home > this article
Comparing the Canadian and the American Right – updated to 2023 (Part Four)
By Mark Wegierski
The Conservative Party was finally able to win a strong majority in the federal Parliament in the 2011 federal election. This was the first putatively conservative majority in the federal Parliament since that won in 1988. However, in October 2015, Justin Trudeau's Liberals rebounded, and won a strong majority. Their return to power meant the undermining of whatever small steps in a conservative direction that Stephen Harper had undertaken. In the October 2019 federal election, the Liberals hung on to a strong minority government (a plurality of seats in the House of Commons) – which had been supported by the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), which is even further left. In the September 20, 2021, federal election, the Conservatives proved unable to displace the Liberals (who won a strong minority government again) despite Conservative leader Erin O'Toole's desperate lunge towards "centrist" policies.
It should be well noted that left-leaning infrastructures such as feminist groups (who are indeed often tightly enmeshed with governmental bureaucracies) outweigh in resources such right-leaning infrastructures (such as, most notably, the Fraser Institute think-tank) by astronomical factors.
And, although there is a quite substantial amount of debate about economic issues and economic conservatism, as far as social conservatism and right-wing patriotism, these have almost no register on the Canadian political scene. Left-liberals are quite content to allow the presence of a soulless "managerial Right" that manages the economy – so long as they themselves get to control all the social and cultural issues.
Some Canadian newspapers, notably The National Post (formerly owned by the Canadian-born conservative press baron Conrad Black – who is now somewhat disgraced), have some degree of right-wing content, including a few surprisingly acerbic columnists. There are a handful of prominent conservative academics, especially in Alberta. There also arose in April 2011, a right-leaning news outlet on television – Sun Network News – but it closed abruptly on February 13, 2015 (putting around 200 people out of work).
Ezra Levant has also founded a major news website – The Rebel Media. Candice Malcolm has also founded a substantial media initiative – True North Canada. There is also the website, The Post Millennial.
However, this is all very, very little, compared with the comparatively massive right-wing presence in the United States.
The presence of a large, organized, political Right in the U.S., and its absence in Canada, will probably lead to increasingly divergent futures for both countries. Many of the more pleasant aspects of life in Canada are likely to disappear with the increasing triumph of ever-more-insistent, utterly unchecked and unimpeded left-liberal and left-wing policies. The political situation in Canada, with the virtual non-existence of an intellectual and cultural Right, cannot be described as healthy for Canadian society.
Persons of traditionalist or conservative outlooks in Canada are faced with the unappealing prospect of the spiraling into oblivion of many congenial aspects of Canada, about which they can do virtually nothing. Their feelings of chronic hopelessness may perhaps to some extent be assuaged by looking to more hopeful developments in the United States, or perhaps in East-Central Europe and Russia.
Considering that Harper had been badly stymied in his efforts at systemic reform through the federal Parliament, there might arise increased calls for regional devolution, so that, for example, Alberta or all of Western Canada could carry out social and economic policies more congenial to itself. It could be seen that Harper, during his majority government, had decisively failed, and such scenarios of regional devolution may, ironically, become the best hope for some fragmentary survival of traditionalism and conservatism in Canada.
The more furiously and immoderately the Left opposed Harper, thwarting the work of the Conservative federal majority government, the more it might have created the preconditions for frustrated Conservative voters to turn to devolutionist scenarios.
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.