Trump and the Canadians

Trump, CanadaCanadians’ views on American politics are generally fairly predictable. Being Canadian means a degree of smugness blended with a drop or two of envy and a fairly constant need to assert moral superiority. In a very polite, but persistent way.

The candidacy, nomination and election of Donald Trump gave the better class of Canadian plenty of opportunity to show each other just how intelligent and enlighted they were. The Coynes and Kinsellas competed with each other in the political snobbery sweepstakes. Trump was Hitler, the Republicans the Nazi Party, Steve Bannon was a badly dressed Goring or, more likely, Satan himself. Breitbart News was Der Stürmer, the alt-right was universally the SS, the Trump regime overnight transformed America – save for the brave “Resistance” – into an anti-semitic, racist, fascist, misogynistic state in which freedom of the press and human rights in general were crushed under the jackbooted heels of Trump’s evil to a man (and pretend woman) Cabinet.

It has been tons of fun to watch ostensibly rational, intelligent, people reach immediately for the white supremacist smear tool kit in the face of the unthinkable occurring in our neighbour to the South.  The fact that, one month into the Trump Presidency, the worst he seems to have done is be rude to CNN and the New York Times doesn’t deter our good and decent Canadians one bit. They just know that Trump is an evilton and, at any moment, will open the concentration camps and start rounding up Mexicans, Jews, Blacks, Muslims, Women, Queers, NYT reporters and anyone else the human Cheeto and his henchmen find objectionable.

And, to make the entire thing even more ominous, there seems to be a belief that Trump was put into position by none other than Prince of Darkness, Vladimir Putin and that Trump is simply following orders. Or something.

Step by step refutations of all or some of this hysteria have next to no effect. the Canadian reaction to Trump is not a “political” reaction in any common sense of that term. It is far more visceral, more religious, more tribal: Trump could be a very good President, accomplish great things, improve the condition of black people, defend the 1st Amendment and preside over an economic boom lifting all boats and he would still, to the Canadian commentariat, be the Hell Spawn of Satan.

Now some of that commentariat, like Kinsella, are simply stupid partisans for whom nothing Trump says or does will ever be anything but evil. These were the people who, had they been Americans, would have eagerly voted for Hilly on her merits. (A touching act of faith performed by very few actual Americans – the “hold your nose for Hillary” voters constituted the bulk of her support.)

The mildly more rational, like Coyne, seem to see Trump as essentially impossible. Back before the election Coyne was rumbling on about not being able to see how anyone could support Trump. More recently, he is using the Trump re-alignment in American politics as a stick with which to beat up the Canadian conservative Manning Center conference for having rightish agenda items and some populist speakers.

The biggest worry, the nightmare scenario, for the Canadian media and political elite, is the possibility that Canada is not entirely unanimous in its fevered rejection of Trump and all he stands for. There is an awful possibility that we do not live to welcome refugees. And there seem to be some ungracious Canadians who believe that people who come to Canada should adopt Canadian ways and “fit into mainstream Canadian society”. Yikes!

There is some evidence that, once they realize what it costs and how little effect it will have, Canadians are not entirely willing to do whatever it takes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

There are even some Canadians who are growing a tiny bit suspicious that mainstream Canadian media might not be reporting objectively. In fact, when Macleans let a bunch of its staffers go a few weeks ago, there were nasty Canadians saying “good riddance”.

Despite the frantic efforts of the Kinsellas and Coynes of this world, there are disturbing signs not every Canadian is thrilled with rule by the Laurentian elite.

For all of his foibles, the late Rob Ford’s success in Toronto, worried Canadian elites. I mean it’s one thing to have yahoos in Alberta electing hard core conservatives, but this was Toronto.

The three leading contenders for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership are all running from the Right. Leitch because that gave her an edge in the early going; O’Leary because, well, who knows what goes on in that strange little man’s head; Bernier because he has run and been elected as a libertarian conservative for years.

Mainstream media is bleeding out, unable to compete with online, unable to adapt to the internet and unable to attract revenue. It is being replaced by everything from VICE and The Rebel to news and views delivered by social media. The cozy relationship between the Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC and the Ottawa political world is collapsing because ambitious politicians can by-pass the media elite.

If our commentariat thought about it for a bit they would realize that the actual reality of Trump is not that he is orange Hitler; rather he and the people around him have figured out how to culture jam traditional media, traditional politics and, perhaps, the deep state. Thinking about how Trump managed to do that would be more interesting than thinking crapping on him from great height somehow matters.

The people, the Canadians, who realize that Trump was actually about something important and transformative will have a clue about what is likely to go on in Canada in the next few years.


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3 thoughts on “Trump and the Canadians

  1. I gladly confess to being one of those Canadians who thinks his country to be superior to the United States – albeit with a couple of provisos. The first of these is that the election of Donald Trump, with which I was and still am completely delighted, has nothing to do with it. The second is that the Canada I mean is the Dominion established by the British North America Act 150 years ago and not the “New Canada” the Liberal Party spent much of the last century replacing it with. There is a great irony in supporters of the Liberal Party likening Trump to Hitler. The Liberal Party of Canada considers itself “the natural ruling party of Canada”. Only a one-party state would have a natural ruling party. The closest thing to a Gestapo that has ever existed in North America is the Canadian Human Rights Commission created by the Liberals. The Liberal Party, of course, has always been the most American of Canadian political parties. For a century it was the party of free trade and continentalism. Its version of Canadian history – which Donald Creighton, the last significant Canadian historian to dissent from the Liberal version dubbed “the Authorized Version” – is a pathetic imitation of America’s history in which Canada begins as a colony and struggles to attain independent nationhood against evil British imperialism through a process of diplomacy rather than outright revolution. The true story of the true Canada is the exact opposite of the American story – a country built by those who deliberately chose loyalty rather than rebellion – rather than this cheap, second-rate imitation of it. A century ago Liberal theorist Goldwyn Smith dreamed of dying in a Canada that, with Britain’s blessing, had become part of the United States. Dr. John Wesley Dafoe, Liberal propagandist (he was editor of the Winnipeg Free Press), entitled his history of Canada “An American Nation.” Mackenzie King did everything he could to bring Canada closer into the American orbit. There is further irony in the fact that virtually everything the America-loving neoconservatives complain about in Canadian federal politics was something the Liberal Party introduced by imitating something in the United States (Pierre Trudeau’s expansion of the welfare state, to give one example, was an obvious imitation of LBJ’s). Liberal republicanism, the founding doctrine of the United States of America, is an ideological cousin of Nazism and Communism – although one which is friendlier, more respectable, and much more pleasant than its distant relatives. Give me the monarchy and the Westminster system of parliament over republicanism any day.

    On another note I’m not sure how you figure O’Leary to be running from the right. He seems to be the most left-of-centre candidate for the leadership the Conservatives have ever had, except perhaps on fiscal matters. He is certainly as left-liberal as they come on social, moral, cultural, and immigration issues.

    • Jay Currie says:

      I enjoy your “Tory” view of the Canadian story. George Grant would have approved.

      Meanwhile, I have to say that your point about O’Leary is partially well taken. He is running from the right fiscally, but he is deeply red tory on social issues.

      The only Conservative candidate who I can consider supporting is Bernier simply because he has been a libertarian for years. He’ll trim here and there, but his basic instinct is for a smaller, lighter government. I may even take out a Conservative membership simply to vote for him.

  2. […] Currie, “Trump and the Canadians”, Jay Currie, […]

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