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SLOBODIAN: Gay Alberta NDP MLA openly mocks believers of God

And she sported a huge grin during a stunning display of reprehensibly rabid intolerance on Friday.




Edmonton NDP MLA Janis Irwin mocked Jesus and the Bible, used bully tactics, interfered with a citizen’s right to free speech, and encouraged vigilantism against a street preacher.

And she sported a huge grin during a stunning display of reprehensibly rabid intolerance on Friday. 

In a climate where Christians are perceived as fair targets and churches are being burned and vandalized, a politician promoting this appalling behaviour shows pathetically poor judgment at best.

This is Alberta’s Official Opposition Deputy Whip, critic for women’s and LGBTQ2S+ issues, someone who peddles herself as committed to social justice (apparently only for whom she agrees with).

Irwin proudly tweeted and posted a photo on Facebook of herself intimidating a street preacher. She included childish emojis and an invite for others to join in the harassment “every Friday” at Pride Corner, located on Whyte Avenue and Calgary Trail, not even in the Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood riding she represents.

Irwin in street protest

She posted these comments:

“On my way back home and I couldn’t possibly drive past Pride Corner without stopping.”

“Stayed just long enough to hear about my sins and dance a little too.”

“Stop by! They’re there every Friday night til late, drowning out the hate.”

Stop by to do what exactly? Sounds like an invitation to harass, or possibly worse, a street preacher. 

Mission accomplished. Several fuming people promised to head on down to do just that.

The photo shows a male holding a sign saying: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be Saved.’

A female, attempting to block him, holds signs saying: ‘Respect my existence or expect my resistance’ and ‘Keeping YEG hate free.’

Fine. Two people expressing their views.

The problem is the other person in the photo, that being Irwin, holding signs saying: ’This is homophobia disguised as Bible quotes’ and ‘Hate speech is not welcome here.’

A politician inserting herself into this is a pure intimidation tactic against someone she disagrees with.

It takes imagination to conclude the male’s sign spews hate.

One person who commented on Facebook was hardly impressed.

“The Christian has every right to be there – freedom of speech – preaching what he genuinely believes. You are the ones invading his space to make a scene and to provoke a reaction.”

Amen, brother!

Another person wrote: “I am confused, the scripture on the sign has no reference to homosexuality. How is that hate speech?”

Irwin retorted that the preacher says “hateful and harmful” words but neglected to elaborate.

“His preacher friend across the street confirmed to me that I am, in fact ,going to hell,” she claimed, not elaborating on how that alleged encounter transpired.

“I can laugh, but it’s not about me. It’s about that young kid struggling with their sexuality,” she added.

Oh, save it. That young kid deserves a role model who doesn’t condone double standards.

Irwin’s openly gay. 

Yeah, about that…don’t care. The concern here is character and actions, not where one’s affections lie.

When a politician promotes tolerance for me, but not for thee, there’s a serious problem.

Irwin’s Facebook page is saturated with selfies, promoting LGBTQ2S+ issues, and condemnation of Kerry Diotte, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Griesbach, who defeated her in the 2015 federal election.

A red flag about her credibility with facts swirls around false accusations that Diotte promotes conversion therapy.

He has stated that “conversion therapy is a harmful practice and should be banned.”

But he voted against a final “flawed” Liberal Bill C-6 failing to address what would be considered conversion therapy on the grounds that it could “jeopardize or even criminalize some conversations with religious leaders and others when counselling someone.”

The point is Irwin has dishonestly, relentlessly portrayed Diotte as an intolerant hater.

Having known Diotte for many years, it can be stated with absolute surety that he is decidedly not intolerant of gays or anyone, regardless of skin colour or religion.

A new attack appeared Friday on Irwin’s Facebook page spewing the same lies.

When contacted to get his take on whether Irwin crossed a political line, Diotte wondered what her performance has to do with provincial politics.

“People have a right to free speech no matter who they choose to worship. If somebody is fomenting hatred, we have laws against that. The correct thing to do is call the police and make a complaint. If a person is saying something hateful, it is your duty to report, not to incite,” said Diotte.

“What on earth is wrong with spreading the word of God? What kind of world do we live in when people are mocked for that? It’s seriously a sick world when that happens,” he said.

“There are many homeless people in the market with various addictions and maybe the preacher will reach even just one of them and turn their lives around,” said Diotte.

Irwin is obliged to fairly represent Christians in her constituency. With her intolerant bias, can she?

Christians leaders must step out from behind the safety of their pulpits and tell this MLA to respectfully stop mocking Jesus and those who, in Irwin’s view, have the audacity to worship Him.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard 

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Senior Columnist for the Western Standard. She has been an investigative columnist with the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report. lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. Left Coast

    July 21, 2021 at 11:23 am

    @ Ostbear . . . .

    Last time I checked the Street Preacher was NOT a Politician . . . and for a little while yet Free Speech is still lawful in Canada . . . yes?

    Irwin IS a Politician and represents ALL the people of her district, not her own personal hobby horse. She like many on the far-left is not bright enough to understand this obviously.

    Like is so often the case . . . these same-sexers become unhinged . . . here’s a perfect example.

    Author of the world-famous Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, is one of the few celebrities calling out the hypocrisy of the left’s so-called equality. Rowling, who has been in the “woke” movement’s crosshairs before, fired back against trans activists who have made deadly threats against her.

    Rowling retweeted the thread, responding, “Judging by the tsunami of supportive emails and letters I’ve received, if women learned anything from the response to my post it wasn’t that they should sit down and shut up. Solidarity to the brave and fabulous @millihill (and I love your books, by the way!).”

    Another trans activist user then Tweeted to Rowling, “I wish you a very nice pipebomb in mailbox.” It’s doubtful Twitter will suspend the activist’s account for inciting violence, but we digress. One user responded to the discussion asking, “Is this still because of her comments about the safety of women in toilets/changing rooms if men can use them by simply saying they identify as a woman?”

    Rowling screenshotted the condescending tweet and laid out the reality of these “loving activists” who just want equality. “Yes, but now hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape, assassinate and bomb me I’ve realized that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever.”

  2. OSTBear

    July 20, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Help me understand the logic here: That street preacher can stand out there and yell condemnations — she didn’t need to elaborate. I’ve been down Whyte, I know EXACTLY the kind of things they yell at people — but she can’t go there, hold a sign… and dance? This really has my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ up in arms? Who cares that she’s a politician, that means she’s a guardian of the very freedoms we enjoy… So why is she not allowed to enjoy them?

    If the issue is a power dynamic, might I remind you the same kind of power dynamic exists for the priest as well; As an anointed clergyman he’s intimidating children of God and, apparently, condemning them to hell.

    If you’re going to attempt to call Janis a hypocrite here, I think you yourself need to own your hypocrisy.

  3. Fred

    July 20, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Wow she is just a wonderful human. Standing up to the intolerance that that man puts up every day. Bravo Janis you are the real hero.

  4. liarspeaksthetruth

    July 20, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    You didn’t even have the gonads to publish an actual comment from an actual long-time conservative.

    I’ve been cancelled. How ironic.

    Thank you, but no, your journalism is skewed, vapid, and blind to the circumstances real people face.

    In turns, we’ll do the same. I won’t expect anyone to reach out – I’ve been cancelled by you, after all. It’s no real comfort that no one on staff possesses the intellectual aplomb or emotional depth to write serious journalism.

    Fringe radicals are as fringe radicals do. The Western Standard is where unemployed journalists go to die.


  5. Ken Durham

    July 20, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Dear Linda Slobodan,

    Mocking the Bible, Jesus, and every single other aspect of your batshit crazy beliefs is the very epitome of the right to Free Expression.

    Your religion does NOT have rights.
    It’s an idea and ideas don’t have rights.
    People do.

    Fucking moron.

  6. Mary

    July 20, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    More people should stand up to the bigoted street preachers on Whyte Ave. Way to go Janis! We need more politicians like Janis!

  7. David Ross

    July 20, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Linda Sobodian, for someone who “doesn’t care” that Janis is gay, you sure like to bring it up and discredit her for it in every other sentence… Seems fishy

  8. Clash

    July 20, 2021 at 11:43 am

    This is obviously a “Media Stunt” to garner some notoriety, and some press. The worse thing in the World is happening to the Gays and the LGBTQ2S community, The public no longer care!! Go live your lives as you wish, “BE HAPPY” with your chosen life. “NOBODY CARES”!!!

  9. JamesHaIifax

    July 20, 2021 at 10:40 am

    What a singuIarIy ugIy individuaI; both outside and in.

    Based upon what I couId see, the onIy Iesbian who wouId be interested in her huge ugIy moutch and bad skin….wouId be a woman who wanted to date a guy…but hates penises.

  10. Desiderius Erasmus

    July 20, 2021 at 9:54 am

    What good Christians we have here. “Vile c*nt.” “I wouldn’t believe in God either if I was born with a face like that.” “horse-face” I’m sure those are the exact words Jesus would have used in this situation. You don’t have to like her or believe in what she’s doing, but attacking her based on her looks is pathetic. Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” You really think Jesus wants people like you in heaven? I don’t think so.

  11. Left Coast

    July 20, 2021 at 9:43 am

    One look at Irwin and you can see that the Elevator does not go all the way to the TOP!

    This marxist Heterophobe is one of many who have infiltrated our Politics, Media, School System and all areas of Govt. They have an Agenda . . . as some of their more radical members like Irwin are happy to announce.

    When the left calls for “tolerance,” are they asking parents to “tolerate” pedophilia and sexual abuse? Are they asking parents to “tolerate” others teaching their children about sex? What is it that the left themselves are required to “tolerate”?

    Anyone who was old enough in the early 80s & the Aids outbreak surely remembers the Bath Houses in San Fran that were closed down by the City because they were a transmission vectors. The “gay” community would hand out memberships at the local High Schools . . .

    “Hundreds of homosexual activists rushed out of bars and swarmed a group of Christians who were singing songs in San Francisco’s Castro District – and some even threatened to kill the worshippers.”

  12. Dennis

    July 20, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Wildrose.party 2023

  13. Josh

    July 20, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Does seeing the sign “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” convict this person?

  14. Wesley

    July 20, 2021 at 8:48 am

    This is only one reason I could never support the NDP. Although they spout that they are the tolerant ones these social warriors are the most intolerant!

  15. Olwyn

    July 19, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    That street preacher is NOTORIOUS for spewing hate at people on Whyte Ave and if you’ve ever been on Whyte in the evenings or at night you’ve liked heard some of the bigoted and disrespectful things they’ve said to passersby unprovoked. People like that make me embarrassed to be a Christian. I don’t blame these people for trying to fight back after all these years. Bright signs and smiles are hardly a violent response.

  16. Baron Not Baron

    July 19, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Marxism = Marc6sm = Mark 6(ism) = Mark 666. Choose wisely.

    WIPA !!!

  17. Baron Not Baron

    July 19, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Gordo the weirdo!

  18. Concerned Christian

    July 19, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Does anyone else see the hypocrisy here? I do and it’s probably not what most of you are thinking. As a practicing Christian I have been the target of street preachers in Edmonton who told me that I was a sinner and going to hell. Why? I had just exited a pub…. exiting a pub = eternal damnation? You claim the right to free speech but tolerate attacks on others in the name of Christianity? These two individuals are called out for their behavior but are viciously attacked on social media and even in the comments of this article? I choose to stand with the God of love, grace, forgiveness and understanding because I believe that was and continues to be the example of Jesus.

  19. Brent Altheim

    July 19, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    You conveniently left out the fact that the ‘street preacher’ in question regularly spews intolerance and thinly veiled misogyny and homophobia as part of his ‘sermons’. Listening to his words have made me, a straight white christian male, uncomfortable. It would be 100x worse for someone who looked different. Freedom of speech is different than freedom from consequences. The action taken to counter his ‘preaching’ is perfectly appropriate. Of course, I don’t expect you to consider anything the NDP does as appropriate, since it would be bad for your bottom line, and that is all that really matters, isn’t it?

  20. berta baby

    July 19, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    what a hate filled bigot…. just sad how angry she comes off, why does she feel so much blatant rage by a human holding a sign ? I think she has mental problems to be so intolerant of other people.

    Notley obviously embraces this kind of hate because she hasn’t condemned this intolerance

  21. NeverKerry

    July 19, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    As a long time born again Christian I am appalled by the unloving, unkind, un-self-controlled, impatient, unfaithful comments on this article (fruit of the Spirit anyone?) and shake my head at the writer of this article. My representative, Janis Irwin, is certainly not bullying or intimidating. In fact she is positively and kindly responding to what this “preacher” is doing. Shouting at people, saying “you are going to hell”, saying “God hates…” etc. This is not the approach Christ used with those who did not know Him. Christ treated the prostitute with compassion, the sinner with mercy, the doubters with patience. If Janis sins (in any way, for example by being overly proud of her cat Oregano lol) as we all do, it is primarily between her and God. If you are her friends or her community or her loving neighbour and you believe she sins or does wrong, then you have the relationship to suggest this to her in LOVE. At any rate I am pretty sure no one here including me has this right.
    And Kerry Diottes comment? Right. I’m sure he would be just as supportive of a extremist Islamic screaming on a street corner than “Infidels must die”. Right Kerry? Just as supportive of Christians as of Muslims? Doubtful. Because this guy on the corner is an extremist Christian who preaches not out of love but out of self righteousness and condemnation.

  22. Ray

    July 19, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Oh you poor lil fragile loons. Anything to keep the truth from people. There is not a genuine bone behind anything you write. It’s pathetic. I have pics of my comment as I figured you’d censor it while approving men making fun of women’s’ appearances (very on brand)🙄🙄🙄🙄 You truly are so weak, that’s why no one is worried. Take care out there.

  23. Ray

    July 19, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    You all are so easily duped!! Not even a Google search, just straight up full blind belief in a propaganda opinion section😂😂😂😂 That dude with god sign, who you all seem to be running to their defense, has been out on that corner of Whyte Ave day and night for years calling queer life an abomination and using slurs any chance he can. People fight back with love and you loose your minds. Y’all are simple.

  24. Steven

    July 19, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    That’s a very good point Willian. I wonder what former Premier Notley would have to say if she attacked the Muslim faith & mocked them? Hmmm?

  25. Steven

    July 19, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    She’s exposing herself as a gay bigot with no tolerance for others whom don’t fit her lifestyle. Her lifestyle isn’t under attack like it was years ago, but what she needs to remember is, now she is now doing the dirty work of which the church use to be so hated for. Crazy world we live in.

    I say live and let live because in the end we will all meet the maker; one way or the other. Not her job to condemn or judge. One of the hardest things I have to work at also.

  26. Penny4YourThouhts

    July 19, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    Shame is as powerful as fear and this MLA is carrying around a TON of shame. Perhaps if she actually took the time to learn the teachings of Jesus Christ she would learn how to accept herself and quit projecting her shame onto Christians.

  27. Gloria Bult

    July 19, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    I pray for her conversion.

  28. William

    July 19, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    What would be the NDP reaction if she was mocking Muslim?

  29. Adam Bartlett

    July 19, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    I wouldn’t believe in God either if I was born with a face like that.

  30. Andrew

    July 19, 2021 at 11:49 am

    She needs to be voted out of office. I encourage everyone in the riding she is elected to get it done! Wildrose!

  31. K

    July 19, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Pathetic and reprehensible behaviour, but not shocking coming from that horse-face. The more they engage in acts like this, the stupider they look. I say, bring it on. The best way to bring attention to your mental illness is to show it off for all to see. God will not be mocked.

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SLOBODIAN: Disgraced Catholic priest banned from Northern Manitoba reserves

Father Rheal Forest accused residential school survivors of fabricating abuse claims to cash in on settlement money.




A Catholic priest could land himself in the back of an RCMP cruiser if he steps foot on a Manitoba First Nation he served and lived on for years.

Father Rheal Forest, who accused residential school survivors of fabricating abuse claims to cash in on settlement money, will be considered a trespasser in Bloodvein First Nation, located 210 km north of Winnipeg.

A Band Council Resolution (BCR) barring Forest from the community is being drafted and when signed this week by council will be given to RCMP to enforce, Bloodvein Chief Derek Cook confirmed.

“I know a lot of people are upset. It’s bringing back a lot of the stories they have to deal with and are continuing to deal with from residential schools,” Cook told CBC.

“I hope he abides by the process and respects our decision.”

Despite not having worked in Bloodvein for a few years, Forest continued to visit.

The Archdiocese of St. Boniface also banned Forest from all preaching and teaching for remarks he made about residential school survivors in sermons last month while filling in for a vacationing priest at Winnipeg’s St. Emile Roman Catholic Church.

The sermons that were live-streamed at the time to Facebook have been removed.

“If they wanted extra money, from the money that was given to them, they had to lie sometimes, lie that they were abused sexually and, oop, another $50,000,” Forest told the congregation.

“It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie.”

Forest also absolved priests and nuns from any abuse and blamed laymen.

Anywhere from $3 billion to $4.7 billion has been paid to thousands of people who claimed they were victims of abuse at residential schools.

Almost 50 churches have been burned and desecrated in Canada since unmarked graves were allegedly discovered on former residential school sites.

Foster also made controversial comments during one mass about the criminals responsible for the destruction.

He admitted to having “thoughts of anger” when he passed by a church that had been vandalized.

“If I had a shotgun at night and I’d see them, I’d go ‘Boom’ just to scare them and if they don’t run away, I’ll shoot them,” he said laughing.

He immediately added: “This would not help. It’s bad to do that. I’d go have a chat with them.”

Forest also made it clear he is not a fan of the “evil” media which he said is controlled by Freemasons. 

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard


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GIEDE: Happy 150th British Columbia!

“It’s been a tumultuous 150 years, but this province is still the Most Beautiful Place on Earth.”




BC Flag

While everywhere else in Canada it’s simply known as “August long weekend,” technically speaking the statutory holiday is called “British Columbia Day” west of the Rockies. For those of us who enjoy official designations and labels, this will be the sesquicentennial of BC’s entrance into Canadian confederation, a much harassed political project within these pages. Still, a century-and-a-half is worthy of exhortation.

Of course the proper birthday was July 20, corresponding with our joining up in 1871. But no one in BC is interested in a bon fete they cannot properly observe with beverage in hand. Thus, BC Day has been permanently tacked to the first Monday of August to ensure an annual long weekend in perpetuity – which is how all significant non-religious holidays ought to be scheduled from sea to sea to sea.

British Columbia was bribed into confederation by a drunk Scotsman who dreamed of transcontinental railways.

We almost broke out again when the delivery of the Canadian Pacific Railway seemed doomed, and would of likely joined the United States, which had a sizable ex-patriot population here (particularly Civil War veterans from the South.) We stayed on with the reassurance the CPR would be finished, even returning Sir John A. Macdonald to Parliament from Victoria once after he lost his seat in Kingston, Ont.

Of course, our 150 birthday as a province has also been overshadowed by pandemic, then the church fires, and now the wildfires which rage throughout the Southern Interior. British Columbians will still be cracking our famous IPA’s despite the smoke, but perhaps being seen to be celebrating our legacy in such dire times is too much for even our self-aggrandizing political class to bear, let alone the rest of us.

British Columbia is a series of paradoxes. While sovereigntist fervor is most strongly felt east of the Rockies, particularly in Wildrose country, only BC has the surest chance of ever leaving the Dominion with its borders intact: save for minor disputes with America along the coast, our borders are the same as when we took up Sir John A.’s invitation, unlike the rest of the West. Yet this does not motivate us.

If anything, the peculiar history and geography of the Western cordillera makes separation from itself just as likely as a break at the federal level. Outside of the Lower Mainland and South Island, people are far more different than they are similar, despite waving the same flag. Each part of British Columbia is a land entirely unto itself: river valleys, plateaus, and atolls all littered with dozens of siloed cultures.

This is not a new phenomena or collateral damage due to the post rural-urban divide: before contact, a plethora of indigenous languages flourished; after contact, successive waves of development happened at different rates throughout the province – the fur trade, gold rush, railway, forestry, mining, and finally oil and gas, as well as hydro – layering BC with company towns, ghost towns, and peculiar infrastructure.

Our vehicle fleets are by far the oldest of the provinces, just as independent contractors number more greatly amongst our workforce than nearly everywhere else in Canada. Economic cycles strike our province without uniformity, as there’s always some other resource that needs extracting from her natural bounty. Considering the remoteness, BC really could be considered the “fourth Territory.”

Perhaps this latent independence is what makes the manifestation of sovereignty so difficult.

There are more eccentrics per square kilometre here than anywhere else on God’s green earth, and each of them can tell you exactly whats wrong — as well as how to fix the place. Without a central tenet of BC identity, just thousands of caricatures brought to life in every quarter, from marijuana addicts to moral puritans, there is no single point of focus for British Columbians to rally around within the separation agenda.

But perhaps the key to understanding British Columbians lax attitude about sticking it to Ottawa is we’re too busy enjoying where we live, even as costs rise egregiously. While living in a closet west of Hope isn’t my jam, people do it by the thousands just to enjoy the Lower Mainland lifestyle; and in the rest of the province the water and wilderness goes on for eternity, beckoning every kind of adventurer.

Not unlike the wild child we all knew in class, British Columbia cannot be marshalled easily to march in step with her sister provinces, West of Lakehead on the secession question. Until confederation impedes the natural freedoms we enjoy in BC, federalism by convenience will rule the day. No doubt, its been a tumultuous 150 years, but this province is still the Most Beautiful Place on Earth.

Nathan Giede is the BC Affairs Columnist and the host of Mountain Standard Time

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WAGNER: The prominent Toronto political scientist who called Communism ‘democratic’

As it turns out, some members of Canada’s Left have a fairly positive view of communism.




Some commentators have noted the silence of Canada’s Left in the face of anti-government protests in Cuba. Why the reluctance to condemn a communist dictatorship?

Well, as it turns out, some members of Canada’s Left have a fairly positive view of communism. One such prominent Canadian leftist was C.B. Macpherson (1911-1987), an internationally-renowned political scientist who taught political theory at the University of Toronto. Among other things, he was especially known for his critiques of capitalism and individualism.

Interestingly, Macpherson also defended Soviet Communism as genuine democracy in action. This can be seen in a series of CBC radio messages he delivered in 1965 that were subsequently published as a book entitled The Real World of Democracy. These lectures argued there were three forms of government that could be legitimately called democracies: the liberal democracies of the West, the Soviet bloc countries, and the one-party states of the Third World. 

As Macpherson put it, “democracy is not properly to be equated with our unique Western liberal-democracy.” Instead, “the clearly non-liberal systems which prevail in the Soviet countries, and the somewhat different non-liberal systems of most of the underdeveloped countries of Asia and Africa, have a genuine historical claim to the title democracy.”

Macpherson explained the meaning of democracy has undergone some change over time. It hasn’t always referred to the kind of constitutional system common in the Western countries: “Democracy originally meant rule by the common people, the plebeians. It was very much a class affair: it meant the sway of the lowest and largest class.” Thus, Macpherson argued Soviet Communism and other one-party states can legitimately be called democracies, based on this definition. That is, he used this conception of “democracy” to describe some of the world’s most brutal and repressive regimes. 

Karl Marx’s proposed “dictatorship of the proletariat” was an expression of genuine democracy in Macpherson’s view. He noted many people would find it outrageous to consider the dictatorship of the proletariat to be a form of democracy. “But,” he wrote, “to call it democracy was not outrageous at all: it was simply to use the word in its original and then normal sense.”

Macpherson’s analysis gets even worse. Lenin extended Marx’s theory by arguing a revolution would need to be undertaken by a relatively small group of class-conscious people he called the vanguard, which is to say, the Communist Party. 

From the Communist perspective, since the vast majority of people in any society are debased by the structures of capitalism, they cannot be trusted to participate in political decision-making. To allow their participation would just perpetuate the problems of the old, capitalist society. Only the vanguard could bring about the necessary reforms. As Macpherson explains: “Lenin, building on Marx, came out for a seizure of power by a vanguard who would forcibly transform the basic relations of society in such a way that the people would become undebased and capable of a fully human existence, at which point compulsive government would no longer be needed.” 

In Macpherson’s view, this rule of the vanguard to “forcibly transform” society is democracy in action, despite the fact that it involves politically motivated executions and concentration camps. Democracy, it seems, becomes indistinguishable from dictatorship.

Macpherson evokes what he calls the “broader concept of democracy” to legitimize the Marxist-Leninist state: “Wherever the circumstances are such that no motion towards this kind of society is possible except through the action of a vanguard, then the vanguard state, so long as it remains true to its purpose, may be called democratic.” Thus, in his view, an outright communist state can be legitimately called a democracy. Many of the most brutal, bloodthirsty, and repressive regimes in the 20th Century were democracies in this sense. Who knew?

Using a similar line of argumentation, the one-party dictatorships of the Third World can also be justified as democracies. Invoking Rousseau, Macpherson wrote one-party states can be legitimately called democracies because “there is in these countries a general will, which can express itself through, and probably only through, a single party.” As a result, “opposition to the dominant party appears to be, and sometimes actually is, destructive of the chances of nationhood. In such circumstances opposition appears as treason against the nation.” Thus, a one-party state, where opposition to the ruling party is punished as “treason,” can be a legitimate form of democracy. (Don’t tell Justin Trudeau.)

Macpherson was an internationally known and respected political scientist. The views he expressed were not the rantings of a black-clad activist running wild in the streets. Some elements of the intellectual Left truly believe that a Marxist-Leninist state (or any other Left-wing single-party state) is a genuine democracy. Despite the inescapably violent and murderous nature of communism, some Canadian leftists view it favourably. 

The lessons of the 20th Century have not been learned. Ideas that inspired inhuman tyranny – what C.B. Macpherson happily calls the “broader concept of democracy” – seem to be making a comeback.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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