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Category Archives: Liberal

Liberal Democrats offer Johnson route to December election – The Irish Times

Posted: October 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm

British prime minister Boris Johnson is on Monday set to oppose proposals from the opposition Liberal Democrats to call an early-December general election ahead of Brexit.

The prime minister is still awaiting a European Union decision on the duration of an extension. But he remains determined to press ahead with debate and a decision on his withdrawal agreement Bill and hence ratification and Brexit before going to the country on December 12th as the man who got Brexit done.

Tory party chairman James Cleverly denounced the sequencing of Lib Dem proposals in an interview on Sunday morning with Andrew Marr on the BBC.

He insisted the British governments proposal allowed the UK to leave with a deal and also gives the British people the election they need . . . Ours does both.

Labour front bencher Dianne Abbott told Marr the party needs to know what sort of extension the EU will give before committing to the Liberal Democrats or the governments motions on Monday or to opposing both.

EU ambassadors are due to meet again on the issue in Brussels on Monday evening or Tuesday, having on Friday deferred their decision to await clarity from the Commons that an election would actually happen in the event an extension was granted to January 31st.

The UK will crash out of the EU without a deal on Friday if no extension is granted.

Should that clarity again not be forthcoming, with time running out, the ambassadors appear likely to grant that extension on condition the Commons by Thursday endorses a December election, sources in Brussels say.

Labour will do anything in its power to stop a crash-out, Ms Abbott said, insisting the party would carefully consider the Lib Dem proposal, but arguing that Mr Johnson should come before MPs on Monday to give a categorical assurance that he would not allow a no-deal departure during an election campaign while the Commons is adjourned.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson insisted on the programme that the partys new proposals were designed precisely to prevent that possibility. Their plan, unveiled on Saturday with the support of Scottish nationalists, would allow Mr Johnson to secure a December poll with a simple majority of MPs.

Under a one-page Bill, the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, which requires a two-thirds majority to call an election, would be amended to state that the next election would take place on December 9th, three days earlier than under Mr Johnsons plans.

It states that the new election date would be cancelled should the EU fail to grant a three-month Brexit extension. The party is asking Mr Johnson to adopt the Bill and guide it through parliament between Tuesday and Thursday of this week, before dissolving parliament.

It believes the timing of its plan means the prime minister would not be able to bring back his Brexit deal to the Commons before the election campaign starts which he is currently threatening to do.

Both Tory and Lib Dem proposals would require Labour support on Monday. But the Lib Dem initiative puts particular pressure on Johnson, who views achieving Brexit ahead of an election as a key platform for a successful campaign, to provide the reassurances Labour needs as yet unclear to rule out a no-deal departure during that campaign.

Tory Brexiteers are also fearful that amendment, or defeat, of the withdrawal agreement Bill, if it were returned to the Commons ahead of an election, could see Brexit itself put in jeopardy by an unpredictable election.

The ball, as the EUs chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier would say, is in Mr Johnsons court.

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Liberal Democrats offer Johnson route to December election - The Irish Times

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Canada is not the liberal paradise you imagine – The Boston Globe

Posted: at 3:29 pm

David Shribman, the estimable political journalist, wrote a piece for the Globes Ideas section earlier this month suggesting that Americans have a lot to learn from Canadian democracy.

But his assertion that Canadian elections lack the toxicity so prevalent in the American political arena may be more an expression of what Americans would like to see in Canada than a representation of whats actually become of Canadian politics.

While Trudeau proclaimed this most recent election one of the nastiest in Canadian history, theres ample evidence to suggest this is more norm than exception to the rule. And if theyve long been nasty, Canadian elections are growing increasingly vacuous, too. This latest one was a lot like an episode of Seinfeld it wasnt about anything in particular and most of the main characters spent their time defending their failures and fibs.

Doubtless many Canadians breathed a sigh of relief Monday night when it became clear Trudeau would hang on as prime minister better a lackluster liberal than a paleoconservative in centrists clothing. Better still that neither the libertarian xenophobe Maxime Bernier nor any member of his upstart populist party got a seat in Parliament. Thats about the extent of the good news.

Trudeau will head back to Parliament with an inherently unstable minority government, while Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party, will stay on to lead the official opposition. Both will court members of the remaining parties; one to buttress the government, the other to sink it and return Canadians to the polls. Forty years ago, a Conservative minority government lasted just nine months in office. Canada has had seven federal elections in just the last 19 years.

. . .

CANADIAN DEMOCRACY SUFFERS from a combination of long-standing, unresolved constitutional issues, inter-regional antagonism, a generally dysfunctional politics and most troubling of all entrenched racism. That includes systemic discrimination against people within Canada and overt xenophobia towards just about anyone whod want to move there. And lately, Canada has experienced a dramatic shift toward right-wing populism at the provincial level and a surge of far-right hate groups nationwide.

The security incident in Mississauga that required Trudeau to wear body armor is unfortunately indicative of the hysterical hatred common among Canadian conservatives toward the prime minister. Despite his best efforts over the past four years to be something of an amicable and pragmatic centrist, Trudeau has managed to disappoint and disillusion Canadas left while simultaneously becoming the nightmare boogeyman of Canadas increasingly unhinged right.

Did you know Justin Trudeau stopped the presses of Canadas largest newspaper to prevent it from reporting a sexual relationship with a student while he was a private high school teacher? That Sharia is the new law of Ontario? That American-backed anti-pipeline protesters have sabotaged Canadas oil and gas industry?

Youd be correct in assuming that all of these stories are complete and utter nonsense. But Canadas fake news has gained remarkable traction, with an assist from mainstream Canadian media.

The latter two conspiracy theories have received considerable ink in Canadas largest newspaper chain, Postmedia, which in addition to publishing Canadas only national newspaper, owns every daily in nearly every city west of Toronto.

Among the Alex Jones-like headlines they have turned out about the supposed American conspiracy to shut down Canadas tarsands oil industry: Researcher exposes money trail behind US-based campaign to kill the oilsands; How foreign-backed anti-oil activists infiltrated Canadas government; The Great American conspiracy to sabotage Canadian oilpatch.

Though these theories are easily debunked theyre also defended by many of the countrys leading think tanks, nearly all of which are inter-connected through third-party political action groups and the Kochs Atlas Network, and whose endless stream of dubious, non-academic research is popularized by pundits, politicians, social media, and even the former attorney general of British Columbia.

If this all sounds very familiar, it should. Politics in Canada like many so-called liberal democracies the world over has moved right in the wake of the current American presidents ascendancy. Even if Scheers apparent ties to GOP strategists cant be definitely proven, his campaign manager is a former board member of Rebel Media, Canadas leading supplier of far-right wing paranoia masquerading as journalism.

Remember that story about Trudeau trying to cover up a sex scandal when he was a high school teacher? This gem came from the Buffalo Chronicle, an American website thats mediocre at covering the Greater Niagara Region yet somehow has the inside track on a wide variety of career-ending scandals plaguing the upper echelons of Canadas government. Even though the Chronicle is the journalistic equivalent of a diploma mill, the story was picked up by the Conservative Party and all its downstream social media partners.

This is hardly the behavior of a robust democracy.

. . .

THE PROBLEMS IN Canada are unfortunately not limited to media consolidation, fake news, and the manipulation of social media to achieve political ends. These are the symptoms, not the cause, of Canadas degenerating democracy.

Far more significant is the racism and hatred thats been simmering gently on the back burner for generations, now fully unleashed as Canadas right looks south for its inspiration. The crisis on our southern border began when people started fleeing America to take their chances with Canadas refugee system, fearing certain deportation in what was once the land that welcomed the tired, the poor, and those yearning to breathe free.

The acceptance of so many refugees produced a brief moment of national pride and some ham-fisted comparisons to the Underground Railroad. But it wasnt long before Canadas civil and cordial politics degenerated into coarse Conservative talking points. First they were irregular migrants, then they were queue-jumpers, then they became illegal and now, at least according to party leader Scheer, theyre possibly members of MS-13.

Canadas crippling racism problem should have been front and center throughout the election. Instead the whole conversation focused on how it affected Trudeau, who had dressed up in blackface and brownface as a young man and has a stubborn adult tendency toward ethnic dress-up.

That at any given moment 70 or so Indigenous communities in Canada remain on permanent boil water advisories, or that there are anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 missing and presumed murdered Indigenous women and girls, or that people of color are regularly and disproportionately harassed by the police in Toronto and Montreal never came up.

Theres perhaps no better demonstration of the intersection of Canadas ascending racism and its lackadaisical leadership than how its six party leaders have addressed the highly controversial decision by the government of Quebec to legalize overt discrimination against religious minorities in the public sector barring certain public employees from wearing religious symbols in the workplace. That is, none of the party leaders have come out strongly against it, preferring to dodge the issue by pointing to the apparently delicate sensibilities of the Quebecois. This spinelessness is as characteristic of Canadian politicians as it is of Americans.

And if you think the electoral college is bad, consider that Canadas first-past-the-post voting system effectively voids any vote that doesnt go to the winning candidate in an electoral riding (the equivalent of a congressional district). Canadian governments can be formed with as little as a quarter of the populations support, and the executive and legislative vote is one in the same, the national leader being chosen only by registered members of the party, not the public at large. Canadas Senate, the chamber of sober second thought, is entirely appointed. Electoral reform has been proposed and promised for over a century, but as long as it reinforces and sustains elite rule, its dropped as soon as a government is formed. Political dysfunction and anemic voting rates are among the few constants in Canadian politics.

Issues that were once firmly behind us legalized abortion, gun control are being resurrected by local lobby groups with financial ties (and a rhetorical base) firmly rooted in their American equivalents. They claim theyre only asking questions, but in practice its just another step in the normalization of all of Canadas worst instincts.

Canada cannot must not be the ideal for the American left; American progressives must aspire to do much more and be far better. Canadas successes are unfortunately overshadowed by its many failures failures that continue for the most part unchallenged by a political aristocracy that has evolved over successive generations. A Canadian federal election is hardly inspiring; quite the opposite. It reminds us of all the broken promises, the entrenched dysfunction, the sleaze and slime that form the foundation of the nations politics.

America has already picked its worst possible president and in so doing may have finally broken its own dysfunctional politics. Its always darkest before the dawn, and Americans have an incredible ability to induce radical progressive change from time to time. Canadians, by contrast, are handicapped by their own exceptionalism, inflated egos, and widespread malaise. Rather than put Canadian politics on a pedestal, Americans should be both more knowledgeable of Canadas politics and far more critical of its glaring failures.

Canadians simply wont take their shortcomings seriously until they elicit the scrutiny of Americans.

Taylor C. Noakes is a journalist and public historian from Montreal.

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Canada is not the liberal paradise you imagine - The Boston Globe

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What the Reactionary Right Gets Dead Wrong About Modern Liberal Democracy – The Bulwark

Posted: at 3:28 pm

If the modern liberal state is a Leviathan, then the 21st century has her swimming through dark waters, wounded, sick, and slow. The list of her afflictions is familiar: growing economic precarity, pervasive racialized injustice, a hyper-partisan media, bewildering technological advances, electoral injustice, rising authoritarianism, and those ever-warming tides.

Its a vulnerable condition by any standard, and many of our political institutions are clearly up for renewal. Today on the American right, however, we instead find a group of anti-liberals setting boldly to the task of tearing down. Its a set that includes erudite sorts like Patrick Deneen, Michael Anton, and Sohrab Ahmari, as well as Tucker Carlson. Many of them gathered in Washington, D.C., this summer under the inauspicious banner of National Conservatism. A few weeks ago, Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech that puts him squarely in this crowd, too.

These men certainly dont agree on everything, but they applaud the collapse of the conservative establishment under Trump and invite the end of American liberal democracy in its post-New Deal configuration. As such, Im comfortable referring to them collectively as reactionary conservatives, or Reocons.

Any sustained political critique should be grounded in real understanding. But a major part of the Reocons growing power comes from their willingness to mischaracterize liberal democracy. They get it badly wrong, using a narrow and time-worn conception of liberalism neutrality liberalism as a bludgeon against the entire modern constitutional order.

The neutralist rendering turns Leviathans noblest vulnerability the commitment to moral tolerance and freedom into a fatal flaw. It robs Leviathan (and her defenders) of ethical recourse, by holding everyone to an incoherent standard of impartiality, even with regards to the most essential norms. This leaves Leviathan more vulnerable than ever.

We need as much clarity as we can get about these destructive voices about what theyre saying, whom theyre targeting, and why theyre wrong.

I. Neutrality Liberalism and the Corrosion of Ethics

Neutrality liberalism is not the Reocons invention. Rather, its a scholarly, Anglo-American response to a question that has always been at the heart of modern liberalism: How do you limit government power, and, more specifically, separate it from overweening religious authority? The neutralist liberal, citing Ronald Dworkin, will answer that government should remain neutral with respect to any particular conception of the good life, or of what gives value to life. In other words, in a liberal society we dont legislate morality.

The problem with the neutralist rendering is that it is awfully reductive. Can self-governing citizens really remain neutral about all that gives value to life? Are liberal laws actually divorced from all ideas however changeable of what is ethical, and of what is good?

Despite such concerns, and despite the fact that neutrality liberalism has been contested even among liberal theorists now for decades, the Reocons take this hollowed-out formulation as the essence of the modern liberal project.

Consider Patrick Deneen, a Notre Dame professor whose 2018 book, Why Liberalism Failed, garnered much national attention. The premise throughout Deneens book is that liberalism understands itself to be fully neutral. Liberalism began with the explicit assertion that it merely describes our political, social, and private decision-making; Leviathan pretends to neutrality, claiming no preference and denying any intention of shaping the souls under its rule. What she actually delivers, however, and according to Deneen, is a limitless program to expand individual freedom: in the end, neutralist liberal societies inevitably capitulate to tyrannical liberalocratic forces beyond their control. Aimless at best, self-destructive at worst, Leviathan is always unfit to deal with the tumult of the world.

Sohrab Ahmari also speaks alternatingly in neutralist and apocalyptic terms in his much-discussed saga with David French. Ahmari repeatedly blames French (who operates as stand-in for all movement conservatives) for his naive commitment to a wholesale political neutralism. French purportedly believes that the institutions of a technocratic market society are neutral zones. Ahmaris French even deems the spheres of culture to be neutral and apolitical and impervious to policy. Ahmari himself, though, has seen through the facade. All of liberalism is an illusory sham. The time has come to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral. After all, only the New Right cares about the Substantive Good.

Andrew Kloster at The Federalist puts the supposed lie of liberalism this way: it purports neutrality and ecumenism while surreptitiously importing thick conceptions of the good.

For the Reocons, a self-deceived and ethically dubious neutralism is the starting point of liberalism. With such weak foundations, liberal democracy cant help but morph into a grab-bag of chaos and tyranny to become, in the words of Michael Anton, tradition-and-history-denying, common-good-denying, and anarcho-tyrannical.

From this it follows, too, that it is incapable of anything good.

II. Denying Liberal Achievements

Nothing good comes from neutral. On this point the Reocons show real consistency, exploiting neutralist assumptions to deny Leviathan her long legacy of achievements.

One way they do this is by doubling-down on the conservative trope that the best aspects of modernity from human rights to movement politics are, in truth and exclusively, the glorious inheritance of various pre-liberal traditions.

The suggestion that the good aspects of modern life are attributable to some earlier (usually Christian) legacy goes back at least to Tocqueville, where we find a subtle account of the ongoing social import of earlier cultural norms. Deneen calls the phenomenon drawing down and his claims are more sweeping: [Liberalisms] very apparent strengths rest upon a large number of pre-, non-, and even anti-liberal institutions and resources that it has not replenished, and in recent years has actively sought to undermine. By Deneens telling, in the earliest days of liberalism, the health and continuity of families, schools, and communities, could just be assumed. Everything was going just great around 1700, I guess, and its all been downhill from there.

(Such thinking tends to omit the extent to which, say, pre-liberal schooling wasnt very effective, or the extent to which other traditional institutions including Christianity have also been violently oppressive and psychologically damaging).

In addition to exaggerating traditions benevolence (and ignoring her every malice), the Reocons devalue goods that cant plausibly be retrofitted to some pre-liberal legacy. If something does clearly come from liberal modernity, it must not be any good.

Deneen achieves peak denialism along these lines in a discussion of feminism that appears towards the end of his book. Rightly anticipating that, in the face of his attacks, feminists will jump to Leviathans defense, he preemptively retorts:

Today, we consider the paramount sign of the liberation of women to be their growing emancipation from their biology, which frees them to serve a different, disembodied body corporate America and participate in an economic order that effectively obviates any actual political liberty. Liberalism posits that freeing women from the household is tantamount to liberation, but it effectively puts women and men alike into a far more encompassing bondage.

One can recognize the excesses of capitalism and still recognize this for the nonsense that it is. With the wave of a hand, Deneen dismisses the educations, careers, achievements, and ambitions of millions of women. He sneers at our aspirations to bodily integrity. And he takes it upon himself to erase the political and civic work of generations of working women and men.

In his speech at Notre Dame, Bill Barr manages to denigrate modern values and attribute them to the Christian past in the course of a single sentence: What we call values today is really nothing more than mere sentimentality, still drawing on the vapor trails of Christianity.

III. Owning the Libs

The Reocons lean hard on neutralist assumptions to deny and denigrate liberalisms substantive achievements; they also ascribe the same dangerous neutralism they see in political life to modern individuals. Here, although we do see a clear pattern of attack against elite, technocraticconservatives, the real Reocon ire is directed further left.

The logic of neutrality liberalism is an everyday feature of anti-liberal rhetoric on the right. Its there in every scoffing reference to wokeness, virtue signaling, liberal outrage, and social justice warriors. On the face of it these phrases allude to moral excess, but the underlying assumption the thought that gives them their nasty edge is that liberalism properly aims for neutral. Against such a standard of neutralist indifference, any evaluative expression whatsoever can be portrayed as unhinged. In this way, the Reocons leverage assumptions about liberal neutrality to smear their antagonists, as, alternatingly, hypocrites, tyrannical ideologues, and nihilists.

In this segment from 2018, Tucker Carlson provides a tidy example of this mode of engagement. Carlson uses disgraced Democrat Eric Schneidermans resignation to expound a general theory of liberal ethics: No one, Tucker explains, should be surprised by the sexual assault allegations against Schneiderman; after all, liberal conviction (self-righteousness) is always a marker for secret creepiness. He further warns that hypocrisy isnt just a feature of modern liberalism, its the heart of modern liberalism, before concluding that: modern liberalism is a religious movement a replacement for the protestant theology that the left worked so hard to undermine and destroy.

The Carlson bit also exemplifies what I take to be the rhetorical lynchpin of the Reocon attack: the way it impugns liberals as apostates to an assumed Christian heritage. Against a purported standard of neutrality, its easy enough to frame all emergent liberal values however humane, however needful not just as hypocritical, but as vaguely heretical.

With such a powerful strategy at play, todays anti-liberals ask, why stop at environmentalism? Deneen speaks of modern universities as high churches charged with proselytizing the modern orthodoxy of individual liberation, and of late night television as the special sanctuary of this liturgy. Others devote whole books to the subject(Bill Barr appears to have read them: The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor).

Of course, the Reocons arent against meaning and religion per se. They are against secularism, and the substance of liberal progressivism. But instead of engaging with liberal and progressive values head-on, they dismiss the notion of a serious liberal ethics outright, reducing it all to fanatical conviction and baseless posturing. The critique puts liberals and progressives in an impossible place: if youre not a joyless technocrat, you must be a hyperventilating fanatic; theres no room in-between. The law of neutrality renders all secular or non-Christian affiliations and viewpoints suspect.

IV. Aspirational Liberal Democracy

For the Reocons, liberalism pretends to neutrality, but its about as neutral as a black hole indiscriminate, purposeless, and ultimately lethal. And so we come to the whale in the room: Is it true? Is Leviathan as aimless and self-destructive as they say? Are her achievements so absent, her citizens so hollow? Is she really so radically self-deceived? The answer here isnt too complicated. Its No.

I dont expect to give a satisfying account of liberal democracy here. I expect that, by this point in 2019, readers will have their own thoughts about its value, and lots of others are doing this work. Ill conclude instead with the thoughts that I take to be most relevant to the Reocon critique.

First, liberalism is not neutral. It is directed, and supporters of liberal democracy know this. Though some version of neutrality liberalism enjoyed ascendance in the 70s and 80s, today (thanks in part to critical theory and postmodernism) the moral temper of liberalism is acknowledged all around. From NeverTrump conservatives, to procedural incrementalists and progressive social democrats, todays defenders of liberal democracy recognize the inanity of insisting on full neutrality, and the focus has shifted to clarifying and accounting for liberalisms values and aspirations. What is Leviathan for? What gives her strength, direction, and, ultimately, legitimacy?

Here are some of the values that I would say constitute a basic consensus among liberal sorts past and present:

Civil peace and religious tolerance. Modern liberalism didnt just emerge ex nihilo, or as a natural addendum to Christianity: It was forged in the flames of religious persecution, and on behalf of peace. Hobbes first law of nature is seek peace, and follow it, and the secular modern state was conceived first and foremost as an antidote to theological chaos and cruelty.

Health and well-being. Liberalism also emerged against a background of widespread poverty and suffering, as well as entrenched inequity. When Bacon writes about the relief of mans estate, hes describing a genuine need, and when Locke argues for mans right to his own labors, its a radically egalitarian move. Its possible to acknowledge the abuses of modern capitalism its complicity in colonialism, slavery, sexism, and environmental degradation without denying these other entangled aims.

Political equality, dignity, and human rights, enshrined in constitutions and the rule of law. The idea that human beings are all equal in a fundamental sense may well be part of an authentic Christian worldview, but politically speaking its also the collective legacy of successive waves of liberal thinkers and revolutionaries, both in The West and around the globe.

These are some of the basic aims, and sometimes gains, of the modern liberal project. They are not the sorts of things that serious people write-off blithely.

What is more, believers in liberal democracy recognize that peace, prosperity, and human rights do not fill up a life, or fully constitute a culture. The expectation is that citizens will sustain and create meaningful, ethical lives and communities within a basic liberal framework. Such a frame may strive for neutrality in some essential respects, but its hardly evacuated of meaning; the structure exists for the sake of the very real goods and freedoms that ultimately give value to our lives.

So how do we arbitrate when competing ends or modes of life come into conflict? Which values get sustained, and who gets to decide? Whereas the Reocons put their stock in orthodox answers, liberal democrats all-too-human response is always going to be we do. These decisions are bound by traditions, rights, and laws, but authority ultimately resides with the people.

Which is also to say that Leviathans path through todays troubled waters remains, as yet, uncharted. She isnt endowed with a ranked list of values, or fixed answers about the good life, but this doesnt make her neutral, let alone dead or doomed. Now is the time for hard, honest, thinking about the character and scope of her aspirations. And for acts of reform and renewal. The Reocons say Leviathans deep-dive is fated, but they could end up lighting our way.

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What the Reactionary Right Gets Dead Wrong About Modern Liberal Democracy - The Bulwark

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The Liberal Democrats want nothing more than to airbrush Brexit out of history – The Independent

Posted: at 3:28 pm

The Liberal Democratswish to nullify the democratic result of the 2016 referendum: to airbrush the result out of history.

In proposing this, the Liberal Democratsdo not simply contest the Brexit struggle to recover national sovereignty and home-rule; they wish to crush democracy itself, because it fails to deliver their cause.

If this doesnt take us to the streets, then frankly we have lost our moral compass as a nation.

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The Liberal Democrats want nothing more than to airbrush Brexit out of history - The Independent

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Alberta residents defend their decision to reject Justin Trudeaus Liberal government – Toronto Star

Posted: at 3:28 pm

Canada wisely nixed populism, Mallick, Oct. 23

Heather Mallick writes, Albertans voted Conservative because they wish the world to be the way it used to be.

No, Albertans voted to remove a lying, cheating, infantile boy from the office of the Prime Minister. The people of southern Ontario live in a insular bubble and cant see past the lakehead.

If and when Alberta Premier Jason Kenney holds a vote on secession from Confederation, I will be voting yes. And I am sure not a tear will be shedded by the people of southern Ontario if Alberta goes.

Jeffrey Anderson, Calgary

Painting a group of people (in this case Albertans) with the same broad brush, and showing disdain for other provinces, is the kind of thing that divides, not unites a country.

For the record, some of us voted for what we think is a new way, not an old way. This new way is called balancing a budget. I cannot fathom how we can continually borrow money from our future generations to live the lives we live today; only to cause suffering for the people of tomorrow. Children of today may get subsidized camping and canoe lessons, but future generations will have to learn how to swim upstream submerged in massive debt.

This Albertan would have been fine with the Green Party of Canada holding power, and Elizabeth May as PM, as her plans were also for a balanced budget. And I would have gladly voted Liberal if their previous election promise of balancing the budget had been fulfilled.

Please, lets respect each other, love each other and keep this country united. We live in a fantastic country and I would like to keep it that way.

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Alberta residents defend their decision to reject Justin Trudeaus Liberal government - Toronto Star

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Trump will win again, easily: Liberals simply don’t understand what he represents – Salon

Posted: at 3:28 pm

I predicted well before the 2016 presidential election that Donald Trump would be elected.I had felt that way ever since he rode down that golden escalator with his rapist invective. Ever since he was elected, Ive also believed that hell be re-elected, more easily this time.

An illustrative personal anecdote, one of many over the last three years: A creative writing PhD I know with tons of debt, whose wife happens to be an undocumented Filipina, became mightily angered by the promise of student debt cancelation. What about those who have paid their dues by taking out debt, he asked? No doubt he would refuse a blanket amnesty for illegals too. His DACA wife, as he sees it, paid her dues.

Columnists at the New York Times are all angry at the possibility of decriminalizing of border crossings, health care for the undocumented and the abolition of private insurance. In fact, they dont want to do away with Trumpian inhumanity. They want the oppression to continue, but without the transparent rhetoric.

Minus the Trumpian rhetorical overlash, war, empire, violence, hollowness, junk goods and a junk life are all the people have ever known and all they want.

Historical movement in long cycles cant be short-circuited, as we can see in the resistance of the liberal elite toward Bernie Sanders, the only candidate who could beat Trump, versus the stampede toward Elizabeth Warren, who provides a "safe" alternative and will surely lose.

But what kind of a fascist doesnt start a war in three years? Trump doesnt need war: He has brought the war home by making us confront our emptiness directly. He is the catalyst we needed at this time, and he is fulfilling his purpose beautifully. America is exhausted, which the liberal elites dont get.

Trump keeps making noises about Iran, but he hasnt actually done it yet. His pullback at the last moment, when the bombers were supposedly already on their way, is a trope that makes sense to a lot of people. We could have, in a science-fiction world, the repetition of this particular action pulling back from the brink, the antithesis to Strangelove-style irrevocability day after day, and it would be the right psychotropic drug to rouse us.

And what kind of a huckster is he? He constantly keeps changing his mind, which is not a character flaw, but the essence of his deal-making. America cant find a better deal from the New Deal to the Fair Deal to the imaginary Green New Deal, a landscape of lost opportunities and blighted dreams so contingent honor, betrayed promises and infinite self-cancellation constitute the only kind of deal-making possible. And unlike on "The Apprentice," there can be no winner at the end, while the rest get fired, because the endless prevarication saying two things at the same time, often diametrically opposite is what constitutes deal-making. Wed better get used to it: It is the end point to a century of liberal social planning.

To be totally adrift, Trump is saying, is to have total freedom. The empire embraces its most recent eruption of vulgarity, barbarism and eco-destruction as a welcome development or at least the dispossessed do, if not the meritocrats. To move beyond the dead language of liberal political correctness, which all the Democratic candidates suffer from, is a great service. Trump is preparing us for the imminent turmoil of the coming decades concluding in secession and fragmentation by mid-century with the kind of language the empire needs now. Hes reading history well, only too well, far better than his ideological opponents, the neoliberal globalizers or the democratic socialists.

Not one of his opponents is prepared to say that power is America brute, unforgiving, no-second-chances power. This kind of power requires a base removed from liberal education. He reforms language every day, in his tweets, which emanate from our deepest unconscious, such as when liberal stand-up comedians turn out to be racists and misogynists in their revealing moments.

As we prepare for the age of brutality, hes telling us as the Times columnists confirm every day in the limits they impose to compassion that the recent gloss of multicultural tolerance, in the Reagan/Clinton/Obama years, was the final fantasy. His border wall seeks to literalize the walls of segregation and inequality that have been going up relentlessly all throughout the interior. He wont start wars of humanitarian liberation, because that was the foreign aspect to the domestic malevolence passing as tolerance.

Former UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick counseled in the 1970s that we could work with good authoritarians around the world, but not with socialists. Trumps affection for Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Mohammed bin Salman is nothing new. It is how we have always operated, even in the halcyon days of Henry Kissingers dtente, when we violently crushed democracy in Chile and elsewhere, or under the spiritual Jimmy Carter, when we trapped the Russian bear in Afghanistan, much to Zbigniew Brzezinskis delight.

Trump doesnt want to restart history, to repudiate Francis Fukuyamaor Bill Clinton. Nor does he want to start a clash of civilizations, to validate Samuel Huntingtonor George W. Bush. He is content with leaving history alone, which seems natural, coming so soon after the younger Bush's counselors, who wanted full-spectrum dominance. The deal, as Trump sees it, is ever-changing, immune from textual recreation, legal solidity, constitutional affirmation.

What is his obsession with China then? China for the last three decades has been a management consultants dream come true. Trump is not playing a zero-sum game, a chessboard called economic nationalism, with China. With him we move beyond oligarchic nationalism or even democratic fascism. China helps construct a total vacuum of thought, reaching even beyond the vulgarity of trashy American consumerism. We no longer want their tacky goods. We want the Harley-Davidsons back or not, its OK if they dont come back. If we cant recall manufacturing, and we leave world trade, then we are thrown upon a manly ideal, where we make things and do things for ourselves, except that Trump and his followers know that that ideal is well past reach, going out of fashion with the rise of consumerism precisely a century ago.

The 2020s: An exact reversal of the rise of optimistic consumerism in the 1920s. History does have its symmetries, if you know where to look. The end to advertising, news broadcasting, modernist propaganda, the religion of self-help and therapy, physical fitness, institutionalized spying and technological utopia.

Trump's attack on the media, the breathing tube for an empty liberal consumerism that died long ago, is the most welcome move to his fervent supporters. You cant believe a word you see. You have to create your own reality, which the Internet helped bring about starting in the 1990s. Consider the real scandal of Joe Bidens sons corruption, already noted matter-of-factly in leading newspapers, versus the impeachable scandal of just talking airing out possible deals to land political opponents in trouble. Torture, assassination, deportation and ecocide are all within the pale, for the resistance, for those who would like to replace him with an acceptable alternative who will take empire back to where it was.

But its not going to happen, because he was never the bearer of a virus, which implies something alien. He is the perfect mirror, just as Nixon followed Lyndon Johnson, Reagan followed Carter, and Bush followed Clinton, in performing not so much an oscillation but an exaggerated return to form. Empires, heavy and difficult to maneuver, dont engage in circular or sideways motions. Trump is the accelerant to the end point that empire needs now, just as Reagan and Bush served their functions earlier, and in that sense he is a true man of the people. You dont beat a man of the people electorally. You just dont.

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Trump will win again, easily: Liberals simply don't understand what he represents - Salon

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Watership Down and the Crisis of Liberalism – The New York Times

Posted: at 3:28 pm

Those virtues are distributed among different rabbits: Along with Fivers prophet, there is the statesman-leader Hazel; the soldier-fighter Bigwig; the thinker-inventor Blackberry; the storyteller Dandelion; and more. And what makes the regime the rabbits are founding good and successful, but first and foremost good is the integration of the different virtues, the cooperation of their different embodiments, their willing subordination to one another as circumstances require.

The military hero, Bigwig, could have been a Woundwort in a different dispensation; instead he willingly bends to the statesman, Hazel, who lacks his strength and fearlessness but exceeds him in foresight and guile. Hazel in turn defers to Fivers gift of prophecy, his religious genius, which is why the band escapes disaster in the first place (their original warrens leader is a talented statesman, but fatally dismissive of the religious and mystical) and why it ultimately succeeds in founding and sustaining a new regime.

Meanwhile, the other virtues invention, lore keeping, even comedy play supporting roles as needed, and nobody claims the wrong sort of authority. (The keenest intellect, for instance, neither aspires to nor is vested with the greatest power; note well, meritocrats.) Out of this collaboration a regime emerges that is rebuke to both the grim alternatives, with a mixture of hierarchy and liberty that works with the grain of rabbitness instead of seeking a corrupt comfort or an impossible level of security.

[Listen to The Argument podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]

The spoilers are over; now lets return to the late-modern liberal world, and consider our own discontents in the light of the contrast that Adams draws between his newly founded warren and its rivals.

Somewhere near the root of those discontents is a fear that the kind of balanced and virtuous society simultaneously mystical and practical, orderly and free that the rabbits build in Watership Down has slipped somehow from our grasp, or else was always just a myth. In which case we are left to choose between its darker rivals, between a comfortable decadence in which virtue erodes and the reaper beckons, or else some variant on Efrafas totalitarian alternative.

Which option you choose depends on which destination you fear most. One anxiety in the Western world right now, palpable on both the right and the left, is that the plush, end-of-rabbit-history warren is liberalisms dystopian destination: a sleek and fattened inhumanity, a terrible mix of comfort and cruelty, a loss of basic human goods under the pressure of capitalism or secularism or both.

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Watership Down and the Crisis of Liberalism - The New York Times

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Trudeau to serve another term as prime minister after Liberals win plurality | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: at 3:28 pm

Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump's impeachment plea to Republicans Trudeau to serve another term as prime minister after Liberals win plurality The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump has had a rough October MORE is poised to serve another term as Canadian prime minister after his Liberal Party earned a plurality of seats inthe general election, according to projections from CBC News.

The news network is projecting that the Liberals will form a minority government.

UPDATE: CBC News is projecting a Liberal minority government.

The official results will be announced once all of the votes are counted, according toNBC News.

Trudeau's victory comes after polls indicated he would be pitted in a tight race against the Conservative Party'sAndrew Scheer.

A first-term prime minister with a parliamentary majority has not lost reelection in the past 84 years, according to NBC News.

The prime ministerreceiveda last-minute endorsement from former President Obama last week afterdealing with severalcontroversies during the campaign.

A report from Time Magazineuncoveredthat the prime minister wore brownface to a costume party in 2001. The prime minister apologized for that incident and for othertimeshe darkened his face.

An ethics commissioner also found Trudeau's office attempted to protect the engineering company SNC-Lavalin from prosecution. The prime minister maintained he was protecting Canadian jobs.

Updated at 11:05 p.m.

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Trudeau to serve another term as prime minister after Liberals win plurality | TheHill - The Hill

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GUNTER: Alberta is going to pay dearly with a Liberal minority – Edmonton Sun

Posted: at 3:28 pm

I said before the election that a Liberal minority propped up by the NDP or Greens would be the worst of all possible outcomes for Alberta and I am prepared to stick with that.

But it is probably also the worst of all possible results for the country as a whole.

What this looks like more than anything, is provincial politics in Ontario for the decade before Conservative Doug Ford was elected premier.

The Ontario Liberals were not popular. Voters said they disliked their taxes, their green energy schemes, their huge deficits, their electricity rates.

But Ontario voters are also very cautious. They dont like change. And so they voted Liberal again and again despite the partys scandals and smugness (sound familiar?) because they were frightened into believing the Tories under a succession of weak leaders would be worse.

It seems as though the same pattern has emerged on the federal level in Ontario. Voters are not real keen on Trudeau and his government, but they permitted the Liberal campaign to scare them about a weak Conservative Leader in Andrew Sheer and remain, largely, in the Liberal camp.

And now were all going to pay for it.

A Liberal majority might might have built the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, even if they stopped there. (In the last Parliament they passed a law Bill C-69 that made new pipelines all but impossible.)

But now that Justin Trudeau and his party will need the support of Jagmeet Singh and his party to stay in power, there is a good chance the Liberals will refuse to move forward even with Trans Mountain (TMX).

Singh hasnt made cancelling Trans Mountain an ironclad condition for his support. Two weeks ago he laid out six prerequisites for getting behind the Liberals. Trans Mountain was not one of them.

But Im not holding my breath. Right after the French-language leaders debate, Singh said, Ive been really clear on this. I am very much opposed to this (TMX) project Ill continue to work against that, for sure.

Singh probably refused to say unequivocally that he would demand an end to TMX because he was hoping to win one seat for his party in Edmonton. And now that that concern is out of the way, there is probably no way TMX wont come up in his negotiations with Trudeau.

Besides, the Liberals themselves are not enthusiastic about TMX, either. Never have been. Trudeau will be quite happy to let Singh twist his rubber arm.

I have maintained all along that the Libs bought TMX only so they could control whether it got built. If it helped their re-election, theyd build it. If it hurt their chances, theyd kill it. Their calculus was purely political.

Why would that change now? If the Libs need to axe TMX to retain power, theyll do it. In a heartbeat.

And all of that is bad for Alberta, for sure. But it is bad for the rest of the country, too. Even before this election, the federal Liberals and Alberta NDP scared away at least $100 billion in investment in oil and gas.

That money doesnt get replaced with investment in green energy or in barista supplies. When its lost to the national economy, its lost.

Of course that hits Alberta the hardest: jobs that are lost, houses that are foreclosed, vehicles that arent sold, restaurants that close. But it also means companies in the rest of the country that provide trucks and crew buses suffer, as do companies that manufacture pipe and electrical controls and valves and planes and on and on and on. Workers feel it too with fewer high-paying energy jobs Canada-wide.

Blame a dismal campaign by Scheer, a clever Liberal campaign and the timidity of GTA voters for the results.

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GUNTER: Alberta is going to pay dearly with a Liberal minority - Edmonton Sun

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How the Liberals paved the way for the Bloc’s return – The Conversation CA

Posted: at 3:28 pm

The Liberals launched the election with high hopes for Qubec.

After all, their 2015 victory hinged on securing 40 seats in the province. When the election was called, polls indicated that Liberals could count on the support of 36 per cent of voters in the province, 15 points ahead of their closest competitor.

Some polls suggested they could win 50 seats under such conditions. If this scenario had taken place, the Liberals would have a majority today. Instead, those hopes were dashed by the triumphant return of the Bloc Qubcois, lead by Yves-Francois Blanchet.

The Bloc managed to close the gap on the Liberals in the popular vote. The Liberals only managed to win 35 seats in the province, while the Bloc won 32 seats, a gain of 22 from 2015. What can explain this sudden reversal of fortune in the province?

One important factor explaining this change in electoral dynamics can be linked to the federal Liberals preoccupation with provincial politics. The Liberal campaign strategy relied heavily on attempts to scare voters away from the Conservative party by drawing comparisons to Conservative provincial politicians.

Trudeaus frequent remarks about Doug Ford and Jason Kenney were among the most notable examples of this strategy. However, it didnt resonate in Qubec.

Thats because in 2018, Qubecers elected a (small-c) conservative government that maintains a high level of public approval in the province.

A June 2019 poll suggested Franois Legault was the second most popular premier in Canada at the time. In contrast, Ford was found to be second-to-last. This suggests the Liberal strategy may have been effective in Ontario, but was unlikely to yield much support in its eastern neighbour.

A second point touches the main issues promoted by the Liberal platform. The principal issues of the election related to provincial jurisdictions or to programs that already exist in Qubec. For instance, the carbon tax proposed by the Liberals does not apply to provinces that have equivalent environmental plans, including Qubec.

Pharmacare, a program put forward by both the Liberals and the NDP in 2019, also already exists in Qubec, which provides a public drug insurance scheme to its residents. These proposals failed to generate enthusiasm in Qubec, as they only duplicated policies that were already enacted by the provincial government.

They also provided fertile grounds for the Bloc to portray the Liberals as encroaching on provincial jurisdictions, drumming up support in the process.

Other Liberal promises could have an impact on Qubec, but are not as crucial as they are in other provinces. This is the case regarding housing promises. They can certainly play a role in Qubec, but they arent as sorely needed as they are in competitive markets like Toronto or Vancouver.

A similar argument can be levied at the promise to further restrict or ban guns. After the elimination of the federal gun registry under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, Qubec created its own provincial gun registry, guaranteeing a degree of provincial oversight over firearms in the province.

Furthermore, homicide data show that the issue is not as alarming in Qubec than in other provinces. A 2017 report from Statistics Canada shows that Qubec has the lowest homicide rate in the country after Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Among cities with at least a million inhabitants, Montral has the lowest homicide rate in Canada and the lowest rate of gang-related homicide in Canada.

These statistics suggest that promises regarding gun control may have reflected the priorities of other provinces as well.

Finally, Qubec Premier Legault presented to the federal leaders a list of requests from his government.

The list included full powers in immigration, leaving Bill 21 intact, expanding the application of Bill 101 to businesses under federal regulation and a single tax declaration managed by the Qubec government. In response, Trudeau proved evasive, though he eventually expressed his willingness to intervene in the courts in the matter of Bill 21.

Read more: Clashing rights: Behind the Qubec hijab debate

While Trudeau did not directly address the matter of a single tax declaration during the campaign, he opposed its creation in February 2019. While he stated he would collaborate with Qubec on the matter of immigration, he provided few details. Finally, the Liberal platform does not contain any commitment regarding Bill 101 and businesses under federal jurisdiction.

In short, the Liberal campaign focused on premiers from other provinces, promised initiatives that already exist in Qubec, offered other pledges that did not fit Qubecs needs and evaded requests from the provinces popular leader.

In the face of such a platform, many Qubecers deserted the Liberals and cast their vote for a party dedicated to protecting the interests of their province.

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How the Liberals paved the way for the Bloc's return - The Conversation CA

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