Committee of Peers
Since his retirement Passfield has prepared several commentaries pertaining
to political issues of the day. Commencing in 2010, several of the
political commentaries were posted as blogs. Follow the links posted below to read the full text of the blogs
Crime and Punishment - Liberal vs Conservative
In Canada there are two different approaches to crime and punishment that
reflect deeper philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives
with respect to their views of human nature, the nature of morality, and the
cause of criminal activity. Passrob
Same Sex Marriage- Cultural Appropriation
On February 1, 2005, Bill C-38 was introduced into Parliament by the Liberal
government of Canada, to legalize same sex marriage nationwide. The
preamble cast the same sex marriage legislation as simply an equality of
rights issue under the Canadian "Charter of Rights and Freedoms" (section
15), despite the Supreme Court of Canada having declined to rule on that
issue. What the framers of Bill C-38 neglected to acknowledge was that the
proposed same sex marriage legislation was a blatant act of cultural
Massacre in Norway: A Personal Interpretation
On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik, deliberately and methodically massacred 68 people, and killed eight more individuals in a bomb blast, in Norway. These horrific actions have been attributed in the press to his right wing extremist views and islamophobia; yet the real motive for his actions lies much deeper in the badly emotionally damaged psyche of a young boy.
Hijabs and Sports Teams
In February 2007 a controversy emerged over the decision of a Quebec soccer tournament to ban a member of an Ontario team from wearing a hijab during games. That decision was subsequently endorsed by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA); and condemned by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in calling such a decision a violation of human rights and of individual religious freedom. The real question at issue, however, is not human rights or religious freedom; it is simply: what does membership on a team imply?
Anatomy of a Lost Election – Ontario
The Ontario provincial election of June 2014 promised to be a major victory for the Progressive Conservative Party. They faced an incumbent Liberal government that was plagued by major financial scandals, an evident gross incompetence, and a soaring provincial debt, with the provincial manufacturing base in decline. Yet the minority Liberal government was returned with a strong majority in winning 58 of 107 seats. What went wrong?
Judicial Activism and the Rule of Law
One of the basic pillars of western civilization is the rule of law in a political system wherein a sovereign parliament – composed of elected representatives of the people – makes laws, and an independent judiciary enforces the laws. Today, however, we have lower court judges who are abusing their independence by refusing to enforce a law which they find personally objectionable in its impact on an offender. Such a situation undermines the entire judicial system, brings the criminal courts into contempt, and is destructive of our Canadian tradition of rule by law. What is to be done?
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370
One of the great mysteries of modern aviation is the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 during the night of March 8, 2014. Thousands of miles of ocean have been searched, but with nothing to report. Yet, no one has looked at the one place where a plane could disappear without any public scrutiny: North Korea.
A Tory Manifesto for Canada
Recently, a national newspaper columnist claimed that Canadian conservatism is vapid, and has nothing to offer in response to the hegemony of modern liberalism; and, indeed, it is evident that Canadian conservatives have been negligent in failing to enunciate their political thought – their values, beliefs, and principles. Moreover, it is particularly important for Tory conservatives to enunciate their political thought because what passes for ‘conservatism’ in Canada today is the rhetoric of American conservatism which embodies 19th Century classical liberal values. Now is the time for the true conservatives of Canada – the Tories -- to express their values and beliefs as they pertain to current public issues.
Rape or Consensual Sex
After reading a published summary of the charges made against two Ottawa University hockey players who were accused of raping a young woman, a blog was prepared that cast the university students as modern Benthamites in their actions. The intention was to post the blog as soon as the presiding judge declared her verdict. Based on the reading of a summary of the young woman’s testimony under oath, and the nature of the situation that she described, it was obvious that the two men were guilty as sin, or so it appeared.
Safe Injection Sites for Drug Users
What is puzzling about the safe drug injection sites controversy is that many of the same people who are supportive of municipal drug injection sites are adamant in upholding bans on smoking not only in public buildings, offices and restaurants, but also in smoking lounges, open patios, and even in private cars. Such a dichotomy of thought is surprising where health issues are concerned. On the one hand, in citing health concerns, federal advertising regulations, provincial laws, and municipal bye-laws are being promulgated and rigidly enforced against citizens who want simply to enjoy a casual smoke; and, on the other hand, the criminal law is being suspended to cater to hard-drug users who are totally destroying their health and supporting their drug habits by engaging in criminal activities.
The Ukraine Conundrum
In Ukraine, there is an apparently irresolvable ethno-political conflict that has fractured the country along linguist, religious and cultural lines and that has generated political unrest and violent armed confrontations. The Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country favour economic, political, and cultural ties with Russia; and the Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians in the western part of the country favor economic, political, and cultural ties with the West. Given the comparative strength of both sides in the dispute, it promises only internal political upheavals, economic dislocations -- if not economic stagnation -- and a growth of hatreds, intolerance, and paramilitary fighting. What is to be done?
Conserving Canadian Values: A Conservative Manifesto
During the federal general election of October 2019, the Conservative Party of Canada failed to appeal to Canadians beyond its conservative base and was responsible for the electoral defeat that is suffered. The election campaign revealed the inadequacy of the Conservative Party as a political organization, and the limitations of its leader, Andrew Scheer. During the election campaign, the Conservative Party failed to keep a consistent and constant focus on the incompetence and fiscal irresponsibility of the Liberal Party government and the personal failings and foibles of Justin Trudeau, did not set forth a political plaftform that clearly articulated what it stands for, and neglected to present a national vision to Canadians. Moreover, Andrew Scheer failed to assume a leadership role, proved incapable of responding decisively to the 'red herrings' that the Liberal Party introduced regarding his social conservatism, the abortion non-issue, and his dual Canadian - American citizenship. He did not inform Canadians of what he personally wanted to accomplish should he become Prime Minister; and by failing to define himself in the mind of Canadian voters, he let the Liberal Party press define him in a negative fashion.
Now that the Conservative Party is seeking a new leader and planning a policy review, it is the time for the Conservative Party to begin to articulate it principles, beliefs and values and to select a leader of proven competence, character and leadership qualities, who can present a new national policy and a positive national vision to Canadians – a leader in whom Canadians can have confidence and trust in bestowing their vote. That process has now begun.
What has been termed ‘Whig History’ is a Liberal historiography that views history teleologically in terms of the progress of humanity towards enlightenment, rationalism, scientism, secularism, and the freedom of the individual. As attested by Herbert Butterfield (The Whig Interpretation of History, 1931) Whig history is characterized by presentism, a distinct historical methodology, and a strong historical bias.
Abortion: A Conservative Option for Canada
In contrast to the federal Liberal Party that supports 'abortion on demand' and a woman's absolute individual right to have an abortion, Conservatives view abortion as a serious moral and social issues concerning the sanctity of life, and believe that access to abortion needs to be regulated by government legislation. For mainstream Conservatives, the limiting of access to abortion is a complex question, but much can be learned from European countries that have addressed the issue in enacting legislation governing a legal access to abortion. Canada remains the only western country with a government that opposes any regulation of access to abortion. That needs to change!
CFL Contract Agreement, May 2022
The negotiations between the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Canadian Football League Players' Association (CFLPA) has raised a critical issue that will impact the future development of the CFL for years to come. What was at issue, but not resolved, is the question of whether the CFL is to continue to be a Canadian football league with a large complement of Canadian players, or whether it is to become a second rate American football league with team rosters that continue to be increasingly dominated by American players. The future growth, and indeed the very survival of the CFL, depends on a reversal of the trend to reducing the number of Canadian starters, and on the development of Canadian stars to attract a new generation of Canadian fans to the league.
Ukraine War: A Peace Treaty Proposal
In Ukraine, the armies of Russia and Ukraine have become mired in a war of attrition that may go on for years with neither side capable of achieving a complete victory. What is needed is for the Great Powers to approach the two combatants with a peace treaty proposal to bring an end to the carnage and destruction. Such a peace treaty must resolve the geopolitical concerns at stake, end the conflict, and provide a practical basis for a lasting peace.
Immigration and the Affordable Housing Crisis
Following the lifting of the COVID lockdowns, Canada began to experience an affordable housing crisis that saw demand far exceed supply and housing prices soar. Governments at all levels responded by providing funding - totaling billions of dollars - for residential construction projects, and municipal governments introduced urban building intensification policies, in an effort to greatly and rapidly increase the national housing stock. Yet, a critical factor in driving up housing prices has yet to be recognized: the open immigration policy of the Trudeau Liberal government with its unprecedently high annual immigration quotas. That policy has resulted in waves of immigrants entering Canada in numbers far in excess of the capacity of the national housing stock to accommodate them. In Canada, we have an affordable housing crisis that was created by the high immigration levels introduced by the Justin Trudeau government.
Modern Liberal Press Bias: Newspapers
Today, journalists are lamenting the dramatic decline in newspaper readership and are blaming the competition of online news and advertising platforms. However, the print Press should be looking at what they are publishing. Traditionally, it was Canadian males of a European ancestry who were the most avid readers and purchasers of daily newspapers; yet today, Canadian newspapers are continually engaged in printing opinion pieces that bash Euro-Canadian males for supposedly being 'privileged', 'anti-feminist', and closet 'racists'. We see our newspapers praising government affirmative action programs that discriminate against Euro-Canadian males through hiring quotas; and that give a preference to visible minorities and females in hiring and promotions. What Liberal newspapers are supporting, and advocating, is a blatant policy of racial and gender discrimination against Euro-Canadian males in the name of the Modern liberal mantras of 'inclusiveness', 'diversity', and a perverse concept of 'egalitarianism' which excludes White males.
Critical Race Theory/Woke Cancel Culture
In seeking to maintain and defend the culture, heritage, and history of Canada, a major threat facing Canadian conservatives comes from within the country: the Woke cancel culture movement. It is a recent phenomenon characterized by the imposition of an American critical race theory lens of interpretation on Canadian history, with a concomitant demand by Woke cancel culture zealots that prominent historical personages whom they adjudged to have been a 'racist', a 'colonizer' and/or a 'white supremacist', be 'cancelled' through their removal from the public memory.
Thoughts on Ukraine
The carnage and destruction being visited upon Ukraine in the current war of attrition, and the declaration by President Zelensky that Ukraine will not cease fighting until every inch of territory is regained and the Crimea reclaimed, gave rise to thoughts concerning ‘what price victory’, hubris, and the future of that ravaged country. Almost immediately the insightful poem, Ozymandias, sprang to mind, and brought forth: Thoughts on Ukraine, a Prose Poem.
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