February 26, 2004


Not my Canada, Not my Post (Mark Steyn, March 2004, Toro)

When I leave, I go quietly. I departed The American Spectator three years ago, and I've never said a word about it. That was the way I would have liked to have done things at the National Post. My final column appeared in their pages last spring, on the day Ken Whyte, his deputy, Martin Newland, the executive marketing supremo Alex Panousis, and assorted others were fired by the paper's owners. In the months following, I was bombarded by mail from Post (and, more to the point, ex-Post) readers, and had no desire to say anything other than, "No comment." But, six months on, my poor assistant was still spending half her morning replying to Posties, and I figured I couldn't afford the crippling manpower costs of a dignified silence any longer. So here's why I left: [...]

One of the most tedious aspects of Canadian life is the way Liberal Party policies are always sold as "Canadian values": socialized health care, the gun registry, sitting out the war on terror, etc. Do you listen to CBC radio? Me neither. But, on obscure stretches of highway when nothing else comes in, I love their political discussions, in which a centre-left host moderates a panel comprising someone from the soft left, someone from the hard left, and someone from the loony left, as if that's the only range of opinion acceptable in polite society. These folks genuinely believe in Trudeaupia. But, given that they've cornered the market on that, there ought to be one outlet for those who want a different Canada, a Canada that doesn't despise its own history, that recognizes that the last four decades have seen us slide from a major second-rank power to a global irrelevance, that the Trudeaupian road is a dead end, and that we need something new.

When Conrad Black sold his remaining fifty-percent share in the Post, he gave a farewell speech to the newsroom in which he said that the paper needed a proprietor who had better connections with the Liberal Party elite - presumably because that's the way things work in Canada. I said to Conrad recently that that's the last thing the Post needs. As a Canadian whose principal assets are in the United Kingdom and the United States, he's one of the few businessmen who doesn't need any favours from the government. Almost every activity in the dependents' Dominion - from books to aircraft manufacturing - obliges companies to enter into some sort of formal or informal relationship with the government. That's bad. It would be bad enough in a functioning democracy, where at least the [butts] one is obliged to kiss are rotated every five years. But it's worse in a one-party state like Canada, where it's always the same Liberal Party posterior, no matter how saggy and mottled it gets. Canada is no longer quite a respectable democracy, and I want to write for a paper that understands that.

Instead, week by week, the editorials are slowly but surely swimming back toward the shallow end of the pool.

No matter what portion of our military budget goes to protect the old folks up North, it's worth it just in exchange for Mr. Steyn.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2004 6:35 PM

I hereby nominate Mark Steyn as Prime Minister of the Canadian Government-in-Exile, with full power to coordinate the activities of the Resistance ("the Hockquis") in Occupied Trudeaupia, in anticipation of that happy day when the armies of freedom march north (in "Operation Beauty, Eh?") to liberate that frozen and benighted land.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 26, 2004 6:56 PM

> No matter what portion of our military budget
> goes to protect the old folks up North, it's
> worth it just in exchange for Mr. Steyn.

It's wasted then, because Steyn is currently a US resident--of your very own state iirc.

Posted by: Kirk Parker at February 27, 2004 2:38 AM

Very little waste, as the percentage of the US military budget that's used to protect Canada is 0%, unless one wishes to argue that America would maintain fewer nuclear warheads if she weren't going to shield Canada, as well.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at February 27, 2004 5:11 AM

"Very little waste, as the percentage of the US military budget that's used to protect Canada is 0%,"

Meanwhile, we've committed the Inuit Rangers to protecting your entire northern flank. You Americans just don't do your fair share for continental defence.

Posted by: Peter B at February 27, 2004 10:57 AM

The Star Wars community has an affectionate name for Canada: projected crash site.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 27, 2004 11:11 AM