain of challenges to overcome. All countries do. Yet I’d still choose our problems over anyone else’s. After all, “Canada is the best country in the world. And it’s up to us to work hard and make it better.”


Originally published by Toronto Sun on March 28, 2024.

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