The State of Arms: Evaluating Canada’s Military

January 25, 2018 Uncategorized Comments (2) 846

It will come as a surprise to some that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are to this day regarded as a qualitatively good military by our allies. In 10 years of counter-insurgency in Afghanistan, Canada successfully managed to contain the Taliban threat in the Kandahar province, one of the more troubled provinces in Afghanistan’s volatile south. However, such success happened despite governmental mismanagement which had our troops insert themselves within a desert theatre of operations wearing green camouflage and without adequate heavy equipment. It would be a truism to state that our forces have now made a science of doing more with less given the government’s propensity towards a slash and burn approach when it comes to the military.

One might also note, not without a hint of sadness, that the incessant round of cuts turned a once respectable pillar of the allies – that could go toe-to-toe with Waffen SS divisions – into a bit player, capable of bringing nothing more than a few good men to the table. It wouldn’t be altogether cynical, as we mentioned in an earlier article, to also assume that the debasement of the Canadian Armed Forces as a pillar of Canadian culture and tradition was a wholly deliberate move by the progressive forces in Canada incarnated in the Liberal Party.

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Book Review: The Other North America

January 2, 2018 Book Reviews Comments (0) 1192

In order to understand Canada, it is essential to understand North America. The vast continent on which Canada and its neighbours stand is the geopolitical reality which has shaped our history. Settlement, ideological conflict, and the competition between British-Canadian and American expansion westward shaped the development of both cultures and institutions. This means that deep ties of heritage, culture, and political traditions continue to exist between the various regions of Canada and the United States. Our branch of global European civilization is continental in nature.

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Disdain And Mismanagement: A Century in the Life of Our Armed Forces

December 21, 2017 Uncategorized Comments (0) 551

Another week, another defense procurement blunder by the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC). This time it is the much-maligned jet procurement file. After unwisely canning the F-35 acquisition plans as per their election promise, the government found itself in a bind. Trudeau’s puzzling electoral announcement came back to bite them in the hind parts. While a free and fair competition would be held, the F-35 would not be included in such competition (for whatever reason). This commitment was nothing more than blatant electioneering, an attempt by the then third party to capitalize on the generally negative public perception of the F-35 file helped along by a healthy dose of disinformation by our state media. Excluding the contradictory aspect of this statement (how can a competition arbitrarily exclude one product and still be called fair and transparent), it created a rather complex problem for Harjit Sajjan’s DND. While the F-35 is likely the only reasonable option if we wish to operate a fifth-generation fighter and keep Canada current in the air power department, the boss just eliminated that option for the sake of differentiating himself from the opposition.

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Canada and the Geopolitics of Restoration

December 18, 2017 Uncategorized Comments (0) 509

Photo credit: A night time shot of the Toronto skyline. Photo/Timur Gabaidulin. Follow Timur’s work here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tgiam/7756964304/in/dateposted/

One of the results of North America’s security between two oceans has been a lack of geopolitical thinking. There is even a school of thought – encouraged by Alexander Dugin and similar writers – that America and the Anglosphere receive cultural traits like individualism and ideological thinking from their oceanic existence. On the flipside, Russia and other land civilizations think religiously and geopolitically, analyzing in terms of power and not ideology. But let’s dig beyond that. In fact, Canada has always by necessity thought more geopolitically than its southern neighbour. This is to no small extent because of the proximity of said neighbour – we are Pierre Trudeau’s mouse in the shadow of the elephant. Our whole policy from the American Rebellion, through the Imperial era, up until the turning focus on Pacific relations, has been forwarded with the fact of our continental neighbourhood in mind. Unfortunately, geopolitics in the Canadian mind has been reduced primarily to military and economic matters. Since the end of the cold war, the latter has dominated. But in this age of strife across global borders, we must increasingly consider a more civilizational approach to geopolitics. In this piece, we will consider Canada’s position as an opportunity.

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Thanksgiving: A Common Inheritance

October 9, 2017 Uncategorized Comments (0) 634

It comes as no surprise that Thanksgiving should have taken root in North America. With similar festivals having deep roots across Europe, it was only natural for communities with their survival at stake to give thanks for what bounties they received. Today, it is one of the inheritances from old Europe which still binds together Canada and the United States. The date has varied between time and places, but the tradition has stood firm. Although less prominent in Quebec, similar days “l’action de grâce” were proclaimed on such occasions as peaces reached between France and England, and the anniversary of the 1837 revolts.

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Doorways to Restoration: A Reflection on Canada

August 6, 2017 Symposium 2017 Comments (0) 953

The following essay is part of Northern Dawn’s Symposium for Canada’s 150th anniversary. The theme is Canada: Who Are We? We hope these studies of Canada’s heritage will inspire readers to consider its future, and the broader civilization of which it is a part. Those who rule must know what they are ruling.

In this last essay, Mark Christensen gives final thoughts on the Symposium and reflects on the value Northern Dawn sees in the traditions of Canada.

When we decided to hold the first Northern Dawn symposium, we were shooting in the dark. After all, we’d just begun to set out some topics of investigation for Canadians who have apostatized from our world’s current orthodoxies. Would we be able to provide work of substance? Continue Reading

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More Than A Tory Touch: A Survey of Canadian Writing

July 31, 2017 Symposium 2017 Comments (1) 905

The following essay is part of Northern Dawn’s Symposium for Canada’s 150th anniversary. The theme is Canada: Who Are We? We hope these studies of Canada’s heritage will inspire readers to consider its future, and the broader civilization of which it is a part. Those who rule must know what they are ruling.

The following essay is by Ron Dart. In addition to regular contributions to the journal Clarion, he has written and taught widely about the High Tory tradition, its religious and cultural heritage, and its impact on Canadian life. His most recent book is The North American High Tory Tradition, reviewed here.

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The publication of Gad Horowitz’s “Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism in Canada: An Interpretation” in 1966 created an immense flurry and stir amongst political theorists and activists. Most had assumed that Canadian conservatism was just a variant of American conservatism and, in the USA at the time, the Goldwater-Kirk combination of conservatism would be much the same in Canada. Continue Reading

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Power, Press, and Musket: Why Canada Remained Loyal

July 8, 2017 Symposium 2017 Comments (2) 1559

The following essay is part of Northern Dawn’s Symposium for Canada’s 150th anniversary. The theme is Canada: Who Are We? We hope these studies of Canada’s heritage will inspire readers to consider its future, and the broader civilization of which it is a part. Those who rule must know what they are ruling.

The following essay is by Bill Marchant. He writes at Northern Reaction.

Why are we celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1st, and not the 241st birthday on July 4th? Why did Canada not join America’s rebellion against Great Britain? (Being a good Loyalist, I will use the contemporary British name for what others call the American Revolution.) This is a question that seems to attract essentially no inquiry on the Canadian side, despite the fact that Canada as a sovereign state only exists because of the answer to this question. Americans will occasionally tackle it, but it is usually framed as a military question: “Why were we not able to ‘liberate’ Canada when we liberated ourselves?” However, even this question has faded into the distance in the last 100 years, since Justin Smith published Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony, and essentially answered the American side.

Perhaps the reason why Canadians do not ask this question is because the answer reveals uncomfortable truths about America’s founding, Canada’s old stock, and the nature of political power. But we here have no fear of uncomfortable truths; we revel in them, as an uncomfortable truth is no less a truth than a comfortable one.

Before revealing the true answer, it is important to dispel an easy answer that is absolutely false. This is the idea that America simply did not care about Canada, since it was cold and full of Frenchmen. In fact, the Continental Congress sent three letters, four delegates, and an invading army into Canada to convince them to join the Continental Congress and by extension the Rebellion. They also put an open invitation to Canada (and to no other colony) in the Articles of Confederation, and Benjamin Franklin’s opening offer for peace with Britain in the Paris negotiations was that Britain give Canada to America.

Clearly America cared, and cared deeply, about securing Canada to their cause. There are many, many reasons for this desire. It doesn’t really matter for our purposes why they wanted Canada. (If you’re curious, read the first five chapters of Smith’s book. It’s available for free.) What we want to know is, why did Canada say no? Though there are nearly as many reasons for this rejection as there was for America’s desire for Canada, two of the most important factors were Governor Guy Carleton, and the role of the American soldiers themselves. This implies that most other factors mentioned by Smith and others could be removed; if Carlton and the American soldiers maintained their roles, Canada would still have rejected America’s rebellion.

First, Carleton. Guy Carleton was British officer in the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War. After the Seven Years’ war, in 1768, Carleton was chosen to be the Governor of Canada (at that point, basically Quebec). His actions as Governor are the first of our reasons why Canada did not rebel with the Americans. Carleton did two things incredibly, shockingly well: he restricted the press, and he kept the elites on his side.

Press in Canada was very close to nonexistent. There was a single printing press, which was used to print a newspaper called the Quebec Gazette. Carleton made the sensible and safe choice to continue the policy of his predecessors, and use the Quebec Gazette to post all new laws affecting the colonists, any government job postings, and information about what ships were coming and going and when. This seems trivial, but what it meant was that the Quebec Gazette was financially dependant upon the government of Canada in general, and Carleton in particular. And Carleton made it clear that there should be no politics in the Quebec Gazette. It is quite odd to read Smith and other modern historians discuss this; they describe the Quebec Gazette as incredibly conservative, when all sides agree that its content was in every way apolitical. The implication is that by not being expressly rebellious, the paper was therefore anti-rebellion. It is left to the reader to look for modern parallels.

The Quebec Gazette stands in stark contrast to American newspapers at the time. Everyone knows that the Federalist Papers were originally published in newspapers, but that was true of many political documents, the angry ramblings of Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton’s anti-Catholic conspiracy theories, and insane imagined speeches by British politicians, calling for the blood of Americans, all to work the American people into a rebellious fervor. And it worked. Congress was able to raise armies because the American people believed (wrongly) that the British were baying for their blood, and this belief was fomented and in many ways created by the radical newspapers coming out of Boston and New York and elsewhere.

Essentially, by passively preventing the Quebec Gazette from becoming rebellious, Carleton stopped it from inciting the Canadian people.

“But,” I hear my more reactionary readers call out, “what does it matter what the people want? Every successful revolution is just a power struggle between two sets of elites. They often use ‘the people’ as pawns, but the people are not the drivers!” This is a sound criticism that comes from Pareto and de Jouvenal. The belief is that there are no successful “popular uprisings”, outside of elites weaponizing sections of “the people” against each other.

I do not know if Carleton intuited this concept, or if he just happened to stumble on the right answer, but he acted as if he knew it. Carleton chose exactly the correct groups of people to keep on his side, and the correct group to neglect. There were five groups in Canada that could possibly be considered “elites.”

The first of them, the British civil servants, were appointed directly by London, and as such had a lot to lose in any potential rebellion. Carleton did not have to worry about them. The second group was the British military. As Carleton was a military man by birth and occupation, it was only natural that he would give preferential treatment to them. This also kept his men loyal during the American invasion, even when Montreal fell and things looked grim.

The next two groups were the old French elite class, left over from before Canada was given to Britain in exchange for Guadeloupe. These two groups, the Catholic Priests and the Seigneurs, were the groups most closely connected to the vast French peasant population. Carleton ensured that both of these groups were taken care of in the governing document of Canada, The Quebec Act. The priests were once again allowed to tithe the Catholic population, and the Seigneurs were ensured that their property rights would be respected. As such, when the rebellion came to Canada, both the Priests and the Seigneurs remained loyal to Britain.

The final group of elites was the English-speaking merchants in Quebec City and Montreal. These were mostly immigrants from America. They brought with them their rebellious American ideas. It has been noted previously that Britain attempted to appease the American demands for unimpeded speech, and that such appeasement encouraged rebellion by spreading and normalizing their ideas. Carleton made no such appeasements to the English merchants, and although they attempted to help the Americans, they never saw much chance of success, and kept their rebellious thoughts mostly to themselves.

By keeping the first four groups of elites on his side, and by not appeasing the fifth group, Carleton ensured that any rebellion would at the very least have an uphill battle. However, if the Americans had acted perfectly, they may have still flipped one or two of the groups to their cause. However, the American invasion was poorly planned. There were not enough supplies, so the army started buying Canadian goods. But they did not not bring enough gold either, so they started using paper currency, which the Canadians did not want. When the Americans realised that their money was useless, they began to steal from and pillage the Canadians. This was the final straw, turning large numbers of the neutral peasants and the somewhat pro-American merchants against the rebellion.

The Americans were not removed completely from Canada until much later, when Carleton routed them after the invasion of Quebec, but their hopes of having Canada join them as the fourteenth colony were essentially quashed at that point. America would continue their attempts. Another letter, the invitation in the Articles, the offer to Britain, later the War of 1812, and many more attempts both official and surreptitious were tried. But Canada rejected each, and that rejection can be traced back to Guy Carleton’s wise decisions, and the American Army’s poor planning and ill-prepared state in the early stages of the uprising.

There are at least two lessons to be learned here. The first is that a “free” press is a powerful weapon. Whoever controls the press in many ways controls the fate of the nation. The fact that the vast majority of the press today is aligned against those with rightward values should be grave cause for concern. The second lesson is that Canada is not America. We do not have the violent rebellious beginning that America had. We rejected that beginning. We instead chose to gradually change into what we are today. Yes, what we are today, politically, is an embarrassment. But, unlike America, we did not burn our bridges. For Americans, there is no going back beyond the American Rebellion without another bloody rebellion. We, in the Great White North, may have exited through the door on the far left, and we may have closed the door behind us. But we did not throw away the key. Perhaps, one day, we will walk right back through that door.

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Call For Submissions: The Northern Dawn Symposium

April 5, 2017 Uncategorized Comments (0) 2235

It’s official.

This year, our Dominion turns 150. As is expected, the majority of celebrations will be focused on cementing the image of Canada as the land without roots. The post-national state. The multicultural society with no culture its own.

If we stay on this path, there will not be another 150 years. Even now, the official stance is that Canada’s pride is its position in the global liberal order. No reference made to the Loyalist migration, proud and Catholic Quebec, or the mission of Confederation to create an alternative to the republican experiment. Now more than ever, we need to imagine an alternative. We require strong thought and creative re-imagining for the future. We also need to forge a mentality of loyalty to what our forefathers handed down and the courage to rebuild it. Northern Dawn is part of the intellectual aspect of this work.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce that we are accepting submissions for the 1st Northern Dawn Symposium. The theme of this symposium is: Canada: Who Are We?

Background: Northern Dawn has begun to detail a radical rethinking of what Canada represents in the 21st century. Unlike the liberal conception, this vision of Canada is tied into what it represented in 1867, and in 1776. Despite decades of rewritten history, Canada retains an institutional and historical memory of its true mission. At the decisive moment when liberalism usurped the future of American civilization, the Loyalists fled northward to maintain their allegiance. In the person of the King, their loyalty was not only to a government, but to a vision of a monarchic Anglo-American civilization born of Western Christendom. In the decades that followed, the English and French destinies became entwined, culminating their joint membership in the Dominion of Canada.

Purpose: The common theme of this symposium is the recovery of the true Canadian tradition and elaborating how it can inform our future. Themes we are interested in include: pre- and non-liberal political traditions in colonial America, their survival in Canada and preservation in the United States, nationalism and identity, the end of secularism and what comes after, High Tory culture and thought, analysis of the Laurentian elite, and more. Names which inform our approach include George Grant, Charles Taylor, Stephen Leacock, Alasdair MacIntyre, Mencius Moldbug, Peter Hitchens, Sam Francis, and Ron Dart.

Guidelines:

  • A wide variety of themes are acceptable (history, philosophy, culture, religion, aesthetics, etc). However, essays must have in mind the common theme of Northern Dawn: the traditions inherited by North America as a part of Western European Christendom, and Canada as the rightful bearer of these traditions after the liberal door opened by 1776.
  • Politically-focused essays must take a historical or future-oriented view. We are not looking for commentary on the current 48-hour cycle of news.
  • We are more interested in quality of content than a word count, but we would suggest 1500-3000 words as a minimum and maximum.
  • Northern Dawn reserves the right to request edits or reject submissions.

Current works in progress include reflections on Charles Taylor, media power as a legitimate state concern, and a reflection High Tory influence in Canadian fiction.

We look forward to more. Please submit essays to: northern-dawn@protonmail.com

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Against CANZUK

February 28, 2017 Uncategorized Comments (2) 2579

As the free trade paradigm continues to erode, its advocates are beginning to look for alternatives. One of these has struck a chord not only with neoliberals, but also with a number of conservatives and traditionalists: the CANZUK proposal.

For those unfamiliar, the project aims to create some sort of trade and security pact between the Anglosphere countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Cooperation and ties between the Anglosphere countries is of course to be desired, and it is understandable that many who admire the traditions of the Empire and the cultural unity of the English world would be attracted to such a proposal. At least one candidate for the Conservative leadership has weighed in in favour of the project. In addition, the proposal would offer the possibility for those who favoured Brexit in the UK to prove that economic ties can be built outside of the Brussels bureaucracy.

Nevertheless, those who see CANZUK as an opportunity should learn the lessons of the European Union. This is particularly true when the suggestion includes some kind of free movement. The moral of the EU story can be summed up as follows: free movement is not advisable or sustainable when no common border exists around the area of movement. Despite nominally coordinated regulations for the Schengen Area, the extent of the refugee crisis has seen states reimpose more stringent national border controls.

The comparison to the EU is admitted by the advocates of the CANZUK idea. The executive director of CANZUK International states the following:

What we’re advocating is not something out of the ordinary. This is something that has been done within the European Union, between virtually 30 countries with a population of 500 million citizens, who have the right to live and work freely between each other, and its also been done between Australia and New Zealand with the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement … so what we’re proposing with 4 Commonwealth countries, who have very close Commonwealth ties, is not something completely “out there”.

Tensions and disparities in enforcement are inevitable when implementation is being done by a number of states which are both de jure and de facto sovereign in how regulations are imposed. Canada becomes subject to British immigration policy, Britain to Australia, and so on. Moreover, the organizations of entrenched neoliberalism remain in place despite the nationalist wave which continues to sweep the world; as such, we can expect to see a continuation of pressure on participants to cede sovereignty to the institutions of globalism and financial power.

Thus, it seems reasonable to assume the following for a CANZUK trade and migration area: following the establishment of the treaty, the bureaucracy created to administer it would find its interests best served by securing the favour and backing of the globalist powers. Thus, participating countries would find themselves increasingly pressured to cede more security, legal, and migration powers to the new common governing authority.

At the same time, the CANZUK free trade area would likely see pressure to itself sign agreements with other countries and trade areas, much like those the EU has pursued with CETA and similar agreements. In the case of renewed migration pressures when the next crisis hits, countries would be pressured to “share the burden”. Thus, the lessons which we might now learn in observing the EU from afar would be received much more directly.

Forging closer ties among the CANZUK nations as privileged partners in matters of trade and migration is desirable. Yet this must be done as part of a broader project of restoring a cohesive and resilient civilizational bulwark. The only way to effectively enforce a free movement area would be a unified sovereign power which administers all participant territories.

Despite the hopes of some Anglophiles, such an entity would – at present – be unlikely to take the form of a reborn, responsible, and civilizationally-minded Imperial Crown.

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