What I’m about to write here doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to put together. But since nobody has yet – at least publicly – let me connect some very clear dots.
On the evening of January 18, federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole announced that he was “asking” his MPs to kick fellow Ontario Tory MP Derek Sloan out of the party’s caucus.
Far-left gotcha-propaganda website Press Progress said that they have proof that Sloan accepted a $131 donation from a man named Paul Fromm.
Who the hell is Paul Fromm? Until a few hours ago, I – and probably 98 per cent of Canada – had never heard of the guy. Turns out that he’s a particularly loathsome white supremacist.
The Press Progress hit piece was complete with lots of colourful pictures of Fromm doing his best impression of a Nürnberg rally. The intention was clearly to link Fromm with Sloan.
Doing their best Pravda knock-off, Press Progress has done this before, libelling mainstream – even moderate – conservative politicians in Alberta as a 21st century sturmabteilung. It’s what they do best.
O’Toole did his best surprised face and tweeted furiously.
“Derek Sloan’s acceptance of a donation from a well-known white supremacist is far worse than a gross error of judgment or failure of due diligence.”
Conservative MPs tell me that they all learned about it in the press.
Now you don’t need to be on Team Sloan to smell a rat here. You just need two eyes and half a brain. Let’s examine the evidence.
One: Almost no candidate is aware of every – or even most – of the donations that they receive. It is processed by the campaign’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). For small campaigns like Sloan’s, that position is often a volunteer, or at the least, not a professional. I could have accidentally accepted blood diamond money while I was in politics for all I know.
Two: No candidate – and I repeat no candidate – is aware of the details of donations the size of Paul Fromm’s: $131. It’s a rounding error. I only ever ran to be an Alberta MLA in my time in politics, and I did not know who was giving me $131. I knew if someone was giving me $1,000. Maybe even $500. Never, ever, $131.
Three: I have never heard of Paul Fromm before. Unless you’re a full-time Nazi hunter, you probably have never heard of Paul Fromm either. I’m doubtful that Press Progress had heard of him until they had this gently brought to their attention.
Four: Paul Fromm’s big $131 donation was processed not just by the Sloan campaign, but by the Conservative Party of Canada itself. Had the CPC had recognized this name, they would have flagged it. They didn’t. They do apparently expect Derek Sloan’s CFO to however.
Five: If the Conservative Party of Canada – with its legendary resources – could not flag this $131 donation, then it is not reasonable to expect a fourth-place also-ran campaign to have the resources to do it.
Six: The only two entities that likely would have had any awareness of Fromm’s donation are: Derek Sloan, and the Conservative Party of Canada’s staffers.
Seven: According to a statement Sloan posted online Fromm had joined the Conservative party under the name Frederick P Fromm and had voted in the leadership election. His ballot was accepted by the party without the scrutineers from the other campaigns objecting.
“Therefore the Party, and the O’Toole campaign, failed to uphold the same standard to which they are now applying to me,” he wrote.
Sloan is not a centrist Tory in the mould of O’Toole, and has a reputation as a bit of a maverick. Leaders do not like mavericks in their caucus.
And Sloan is the only rival that O’Toole faced for the Conservative leadership that currently has a seat in the House of Commons.
Multiple Alberta and Ontario Conservative MPs the Western Standard has spoken to tell us that they and Sloan found out about this in the media. They also tell us that they believe that this was entirely an inside-hit job by O’Toole via the Leader’s Office or party HQ.
One veteran Conservative with inside knowledge of the matter says that several MPs intend to vote against O’Toole’s demand to expel Sloan…if they get a secret ballot.
The Reform Act legally requires that they do, but I’m sure smart people in Ottawa can find a way around that.
And even if his caucus showed some spine, O’Toole has unilaterally declared that Sloan will not be allowed to seek the CPC nomination in his constituency again, even if his local members want him. Grassroots stuff.
From the MPs we have spoken to at least, the Conservative Caucus is bitterly divided. While Sloan has his share of enemies in the party, they see – without much need for a tinfoil hat – that this is clearly instigated at the behest of their own leader. And they tell us that they are afraid that O’Toole could come for them next on trumped-up charges (no pun intended).
What could O’Toole possibly be thinking? There are other ways for leaders to purge troublesome underlings. They can bring forward better false charges of impropriety. They can do a better job of covering their tracks. They can just go the route of Andrew Scheer via Brad Troast, and rig the nomination against him.
This is amateur hour House of Cards.
Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard
SPENCER FERNANDO: Imagine what the Tories would be saying if Trudeau had hired a former Huawei VP
Why would the CPC undermine their own messaging on China and put their supporters in a difficult position?
With the Conservatives struggling in the polls and growing reports of internal divisions within the CPC on the issue of Erin O’Toole’s leadership, one bright spot for the Conservatives has been their courageous approach to confronting China.
The messaging from the party has been strong, with them warning of the threat of Huawei, pushing back against China’s attempts to intimidate people in Canada, and calling out China’s genocide of the Uyghurs, leading to a moment of moral clarity in the House of Commons that exposed the cowardice of the Trudeau cabinet.
The Conservatives managed to fully line up with Canadian public opinion, take a stand for Canadian values, and bring other parties along in that noble endeavour.
And yet, they have since partially undermined themselves.
A few days ago, it was revealed the Conservative Party hired Jake Enwright to be their director of issues management.
Now, Enwright has a history in the Conservative Party, having worked for Andrew Scheer and Rona Ambrose when she was interim CPC leader.
However, he also spent about a year working for Huawei Canada, including as their vice-president of corporate affairs.
While it was a short portion of his overall career, the hiring of someone with Huawei connections is an odd move for a party that had made anti-Huawei rhetoric such a strong feature of their messaging.
Notably, Erin O’Toole has accused Huawei of industrial espionage and facilitating the destruction of Nortel.
“The rise of Huawei was itself facilitated by years of industrial espionage conducted by China against Nortel. Intellectual-property theft, counterfeiting and digital piracy are not exceptions to our dealings with China. They are the reality, and it’s high time our government and many corporate leaders realize that. We may have lost Nortel to Huawei but we can and must learn from it. Because if we don’t, we have to accept that another company will be next,” O’Toole said.
Additionally, a top Conservative MP was very critical of former Liberal Operative Morgan Elliott working for Huawei:
This raises the following question:
If Huawei is committing industrial espionage in Canada, if Huawei is a threat, and if a past Liberal political operative should be condemned for working for Huawei, then why should the Conservatives get a free pass when they hire a former Huawei executive to be a political operative for them?
If it’s wrong when the Liberals do it, it’s wrong when the Conservatives do it.
Just imagine what the Conservatives would be saying if Trudeau had hired a former Huawei executive?
We would be hearing how “this further shows how Trudeau is in bed with the Communist State,” how Trudeau is “betraying Canada,” how he is “selling us out to China,” how he “can’t be trusted on China,” etc…
And the Conservatives would have had immense credibility in saying this, because under O’Toole they have been much tougher on China than the Trudeau cabinet.
However, much of that credibility is wasted when they hire a former Huawei executive and just expect everyone to go along with it.
It’s also an insult to Conservative Party supporters, who are being forced to defend something that puts them in the embarrassing position of trying to justify something they would be condemning the Liberals for.
With much of the Conservative base already seemingly demoralized, the party’s strong position and sense of values on China was something to hold onto, but hiring a former Huawei executive takes even that away.
Now, the point here is not that Enwright is some sort of evil dude, as I’m sure he’s not. And I’m not a fan of cancel culture. After all, given my past involvement in different political parties, there are lots of people who see me as a hypocrite. That’s just how things go.
However, it is simply absurd that the Conservative Party can’t see how terrible it looks to make an anti-Huawei, anti-CCP message a huge portion of their offering to voters, slam the Liberals for Huawei ties, position Huawei as a serious threat to Canada, and then hire someone who held a high-level position with Huawei in Canada.
It looks like the same arrogance we so often see from the Trudeau government, who expect everyone to ignore how their words and actions rarely ever match up.
The Conservative base, made up of committed, hardworking, patriotic Canadians, deserves better than a party brass that takes them for granted and forces them to defend absurd and hypocritical decisions.
And all Canadians deserve better.
With surveys showing a clear consensus among the Canadian people on Huawei and China, all of our political parties should be reducing their connections to the Communist state and distancing themselves from companies connected to China.
When it comes to China, Canadians have spoken, and our leaders need to listen.
Spencer Fernando s a columnist for the Western Standard and the owner/author of spencerfernando.com from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
NAVARRO-GENIE: Joe Biden has killed the Alberta-51 option
“The AB51 option was always a long, long shot, but Joe Biden’s arrival may have driven a stake through its heart.”
About a solid third of Albertans steadily favour breaking away from Canada. That number has recently been as high as 50% (February 2020, Angus Reid). A minority among them believe that joining the US as a 51st state is the best option. But that’s not likely the case anymore.
The impulse to reject Canada is not new. It is as old as British North America and it is rooted in issues that flare time and again. Those issues have not been addressed to the satisfaction of most Albertans. One of these is natural resources. It took Alberta and Saskatchewan 20 years to wrestle from Ottawa the lawful ownership of the natural resources that Wilfred Laurier refused to them at birth.
Resources were then a source of dispute with the federal government, and that conflict continues today. It has become even more acute with Justin Trudeau’s desire further to subjugate Alberta to Central Canadian interests.
Trudeau’s energy and environmental policies have become new instruments through which Ottawa seeks to exert control of Alberta’s hydrocarbon energy resources. Under the alarmist guise of saving the planet, the federal government manipulates and chokes the development, extraction and commercialization of Alberta’s oil and gas through federal taxation, tanker and infrastructure legislation, and development regulations. Creating laws and regulations that do not apply to similar industries or even to the energy industry in other parts of Canada, Ottawa has blocked the further development of oil sands projects, the construction of more pipelines to distribute production, and the construction of new terminals to sell Alberta hydrocarbons in national and international markets. In short, these Laurentian controls attack Alberta’s wealth, and prevent its growth and development.
Conversely, Ottawa is happy to syphon Alberta’s wealth and distribute it in Laurentian Canada and in its policy-induced poorer vassals in Maritime Canada. Adding grievous insult to haemorrhaging injury, the Laurentian province most committed to killing Alberta’s oil industry – Quebec – benefits the most from the wealth transfers. They have received an average of $15 billion per year in the last 20 years. The federal government generously distributes money from the very industry they mean to kill to those working hard to kill it.
There is no shelter from this scheme for Alberta. The institutions of the federation have been rigged to make “the regions,” as Ottawa bureaucrats refer to the periphery, subjects and suppliers of wealth and resources.
Ottawa and its institutions set the rules by which the Laurentians exact their tribute. Multiple reform attempts have failed to balance the tilted equation, and these failures have convinced many Albertans that abandoning the abusive arrangement is the sole path to a better future.
The AB51 hope is that as an American state, Alberta would be clear to manage its own resources, pursue their development, build infrastructure to get its resources to market and keep a larger chunk of its wealth. The elected US Senate would guarantee equal and maybe better representation.
However, this option was largely predicated on the affinity of Alberta’s interests with the now extinct Trump administration. The Biden Administration’s affinity for a Green New Deal and a Great Reset shows the same hostility for hydrocarbon energy that Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa does. Immediately on arrival to the White House, President Biden shut down Keystone XL pipeline, reaffirming a commitment to adhere to the Paris Accord. The Green New Deal is yet to unfold, but whatever it may be, it does not spell good news for the Alberta energy sector. As a 51st state, Alberta would be subject to similar treatment from Biden’s Washington, or any other such administration with similar goals, as it does from Ottawa.
Alberta’s democratic representation might improve as a member of the southern federation, but the fortunes of its energy resources would only improve marginally. The American energy market would become a domestic market for Alberta. That would be good for the currently discounted sales into it, but that market’s expansion is highly threatened by the doomsday ideology of the Green Tzars who rule it. We have not yet seen the litany of barriers and restrictions that Green ideologues are capable of inflicting on the industry.
A future Republican administration might once again be friendly to hydrocarbon energy, but that would only offer limited reprieve. The industry would be just as politicised and subject to the same political ups and downs under which it currently lives in Canada. Alberta would still be subject to a faraway federal government, largely out of its control.
The AB51 option was always a long, long shot, but Joe Biden’s arrival may have driven a stake through its heart.
Marco Navarro-Genie is a columnist for the Western Standard, President of the Haultain Research Institute and Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He is author, with Barry Cooper, of COVID-19: The Politics of a Pandemic Moral Panic (2020).
WAGNER: The struggle for conservative & libertarian ideas in North America’s universities
“Progressives like to talk about the need for “diversity,” but do students in the social sciences really get exposed to a diversity of intellectual opinion on controversial topics?”
In 1981, preeminent American conservative political philosopher Harry Jaffa wrote an article entitled, “On the Necessity of a Scholarship of the Politics of Freedom.” In it, he bemoaned the fact that leftist thinking dominated the academic fields of history, political science, and the other social sciences. Deterministic theories like Marxism were prevalent. These theories deny mankind’s metaphysical freedom, and he added, “from the denial of man’s metaphysical freedom to the denial of any right to moral or political freedom, is but a short step.”
To counter leftist ideology in universities – “the scholarship of unfreedom” – Jaffa called for a new cohort of scholars to step forward in defence of Western civilization’s historic liberties: “there must be a scholarship of the politics of freedom, one that stands in as fundamental an opposition to the scholarship of unfreedom, as constitutional government stands in opposition to totalitarian tyranny.”
There is good reason to believe that leftist thinking dominates the fields of history and social science today as much as in 1981, if not more so. Therefore, “a scholarship of the politics of freedom” is needed now more than ever, if the Western world is to be delivered from the left’s statist agenda.
Although freedom-oriented thinkers are relatively rare in the universities, there are some noteworthy exceptions. Despite the dominance of ideological progressivism, there are yet some conservative and libertarian political scientists, historians, economists, sociologists, and others in academia.
Although he died in 2015, Harry Jaffa himself was one of the most prominent conservative political scientists of the twentieth century. As a speechwriter for Senator Barry Goldwater – and Republican presidential nominee in 1964 – Jaffa wrote a famous line that got included in Goldwater’s convention speech of that year: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” That statement is still discussed today.
Generally speaking, freedom-oriented thinkers in the Anglosphere can be divided into conservatives and libertarians, then subdivided into particular kinds of conservatives and libertarians.
Some libertarian academics were very prominent in the 1980s, with professors Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman likely being the best known. Hayek’s 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, is a libertarian classic. Also notable are his 1960 book The Constitution of Liberty, and his three-volume set Law, Legislation and Liberty, published during the 1970s. The title of the second volume is especially interesting today – The Mirage of Social Justice. Milton Friedman is particularly known for his 1962 book, Capitalism and Freedom and the more popular 1980 work Free to Choose.
Another significant libertarian is Julian Simon, a University of Maryland economist, who demonstrated in his ground-breaking 1981 book The Ultimate Resource – as well as in his subsequent work – that the single most important factor for economic progress is human ingenuity unleashed by individual liberty and free enterprise.
There are a number of libertarian think tanks that produce academic-level research. The Fraser Institute would be the best-known in Canada. The United States has many more, including the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., and for more radical libertarians, the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.
There are well-known conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, both based in Washington, D.C. And in 1979, four of Harry Jaffa’s students founded the Claremont Institute in California, which publishes one of the very best conservative periodicals in the English-speaking world, the Claremont Review of Books.
Also noteworthy is the Intercollegiate Studies Institute or ISI. Its purpose is to help college and university students learn and defend the principles that underlie Western civilization. It too, publishes helpful periodicals such as Modern Age as well as scholarly books.
Even the much-maligned social conservatives have some academic champions. Likely the best-known would be Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University and Professor Hadley P. Arkes of Amherst College. Among George’s many books is his 2014 Conjugal Union: What Marriage Is and Why It Matters (co-authored with Patrick Lee) which is a defense of traditional – i.e., monogamous, heterosexual – marriage. Arkes’ 2002 book, Natural Rights and the Right to Choose, articulates the pro-life position on abortion.
In Canada, the “Calgary School” of intellectuals offers a conservative and libertarian perspective, and has been previously covered in the Western Standard.
Despite the tidal wave of progressive ideology overrunning college and university campuses throughout North America, some beacons of the scholarship of the politics of freedom remain. Their books and periodicals are essential reading for conservative and libertarian university students, as well as for parents and grandparents whose children or grandchildren are attending a post-secondary institution. Having academic-level material that refutes leftist views helps students to scrutinize issues more thoroughly and thereby develop a genuine critical thinking capacity, which is a key component of higher education.
Progressives like to talk about the need for “diversity,” but do students in the social sciences really get exposed to a diversity of intellectual opinion on controversial topics? They will if they encounter works by the scholars of freedom such as those mentioned above.
There is a desperate need for Harry Jaffa’s “scholarship of the politics of freedom,” but it will only be able to flourish if young conservatives and libertarians avail themselves of current conservative and libertarian scholarship and build upon it. Hopefully readers of the Western Standard will encourage promising young people to take up this vital challenge.
Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard
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