Disregard The Taboos

While carrying on the west coast farmer’s interminable crusade against the scourge of the Himalayan blackberry, I listened to a radio call-in show on the recent announcement that average monthly rent in Canada has soared to $2,200 – a new record.

One by one, callers described the harrowing, stressful housing situations in which they find themselves. They meekly offered up piecemeal solutions: well-meaning but milquetoast suggestions consisting of minor fiddling with subsidies or rent control.

Finally, 42 minutes into an hour-long show, an Asian guy from Richmond pointed to the elephant in the room. He calmly but firmly stated that sky-high immigration is the reason for sky-high rent, and called on the government to dramatically slash numbers.

Nothing enrages the woke folk and the corporate immigration lobbyists more than the fact that 62% of immigrants support immigration restriction!

The next caller, a Nova Scotian, said he agreed. The caller after that began their statement by condemning the Trudeau government’s reckless open-door policy. Because of one man’s willingness to transgress a taboo, the tide broke, and people felt free to speak their mind.

Noam Chomsky argues that the powerful in society stifle free discussion by “limiting the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allowing very lively debate within that spectrum”.

The pros and cons of the carbon tax and the recent capital gains change are endlessly relitigated on CBC radio, by the syndicated columnists in the corporate media, and by politicians in Parliament. More contentious issues – such as schools teaching the doctrine of “white privilege” or government workplaces instituting discriminatory affirmative action policies – are given limited airtime outside a handful of independent publications.

What’s more, private citizens are often afraid to express politically incorrect views in public or on social media for fear of repercussions from their employer, school, or university – hardly the mark of a free society.

English Canada is especially vulnerable to this constriction of free thought because of the law-abiding nature that is our heritage. Unlike our American cousins, Canada was not founded in a chaotic revolution kickstarted by a bunch of rowdies throwing boxes of tea off ships in protest of a small tax hike.

Indeed, our Loyalist forebears upped stakes and fled north after the British Crown was kicked out of the United States. Whereas “the pursuit of happiness” is written into the American Constitution, our constitution holds up the more sedate “peace, order, and good government”.

This tradition is a treasure, but should not be misconstrued to mean blind deference to authority. In a situation where open discussion is muzzled by ideological orthodoxy, our ancestors would expect us to disregard the taboos and keep the fire of free speech alive.

As Amor De Cosmos, the second premier of British Columbia, put it in the late 1800s: “It is too late in the day to stop men thinking. If allowed to think, they will speak. If they speak, they will write, and what they write will be printed and published”.

Editor’s note: My Counter Current column is published once every two weeks in the Islands Marketplace paper on Salt Spring Island. This piece was published on June 14th, 2024.

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- Riley Donovan, editor

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