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Justin Trudeau arrived this past summer in Edinburgh, and imparted his personal and political wisdom at a university graduation ceremony. The Canadian Prime Minister received the degree of Doctor honoris causa, and social media soon erupted with discussions about the suave and genteel personage’s appearance. Mingling amidst the fawning academics and students, the cult of personality that surrounds him was quite apparent.
Trudeau is young and handsome, which means that any proper analysis of his government’s policies goes by the wayside. He is treated like some sort of rock star by his adoring hoards, which rather sums up the state of modern politics. A globetrotter, Trudeau enjoys tutting at less morally “developed” nations, and Canadian aid money is often conditional on the recipient nation’s reversal of policy.
Canada is often spoken of as some sort of liberal utopia. After all, more than half of the cabinet is composed of women and ethnic minorities. Behind the façade, however, lies a quite different reality.
Free speech is now dead in Canada. As in Britain, one is unable to merely disagree on moral issues. Civility is out the window; there must be legal and personal attacks against nonconformists. This atmosphere, combined with a government which seeks to solve social problems with heavy-handed legislation, is a recipe for disaster.
Recent legislation to deal with “hate crime” is a pertinent example. As usual, the very broad nature of the laws mean that one can face punishment for merely expressing disagreement over religious or moral issues. Take the University of Toronto’s Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology. His refusal to use pronouns such as “xe” and “zir” in relation to transgender people resulted in a vicious and inevitable backlash. A wide range of groups and individuals demanded his resignation, and he was no-platformed at public events. At one such event, his supporters were greeted with a white-noise machine. Actual debate seems to be a thing of the past.
Once upon a time a university campus was a place where mind-opening debate was welcomed; now it is the last place one would look for free and open discussion. Extreme cabals control what is said, taught, and done.
A highly ironic, and greatly disturbing, example of this was Ryerson University’s recent decision to cancel its event entitled “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses.” This occurred after the harassment of university administrators and accusations of “Nazism.” One couldn’t make it up. The problem is, campus haters of free speech just have to look at their government to justify their position.
As with many of his ilk, Trudeau accepts no disagreement on moral issues. Whatever one’s opinion on abortion, should it not disturb us greatly that abortion in Canada is legal at any stage of pregnancy? This is extreme policy by any standard. Infanticide with a handsome face is still infanticide. Meanwhile, Trudeau tuts at the Irish Taoiseach about “fundamental rights.”
During the last Presidential election, many prominent American celebrities pledged to up sticks and move to Canada if Trump was elected. Lena Dunham was amongst them, and of course didn’t follow through. The BBC, bizarrely, even filmed an American couple who did start on their journey to “begin a new life” in Canada after the election. This idea of a Canadian paradise, however, is an error. The image of Canada as a vibrant, liberal nation contra a right-wing America is not one that can be maintained for much longer.