Brian Lee Crowley

Interim Super Hornet Purchase: What the Experts Say

Ottawa’s plan to buy interim Super Hornets will cost more and fail to give the Canadian Forces the fighter it needs. That was the conclusion of a survey of defence experts MLI published in mid-June of this year. On 19th June my co-author David McDonough and I published an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen laying out the logic of the experts’ large consensus. You can read the text online here.

 

 

To counter Russian disinformation, the West must rebuild its ability to mobilize ideas

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?

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.

Millenials have to earn their place in the workforce

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

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?

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

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?

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….

My New Year’s prediction: more frustration as government proves just as fallible in 2016 as 2015

In my end of year prognostication column I boldly state that 2016…will be rather like 2015. This is particularly true in that Ottawa will continue to try and do three impossible things before breakfast — except because it is the activist Grits in charge it will be even clearer now that the issue is the competence and capacity of the state and not an ideological conservatism that is to blame:

“The looming crisis of our democracy is the growing anger sparked by the clash between the public’s expectation that every problem can be legislated or regulated away by omnipotent government, and the reality that governments struggle  every day to do relatively simple tasks like deliver the mail, build needed infrastructure and equip our soldiers. Contrary to the expectations of many, this anger cannot be appeased by the election of an activist government. It will be exacerbated until the public’s exaggerated expectations can be brought into line with government’s actual abilities.”

The piece, originally published in the Ottawa Citizen, clearly struck a nerve. It caused quite a stir in the Twittershphere and was republished by the National Post.

China’s two-child policy no better than the old one-child one

Commentary in the West was largely silent or else vaguely supportive when China recently announced it was changing its deacdes-old “one-child policy” to a “two-child policy”. Allow me to be the exception. Whether the policy is one or two children is irrelevant. The fact that the Chinese state arrogates to itself the power to dictate such decisions to their citizens is quite unjustified for any rational policy reason (including “population control”) and is the pretext for an oppressive police state enforcement mechanism that has resulted in well-documented cases of the kidnapping of pregnant women and the forcible aborting of their unborn babies.  It is repugnant and we in the West should not abet it with our silence.

Read the argument in my latest column for the Ottawa Citizen.

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Brian Lee Crowley
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