Brian Lee Crowley

Ottawa Citizen/Postmedia columns

  • To counter Russian disinformation, the West must rebuild its ability to mobilize ideas April 3, 2017

    After the Cold War, the West dismantled much of its capacity to oppose Russian propaganda and disinformation. Now our own complacency and an emboldened Vladimir Putin is leaving us prey to bad, damaging, mistaken, misleading and dangerous ideas as I write in an op-ed for the Ottawa Citizen that appeared on 21st March 2017. Time for the West to rise to Russia’s challenge once again. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about, as Putin seeks to undermine the trust on which so much of the West’s institutions and prosperity rely.

  • Is Canada worthy of true patriot love? October 17, 2016

    Inspired by a new Angus Reid/CBC poll that shows young Canadians significantly less likely than their older compatriots to feel patriotic about Canada, I wrote my Oct. 11th Ottawa Citizen column about why Canada is worthy of our honourable patriotic love. Young Canadians may be being led astray by the teaching (if one can call it that) now available to them about Canadian history. This approach to canadian history focuses with unseemly glee and zeal on episodes from our history that to modern sensibilities seem errors, and sometimes huge ones. Acknowledging our forebears’ mistakes, however, is no bar to love of country, and dwelling on those mistakes to the exclusion of earlier generations great achievements is many things, but it is not history, nor an appropriate yardstick by which to measure Canada.

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership a much-needed bulwark against China September 15, 2016

    What do the impending failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and China’s bad behaviour in the South China Sea have in common? Everything. And if TPP is indeed going to fail Canada and other like-minded countries will need to come up with a fallback strategy and be quick about it, as I argued in my August 12th column for the Ottawa Citizen.

  • China’s challenge to the rule of law in the South China Sea September 15, 2016

    Writing in my regular Ottawa Citizen column on July 15th, 2016, I argue that the most recent dispute over the South China Sea is a challenge not merely to Canada but to all liberal-democratic societies that prize the rule of law and the use of international institutions, rather than brute force, to settle disputes between nations.

  • CPP expansion: Evidence-based policymaking it is not September 15, 2016

    In my June 16th, 2016 Ottawa Citizen column in the days leading up to the federal-provincial meeting on CPP expansion I urged Canadians not to believe the hype coming from the special interests and big-government bureaucrats. Canadians are just fine saving for retirement on their own. This column also appeared in various other Postmedia papers.

  • Millenials have to earn their place in the workforce June 11, 2016

    In my May 20th column for the Ottawa Citizen  and other Postmedia papers I take aim at the attitude that employers must tie themselves in knots to accommodate young workers’ preferences around when and how they want to work. I beg to differ. Jobs are not created for the convenience of employees. They exist because of employers who risk their capital and their reputation. The deal is that employees sell their time and have a duty and an obligation to give their best efforts to meet their employers’ needs during that time. Employees are not doing their employers a favour and if they want their preferences accommodated in the workplace the way to do it is to make it clear that they are diligent, energetic and trustworthy employees.

  • The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Friends can buy LAVs April 22, 2016

    The Grits are fumbling the defence of the LAV sale to Saudi Arabia. And they’re not just fumbling a little bit.  It’s a Bob-Stanfield-dropping-the-football photo op kind of fumble. Yet the arguments in favour of the sale (we’re at war with ISIS in the Middle East and the Saudis are our allies, among other things) are more compelling than the hamfisted “They’re nasty people and we should only sell to nice folks” narrative of the government’s critics. The sale of the LAVs is not bad; it’s the lesser of two evils. And that’s a perfectly acceptable and defensible standard, especially where Canada is putting its own troops in harm’s way in this conflict. Read my full analysis in my column for tomorrow’s Ottawa Citizen and other Postmedia newspapers.

  • Premiers once again fail internal trade test. When will Ottawa step up? April 2, 2016

    As I argue in my March 26th column for the Ottawa Citizen and other Postmedia papers, the Liberals have chosen internal trade liberalisation as the one issue where they see eye to eye with the Tories in looking to the provinces to tear down those barriers. Yet the premiers’ own self-imposed deadline of mid-March for an extensive new deal has come and gone without a peep from any of them. The truth is that the provinces are too busy protecting local interest groups to protect Canadians’ rights in this area. Ottawa alone has the authority and legitimacy to do it, but not yet the will despite the fact that it is Canadians’ rights at stake. Bipartisanship in Ottawa deserves a more worthy standard-bearer than this.

  • Reconciliation between Canadian Conservatives and Aboriginal Canada March 1, 2016

    In my latest screed for the Ottawa Citizen and other PostMedia dailies I make the case that the Tories have to change their image, as their UK cousins did, to escape being branded the “nasty party”. My suggested strategy is for them to embrace the rise and aspirations of Aboriginal Canada. Conservatives have a narrative about freedom, opportunity and the future that vibrates with the emerging younger generation of leaders and is a distinctive policy compared to the left’s preoccupation with the past and victimhood. And a side benefit would be that the Tories would be tackling directly and constructively the appalling conditions of many Aboriginal communities, helping to remove a stain on the conscience of Canada. Nor is this mere abstract theorising; the hundreds of deals that Aboriginal communities are striking today to develop natural resources on their lands are proof that Indigenous Canadians want real opportunity, not more empty rhetoric.

  • Will tougher rules for approval win over pipeline opponents? January 30, 2016

    At a time when the federal and several provincial governments have raised the bar on environmental and other standards for the oil patch it is not churlish to ask the question: will these moves, which will add both time and money to already demanding approval processes, win over those people who oppose pipelines and claim that they have no “social licence”. That’s the issue I explore in my column today for the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald and other PostMedia papers. You will be unsurprised to learn that my answer is, “No”. And that means that at some point politicians will have to stop pretending that all that is required is process tweaks, that a better process will win over opponents. It won’t and at some point politicians will have to choose sides. How uncomfortable! Poor things — I almost feel sorry for them. Almost….

Brian Lee Crowley
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