The Tale of Four Women

Commentary, Culture Wars, Brian Giesbrecht

The recent election win of Donald Trump is now changing the political world in Canada. To his critics, he is the worst of everything a human being can be. His detractors call him names that have been considered extreme, even for a President as divisive as Richard Nixon.

According to his supporters, he can do no wrong. Bragging about inappropriately touching of women, or slanderously referring to the countries that Canada trades with and relies upon, detractors are tossed off as fake news or dismissed.

The elephant next door that Pierre Trudeau spoke of those many years ago has morphed into a mammoth on steroids – a beast that might roll over on us at any time.

So how is Canada doing in this new age of Trump?

It is clear now that the anti-Trump effect has influenced Canada. Unfortunately, it might be case of getting a bit carried away on some issues trying desperately to prove we are not Trump’s America.

Here is the tale of three Canadians who have experienced the wrath of the anti-Trump effect.

Margaret Atwood needs no introduction. Debatably she is Canada’s best writer and author to date. Recently, she commented on a controversy surrounding an academic who was removed from his job as a result of unsubstantiated sexual abuse allegations. She was absolutely right in her position that the man deserved a proper hearing, but she was set upon by leading feminists for her principled stance.

Margaret Atwood is a noted feminist herself. The fact that she was attacked like this demonstrates how far from reality her detractors have become on the issue.

To be clear, the Harvey Weinstein’s of this world deserve every bit of what they got. But, Atwood is pointing out that not every man is a Harvey Weinstein, and it is unfair to ruin a person’s life in the absence of anything even resembling due process. I suggest that the recent Patrick Brown fiasco is strong evidence that Margaret Atwood lost that fight.

I believe that this anti-Trump effect explains the temporary success of the extreme position taken by Atwood’s critics. In a country not shaken and dazed by the shocking election of Trump, I do not believe that their outrageous position would have made sense to any but the most radical groups. And the fact that Trump got a pass on bragging about his own disgusting sexual behaviour has furthered the attitude of the extremists who attacked  Atwood. She deserves our respect for many reasons, and her principled stance in this case is one of them.

Lindsay Shepherd  is the young woman who had the temerity to play a Jordan Peterson clip to a group of students. Shepherd was roundly denounced by academics representing the university.

Peterson is controversial, but only because his views do not conform to an increasingly radical viewpoint that has been allowed to take over Canadian universities. Of course, students should listen to him. They should have the freedom to make up their own minds. Peterson’s reference to cognitive dissonance (not being able to refute an argument, but not being able to accept it) perfectly describes the thought process of those academics who denounced Shepherd.

I believe the extreme position taken by those academics is an increasing shift to the left, resulting from the shock of the election of Donald Trump.

Recently, a highly intelligent doctor, Kellie Leitch, announced her intention to leave politics. In fact, she was forced out. The policies she advocated were likened to the policies of Trump, and she didn’t have a chance. CBC and mainstream media regularly associate her with the alt right movement, white supremacy, “Islamophobia” and the like. The Liberals had a field day with her, and used the Trump factor successfully to gain political points.

In fact, it almost seemed that the Liberals’ immigration policy was to do the opposite of anything Trump was doing.

The problem with playing political games like this is that sometimes sensible policies are lost in the process. Of course, proper screening of immigrants is important. Simply allowing anyone who wants to enter the country is a disastrous policy. Kellie Leitch never advocated that we only choose people from certain religions or races, but that is the way she was painted.

I have no particular attachment to Kellie Leitch. I disagree with many of the things she advocated. But she is certainly not the raving right wing loony she was made out to be by mainstream media.

This brings us to our final example, Margaret Thatcher. Regardless of one’s own opinion of her, she was a person who knew her mind and had the courage of her convictions. When asked to change her policies for purposes of expediency, she famously said: “This lady’s not for turning”, and she stood her ground.

Canada needs a Margaret Thatcher. A leader with a clear head and clear ideas, and not given to surrendering to the mood of the moment. Today, there is no one like that in Ottawa. Everyone is too afraid of being compared to Donald Trump.