The language and culture barriers between Quebec and the rest of Canada fuel the proliferation of shallow stereotypes. Looking at La Belle Province from Halifax or Vancouver or Toronto, it’s easy to imagine legions of leftists in a sea of sovereigntists. The political reality is much more complex, of course, and Paul Beaudry proves the point. A natural born contrarian, he grew up francophone, federalist and conservative in Montreal. Then he discovered libertarianism, which further antagonized his teachers and inhibited his social life. Today, though, with separatist and socialist fortunes ebbing in Quebec, Beaudry no longer feels like a lonely right-wing counter-revolutionary.
Day: March 1, 2015
In 2015 C2C Journal invited several writers to explain “How I Got Here” by recalling the experiences and influences that shaped their philosophical orientation. National Post columnist Colby Cosh wrote about growing up in small-town Alberta in the 70s and 80s reading Ayn Rand while government presided over runaway inflation and ruination of the oil industry. University taught him almost nothing, and he chose Alberta Report’s rabble-rousing newsroom as his grad school. This piece helps explain why he’s one of the most consistently interesting voices in Canadian journalism today.
Brigitte Pellerin became an ardent capitalist the day she got her first $11 pay cheque from McDonald’s. She went on to fight for a wide range of right-wing causes as a journalist and political activist. Today, however, she can hardly muster the enthusiasm to vote. Years of disappointments from conservative politicians and parties have left her politically homeless. Pellerin is still on Team Liberty, but as she surveys the Canadian political landscape today, she fears she may be its last remaining member.
Jeremy Cherlet is just 24. His political beliefs are still evolving, but unlike many of his peers, he is actively engaged in political life. He credits five seminal experiences with shaping his worldview, including 9-11, the Internet, trips to Germany and Israel, and working as an intern for a conservative Christian politician. Some of these reinforced his biases; some reversed them. All fuelled his passion for political involvement.
Bernd Schmidt grew up in the ruins of post-war Germany and the rubble of its ideology. He was actively involved in the political upheavals of the Sixties, but never a blind follower of movements that subjugated means to ends. Then he moved to Canada’s Yukon, far removed from the hurly burly of the world. From that calm distance, Schmidt has settled into no political home but his own, where individual freedom reigns in harmony with commitment to the public good.
You could hardly be the daughter of a refugee from Communism without being predisposed to free market conservatism. So it was for Lydia Miljan, but what really cemented her right-wing political convictions was the classes she took from the classical liberal scholars who comprised the “Calgary School” at the University of Calgary, and the people and ideas she encountered later at the Michael Walker-led Fraser Institute. Now teaching at a southern Ontario university, Miljan is passing on those ideas to a new generation.
“You’re from Calgary and you’re a Liberal?” Warren Kinsella has been getting that bemused question pretty much all his life. He came by his liberalism honestly enough as a member of an Irish Catholic clan from Montreal. They fled west when the separatists got too crazy, only to discover there were separatists in Alberta too – and most of them were conservatives. That clinched it: the Calgary Kinsellas would remain Liberal, even if meant being a (mildly) oppressed minority.
Philip Cross was a third-generation civil servant who became renowned for his brilliant data analysis and scrupulous objectivity as Chief Economic Analyst at Statistics Canada. Then he traded the velvet coffin of government for the shark-infested pool of the private sector, becoming a self-employed economic policy analyst and pundit. His former colleagues at Statcan wondered if he “had fallen on his head.” But for Cross, liberation from government was a natural expression of his conservative philosophical convictions – and an experience he recommends to anyone trapped in the drudgery of the civil service.
As a young man Fred Litwin was as progressive as they come, a passionate advocate for gay rights, justice for Palestinians, and the peace movement, among others. At the turn of the millennium, he started to have doubts, particularly after reading Horowitz’s book about his communist-to-conservative conversion. Then came 9-11, and the chorus of America-bashing by the Left in its wake. It was the last straw, and Litwin decided to come out as a gay conservative.
Elizabeth Nickson’s story has all the makings of a Hollywood bio pic: A Westmount exile, who rebels against power and privilege, becomes a globe-trotting leftist journalist chronicling the great revolutionary narratives of her time. Then she sets out to discover the awful truth about her patriarchal 400-year-old colonist clan and everything changes. But Hollywood won’t touch her script because what she finds are eternal truths, about love, charity, sacrifice, Christianity and genuine freedom.