William Gairdner talks with TVO’s Steve Paikin about the new version of his “classic” book The Trouble with Canada. (He cleverly added the word “…Still” to the title for this revamped edition.)
I haven’t read the new book, so I can’t comment on it (notwithstanding my foregoing snark, I understand it’s “thoroughly updated”), but the original was a reactionary jeremiad against what Gairdner viewed as a radical leftward shift in the political landscape over the past 50 years or so that had effectively destroyed Canada in his estimation.
Basically, it was a litany of institutional grievances that will now be entirely familiar to readers of the National Post or other so-called “Conservative” outlets concerning just about any right-wing hobby horse one can imagine: bilingualism, welfare parasitism, foreign aid scamming, judicial activism, radical feminism, multiculturalism, etc.
Unfortunately, whatever reasonable points Gairdener makes – some of which are quite legitimate; the unsustainability of deficit financing, for example – are vastly outweighed by his retrograde opinions concerning a range of social justice issues. For instance, his take on homosexuals and gay marriage is particularly egregious in this respect, believing as he does that it’s an aberrant “lifestyle” that can be “cured” back into normalcy.
On more “meta” issues such as his take on federalism – i.e., a return to the jurisdictional construct of the BNA in terms of the restoration of a more decentralized, pre-Trudeau government – Gairdner’s ideas would seem to do more to promote regional factionalism, inefficiency, and chaotic disunity than the freedom and individual liberties he espouses.