Article “Ideology Masking As Leaderdhip, Killed The Canadian Dream”

Apr 11, 2024

Gen. Rick Hillier:

Ideology masking as leadership killed the Canadian dream

Enough of the gaslighting, evading, blaming and deluding. Canada needs to be made ours again

“This is not Canada,” is a phrase we hear far too often. It seems to come from every politician, from all levels. It’s exclaimed after every illegal demonstration, hate crime, blocked street, gang shooting, home invasion, car theft and emergency room horror story.

Those exclamations ring hollow as food bank lines stretch longer and as hopeless thousand-yard stares of good men and women grow more prevalent. While dreams of home ownership fade, shantytowns grow and our confidence in the future plummets. We hear the official inflation rate, but it bears little resemblance to our real-life experience. “This is not Canada” grates, harshly, especially when it comes from those who seem so out of touch with reality.

The Canadian dream, so wonderfully launched in 1867 with the partnership that was the Dominion of Canada, is dead. Killed by ideology masking as leadership. Slaughtered by economic suicide posing as climate control. Bled by crushing taxes wasted on scandalous and foolish endeavours. Crushed by debt that compromises long-term fiscal viability. Wounded by battles over responsible care for children. Frightened by our abandonment of some 300,000 Canadians, attacked not because they’re bombing Gaza, but because they’re Jews.

Coupled with increasing brain drain, capital flight and failing infrastructure, we face a harsh reality: the great experiment, a federation of like-minded peoples that was the Dominion of Canada, is failing.

Our responses are feeble. More regulations. More and higher taxes. Massive amounts of immigration, without a plan to integrate. Decrying American politics without acknowledging that our dirty politics are homegrown, with leaders dividing instead of uniting. Think of former governor general Julie Payette, who as head of state mocked religious Canadians by complaining that “we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process let alone, oh my goodness, a random process.”

Our leaders missed a truly inspirational opportunity during the COVID pandemic: to form a “war cabinet” to combat the enemy attacking our nation. Just as the United Kingdom’s Winston Churchill did in 1940, in the face of another brutal enemy, we could perhaps have risen above the fray of partisan politics in our darkest hour. We did not.

The cure for what ails us is simple to say, but difficult, perhaps impossible, to implement: leadership.

Real leaders have a vision for what we can be, a strategy to get there, a plan to execute the strategy and priorities to get things done daily. Those who wish to be political leaders should articulate what their leadership will mean and how it will function, including how they would hold the public service accountable for delivering priorities under the plan.

Equally crucial to a leader’s vision is the economy. In the federal domain, any strategy should consider how to unfetter and inspire a private sector that delivers transformational technology, investment opportunity, well-paid employees and hope for a better future. Underscoring all of this should be a rethink of how, and how much, we tax. Canadians are tired of “tax and spend” policies.

Canada should also have a plan to develop, rather than dismantle its energy sector. Climate change is real. The country must stop committing economic suicide as a solution, however.

Instead, leaders should work with Indigenous peoples to produce the cleanest, safest, most ethical LNG to power the world. Canadian LNG can replace coal for power generation throughout much of Asia and the rest of the world, reducing global carbon emissions by millions of tons while creating massive economic benefits for Canadians. Our contribution and leadership to combat climate change should be enormous, not ludicrous.

Last on this incomplete list is the empowering of personal ambition, initiative and ingenuity. De-regulate, remove red tape and stop being an obstacle. Our current housing crisis, our inability to dream of owning a home, can be traced in large part to the red tape and taxes with which we have handicapped both builders and buyers.

It all starts with responsible leadership. We have succeeded in tough times before. As Canada’s prime minister during the First World War, Sir Robert Borden led through a brutal conscription crisis. During the Second World War, then-prime minister Mackenzie King became a powerful influencer to two of the greatest leaders ever, Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, shaping the world to Canada’s advantage.

Strong prime minsters continued to strengthen the nation in the decades that followed: Lester B. Pearson in the ’60s, Brian Mulroney in the ’80s and ’90s and ruthless Jean Chretien in the ’90s into the early 2000s.

We need that leadership now. Enough of the gaslighting, evading, blaming and deluding. The mission is clear: make this our Canada.

National Post

Rick J. Hillier is a retired Canadian Forces general who served as the chief of defence staff from February 2005 to July 2008.