Tag: Canada

Book Review: Superior Rendezvous Place


The city of Thunder Bay, in northern Ontario near the far western end of Lake Superior, is a curious city when one looks into it.  As cities go, the entity is quite young, having only been formed in 1969.  But it was formed by the merger of 3 smaller cities, one of which bore the name of Fort William, and Fort William itself had, for a brief moment in time, a crucial role in the settlements of both the Canadian and American interiors.  As its name implies, it was initially an actual Fort – a fortified settlement, but not a military one.  Fort William was a trading and commercial hub, a deliberate outpost of the same sort of ventures that gained India for Britain.  Fort William was the key interior post of the Northwest Company.  As with its more famous British contemporaries, the Hudson Bay Company and the East India Company, the NWC’s pursuit of trade in effect claimed much of what today is western Canada.  Moreover, much of early American trade either crossed through, or crossed swords with the traders of the NWC.  Superior Rendezvous-Place: Fort William in the Canadian Fur Trade, by Jean Morrison, is an approachable history of this settlement, and its significant, if rather brief time as a vital hub of early Canada.

These are 10 man canoes – still much smaller than the big trading canoes.

Superior Rendezvous-Place begins with background history on the discoveries of the interior of North America, French and British explorations, and early commercial networks for shipping manufactured goods in, to barter with the natives in exchange for furs (chiefly beaver), and to then packaged and ship the furs back out to ports, thence to Europe.  In the absence of roads, the many lakes and rivers of the Canadian interior were mapped and surveyed for the purpose of the portage – trade routes navigated by crews in massive birch-bark canoes.  The French developed their network across what is today lower Canada and Michigan, across the Great Lakes, and from there even further into the interior.  The British, by way of the Hudson Bay Company, entered the interior from Hudson Bay.  In the 7 Years War (the French and Indian War), France lost Canada, and the Scottish Clan McTavish, eager businessmen, saw an opportunity to replace the old French network with one of their own.

Senate Approves USMCA


On Wednesday, Trump signed “phase one” of a China trade deal that increases agricultural exports to Beijing. Thursday, the US Senate passed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement by an 89-10 vote.

The House sat on the USMCA for months, distracted as it was by Russia, Trump’s tweets, World War III, Ukraine, Net Neutrality killing the internet, recognizing Jerusalem which destroyed the middle east, Jussie Smollett, the wholesale slaughter of the Kurds (well, those not already dead from Net Neutrality),  and Greta Thunberg’s sailboat. Despite being controlled by Democrats, the trade bill passed the House 385-41. Now it awaits the President’s signature.

The USMCA will replace NAFTA, including stricter rules on labor and car parts and loosens Canadian dairy markets. Canada still needs to approve the agreement once Jussie Trudeau takes off his makeup.

Join Jim and Greg as they appreciate a more stable southern border thanks to Mexico holding up its end of the bargain on border security.  They also shudder at the news that Justin Trudeau will continue as Prime Minister of Canada, even though Conservative Party candidates won more votes nationwide.  And they enjoy watching Democratic insiders wring their hands because they’re worried none of the many Democrats running for president may be able to defeat President Trump and dream of new candidates jumping into the race.

The Progressive Blackface Genre


On the one hand, it shouldn’t be surprising that the party of secession, slavery, segregation, internment camps – and more recently of the FBI and the CIA – would elevate blackface to a career-ending art form. But now, even our mild-mannered Friends To The North are not only getting in on the act but seem hellbent on outdoing the Major League Baseball of blackface, the Democratic Party of Virginia.

The top three elected officials in Virginia, you may recall, have been in a months-long Mexican standoff to hold onto their coveted positions. Gov. Northam first denied, then apologized for, then expressed uncertainty about, and again denied appearing in blackface in a school yearbook. In defense of Northam, he was only a 25-year-old medical school student at the time. Were Northam to go full-Republican and resign in disgrace, he would be replaced by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. The problem for the Democratic Party of Virginia, though, is that Fairfax (D) has been credibly accused™ of sexual assault. That leaves Virginia’s next in line to succeed Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring (D), who acknowledged his career in blackface during the fallout from the Northam controversy.

Personally, I find blackface funny. But progressives, by definition, do not. And political movements, like individuals, should be judged by the standards to which they hold others, let alone themselves. Enter part-time Canadian Prime Minister and full-time virtue signaler Justin Trudeau, the boy-man whose recent troubles serve to remind conservatives that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Regretting Socialism, Alberta Elects a Conservative Government


While the left-right and conservative-liberal issues dont always line up between Canada and the United States, I think the Alberta Election campaign that ended today can be predictive of the American 2020 campaign. First off, the results:

UCP: 63 seats, 55% of the vote. (United Conservative Party, a recent merger of the Wild Rose Party and the Conservative Party)

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the sudden political turmoil for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after his former attorney general says Trudeau told her go easy on a major business that was under investigation and then removed her as attorney general when she refused.  They also have fun as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi berates moderate House Democrats for siding with Republicans on multiple motions to recommit and warns that they’ll get less help from the party in 2020 if they don’t vote the way she wants.  And they slam their heads against their desks as Roy Moore considers another run for the Senate seat he lost in 2017.

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I finally got to visit Canada while vacationing with my sister in Glacier Park last week, and glad I did. However, the visit was less than ideal.  First, after the expected questions by an intimidating border official, we were directed to pull into an area off to the side, put our keys on the dash, […]

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According to the Fraser Institute, the average annual cost of Canada’s public healthcare regime is about $4,640 per taxpayer. For most people, that does not include prescription drugs, dentistry, optometry, psychiatry, medical devices (wheelchairs, home oxygen, etc.), or any other medical goods and services delivered outside of a hospital or a GP’s office. It also […]

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While the last few weeks has brought good news for defenders of religious liberty and freedoms of speech and association, civil rights have not been doing as well in Canada. Trinity Western University in Bristish Columbia was looking to found a law school. But since it is a Christian institution, teaching conservative Biblical principles of […]

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Tragedy in Saskatchewan


Humboldt (SK) Broncos, via their Twitter feed.

The road to the NHL is different than it is for other professional athletes. For many, the dreams get serious at age 16 when they enter Junior Hockey. There are three leagues run under the auspices of the Canadian Hockey League and there are even CHL teams based in the United States. Choosing to play in these leagues, while considered amateur, can make you ineligible to play in the NCAA.

The Tragedy in Halifax at 100


The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia sits on a peninsula between the Bedford Basin and the Atlantic Ocean. One hundred years ago, with Canada a vital member of the British Empire, she was a city at war. Every night, submarine nets were stretched along the opening of The Narrows, a thin strip of water that connected the basin to the great ocean and separated the cities of Halifax to the south and Dartmouth to the north. By the end of the day on December 6, 1917, the city would lay in ruins, the result of the largest man-made explosion before the invention of the atomic bomb.

At the heart of this story is two ships, the SS Mont-Blanc and the Norwegian SS Imo, then working for the Belgian Relief Commission. The Mont-Blanc was loaded with war supplies:

  • 500,449 lbs. of TNT
  • 3,527,396 lbs. of wet Picric Acid
  • 1,200 lbs. of dry Picric Acid
  • 12,345 lbs. of Nitrocellulose (also known as guncotton)
  • 491,630 lbs. of Benzol

Normally, she would never have been allowed anywhere near the basin but she needed to hook up and take her place in the convoy to France.

Richard Epstein responds to the Trump Administration’s proposals for revising NAFTA, answers some frequent criticisms of free trade, and explains whether a legal challenge to a NAFTA withdrawal would hold up in court.

The Looming NAFTA Disaster


The North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among Canada, Mexico, and the United States was put into place in November 1993 with the staunch support of the Clinton administration. A sweeping agreement that lifted major trade barriers among these three nations, NAFTA had its share of problems when it was implemented, including the dislocation of some workers. But the mutual gains from free trade dwarfed any losses associated with the agreement. Now, over twenty years later, NAFTA needs to be updated to take into account new technologies, such as those associated with the digital economy. As the agreement gets renegotiated, all three parties should make as few changes as possible to bring the agreement up to date without altering its fundamental structure. But that might not happen. Each of the three signatory nations has adopted a tough bargaining position that could result in a breakdown of the treaty, which would be the greatest trade disaster in recent years.

The American public seems to be mixed on free trade. On the one hand, during the recent presidential campaign, much of the electorate, including many Republicans, turned against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade deal among Pacific Rim nations, while still announcing their support for free trade in the abstract. But upon taking office, Donald Trump proudly but foolishly withdrew from the TPP, and since that time has taken every opportunity to denounce free trade and to express his frustration with NAFTA. Today, his demands on NAFTA, as communicated through his trade representative Robert Lighthizer, have effectively deadlocked negotiations going forward.

Trump’s position is particularly galling because of the total discontinuity between his approach on domestic and foreign economic issues. Just last week, I wrote a column that strongly defended Trump’s efforts to introduce competition and choice into the health care market. The same principles that work to make a domestic economy great apply with equal force to the international one. Giving consumers many choices induces suppliers to provide those goods and services that people want at prices that they can afford; otherwise, the suppliers will lose business to their competitors. To achieve success, firms must not only develop their own workforces, but deal with other firms to acquire the needed inputs, which are often more cheaply purchased than made. Some of these inputs will be acquired from overseas sources, so the objective of a sound trade policy should be a seamless interface between domestic and foreign markets—which is precisely what NAFTA helped achieve when it integrated the economies of its three separate signatories.

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The elision of history continues. Canada now has their very own Holocaust memorial that, curiously enough, doesn’t actually mention who the victims of the Holocaust were. The architecture of Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa is both symbolic and haunting, with six concrete triangles depicting the stars that Jews were forced to wear in […]

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Richard Epstein uses the recent push for independence in Spain’s Catalonia region to consider the question of when separatist movements are justified in pursuing independent statehood—and how they should go about it.

The Mark Steyn Show Is No More


I just came across a bit of disappointing news this evening via SteynOnline: The Mark Steyn Show, which had been broadcast on CRTV since its inception on December 21, 2016, has been cancelled. Mark Steyn writes:

In less congenial telly news, today was perhaps the most sobering and humbling day since this poor old Canadian came to the United States many years ago. I had only been doing the show for a little over a month, and had hoped to be doing it for a long time to come. There is always a story between the lines, and everyone of course is free to speculate. I hope to be able to say more in the days ahead.