Cadres for Canadian Renewal
Mark Wegierski, on an under-estimated element in politics
Whether one calls them infrastructures or “cadres”, conservatives in Canada today are greatly in need of them. A truly consummate politician is able to utilize the self-interest of disparate groupings to work towards some common goal that only he or she has in mind. This process is exemplified by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada from 1968-1984 (except for nine months in 1979-1980). Trudeau’s ability to turn both French- and English-speaking Canada to his own ends, with both parts of the country thinking they were pursuing their own self-interest, is the mark of an effective political figure.
Indeed, one of the most important elements in politics is the harnessing of the energies of others to consciously or unconsciously, willingly or inadvertently, work for your own goals. Cadres, broadly defined, are a key to history. Certainly, in the Twentieth Century, the exercise of social, political, and cultural power by various “cadres”, whether left-liberal, Leninist, fascist, nationalist, or theocratic (in Iran, for example) has had an enormous impact.
But is it the leader who leads, or rather the “cadres” which implement the program that are more important? And have we reached a point in Canada today where, from the standpoint of a traditional vision of life, it deserves to fail? It has been suggested that some kind of “provincialization” or “regionalization” might restore some degree of balance in the Canadian polity. Perhaps Quebec, Ontario, Western Canada, and the Atlantic provinces, while pursuing mostly their own objectives, might find it in their interests to undertake some kind of “re-Confederation.” What might flow from that is a re-balancing, in many parts of the new Canadian polity, between Left and Right. So while the Liberal Party and the socialist New Democratic Party would gain strength in Alberta, the Progressive Conservative party would make gains in Ontario, and the centre-right Coalition Avenir Quebec would increase its popularity in Quebec.
Liberal Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson (1963-1968) began the creation of the New Canada; Liberal Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1968-1984, except for nine months in 1979-1980), was its main architect; Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney (1984-1993), mostly followed in Trudeau’s footsteps; while Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien (1993-2003) was a close associate of Trudeau. These have probably been the four individuals most responsible for creating current-day Canada. The response of Stephen Harper, the Conservative Prime Minister of Canada from 2006 to 2015, to the massive tides of transformational change that have overwhelmed Canada since the 1960s was feeble. And now the election of Liberal Justin Trudeau (son of Pierre) is likely to inaugurate another massive wave of “progressive” change.
All this is akin to demolishing a solidly-built, longstanding, traditional neighborhood, and replacing it with modern, gleaming skyscrapers, condo-towers, and ugly housing projects. Canada’s British past has been thoroughly repudiated, and, to cite one major example, the country’s armed forces and military traditions (a common locus for national pride) undermined through punitive budget cuts, the “unification” of the services, and the imposition of “politically correct” agenda. Another example is the annihilation of “Tory Toronto” through mass, dissimilar immigration and cultural fragmentation. Toronto was given that nickname because (before the 1960s) it was conservative and British-focussed. A third example is the “judicial activism” driven by ultra-expansive definitions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982). The bringing of that document into the Canadian constitutional system has been characterized as the equivalent of a coup d’état. A fourth example is the massive reconfiguration of the education systems in most provinces to serve multifarious emanations of “political correctness.” (In the Canadian constitutional system, education is the responsibility of the provinces.)
Current-day Canada, a consumptionist welfare-state, has used up vast resources to little or no good effect and with obvious detriment to social cohesion. Hopefully, new arrangements focusing on “de-centralization” and “regionalization’, conducive to a more authentic social and political existence, can be reached before Canada descends into cultural oblivion.
Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer and researcher