Are Liberals in Canada finally ready to have a discussion about what it means to be Canadian and the values that unite us?
Conservatives have been keen to have this conversation for years, but liberals and progressives have resisted, acting as gatekeepers to the public square and insisting that anyone who tries to defend – or even define – Canadian values is some sort of extremist with an ulterior motive.
Recent events may have changed things.
Earlier this week on the social media platform X, a user by the name of “Andrew Perez (He/Him),” who describes himself among other things as a “Proud Liberal,” wrote a lengthy, and dare I say praiseworthy, post.
Here it is, in its entirety:
I’m sorry, but as a progressive, I believe strongly that we need to begin speaking openly about what Canadian values are and what Canadian values most certainly aren’t. This in light of recent domestic events.
It ought to be self-evident as to what Canadian values are. But sadly, this isn’t the case to many. And I’m acutely aware of the fact that mere years ago, speaking openly about ‘Canadian values’ was overwhelmingly seen as a Trump-style MAGA dog whistle. And rightly so.
But much has changed since 2016. Both domestically and internationally.
To be clear, in modern times, Canadian values are synonymous with: respect for liberal democracy, freedom of thought, expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. Tolerance. Respect for diversity etc.
But Canadian values don’t include the freedom to brandish swastikas, openly call for the extermination of a democratic state and its people or the freedom to violently protest Jewish-owned businesses because you don’t agree with the policies of Israel. Canadian values also don’t include the right to publicly profess your support for a terrorist organization.
It’s sad that I need to write this tweet. But this is a conversation that is only about to intensify in Canadian politics.”
This post sparked a great deal of interest, and the replies were mostly positive and supportive – with both Liberals and Conservatives agreeing that Canada is losing its way and that defining and defending Canadian values is an important next step to restoring the things that make Canada great.
Don’t get me wrong, the post makes some glaring errors, including the assertion that there was something nefarious about wanting to defend Canadian values in 2016.
Here was my response to Perez:
I agree — with the important caveat that despite what Liberals say, wanting to discuss and defend Canadian values back in 2015/16 was NOT a “MAGA-style dog whistle.”
It was a valid concern then, just as it is today.
Some context for those who forgot:
In 2015, hundreds of young men left Canada to fight for ISIS. Meanwhile, Trudeau was elected on a grandstanding commitment to quickly admit 50,000 migrants from the same region without vetting or completing the normal security screenings, all in a three month period.
Somewhere between 10-20% of the Syrian population supported ISIS and its philosophy (the creation of an Islamist caliphate), and yet, the progressive left in Canada scoffed at the idea we might possibly screen newcomers for values — smearing anyone who suggested it as “far right”, “racist” or worse.
The values many Conservatives wanted to screen for, by the way, are exactly what Andrew suggests [above]. Interestingly, Liberals and Conservatives by and large AGREE on what constitutes “Canadian values.”
Anyway, I’m glad some progressives are finally waking up to this poisonous ideology and seeing things more clearly, but the fundamental values he’s talking about were also being threatened a decade ago.
Some Conservatives had similar grumbles – one user wrote “you lost me at MAGA-style dog whistle” – but overall, most Conservatives I know and speak with, as well as those commenting on Perez’s post, are supportive of having this discussion.
It’s refreshing to hear this perspective from a Liberal, from downtown Toronto no less.
Not surprisingly, Perez’s fiercest criticism came from the far-Left, some of which called Perez racist for the above post.
One user named Joy Henderson, who describes herself (theyself?) as a “Black Lakota, urban, Queer, she/they. Writer, speaker, very left wing cranky person,” wrote: “White dude on stolen land, built with stolen people talks about “Canadian values” proceeds to lie egregiously. Very much Canadian.”
That pretty much sums up the thinking of Canada’s extreme Left; they hate everything about Canada and are unwilling to engage in conversation or honest discussion with anyone who disagrees with them on their hateful anti-Canadian first principles.
Interestingly, in the past, it’s been difficult to distinguish the positions of the far-Left and voices like Henderson with more mainstream Liberals like Perez. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for instance, shows deference to extreme Leftists and wouldn’t dare push back against this sort of rhetoric. Sometimes he mirrors their language and supports their causes.
But it seems, on the issue of rising antisemitism in Canada, the legitimacy of the state of Israel and its ability to defend itself against war and terror being waged against it, the Left and the extreme Left seem to be parting ways.
Trudeau personally, it seems, has cornered himself into a very awkward position on this issue.
In late October, his government abstained from a vote at the United Nations calling for a ceasefire – de facto support for Hamas. Most of the dictators at the UN supported the ceasefire motion, while many Western liberal democracies opposed it. Trudeau took the cowards position and refused to vote either way.
This week, Trudeau was inexplicably absent from a vote in the House of Commons led by his own MP Anthony Housefather, condemning Hamas and demanding a release of the hostages. (Trudeau, Freeland and four other top Liberal Ministers were absent from the vote, which received unanimous support from all other MPs). Why did Trudeau and his inner circle skip voting on this motion? It’s an important question that Trudeau has not yet answered.
One can imagine why, and the reason is pretty dark. Trudeau is beholden to the extreme Left and Canada’s growing Muslim population. Most Muslims in Canada oppose terrorism and loathe groups like Hamas – many of them, afterall, are here in Canada because of the destabilizing force of radical Islamists and jihadists movements in the Middle East and North Africa.
But among Canada’s 1.7 million Muslims – approximately half a million of which came to Canada under Trudeau’s immigration policies – there are a noisy, powerful few who subscribe to an extreme religious ideology and have brought their hatred of Israel and the Jews with them to Canada.
Trudeau, it seems, doesn’t want to risk offending them by showing too much support for Israel.
This is just Trudeau’s latest moral failing. It seems the man is not capable of uniting Canadians and bringing out the better nature of newcomers who are holding onto tribal feuds from faraway lands.
He is unwilling and unable to articulate Canadian values – in fact, he infamously told the New York Times magazine that Canada was the world’s first “post-national” state with no uniting culture and “no mainstream.”
The good news for Canada is that, judging by Trudeau’s atrocious polling numbers and his collapse in support among Liberals, perhaps it’s time to usher in the next generation of Liberal leaders. Hopefully that will include people like Andrew Perez who are open and willing to discuss what makes Canada Canada.
Canadian values are worth defending, and it’s past time we had this important national conversation.