Why the Populist Surge Has Missed Canada

A decentralized federal government and a consensual culture have kept the lid on social tensions—so far.

Much has been written and said about the antiestablishment, antiglobalization populist surge sweeping the West over the last several years. The most prominent manifestation of this phenomenon, of course, came in November 2016, when Donald Trump won the presidency, the most stunning electoral feat in American history; earlier in 2016, Trump’s victory was foreshadowed by Britain’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, an outcome pushed for years by the country’s nationalist U.K. Independence Party (UKIP). But the United States and Britain are far from alone. Seemingly every major Western nation now has a populist movement and an anointed leader: Marine Le Pen and the Front National in France; Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, which has become the main opposition party in parliament; Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ), founded by nostalgic ex-Nazi officers, which missed electing the country’s president by a whisker; and Italy’s Five Star Movement, led, literally, by a clown, Beppe Grillo, suitably called the clown prince. Even in Denmark, the model of a tolerant liberal democracy, the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party is now the second party in parliament. Farther east, Hungary and Poland are today governed by openly nationalist governments.

  • Watchman

    Bit by bit, year by year, the old social cohesion of Canada is breaking down. Sure, it was never perfect, but it kept a solid base of ethics and morality that is disappearing. Those who might otherwise warn of the slow decline (before the fall) of Canadian civilisation refuse to, as their leftist ideology wants Canadian civilisation and structure to fall in their certain belief that a Marxist utopia will replace it.

    People like Turdeau are incapable of seeing past their psychological projection and believe everyone in the world wants the same things traditional post-WW2 Canadian society wants.

    The fall of civilisation is a bit like going bankrupt, it happens bit by bit until it suddenly all happens at once.

  • andycanuck

    We’ll see once Justin’s “Syrians” start acting more like the Germans’ and the Swedes’.

    • Watchman

      Well, they hate the Jews and were responsible for the death of large numbers of them, just like the Germans and to a much lesser extent, the Swedes.

      Does that count?

  • felis gracilis

    There’s a solid core of – if not nationalism, at least nativism – in Canada. It’s mostly quiet, it doesn’t get a lot of media. But Mr. Trudeau is poking at it, and if he pokes hard enough, it will raise its head. And some smug politicians and journalists may get quite a surprise.

    • robins111

      And their necks stretched.

    • Watchman

      We can only hope the sleepers arise and that the course correction can be achieved by peaceful means: soapbox, then ballot box before any final resort to the cartridge box.

    • Will Quest

      Our simpleton’s identity politics are creating huge divisions , soon their will be a major push-back ……

  • robins111

    Its coming and it won’t be pretty.

  • kkruger71

    This author is very selective in what he writes about, that’s for sure. I’d argue the main reason for there not being an uprising yet is the stranglehold the “that’s racist!” crowd has on all areas of public discourse. Give the people an option to vote for someone genuine that is willing to stand up to them and they will vote for them. Remember how shocked the media was when Harris won a second term even though few people were willing to stand up publicly and support him. Despite all the issues I think Ford would have also got at least a second term; look how well his far less charismatic brother did despite entering the race so late.
    New theory that’s popped into my head lately as to why the cultural relativism is so strong here, it’s simply because of Quebec. We have been taught since at least the 70s how wonderful it is to have a second culture here and to never question or criticize it; no wonder people have adopted that attitude towards all cultures. To question any other culture opens the door to compare and contrast negatives between the two main ones.

    • Watchman

      The ‘completely surprising’ win by Trump is partly because people were afraid of telling pollsters what they really though; had the Democrats been more aware of this their tactics would have changed and Bill Clinton might now be the First Lady.

    • Art Deco


      1. Velvet divorce: a referendum in border municipalities in Quebec and Ontario, an agreement on partitioning the federal debt (they take 20%), an agreement on the threshold of years to award a residency permit, and an agreement on who is eligible for citizenship on one side of the border and the other.

      2. Stop-Arret signs to the trash except in New Brunswick. The pre-1957 red ensign restored. The Maple Leaf Forever restored with the original lyrics (not whatever Anne Murray sings). Limitation of the state’s use of languages other than English to court proceedings and to courtesies offered the Francophone population in New Brunswick.

      3. The Charter of Rights replaced with a concise and dignified bill which incorporates procedural standards, property rights, freedom of contract, parental discretion, and full protection for dissent and public deliberation (not ‘free speech’ within limits acceptable to social workers, school administrators, and ‘public interest’ lawyers).

      4. Cut issuance settler’s visas to 80,000 a year. Cut annual issuance of temporary residency visas to a number about equal to the mean annual number of verified departures of temporary residents over the previous half-dozen years. Limit temporary residency visas to diplomatic and quasi-diplomatic personnel, refugees admitted retail, students, and teachers (as well as dependents of the foregoing). Require applicants for settler’s visas to pass an English proficiency test ‘ere they are given a place in the queue. Require applicants from problem countries (e.g. Turkey or Syria) be families with minor children or older and well-established married couples.

      5. Hold biennial convocations of provincial legislatures which proceed by weighted voting. Extend to such convocations a number of powers and functions, among them the franchise to disgrace a judicial decision (debarring publication in case reporters and prohibiting its citation in legal briefs and judicial opinions) and a franchise to exile members of the bar.

  • Marvin

    Because Team Trudeau has solved the “Conservative problem” with a huge influx of “newcomers” who will never vote Conservative?

    Next the “newcomers” will solve Team Trudeau’s “Jewish problem”.