Authors » Peter Shawn Taylor

Peter Shawn Taylor is editor-at-large for Maclean’s magazine.

    Articles by Peter Shawn Taylor

  • Posted: June 22, 2018

    The practice of opening public events with a statement acknowledging that the event is occurring on land covered by an Indian treaty really took off after the 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Among its 94 “calls to action” is a demand to “repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands”. The rite has become ubiquitous in Canadian public life, and now often refers to “unceded” land, even though treaty land was, in fact, ceded to Canada by the chiefs who signed the Treaties. Far from advancing “reconciliation”, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, this fiction is fueling division between those who are constantly told Canada is theirs, and everyone else.

  • Posted: May 28, 2018

    Add 19th century liberal jurist Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie to the ever-growing list of Canadian historical figures whose reputations have been rubbished in the name of “Truth and Reconciliation”. Begbie presided over the trial of six Tsilhqot’in Indians who were executed for the mass murder of 18 white road builders and settlers during British Columbia’s so-called Chilcotin War of 1864. There were plenty of guilty parties on all sides in that fracas, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, but the mass scapegoating of Begbie – most recently in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official apology to the Tsilhqot’in killers – is a crime in its own right.

  • If the oilsands stay in the ground and pipelines and LNG terminals don’t get built, and governments continue to suffocate other natural resource and infrastructure development with excessive taxation and regulation, a lot of Canadians could wind up like the unemployed masses in the U.S. Rust Belt states – and mad enough to vote for a populist demagogue promising to make their lives great again. We’re not there yet, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, but the current rout of capital from Canada’s oilsands represents foreclosure on thousands of high-paying blue collar jobs and raises the risk of a Trumpian political backlash.

  • Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s six-year foray into Canadian politics ended in ignominious defeat and was soon followed by his return to Harvard, which validated the lethal Conservative charge that he was “just visiting”. Now he’s in Budapest, running a liberal university. But this time he’s not just visiting, he’s fighting for freedom and democracy against Hungary’s authoritarian nationalist ruler Viktor Orban. And having far more success than he did during his quixotic misadventure in Canadian politics. Peter Shawn Taylor reports.

  • Posted: May 26, 2017

    Women are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math faculties at universities across Canada. Men are under-represented in all other university subject areas, high school and post-secondary graduation rates, labour force participation trends, and in jobs with defined benefit pensions. The former is a “gender crisis” requiring affirmative action by university administrators and governments. The latter is, well, not on anybody’s radar. Peter Shawn Taylor reports.

  • People have been making ethical and health arguments against meat production and consumption for centuries. The vast majority of human omnivores ignore them and eat as much meat as they can afford. But now there’s a powerful new argument against meat – climate change. Cows, pigs and chickens are big contributors to greenhouse gases. As a result, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, the same folks who would wean us off carbon energy are now plotting a meat tax.

  • Wonder why Quebec isn’t squawking about Prime Minister Trudeau’s plans to invade provincial jurisdiction with a new national carbon tax? The short answer is because residents in Quebec, as well as Ontario, may wind up paying half as much for carbon emissions as anyone in those provinces saddled with Ottawa’s looming tax. Will Trudeau insist on one carbon price for all Canadians? Don’t hold your CO2, writes Peter Shawn Taylor.

  • Chances are the last poem you read, and enjoyed, was written more than 50 years ago. Or longer, if your tastes run to the likes of Kipling, Carroll or Thomas. Incomprehensible post-modern wankers have owned poetry ever since. But take heart, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, formalist counter-revolutionaries are on the march. And one the funniest and pithiest of the tribe is A.M. Juster, pseudonym for a conservative ex-Washington bureaucrat and biotech executive whose personal story is as interesting as his poetry is entertaining.

  • Posted: June 16, 2016

    In 1993 the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada disintegrated into warring tribes of right-wing populists, Quebec nationalists, religious conservatives, libertarians and Red Tories. It took 13 years to reunite the right and oust the Liberals from power. Today the Grand Old Party of the U.S. conservative movement is at least as badly fractured, creating a political vacuum now occupied by Donald J. Trump. Whether he wins or loses in November, his xenophobia and protectionism will probably deepen the divisions in the Republican Party. And if so, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, there is much the Republican Party could learn from the kind of ideological and organizational rebuild that revived conservatism in Canada.

  • Posted: April 15, 2016

    For years the federal Liberals promised billions for a national daycare system. Then the Harper Conservatives won three elections by giving parents money to spend on whatever childcare choice they wanted. Today the Trudeau Liberals are paying even bigger direct subsidies to parents, and paying little more than lip service to daycare. It’s proof the national daycare dream is dying, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, and as the Liberals dismantle just about everything else the Tories did, this may prove Stephen Harper’s most enduring legacy.

  • C2C Journal wraps up its Winter 2015 edition on energy and the environment with a look at how Canada will meet the commitments it signed onto at the Paris Climate Summit. The short answer is it probably won’t, unless the Trudeau government forces the provinces to drastically raise their carbon prices, lower their emission targets, and eliminate all their self-serving exemptions. If that happens, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, the damage to the economy will be exceeded only by the damage to Canadian federalism.

  • Posted: July 13, 2015

    Canada’s Conservative government likes to boast that it has reduced the overall tax burden to the lowest level in half a century. Many of the reductions have been in form of highly individualized tax credits and deductions. While these boutique tax cuts may win votes, critics say they are economically inefficient. But by some measures, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, it also appears they are helping shrink the underground economy. In a system based on trust, perhaps targeted tax breaks are boosting taxpayer honesty.

  • Posted: June 1, 2015

    The humourless political landscape we call Canada was not always this way. Our founding Conservative Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, who was roundly pilloried in the media as a drunk and a racist on the occasion of his 200th birthday earlier this year, was also the funniest politician our country has ever known. Despite a life marred by personal tragedies, Macdonald remained a razor-sharp wit and irrepressible jokester throughout his career. Peter Shawn Taylor has assembled a hilarious assortment of his greatest puns, putdowns, and pranks.

  • Posted: June 23, 2014

    The startling majority victory by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals in the June 12 Ontario election was, presumably, an endorsement of her high-tax, high-spend, high-debt and highly interventionist budget. And a repudiation of Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s plan to slash 100,000 civil service jobs. But there was much more to it than that, Peter Shawn Taylor explains, including massive and unprecedented third-party attack advertising by public sector unions, and the unlikeable rictus that was Hudak’s smile…

  • You cannot get very far these days without running into Sir Isaac Brock, Tecumseh, Laura Secord or Lieutenant Colonel Charles de Salaberry and hearing how the War of 1812 defined Canada. While the Harper government ignored the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 2009 because of its political implications, the bicentennial of the War of 1812 is getting the full-on treatment because of its political implications: It is a war Canadians won together. Funny thing, though, the Americans are also convinced they won the War of 1812.

  • Posted: March 1, 2010

    Overlapping allegiances: C2C’s interview with former Margaret Thatcher adviser, John O’Sullivan. In this interview with John O’ Sullivan, now executive editor at Radio Free Europe in Prague, O’ Sullivan reflects on multiculturalism, the IRA’s 1984 Brighton hotel bombing and the Toronto 18.