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The vertical mosaic: an analysis of social class and power in Canada Author(s) Porter, John Imprint University of Toronto Press, 1965 Extent xxi, 626 p. ISBN 0802013570, 0802060552, 9780802060556 Permalink https://books.scholarsportal.info/en/read?id=/ ebooks/ebooks0/ gibson_crkn/2009-12-01/7/421025 Pages 389 to 408 Downloaded from Scholars Portal Books on 2021-09-11 T l charg de Scholars Portal Books sur 2021-09-11 CHAPTER XII The Canadian Political System CANADA’S POLITICAL system has not been neglected by social scientists. Historians, political scientists, and constitutional lawyers have provided a comprehensive picture of the development and formal operation of the major political institutions of the society. If there are any underlying themes in all this work they are the emergence of an independent state- hood for Canada, and the search for a “viable federalism” in which the relative importance of the federal and provincial governments changes in the process of their adapting to the paramount problems of the day. The material on Canadian political institutions is largely descriptive. With a few exceptions1 there is an absence of a political theory by which the descriptive materials take on some meaning. Although there are political theories general to all societies it seems necessary, as well, for particular societies to have theories about themselves. THE POLITICAL SYSTEM Canada has no resounding charter myth proclaiming a Utopia against which, periodically, progress can be measured. At the most, national goals and dominant values seem to be expressed in geographical terms such as “from sea to sea,” rather than in social terms such as “all men are created equal,” or “liberty, fraternity, and equality.” In the UnitedStates there is a Utopian image which slowly over time bends intractable social patterns in the direction of equality, but a Canadian counterpart of this image is difficult to find. The question which we are seeking to explore here is what does a political system do, what is its function in the total society? Clearly the 1One notable exception is C. B. Macpherson’s Democracy in Alberta (Toronto, 1953), in which is developed the theory of the quasi-party system. Canadian Political System 367 the function of the economic system is to produce a society’s wealth. But the function of a political system cannot be so clearly stated. Although there is unlikely to be agreement among social scientists, the view taken here is that the political system is the one through which the society as a group can achieve its major goals and values, if it has any. Undoubtedly major goals and values can be stated only in very general terms such as progress, a high standard of living, equality. Often these major values can be traced to some charter instrument such as a bill of rights or a constitution which has acquired, over time, a charismatic aura. These values will be reaffirmed periodically through social move- ments, such as Jeffersonian liberalism in the United States. They will also appear as recurring themes in a society’s literature. Because values and goals will be cast in general terms they can be appropriated by both conservative elements supporting the status quo and Utopian liberal elements seeking social change. Freedom can be seen as “wearing a crown” and also as being achieved by the breaking of imperial ties. However, unless there are values general to the society, it is difficult for the society to make judgments about its progress, although reference can be made to standards and values of other societies. In a discussion of the political system of the United States, Talcott Parsons has suggested that the value system centres on what he calls “instrumental activism.”2 The values against which actions are judged are cast in terms of economic adaptation or mastery of the physical con- ditions of life. There are general goals also of progress and improvement hi which economic production is the main instrument of advance. It is the task of the political system and the leadership roles within it to mobilize the society’s resources to these broad ends. In a differentiated pluralistic society there will not be general agreement on the means to be employed to reach these general values. There will, however, be some agreement on the ground rules. There are constitutional ground rules, but at the same time there is a body of political conventions which political parties observe, one of the most important being that the political party in power permits its rivals to exist. The two-party system is a functionally appropriate way of mediating the “conservative” and “progressive” social forces. In his discussion of right and left in American politics Parsons argues that the focus of the American right is the organization of the free 2Talcott Parsons, ” ‘Voting’ and the Equilibrium of the American Political System,” in E. Burdick and A. J. Brodbeck, American Voting Behavior (Glencoe, 111., 1959), 80ff. 368 The Structure of Power enterprise economy. The “right” becomes politically conservative because positive political action is seen as a threat to this free enterprise economy. The “left” on the other hand focuses on positive political action and is favourable to reform, to control of the economy, to the promotion of welfare, and to intervention in foreign affairs. These right and left foci distinguish in general terms the Republican and Democratic parties. Both parties seek to mobilize support. They alternate in office so that there is a swinging back and forth between the two dominant trends, but some dynamic development is achieved, because although the pres-sure for change comes from the left, and change is bitterly opposed by the right, the right, when it gets into office, does not destroy the advances made by the left. Although not all will agree that the Republican and Democratic parties are so distinguishable, it would be difficult to refute their respective foci to the right and left, the conservative and the pro- gressive. The important point here is that in political systems and throughpolitical parties there is a polarization of the progressive and conserva- tive forces, even though in the United States there is still a general acceptance of the view that the major goals of the society are achieved through the economic system rather than the political. This brief outline of Parsons’ analysis of the political dynamic hi the United States is not intended to suggest that a similar political process takes place in Canada. All too often Canadian social scientists draw analogies from American experience. Rather, Parsons’ account is a model of a political dynamic which results from a polarization of the right and the left. A similar model could be built from British experience. Marx, of course, also presented a model except that, for him, the polarization was so complete that mediation within the same normative order was impossible. NATIONAL UNITY: CANADA’S POLITICAL OBSESSION It would probably be safe to say that Canada has never had a political system with this dynamic quality. Its two major political parties do not focus to the right and the left. In the sense that both are closely linked with corporate enterprise the dominant focus has been to the right. One of the reasons why this condition has prevailed is that Canada lacks clearly articulated major goals and values stemming from some charter instrument which emphasizes progress and equality. If there is a major goal of Canadian society it can best be described as an integrative goal. Canadian Political System 369 The maintenance of national unity has overridden any other goals there might have been, and has prevented a polarizing, within the political system, of conservative and progressive forces. It has never occurred to any Canadian commentators that national unity might in fact be achieved by such a polarization. Rather a dissociative federalism is raised to the level of a quasi-religious political dogma, and polarization to right and left hi Canadian politics is regarded as disruptive. Con-sequently the main focus of Canadian politics has been to the right and the maintenance of the status quo. The reason that the Liberal party in Canada was hi office so many years until 1957 was not because it was a progressive party, but because it served Canada’s major goal of national unity. The major themes hi Canadian political thought emphasize those characteristics, mainly regional and provincial loyalties, which divide the Canadian population. Consequently integration and national unity must be a constantly reiterated goal to counter such divisive sentiments. The dialogue is between unity and discord rather than progressive and conservative forces. The question which arises is whether the discord- unity dialogue has any real meaning in the lives of Canadians, or whether it has become, in the middle of the twentieth century, a political technique of conservatism. Canada must be one of the few major indus- trial societies in which the right and left polarization has become deflected into disputes over regionalism and national unity. Canada’s major political and intellectual obsession, national unity, has had its effect on the careers of men who take on political roles. It has put a premium on the type of man whom we shall label the administra- tive politician and has discounted the professional political career in which creative politicians can assume leadership roles. Creative politics at the national level has not been known in Canada since before World War I when the westward thrust to Canada’s empire was still a major national goal. Since the empire of the west was secured national goals of development have not been known. Creative politics is politics which has the capacity to change the social structure in the direction of some major social goals or values. By mobilizing human resources for new purposes, it has the initiative in the struggle against the physical environment and against dysfunctional historical arrangements. Creative politics requires a highly developed political leadership to challenge entrenched power within other institu- tional orders. It succeeds in getting large segments of the population identified with the goals of the political system and in recruiting their energies and skills to political ends. 370 The Structure of Power THE SUFFRAGE AND SOCIAL RIGHTS Politics in industrial societies becomes polarized into conservative and progressive forces in part because the political system is the only system in which all members of the society participate. Not all have ownership rights in the economic system and there are great inequalities among those that do, because votes in the economic system are not one per person but one per share. In the political system all share a common status of citizenship. With universal adult suffrage the right to participate in the political system has led to the emergence, in the twentieth century, of social rights. The development of social rights has meant a very slow but gradual erosion of privilege. Social rights are the claims on the social system of all members of the society to a basic standard of living and to equal opportunities for education, health, and so forth. To achieve social rights governments have sponsored activities ranging from educational to medical and health insurance. In most industrial societies there is disagreement about how far these social rights should extend. For some, welfare measures are indispensable to the good life; for others they are seen as bringing about human and social rot. The fact remains, however, that ever since the propertyless and the underprivileged have been enfranchised political elites have been able to acquire power by offering piecemeal extensions of welfare. In Canada, as in other industrial societies, there has been some extension of social rights, although, because generally they fall within the sphere of the provinces, they are by no means uniform throughout the country. Their haphazard development has come aboutmore by the “demonstration effect” of their existence in other countries, than because they have formed the social philosophy of either of the two political parties which have been in power at the federal level. These two parties have also been adept at incorporating in their own pro- grammes, but not always in legislation, some of the progressive ideas of the minor parties. The right to participate in Canada’s political system is not one that was given quietly or easily. The history of the franchise is extraordinarily confused because of the varying provincial franchises which were used in federal elections between 1898 and 1917.3 Discussions about who should be enfranchised centred around the amount of property that was deemed necessary to give a person full political rights of citizenship. In 3This brief review of the federal franchise is based on Norman Ward, The Canadian House of Commons: Representation (Toronto, 1950), 21 Iff. Canadian Political System 371 a proposed federal statute in 1870 which would have established an income qualification of $400 a year, day labourers were to be excluded even though they might have earned $400 because, as Macdonald put it, “they had no abiding interest in the country.”4 Moreover, in considering changes in the franchise, political leaders were more concerned with their chances of remaining in or getting into power than with the theory of democracy. This attitude still remains in choosing new electoral boundaries. In 1903 the Privy Council had held, in hearing an appeal by a British Columbia Japanese Canadian, that the franchise “is a right and privilege which belongs only to those . . . upon whom the provincial legislature has conferred it.”5 The extraordinary war-time franchise of 1917, described by Professor Ward as “the most remarkable franchise act ever passed in Canada, and even possibly in the democratic world,”6 was an act devised to exclude as far as possible those considered unlikely to support the national government. Because of the limitation of the franchise, the first federal election with some semblance of manhood suffrage was 1900 and with universal suffrage, 1921. Professor Ward has calculated that in the election of 1911 one- quarter of the total population was enfranchised, and in 1921 about one-half of the total population.7 It is interesting that the arrival of uni- versal suffrage coincided with the end of the historic two-party system that had existed previously. Universal suffrage frees the political institutions from control by a class which benefits from a limited franchise. It therefore makes possible the building up of the political system into a system of power to counter the power of other institutional elites. The political system and its elite could become the dominant power system within the differentiated society. Universal suffrage alone does not bring this about. There must as well be, through political leadership and a social orientation to politics, a clarification of goals and a feeling of collective participation by the members. One of the reasons why this sense of collective participation has not yet developed in Canada is because the universal political right to participate is only decades old. In Canada, too, as we have seen earlier, the general level of education is too low to allow for intelligent participation. The absence of political orientation in labour organization is also a factor in weakening the political system. There is another reason, too, why the political system has been incap- able of generating its own power, that is, the belief that that government is best which governs least. In this ideology of western capitalism there is an express denial of the social benefit of political power. Historically, Vbid., 213. 5Ibid., 227. *lbid., 226. Ubid., 230. 372 The Structure of Power the erosion of autocratic political power came with the rise of entre- preneurial capitalism and the doctrine of laissez-faire. The democracy of universal suffrage could mean political power which is collective rather than autocratic. This kind of political power can be seen in the con- tinuing dialogue hi most industrial societies between conservative and progressive forces. Robert Lynd in his analysis of power in American society makes the distinction between “liberal democracy” which “yokes together a pro- fessedly democratic social structure and political system with a capitalist economy,” and “a version of democracy in which social structure and all institutions would have coherence in expressing and implementing democratic values.”8 This second he distinguishes from “liberal democracy” as a “thoroughgoing democracy” or a “society committed throughout to democratic ends.” Such a thoroughgoing democracy would presumably be one guided by the principle of distributive justice and one in which there was a sense of shared social purpose and collective participation in achieving social ends. Power can be, as Lynd has said, a social resource in achieving widely desired ends. It has been argued in some of the chapters on social class in Canada not only that values of distributive justice are contra- dicted by the existence of class differences, but that a great deal of social potential and human ability necessary for a society’s development and survival is wasted. In many respects the release of a society’s creativity can come about only through its political system. A society in which the major goals are achieved through the political system and in which the sense of collective aims and values is strong may create an image of a monolithic structure of government and a homogeneity of thought. Such an image is a major weapon of the entrenched elites in seeking to pre- vent the emergence of political power as a social force. Whether or not there can be collective goals hi a differentiated society, whether or not these goals can be achieved through a thoroughgoing democracy without bringing about a monolithic homogeneity in social life cannot here be answered. Obviously a great deal of institutional experimentation is necessary to avoid monolithic government, and social experiments require power. In Canada, in any case, such a political system is a long way from emerging. Our task is to try to discover how at present the political elite functions in relation to the elites of other institutional orders. In the following chapter we shall deal with inferences which can be made from 8Robert S. Lynd, “Power in American Society,” in A. Kornhauser, ed., Problems of Power in American Democracy (Detroit, 1957), 6. Canadian Political System 373 studying the careers of leading politicians. Because politicians work through political parties, and in Canada in a federal system, some obser- vations on Canadian political parties and Canadian federalism would seem appropriate to help interpret the political career data which follow. Many will disagree with the observations because the latter contain subjective appraisals and some speculative remarks. However, somespeculation is called for because nothing is so striking in Canada of the 1960’s as the society’s incapacity to meet its internal and external prob- lems. For this situation much of the fault lies in the political system. MAJOR PARTIES: THE CONSERVATIVE TONE The most significant characteristic of the two parties which have held power at the national level in Canada is the fact that they share the same conservative values. Both have at times been responsible for reform legislation which might suggest progressive values, but these steps to the left have been taken more with a spirit of opportunism than from a basic orientation to social progress and change. The Progressive Conservative party has been ingenious enough to incorporate the political dynamic within its name. As some of its opponents have suggested it is neither conservative nor progressive, but has remained opportunistic. Both parties have produced successive contingents of administrative poli- ticians. The political dialogue, if it can be called such, in which they participate is not related to any basic class differences in the society from which the conservative-progressive dynamic might arise. It is not that Canadian social structure is so static that it has no immanent potential for dynamic politics; it is rather that Canada’s basically opportunistic parties have not harnessed this potential in the political system. They have either ignored these basic social differences or covered them up in the pretence that they do not exist. Both politicians and intellectuals, on those occasions when they deal with political issues, have defined the political task, not in terms of creative policies, but rather in terms of interstitial compromises between competing interests. In his introduction to Mackenzie King’s diaries, Mr. J. W. Pickersgill states that “Mackenzie King genuinely believed and frequently said that the real secret of political leadership was more in what was prevented than what was accomplished.”9 Mr. Pickersgill did not elaborate on his own further statement, “yet his objectives were »J. W. Pickersgill, The Mackenzie King Record, vol. I (Toronto, 1960), 10. 374 The Structure of Power by no means negative,” except to say that, between the Liberal conven- tion of 1919 and the end of his political career, Mackenzie King had reached his destination. According to Canada’s two most outstanding political scientists, J. A. Corry and R. M. Dawson, Canada’s two indistinguishable political parties are functionally appropriate for Canadian society. The views of these two men are important because it is mainly through their writings, and their students who have become teachers, that later generations of Canadian students are introduced to Canada’s political system. Corry sees party politicians as brokers of ideas selecting among those that are, current in the society the ones that appeal to the largest calculable number of voters.10 They are brokers in another sense, too. They arrange deals between different sections of opinion, or interest groups, by working out the necessary compromises. If these are the tasks of political parties and political leaders their function is not to provide a conservative-progressive dialogue in terms of general social values, but simply to make available an “alternative” government. Elections become choices between one set of brokers and another. In a democracy there must be an alternative government to keep the incumbent government aware of its responsibilities. Corry makes the point that, if this alterna- tive party was an ideological one deeply committed to principles, the social divisions which would follow would be so great that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to keep the nation together. Yet to obscuresocial divisions through brokerage politics is to remove from the political system that element of dialectic which is the source of creative politics. The choice between genuinely radical and genuinely conservative tradi- tions could mean a period of creative politics followed by a period of consolidation as conservatives and radicals oscillated in and out of office. That at least would provide a two-party system suitable to parliamentary institutions, the debating of values, and the clarification of social goals. To make brokerage politics work it is necessary at election time to rouse the voters from political somnolence and try to make them identify with one of the parties. When parties are without distinguishable social values voters have no commitments other than those arising from uncritical family traditions or habit. Consequently the parties require at election time an enormous “once for all” organization which takes large sums of money. On the whole these sums are not obtained from thou-sands of small individual contributions, but instead are obtained much more efficiently from wealthy benefactors. Because the parties do not 10J. A. Corry, Democratic Government and Politics (Toronto, 1946), Chap. VI. Canadian Political System 375 differ in principle, the wealthy benefactors support both main parties. It is often suggested, although no evidence has ever been produced, that corporate benefactors, in particular, give 60 per cent of their contribu- tion to the party in power and 40 per cent to the party that might succeed to power. In any case, the war chests of the two parties both seem to be full, allowing them to charter aircraft, print mountains of literature, rent fleets of limousines, and buy extensive advertising space on television and radio and in the newspapers. Millions of dollars spent on political education could be a good thing for the functioning of the political system, but when it is concentrated in a few weeks before elections and on devices scarcely designed to educate, the function is questionable. Corry accepts as inevitable these aspects of brokerage politics because in his view the role of the politician is simply to reflect the selfish aims of the various sections of the society and to make compromises between them. He recognizes that there are some unattractive features of this system but his strongest words of indictment are: “It would not be correct to say that party policy has been uninfluenced by contributions to party funds”; and “The parties deceive the public, but so do propa- gandists of every kind.”11 Corry’s conclusion about the party system is that “. . . the evils in the party system are the outcome of general human frailties. Indeed it is hard to see how the parties which must woo the electorate with success can do other than reflect its vices and its virtues.”12 He sees little need for political education and political leader- ship. Dawson, too, recognized and accepted the facts of Canadian political life, although he suggested that historically there have been differences between the parties which still influence their attitudes.13 The Conserva- tives have been more conscious of the Empire tie, while the Liberals have been more nationalistic; the Conservatives have been a high tariff party and the Liberals a freer trade party; the Conservatives have been more concerned with strengthening the powers of the central government while the Liberals have been more anxious to maintain provincial rights; the Conservatives have been the party of free enterprise, while the Liberals have professed “to take the lead in public ownership and pro-gressive social legislation.”14 Dawson claimed that these tendencies or biases still exist within the parties, although he admitted that their records on these issues have been confused and inconsistent. Dawson also concluded that “a national party must take as its primary uibid., 138, 139. ™lbid. 13R. M. Dawson, The Government of Canada (Toronto, 1948), SOlff. 14/tott, 506. 376 The Structure of Power purpose the reconciliation of the widely scattered aims and interests of a number of areas.”15 Elections then are fought on minor issues and often the distinction between the parties is nothing more than a choice between personalities. “Finally the opportunism—and one may fairly say, the inescapable opportunism—embedded in the Canadian party system tends to minimize the importance of the platform and emphasize the importance of the party leaders. . . .”ie For more than thirty years, Frank H. Underbill has asked provocative questions about the Canadian political system. In his collected essays, In Search of Canadian Liberalism, he expresses conflicting views. One is the view of the orthodox political scientist: “a political party that aspires to the responsibility of government must not be a class party, but must be a loosely knit representative collection of voters from all groups.” “National unity is preserved by having every interest-group effectively inside the party which controls the government.”17 Thesequotations are from an essay written in 1950 praising the contributions of Mackenzie King to Canada. In other essays, too, he seems to feel that there is an inescapable logic in having, in the North American situation, all-embracing parties where the tensions within the society are resolved within the parties rather than between the parties. On the other hand Underbill feels the need for creative leadership in political life. This can occur only when politicians have a vision that is greater than the sum of the special interests of particular groups. Under- bill has deplored the lack of conservative thought in the Conservative party and of liberal thought in the Liberal party. He admired Franklin D. Roosevelt and regretted that Canada never had a New Deal. In 1932 Underbill pointed out the inadequacy of the Canadian party system: “a party which depends for success upon the different and often con- tradictory appeals which it must make to different sectional interests will become dependent upon and responsive to those interest-groups which are best organized and most strategically located for applying effective pressure upon the party leaders.”18 The two groups which could apply the most pressure he thought were the Catholic church in Quebec and big business. The real function of the two-party system since the Laurier era “has been to provide a screen behind which the controlling business interests pull the strings to manipulate the Punch and Judy who engage hi mock combat before the public.”19 ^Ibid., 508. ie/fc/W., 510. “Frank H. Underbill, In Search of Canadian Liberalism (Toronto, 1960), 136- 37. 18/6W., 167. Wbid., 168. Canadian Political System 377 In 1940 there appeared a book by Pendleton Herring, The Politics o] Democracy,20 which has influenced a whole generation of Canadian political scientists in their attitudes to political parties. It was Herring who expounded with great force the doctrine of brokerage politics. Underbill’s estimate of Mackenzie King was that he had developed brokerage politics to a fine art. However, despite what he was to say about King in 1950, Underbill felt in 1943 that Herring’s views about political parties were not altogether applicable to Canada, in part because the moderate polarization which had taken place between Republican and Democratic parties in the United States had not taken place between the two major parties in Canada despite the fact that World War I and the depression had created a new class structure. It was the new parties which appeared to give expression to this new class structure. “In dealing with these new conflicts among group interests the old parties were too much under the control of one class group to function as honest brokers any more.”21 By 1960 the two major parties were still trying to function as brokers. Not even a moderate polarization had taken place. Consequently dynamic politics to mobilize the creative energies of the society were still absent. PARTIES OF POLITICAL PROTEST In some respects the emergence of minor parties in the provinces can be viewed as populist protest against the established order. As a result of the social changes which have taken place in the country, some of which have been described in the earlier chapters on social class, there has always been a large number of people who experience deprivation. It is their feelings which can be exploited by the minor parties at the provincial level.22 These populist reactions can also be seen at the federal level with the Progressives, the Social Credit, and the C.C.F. (New Democratic) parties. The existence of these minor parties has meant that only rarely does the victorious party acquire a majority of the popular vote. Mr. Diefenbaker’s appeal in 1958 can also be interpreted as a populist one. His vision caught the imagination not only of the deprived, 2°Pendleton Herring, The Politics of Democracy: American Parties in Action (New York, 1940). 21Underhill, In Search of Canadian Liberalism, 198. 22See the discussion in James Mallory, Social Credit and the Federal Power in Canada (Toronto, 1954), 153ff. 378 The Structure of Power but also of the not so deprived but financially insecure, the heavily mort- gaged suburban homeowner.23 Because the appeals of the minor parties run the range of the rational-irrational continuum, from social demo- cratic humanism to reactionary fundamentalism, as a political force they are fragmented even though they appeal to the same social groups. The electoral success of the minor parties has been confined to the provinces. The Social Credit party in Alberta was in its early days a populist social movement led by its charismatic leader William Aber- hart.24 Its original aim was, through monetary and financial reforms, to free Alberta rural society from its indebtedness to eastern financial interest. Most of its goals were obstructed by disallowance and judicial decisions, and with the return of prosperity during and after World War II it became a traditional conservative party making occasional fanfares of Christian fundamentalism. In British Columbia the Social Credit party which has been in office since 1952 may also be labelled a conservative party even though it is, as described by some, opportunistic and nihilistic to the point of being anti-ideological.25 After the break-up of the Liberal- Conservative coalition which had been formed to keep the C.C.F. party from power in British Columbia there was no other political party to which the corporate and conservative elements could give their support. Although the C.C.F. never won an election in British Columbia the presence of a strong socialist movement, which it represents, has pro- vided some polarization of politics in the province. The N.D.P., the successor to the C.C.F., has a social philosophy similar to that of the social democratic parties of Europe. In Saskatchewan the C.C.F. party did acquire power in 1944 and retained it until 1964. In many respects it was an instrument of social change and a progressive force not only in the one province but in the country as a whole where it became a pace-setter in reform legislation. If there have been any creative politics in Canada in recent years, it was probably to be found in Saskatchewan. Even in Saskatchewan, however, the fact that the C.C.F. was in power for so long suggests that the conservative-progressive dialogue was weak because the opposing Liberal party had no counter-philosophy. Except for one brief period, 1919 to 1923, Ontario has been ruled by 23For an analysis along these lines see S. D. Clark, “Group Interests in Canadian Politics,” in J. H. Aitchison, ed., The Political Process in Canada (Toronto, 1963). 24There has been a series of studies on Social Credit in Alberta. See particularly John Irving, The Social Credit Movement in Alberta (Toronto, 1959), and Mallory, Social Credit and the Federal Power. 26See the interesting analysis by Donald V. Smiley, “Canada’s Poujadists: A New Look at Social Credit,” Canadian Forum, Sept. 1962. Canadian Political System 379 Liberals or Conservatives. Parties with opposing values have made little headway. On one occasion the Liberal party harboured a leader of popu- list revolt, Mitchell Hepburn, but he soon became aligned to the corpo- rate elite and so passed from the scene without any trace of political creativity. In Quebec, a similar populist appeal brought Maurice Duplessis’ Union Nationale party to power in 1936 for three years, and again in 1944 for seventeen years. Duplessis was formerly a Conserva- tive and his long regime in Quebec can best be described as a reactionary coalition with economic and ecclesiastical power. Some movement towards the progressive pole can be seen with the present Quebec Liberal party which won power in 1960 and which contains in its leadership some who claim to be socialists. Although it is by no means a socialist party it is strongly committed to reform, but its reformist values have become confused with its nationalist sentiments. In all the other provinces Liberals and Conservatives have shared power while other parties have made scarcely a ripple on the political waters. What little polarization there has been in Canadian politics has remained within the provinces rather than within the national system. CANADIAN FEDERALISM: SOME OBSERVATIONS The one aspect of Canadian political structure which has received more attention than any other from historians, political scientists, and constitutional lawyers is the federal system. All the rationalizing on the part of royal commissions, politicians, and judges in Canada and the United Kingdom that has gone into constructing theories of Canadian federalism provides an unlimited field for scholarly activity. There is no intention here of reviewing this material.26 It is important, however, to keep in mind that political parties and the careers of politicians are determined very frequently by the institutions in which they work. But at critical periods in a society’s development political leaders can, if they have the ability, overcome institutional fetters and create new social arrangements. The relationship between political leadership and political institutions need not be a one-way influence; it can be a reciprocal one. In the course of their histories most federal systems have seen a 26More recent discussions of Canadian federalism which have been helpful are: the essays in A. R. M. Lower et al., Evolving Canadian Federalism (Durham, N.C., 1958); D. V. Smiley, “The Rowell-Sirois Report, Provincial Autonomy, and Post-War Canadian Federalism,” C.J.E.P.S., XXVIII, no. 1 (Feb. 1962); and the papers by P.-E. Trudeau and F. R. Scott in M. Oliver, ed., Social Purpose for Canada (Toronto, 1961). 380 The Structure of Power gradual lessening of the power of the individual states comprising them and an increase in the power of their central governments. With the conditions of modern industrial society and international relations it is almost essential that the central government acquire power at the expense of the provincial or state governments. Although this shift has taken place in Canada it has not taken place to the extent that it has, for example, in the United States or Australia. Moreover the shift that has taken place came so late that a rigidity of thought, both juridical and political, still governs the political processes. Social and political thought are partly the product of the social arrangements that exist, but if they were completely so, there would be no movement forward, no change. When Canadian politicians make pronouncements about Canadian federalism it is difficult to tell whether they are prisoners of a social mentality about federalism, or whether, in a machiavellian fashion, they are using federalism as an instrument of power or as an excuse not to exercise power. A federal system is often seen as a device to decentralize power, but it can also be used as an instrument to acquire and consolidate power, and to maintain economically inefficient and socially out-dated and dysfunctional activities. It was suggested in an earlier chapter, for example, that because the Canadian educational system depends on the provinces it can not be geared to current demands of the labour force or to the principles of equality. Most commentators on Canadian federalism seem to agree that as the system has developed there has been a turning back from the inten- tions of the creative politicians who brought about the federation and who governed it in the first thirty years of its existence. As Professor Wheare has pointed out, it is difficult to say whether Canada was pro- vided with a federal constitution with unitary modifications or a unitary government with federal modifications.27 The unified judicial system, the federal powers of disallowance and appointment, and other elements suggest at least the intention of a strong central government. Yet gradually through the decisions of judges in the United Kingdom, whose knowledge of Canada could at the most be slight, the relative weight of responsibility went to the provinces and away from the central govern- ment. The federalism which resulted from the decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council left Canada after the 1930’s politically and socially incapacitated. Yet it must not be thought that judges alone were to blame, because 27See the discussion in F. R. Scott, “French Canada and Canadian Federalism,” in Evolving Canadian Federalism, Canadian Political System 381 judges make decisions on issues brought before them and issues are brought to the courts by people who have the power to bring them. In one of the most illuminating discussions of Canadian federalism,28 Professor Mallory has shown how vested economic interests challenged both provincial and Dominion legislation as being ultra vires, if that legislation meant a regulatory encroachment on the economic system. With the growth of industrialization and a concomitant extension of the franchise, which in Canada became universal with the election of 1921, politicians were required to make appeals to, or heed the desires of, new social forces. When their policies became redistributive in character, these policies were vitiated through successful appeals to the courts. In a federal country, those resisting [regulation] were able to cloak their economic motives in a concern for the public interest by raising doubts as to the power of the legislature to enact laws to which they objected. This course was most effective where the legislature whose jurisdiction they were defending was the least favourable to economic regulation or least able to make its regulation effective. . . . Even in cases where a statute had been referred to the courts for an opinion on its validity there is reason to believe that objection often existed more to its purpose than to its source.29 Thus a federal constitution, although purporting to prevent the centrali- zation of political power, can become an instrument for the entrench- ment of economic power. Although World War II saw a great increase in the activities of the central government, judicial pronouncements up until that time left Canadian governments incapable of dealing with contemporary prob- lems or of assuming a creative role. They left Canadians with an attitude of despair and an outlook on their society as bleak as some parts of the land whose resources they were seeking to exploit. Moreover, these judicial decisions built up nine (ten with the entrance of Newfoundland in 1949) strong provincial stages on which politicians could act out their roles, creating within the provinces systems of power which had a disso- ciative effect on the whole of the society, and particularly on the national political system. Provincial political leaders, their corresponding bureau- cracies, and party organizations have acquired vested interest in their own power, and the themes of their political rhetoric emphasize local and provincial differences. Because nobody has examined the problems with any thoroughness it is difficult to know whether or not provincial electorates who collectively make up the federal electorate share the views about federalism that are 28Mallory, Social Credit and the Federal Power. &Ibid., 32. 382 The Structure of Power held by the political elite and the political scientists. It is often assumedwithout any evidence that they do.30 Almost anyone who has taken part in electioneering can tell how confused the mass of the electorate is on which matters belong to provincial governments and which to the federal government. Because even in federal elections electorates seem more concerned with immediate, local problems, such as housing, health, and marketing, they address questions to federal candidates which should properly be addressed to their provincial members. In the absence of evidence from survey studies it might be speculated that federalism, in the sense that it divides powers between the provinces and the central government, cannot be comprehended by vast segments of the electorate. The Dogma of Cultural Particularism Some of the hallowed nonsense that goes into the theory of Canadian federalism is that each of the provinces constitutes a particular culture which federalism safeguards, but with the exception of Quebec it is never made clear just what these cultural differences are, or if the differ- ences exist why they are more important than the similarities. It was suggested in an earlier chapter that Canadian history has taken place in a demographic railway station and that these were difficult conditions under which to develop collective sentiments and values. But neither are they the conditions that should result in strong sectionalism. Inter-pro- vincial migration, modern means of travel and communication, economic integration through the growth of the national corporation, all suggest that any theory of sectionalism or cultural particularism needs to be re-examined. Most provinces, New Brunswick and Manitoba are strikingexamples, have a greater variety of particular cultures within them than between them. It is difficult to see how these intra-provincial cultures are protected by federal institutions per se. Another argument in favour of federalism is that regions and provinces have specialized economic activities and that these require strong provincial governments to safe- guard and develop them. But equally strong counter-arguments could be made that regional economies could be better developed and better planned through integrative policies at the national level. National corporations undertake such integrative policies when, for example, coal mines are closed down in Nova Scotia from offices in Montreal. 30Professor Jewett has provided some fairly thin evidence from answers to public opinion polls that: “Apparently ‘provincial rights’ was not the prerogative solely of status-seeking provincial politicians” (Pauline Jewett, “Political and Administra- tive Aspects of Policy Formation,” in T. N. Brewis et al., Canadian Economic Policy (Toronto, 1961), 295). The public opinion poll data which she uses were from the 1940’s before the great social changes of the 1950’s. Even so, 25 per cent of respondents were prepared to abolish the provincial governments! Canadian Political System 383 One important value which is supported by federalism is the decen- tralization of government activity, and the prevention of the growth of a single monolithic state machinery. Federalism therefore safeguards liberty. Again a counter-argument could be made that liberties can be denied as well as safeguarded through strong provincial governments. What liberties Canadians have, in the absence of constitutional guaran- tees, have been defined in the decisions of the Canadian Supreme Court against provincial governments. There is no doubt that as the “mass society” develops, regionalism, local autonomy, and group differences should be fostered, but there is no reason to argue that they can be safeguarded and fostered only through a federal instrument which inhibits creative politics and prevents the emergence of that social power which lies in the creative energies of the whole society. There are many other ways in which the “evils” of centralized bureaucracy can be controlled. Quebec without doubt is a special case where there is validity in the notion of cultural particularism, but as Quebec becomes more industrial- ized it will become culturally more like other industrialized societies. At that time the similarities in social characteristics which its urbanized population will share with other provinces may be far more important in terms of future social development than whatever differences remain. In the past, public sentiments in Quebec, which arise from the particular culture in that province, have been exploited in the interests of power as much as they have been protected by provincial autonomy. The low occupational level of French Canadians, the rigidity of French-Canadian class structure, and the authoritarian character of French-Canadian insti- tutions are as much a consequence of the power enjoyed by French- Canadian provincial politicians in coalition with “alien” corporate powers as they are a consequence of domination by the British charter group.31 In fact French-speaking Canadians and other Catholic groups outside of Quebec may well have fared better as provincial minorities, if education, for example, had been more a federal responsibility than a provincial one. Co-operative Federalism Since World War II Canadian federalism has acquired a new charac- teristic called “co-operative federalism” in which the federal and pro- vincial governments participate in the provision of services particularly hi the field of health and welfare. A wide range of governmental activity has grown up in this way without formal constitutional changes: “The 31Cf. Pierre-Elliott Trudeau, “Some Obstacles to Democracy in Quebec,” CJ.E.P.S., XXIV, no. 3 (Aug. 1958). 384 The Structure of Power federal aspects of the Canadian constitution, using the latter term in its broadest sense, have come to be less what the courts say they are than what the federal and provincial cabinets and bureaucracies in a con- tinuous series of formal and informal relations determine them to be.”32 The question most frequently asked about these changes is whether provincial autonomy or federal “usurpation” has won out as a result of co-operative federalism. The answer seems to be that neither has, but rather that there is a “process of continuous and piecemeal adjustment between the two levels of government which is still going on.”33 There is little wonder that electorates are confused about where responsibilities lie when assessing the various services that come from provincial and federal governments, or from both. Defenders of provincial autonomy will argue that if provincial govern- ments do not produce the services electorates want (their wants are supposedly derived from their particular cultures) provincial electorates will throw out their governments. But provincial electorates collectively are also the federal electorate, and when they behave as such their cul- tural particularisms presumably do not operate. Yet federal politicians make the same kind of appeals for extensions of services as provincial politicians. Neither provincial nor federal politicians do much to clarify for electorates the “piecemeal” federal system which has emerged. Because the distribution of powers that now exists between the two levels of government taxes the capacity of the constitutional lawyer and the political scientist to understand it, and because it provides for a series of courses in the political science departments of universities it is difficult to see what provincial autonomy means for vast segments of the elec- torate. Consequently, it may be speculated that federalism as such has meaning only for politicians and senior civil servants who work with the complex machinery that they have set up, as well as for the scholars who provide a continuing commentary on it, but that it has very little meaning for the bulk of the population. In this sense the myths that go to support the continued fragmentation of the political system need some critical examination. In one important aspect, that is, in the responsibility which the central government has taken to stabilize the economic system, Canadian federalism has changed in the post World War II period. This change does not arise so much from changed attitudes to federalism on the part of elites as it does from the “Keynesian revolution” which has resulted in 32Smiley, “The Rowell-Sirois Report, Provincial Autonomy, and Post-War Canadian Federalism,” 59. **Ibid., 58. Canadian Political System 385 the assumption of these responsibilities in all western governments, federal or unitary. In Canada this increased role of the federal govern- ment has been possible because of its power over fiscal and monetary policy, and also over defence. In a federal system the policies of the various governments are always open to challenge through the courts. The recent increased power of the central government through economic policies has gone unchallenged, suggesting that there has emerged a new relationship between the federal government and the corporate elite.34 The latter is interested in the stability that the former can provide. In addition, defence contracts, and also some of those arising from the co-operative activities between the two levels of government, have made the federal government directly and indirectly industry’s best customer. The increase in foreign ownership and in the importance of international trade has also brought the corporate elite into a closer relationship with the federal government. One significant area hi which this shift has not taken place is in labour relations. Here the corporate elite benefits from provincial powers which inhibit uniform labour standards across the country. Federalism can provide an excuse for federal politicians not acting against the interests of the corporate economy. It is not the intention here to argue for the complete abandonment of federalism, but rather to point out that as it has developed Canadian federalism has imposed a conservative tone on the Canadian political system and political parties, and has inhibited creative political leader- ship. If Canada has any political charter it lies in a theory of federalism which has built into it some doubtful sociological assumptions. For federal political leaders, federalism may have a certain political reality which they feel they can ignore only at their peril. How much this political reality is a reflection of power interests within the provinces, and how much it is a reflection of general public sentiment cannot be said without further extensive investigation. However real or unreal in sociological terms, and however it might be changing in the light of recent economic and social change, federalism has been for political parties, and the political elite we are about to examine, an important condition in the exercise of power. A system in which scope for political leadership is limited because of real, or assumed, cultural particularism or sectional interests, means that it is difficult for the professional political career to develop. Thus, as we shall see, along with brokerage politics, which is said to be appropriate for Canada, there is also avocational politics with a conservative tone. 34Cf. J. A. Corry, “Constitutional Trends and Federalism,” in Evolving Canadian Federalism.
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Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism in Canada: An Interpretation Author(s): G. Horowitz Source: The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science / Revue canadienne d’Economique et de Science politique , May, 1966 , Vol. 32, No. 2 (May, 1966), pp. 143-171 Published by: Canadian Economics Association Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/139794 JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at https://about.jstor.org/terms Canadian Economics Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science / Revue canadienne d’Economique et de Science politique This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms CONSERVATISM, LIBERALISM, AND SOCIALISM IN CANADA: AN INTERPRETATION G. HOROWITZ McGill University 1 / Introduction: the Hartzian approach In the United States, organized socialism is dead; in Canada socialism, though far from national power, is a signfficant political force. Why this striking difference in the fortunes of socialism in two very shnilar societies? Any attempt to account for the difference must be grounded in a general comparative study of the English-Canadian and American societies. It will be shown that the relative strength of socialism in Canada is related to the relative strength of toryism, and to the different position and character of liberalism in the two countries. In North America, Canada is unique. Yet there is a tendency in Canadian historical and political studies to explain Canadian phenomena not by con- trasting them with American phenomena but by identifying them as variations on a basic North American theme. I grant that Canada and the United States are similar, and that the similarities should be pointed out. But the pan-North American approach, since it searches out and concentrates on similarities, cannot help us to understand Canadian uniqueness. When this approach is applied to the study of English-Canadian socialism, it discovers, first, that like the American variety it is weak, and second, that it is weak for much the same reasons. These discoveries perhaps explain why Canadian socialism is weak in comparison to European socialism; they do not explain why Canadian socialism is so much stronger than American socialism. The explanatory technique used in this study is that developed by Louis Hartz in The Liberal Tradition in America’ and The Founding of New Societies.2 It is applied to Canada in a mildly pan-North American way by Kenneth McRae in “The Structure of Canadian History,” a contribution to the latter book. The Hartzian approach is to study the new societies founded by Europeans (the United States, English Canada, French Canada, Latin America, Dutch South Africa, Australiayf D V I U D J P H Q W V W K U R Z Q R I I I U R P ( X U R S H 7 K H N H W o the understanding of ideological development in a new society is its “point of departure” from Europe: the ideologies borne by the founders of the new society are not representative of the historic ideological spectrum of the mother country. The settlers represent only a fragment of that spectrum. The complete ideological spectrum ranges-in chronological order, and from right to left-from feudal or tory through liberal whig to liberal democrat to 1New York: Harcourt, Brace (Toronto: Longmansyf K H U H D I W H U F L W H G D V / L E H U D l Tradition. 2New York: Harcourt, Brace and World (Toronto: Longmansyf f; hereafter cited as New Societies. XXXII, no. 2, May/mai, 1966 This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 144 G. HOROWITZ socialist. French Canada and Latin America are “feudal fragments.” They were founded by bearers of the feudal or tory values of the organic, corporate, hierarchical community; their point of departure from Europe is before the liberal revolution. The United States, English Canada, and Dutch South Africa are “bourgeois fragments,” founded by bearers of liberal individualism who have left the tory end of the spectrum behind them. Australia is the one “radical fragment,” founded by bearers of the working class ideologies of mid-nineteenth-century Britain. The significance of the fragmentation process is that the new society, having been thrown off from Europe, “loses the stimulus to change that the whole provides.”3 The full ideological spectrum of Europe develops only out of the continued confrontation and interaction of its four elements; they are related to one another, not only as enemies, but as parents and children. A new society which leaves part of t-he past behind it cannot develop the future ideologies which need the continued presence of the past in order to come into being. In escaping the past, the fragment escapes the future, for “the very seeds of the later ideas are contained in the parts of the old world that have been left behind.”4 The ideology of the founders is thus frozen, congealed at the point of origin. Socialism is an ideology which combines the corporate-organic-collectivist ideas of toryism with the rationalist-egalitarian ideas of liberalism. Both the feudal and the bourgeois fragments escape socialism, but in different ways. A feudal fragment such as French Canada develops no whig (undemocraticyf liberalism; therefore it does not develop the democratic liberalism which arises out of and as a reaction against whiggery; therefore it does not develop the socialism which arises out of and as a reaction against liberal democracy. The corporate-organic-collectivist component of socialism is present in the feudal fragment-it is part of the feudal ethos-but the radical rationalist- egalitarian component of socialism is missing. It can be provided only by whiggery and liberal democracy, and these have not come into being. In the bourgeois fragment, the situation is the reverse: the radical rationalist- egalitarian component of socialism is present, but the corporate-organic- collectivist component is missing, because toryism has been left behind. In the bourgeois fragments “Marx dies because there is no sense of class, no yearning for the corporate past.”5 The absence of socialism is related to the absence of toryism. It is because socialists have a conception of society as more than an agglomeration of competing individuals-a conception close to the tory view of society as an organic community-that they find the liberal idea of equality (equality of opportunityyf L Q D G H T X D W H 6 R F L D O L V W V G L V D J U H H Z L W K O L E H U D O V D E R X t the essential meaning of equality because sorcialists have a tory conception of society. In a liberal bourgeois society which has never known toryism the demand for equality will express itself as left-wing or democratic liberalism as opposed to whiggery. The left will point out that all are not equal in the competitive pursuit of individual happiness. The government will be required to assure 3Martz, New Societies, 3. 4Ibid., 25. 51bid., 7. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 145 LE CONSERVATISME, LE LIBERALISME ET LE SOCIALISME AU CANADA: UNE INTERPRETATION C. HOROWITz Les socialismes americain et canadien-anglais ont ceci de commun qu’ils sont faibles par comparaison avec le socialisme europe’en. Mais le socialisme est beaucoup plus vigoureux au Canada anglais qu’aux Etats-Unis. Pour rendre compte de cette vitalite’ relative du socialisme au Canada anglais, nous utilisons dans cet article la the’orie que Louis Hartz a expose’e a lreffet que les nouvelles societe’s fonde6es par des Europe’ens sont des fragments de societe’s detache’s de lEurope. L’argument essentiel est que la culture c frag- mentaire > ne comprend qu’une partie de l’6ventail id6ologique de la m&re patrie. Les Etats-Unis, par exemple, constituent un fragment bourgeois e’tabli par des disciples du libe’ralisme ou de rindividualisme qui ont abandonne’ l’apport tory > de l’eventail ide’ologique. Le socialisme nait seulement de la confrontation entre le liberalisme et les valeurs < tory v. C’est une synthese des e’le’ments rationalistes et 6galitaires du libe’ralisme dune part et de l’e’le- ment collectiviste du systame x tory yf f d’autre part. Quand l’un ou l’autre de ces 1e’ments fait d6faut, le socialisme napparatt pas. Le socialisme n’apparait pas aux Etats-Unis parce que l’element c tory >n ‘existe pas. On peut concevoir le Canada anglais comme un fragment bourgeois analogue L celui des Etats- Unis: pas d’he’ritage fe’odal dans le systeme des valeurs, par consequent pas de socialisme. C’est l’opinion de Kenneth McRae dans son etude publie’e dans The Founding of New Societies de Hartz. McRae reconnait que l’e’le’ment tory ? existe chez les Loyalistes qui ont fonde’ le Canada anglais et qu’il explique le de’veloppement ulte’rieur de caracteristiques non-americaines et non-libe’rales. La presence de cet e’le’ment a tory yf ! H [ S O L T X H U D L W H J D O H P H Q W X Q e insistance moins marquee au de’but sur l’egalitarisme et moins marque’e subse’quemment sur le progras du mouvement socialiste. Mais McRae ne mentionne ces caracteristiques que pour les ecarter. Selon lui, les fondements du Canada anglais sont le liberalisme americain. Il existe bien des tendances yb W R U ” H W V R F L D O L V W H V P D L V F H O O H V F L V R Q W V D Q V L P S R U W D Q F H 1 R X V S U H W H Q G R Q V T X e les e’le’ments non-libe’raux d’origine britannique sont partie inte’grante des fondements de la societe canadienne anglaise tout autant que les 61ements liberaux d’origine americaine. Nous ne nions pas que l’element liberal pre- domine, mais il est important de souligner que ce neest pas le seul 1e’ment, qu’il est associe’ ci des tendances vitales et ldgitimes de valeurs x tory ?> et socialistes qui sont liees d’aussi pres que le liberalisme a 1’essence ou au fondement du Canada anglais. Les caracteristiques non-am&ricaines ne parais- sent ne”gligeables que si le Canada anglais est compare & l’Europe. Mais quand le Canada anglais est compare’ aux Etats-Unis, les differences sont tres significatives au contraire. Le parti conservateur canadien est, dans une grande mesure, un parti de libe’ralisme d’affaires comme le parti republicain. Mais il n’y a pas que cela This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 146 G. HOROWITZ dans l’histoire, car contrairement au parti republicain et suivant en cela le parti conservateur britannique, le parti conservateur canadien ne constitue pas un bloc libe’ral monolithique. Les vieilles tendances pre’liberales ont laisse des traces bien marque’es dans le parti conservateur britannique et des traces mois precises mais encore importantes dans le parti canadien. Bennett, Meighen et Drew ne sont pas seulemient des repliques canadiennes de McKinley, Hoover et Taft. Dans le conservatisme canadien, on trouve un e’le’ment du systeme typiquement re’actionnaire des valeurs britanniques (< tory >> (<< tory >> collectiviste plutot qu’individualiste et libe’ralyf H W D X V V L X n e’le’ment de la de’mocratie ( tory >> 2 la Disraeli, i.e., en somme, un souci de caractere paternaliste pour le bien du peuple et la mise en e’vidence du parti (( tory >> pour la defense de cette cause. Ce courant de conservatisme est mani- feste dans le (< new deal >> de R. B. Bennett. Le conservatisme de Diefenbaker est un curieux amalgame d’ide’es populistes de l’Ouest et des idees tradition- nelles de la de’mocratie ( tory >> . La pense’e de George Grant pre’sente une certaine affinite entre le conservatisme et le socialisme qu’il est impossible de de’celer aux Etats-Unis. Au Canada anglais, le socialisme est du type britannique et non-marxiste. De son cdte, le socialisme ame’ricain a ete’ le fait d’etrangers qui se sont de’pouilles de leur socialisme, comme de plusieurs autres caracteres europeens, au cours de leur ame’ricanisation. Le fait que le marxisme a ete’ la seule variete’ de socialisme qui a gagne’ des adeptes aux Etats- Unis confirme l’opinion de Hartz d l’effet que le caractere exclusivement libe’ral du fragment ame’ricain de socie’te condamne tous les socialismes a dispara’tre sauf ceux qui ont l’appui d’immigrants non encore ame’ricanise’s. Au Canada anglais, les socialistes ne sont pas des etrangers, mais des immigrants britanniques. Ils pouvaient conserver leur socialisme, non seulement parce que celui-ci convenait a un systeme politique de valeurs comprenant des ele’ments non-libe’raux, mais aussi parce qu’ils n’avaient rien 2 subir qui ressembldt au processus d’ame’ri- canisation. Leur socialisme e’tait ttn aspect de leur caractere de britanniques plut6t qu’un trait e’tranger qui devait disparaitre au cours d’une assimilation culturelle. Aux Etats-Unis, le socialisme a toujours e’te’ d’un autre monde et sectaire; au Canada anglais, il a ete, britannique et non-marxiste, un parti politique authentique plut6t qu’une secte religieuse. Les trois composantes du syste’me des valeurs politiques canadiennes anglaises se sont de’veloppe’es en interaction les unes les autres. Les valeurs , tory > et le socialisme ont perdu de lear purete’ au contact du libe’ralisme; le libe’ralisme de meme, en comparaison avec la branche americaine, au contact du socialisme et des valeurs (< tory >> . Pour comprendre le parti libe’ral, il faut donc le considerer comme un parti du centre avec des adversaires puissants a la fois sur sa gauche et sur sa droite. Hartz pretend que le libe’ralisme reformiste americain, en de’pit de rappui qu’il a donne en fait au pouvoir e’tatique dans le Netv Deal, n’a pas renonce a son engagement ide’ologique envers l’individualisme libelral. Comme le liberalisme de Roosevelt n’avait pas d’adversaire socialiste sur sa gauche, il n’a pas subi lrinfluence de ride’ologie socialiste. Du meme coup et de nouveau a cause de l’absence du socialisme, il pouvait se definir 2 gauche sans ambi- This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 147 guite’. Il ne s’est pas donne’ une image ambivalente, 2 la fois conservatrice et radicale comme les liberaux reformistes europe’ens, qui devaient alternative- ment attaquer le status quo puis le defendre contre leurs adversaires socialistes. Il e’tait en mesure d’ignorer meme toute ide’ologie et d’instaurer de profondes reformes sans devoir s’arreter en deqa du socialisme. Le libe’ralisme reformiste canadien, tel que repre’sente’ par Mackenzie King, avait bien, au contraire, un adversaire socialiste sur sa gauche. Il fut par consequent marque’ par l’ideologie socialiste, mais pour re’pliquer aux attaques socialistes, il devait se deplacer vers le centre plutdt que de prendre position & gauche comme Roosevelt. A cause de la presence d’un parti socialiste, King a 6te’ force’ d’adopter le modele lib6ral europe’en de prefe’rence au modele reformiste americain. Le parti libe’ral est encore un parti du centre plut6t qu’une parti de gauche. Contrairement au libe’ralisme re6formiste ame’ricain, il ne s’identifie pas aux couches inferieures de la population en opposition avec les milieux dirigeants des affaires. nl s’identifie plut6t en pratique avec les milieux d’affaires et son ideologie est vraiment centriste ; il fait appel a toutes les classes de la societe plut6t qudaux unes contre les autres. Un parti de gauche, comme les De’mo- crates lib6raux americains, innove en faveur des couches inferieures de la socie’te; un parti du centre, comme les liberaux canadiens, n’est pas un parti innovateur. Un tel parti attend que les innovations, proposees par la gauche, aient gagne’ la faveur generale, et c’est alors qu’il les re’alise, a la maniare de King. Que le parti liberal soit un parti du centre est confirme’ par des etudes de scrutin montrant qu’il a l’appui de toutes les classes egalement (ce qui n’est pas le cas des De’mocrates dont l’appui vient surtout des couches infe- rieures de la populationyf . greater equality of opportunity-in the nineteenth century, by destroying monopolistic privileges; in the twentieth century by providing a welfare “floor” so t-hat no one will fall out of the race for success, and by regulating the economy so that the race can continue without periodic crises. In a society which thinks of itself as a community of classes rather than an aggregation of individuals, the demand for equality will take a socialist form: for equality of condition rather than mere equality of opportunity; for co- operation rather than competition; for a community that does more than provide a context within which individuals can pursue happiness in a purely self-regarding way. At its most “extreme,” socialism is a demand for the abolition of classes so that the good of the community can truly be realized. This is a demand which cannot be made by people who can hardly see class and community: the individual fills their eyes. 2 / The application to Canada It is a simple matter to apply the Hartzian approach to English Canada in a pan-North American way. English Canada can be viewed as a fragment of the American liberal society, lacking a feudal or tory heritage and therefore lacking the socialist ideology which grows out of it. Canadian domestic This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 148 G. HOROWITZ struggles, from this point of view, are a northern version of the American struggle between big-propertied liberals on the right and petit bourgeois and working-class liberals on the left; the struggle goes on within a broad liberal consensus, and the voice of the tory or the socialist is not heard in the land. This pan-North American approach, with important qualifications, is adopted by Hartz and McRae in The Founding of New Societies. English Canada, like the United States, is a bourgeois fragment. No toryism in the past; therefore no socialism in the present. But Hartz notes that the liberal society of English Canada has a “tory touch,” that it is “etched with a tory streak coming out of the American revolution.”6 The general process of bourgeois fragmentation is at work in both English Canada and the United States, but there are differences between the two fragments which Hartz describes as “delicate contrasts,”7 McRae as “subtle” and “minor.”8 Put in the most general way, the difference is that while the United States is the perfect bourgeois fragment, the “archetype” of mono- lithic liberalism unsullied by tory or socialist deviations, English Canada is a bourgeois fragment marred by non-liberal “imperfections”‘-a tory “touch,” and therefore a socialist “touch.” The way Hartz and McRae would put it is that English Canada and the United States are “essentially” alike; differences are to be found but they are not “basic.” Surely, however, whether one describes t-he differences as delicate, subtle, and minor or as basic, significant, and important depends on one’s perspective, on what one is looking for, on what one wishes to stress. Hartz himself points out that “each of the fragment cultures … is ‘unique,’ a special blend of European national tradition, histori- cal timing,”9 and so on. He is “concerned with both general processes and the individuality of the settings in which they evolve.””0 Nevertheless, his main focus is on the uniformities, the parallel lines of development discovered in the comparative study of the United States and English Canada. This follows quite naturally from his world historical perspective, his emphasis on the three-way contrast of feudal, liberal, and radical fragments. From this perspective, the differences between English Canada and the United States are indeed “subtle” and “minor.” But they are not absolutely minor: they are minor only in relation to the much larger differences among feudal, bourgeois, and radical fragments. If one shifts one’s perspective, and considers English Canada from within the world of bourgeois fragments, the differences suddenly expand. If one’s concern is to understand English-Canadian society in its uniqueness, that is, in contrast to American society, the differences become not “delicate” but of absolutely crucial importance. Hartz’s pan-North Americanism is a matter of perspective: he recognizes the un-American characteristics of English Canada, but considers them minor in relation to the much larger differences between bourgeois and other fragments. McRae’s pan-North Americanism, however, is not merely a matter of perspective, for he seems to consider English Canada’s un-American characteristics to be absolutely “minor.” For McRae, they are minor not only K6Ibid., 34. tibid., 71. SKenneth McRae, “The Structure of Canadian History,”.. in ibid., 2,39. 91bid., 72. IOIbid., 34. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 149 from the world perspective, but from the narrower perspective which considers the bourgeois fragments alone. Take as an example the central concern of this study-the differing weights of Canadian and American socialism. From the world perspective, the difference is perhaps “insignificant.” As Hartz says, “there may be a Tory touch in English Canada, but the fragment, despite the C.C.F. of recent times, has not yielded a major socialist movement.””1 From the narrower perspective, however, the presence of a socialist movement in English Canada is remark- able. The danger of a pan-North American approach is that it tends either to ignore the relative strength of Canadian socialism or to dismiss it as a freak. It explains away, rather than explains, the strength of Canadian socialism. This is the approach adopted by McRae. Hartz is content to point out that English Canada does not have a major socialist movement. McRae`s stress on English-Canadian-American similarity is so strong, however, that it is no longer a question of perspective but of error, for he attempts to boil a minor socialist movement away into nothing, and thence to conclude that there is no “basic” difference between the two bourgeois fragments. The first step in his argument is to point out that socialism was “successful’ only among Saskatchewan farmers, that it “failed” in the industrial areas. The CCF was therefore “basically” a movement of agrarian protest similar to American farmers’ protests; its failure in urban Canada is parallel with the failure of socialism as a worldng class movement in the United States.” But words like “success” and “failure” are dangerous because they hide degrees of success and failure. The CCF failed to become a major party in urban Canada, but it succeeded in becoming a significant minor party-a success denied to the American socialists. This is a difference, not a similarity. Furthermore, McRae ignores the fact that in one urban Canadian province-British Columbia-the CCF did succeed in becoming a major party. And he ignores the ties between the Canadian labour movement and the CCF-NDP (surely a phenomenon worthy of explanationyf E L G H Q W L I L Q J W K H & D Q D G L D Q O D E R X r movement “in broad terms” with the American, as one “not significantly attracted to socialism.”‘8 In the second step of the argument, the suecess of tlhe CCF in Saskatchewan is explained away by dismissing Saskatchewan socialism as just another American agrarian protest. This is also an error, because unlike the American movements the Saskatchewan CCF was socialist. Confronting this hard fact, McRae attempts to explain it by noting that the Canadian prairies were “generously sprinkled with British immigrants already familiar with Fabian socialism.”‘ But is it not significant that immigrants who brought socialist ideas to the American liberal society had to abandon them in the process of Americanization, while those who brought these ideas to Canada built a major (provincialyf S D U W Z L W K W K H P ? McRae’s coup de grace to Canadian socialism is the observation that “with the formation of the NDP . . . the last half realized elements of socialism … seem to have been absorbed into the liberal tradition.”‘5 The error here is to ascribe the moderation or liberalization of “doctrinaire” socialism in Canada “lIbid. 12Ibid.31 269-70. 131bid., 269. lld 5bd,23 This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 150 G. HOROWITZ to a special Canadian circumstance-the (overestimatedyf S R Z H U R I O L E H U D O L V P – when it is in fact a part of a general process of liberalization of socialism which is going on in every country of the West. The doctrine of the NDP is no more liberal than that of many other Western socialist parties. The most important un-American characteristics of English Canada, all related to the presence of toryism, are: (ayf W K H S U H V H Q F H R I W R U L G H R O R J L n the founding of English Canada by the Loyalists, and its continuing influence on English-Canadian political culture; (byf W K H S H U V L V W H Q W S R Z H U R I Z K L J J H U y or right-wing liberalism in Canada (the Family Compactsyf D V F R Q W U D V W H G Z L W h the rapid and easy victory of liberal democracy (Jefferson, Jacksonyf L Q W K e United States; (cyf W K H D P E L Y D O H Q W F H Q W U L V W F K D U D F W H U R I O H I W Z L Q J O L E H U D O L V P L n Canada as contrasted with the unambiguously leftist position of left-wing liberalism in the United States; (dyf W K H S U H V H Q F H R I D Q L Q I O X H Q W L D O D Q G O H J L W L – mate socialist movement in English Canada as contrasted with the illegitimacy and early death of American socialism; (eyf W K H I D L O X U H R I ( Q J O L V K & D Q D G L D n liberalism to develop into the one true myth, the nationalist cult, and the parallel failure to exclude toryism and socialism as “un-Canadian”; in other words, the legitimacy of ideological diversity in English Canada. From a world perspective, these imperfections in English Canada’s bourgeois character may appear insignificant. From the point of view of one who is interested in understanding English Canada nolt merely as a bourgeois frag- ment, but as a unique bourgeois fragment, the imperfections are significant. 3 / The presence of toryism and its consequences Many students have noted that English-Canadian society has been powerfully shaped by tory values that are “alien” to the American mind. The latest of these is Seymour Martin Lipset, who stresses the relative strength in Canada of the tory values of “ascription” and “elitism” (the tendency to defer to authorityyf D Q G W K H U H O D W L Y H Z H D N Q H V V R I W K H O L E H U D O Y D O X H V R I D F K L H Y H P H Q W ” and “egalitarianism.”‘6 He points to such well-known features of Canadian history as the absence of a lawless, individualistic-egalitarian American frontier, the preference for Britain rather than the United States as a social model, and generally, the weaker emphasis on social equality, the greater acceptance by individuals of t-he facts of economic inequality, social stratifica- tion, and hierarchy. One tory touch in English Canada which is not noted by Lipset, but has been noted by many others (including McRaeyf L V W K H I D r greater willingness of English-Canadian political and business elites to use the power of the state for the purpose of developing and controlling the economy. Lipset accepts the notion, common among Canadian historians, that the Loyalist emigres from the American revolution were a genuine tory element; that their expulsion from the United States to Canada accounts for the development of the United States in a liberal direction and of English Canada in a conservative direction. English Canada’s “point of departure,” in this 16In The First New Nation (New York, 1963yf H V S F K D S . This content downloaded from f:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff on Thu, 01 Jan 1976 12:34:56 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 151 view, is not liberal but conservative. The idea is that English Canada was founded by British tories whose purpose was to build a society which would be not liberal like the American but conservative like the British. McRae correctly finds this notion to be an exaggeration of the difference between the Loyalists and the revolutionaries, between English Canada and the United States.17 The picture of English Canada as a feudal fragment rather than a bourgeois fragment (which is what is implied by the Loyalist mythyf L V L Q G H H G D I D O V H R Q H 0 F 5 D H D U J X H V F R U U H F W O W K D W W K H / R D O L V W V D Q G W K e Family Compacts did not represent British toryism, but pre-revolutionary American whiggery with a “tory touch.” But he errs in underestimating the significance of the “touch.” He notes several factors differentiating the Loyalists, and subsequently English Canadians in general, from the revolu- tionary Americans: belief in monarchy and empiire unity, greater stress on “law and order,” revulsion against American populistic excesses, different frontier experiences, and so on. But he notes them only to dismiss them. “Basically,” the Loyalist, and therefore the English Canadian, is the American liberal.’8 He is not “exactly” like the American,19 McRae adds, but nevertheless he is the American. This is going too far. It is legitimate to point out that Canada is not a feudal (toryyf I U D J P H Q W E X W D E R X U J H R L V O L E H U D O f fragment touched with toryism. It is not legitimate to boil the tory touch away to nothing. If the tory touch was strong enough to produce all the un-American characteristics we are considering, it becomes misleading to identify the English Canadian with the American liberal. Possibly McRae is pushed into his pan-North Americanism by his assumption that a significant tory presence in English Canada can be derived only from the discovery of a similar presence in pre-revolutionary America, and thus from an interpretation of the American revolution as a genuine social revolu- tion directed against a significant tory presence in the United States20-which would indeed be a false interpretation. But no such interpretation is necessary. Let us put it this way: pre-revolutionary America was a liberal fragment with insignificant traces of toryism, extremely weak feudal survivals. But they were insignificant in the American setting; they were far overshadowed by the liberalism of that setting. ITe Revolution did not have to struggle against them, it swept them away easily and painlessly, leaving no trace of them in the American memory. But these traces of toryism were expelled into a new setting, and in this setting they were no longer insignificant. In this new setting, where there was no pre-established overpowering liberalism to force them into insignificance, they played a large part in shaping a new political culture, significantly different from the American. As Nelson wrote in The American Tory, “the Tories’ organic conservatism represented a current of thought tiat failed to reappear in America after the revolution. A substantial part of the whole spectrum of European . . . philosophy seemed to slip outside the American perspective.”2′ But it reappeared in Canada. Here the sway of liberalism has proved to be not total, but considerably mitigated by a tory 17New Societies, 235-40. l81bid., 234. 19Ibid., 238. 20bid., 235. 21William Nelson, The American Tory (New York, 1961yf ; . This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 152 G. HOROWI[Z presence initially and a socialist presence subsequently. There is no need, in order to support this view, to return to the discredited interpretation of the American revolution as a social revolution. One Canadian-American difference strikes both Hartz and McRae with particular force: t-he persistent piower of Family Compact whiggery in Canada as contrasted with the rapid and easy victories of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy in the United States. In the United States the Federalist-Whigs are easily defeated, and the democratization of political life occurs swiftly and thoroughly. Later the Whigs give up their antipathy to the people, adopt the rhetoric of democracy and egalitarianism, and return to power as Republicans through adroit appeals to the Horatio Alger dream, the “capitalist lust” of the American little man. By contrast, in Canada, the Family Compacts were able to maintain ascendancy and delay the coming of democracy because of the tory touch “inherited in part from American Loyalism, which restrained egalitarian feeling in Canada.”22 McRae notes that even with the coming of responsible government, “there was no complete repudiation of the Compacts and what they stood for…. Something of the old order” was preserved even after its disappearance.23 Despite the importance which Hartz and McRae ascribe to the persistence of whiggery as one of the factors which differentiate English Canada from the United States, the most significant aspect of the phenomenon from their point of view is that it ultimately disappeared.24 The American and English- Canadian bourgeois fragments, though separated at the beginning by the power of the Canadian whigs, ultimately move together, close to t-he point of almost exact similarity. From my point of view, however, the early power of whiggery serves to emphasize the importance of the tory touch in English Canada. After all, whiggery “ultimately” fell not only in the United States and Canada, but everywhere. The significant contrast is not between situations in which it falls and those in which it does not fall, but between situations in which it falls quickly and those in which it persists. In the United States, the masses could not be swayed by the Federalist-Whig appeals to anti-egalitarian sentiments. In Canada the masses were swayed by these appeals; the role of the Compacts was to save “the colonial masses from the spectre of republicanism and democracy.”’25 What accounts for this is the tory presence in English-Canadian piolitical culture-the “greater acceptance of limitation, of hierarchical patterns.”26 As McRae admits, this outlook did not disappear with the defeat of the Compacts, and the character of Canadian right-wing liberalism continued to be distinctive after the coming of demo- cracy. The American Whigs returned to power as Republicans by encouraging the dream of the little man to be equal with the big man; the notions of capitalism and democracy had to be thoroughly merged. In Canada there was “greater acceptance of hierarchical patterns”; the Alger dream was much weaker in the masses, so there was no need to harness it in order to keep the right wing in the saddle. 22Hartz, New Societies, 91. 23Ibid., 244. 24Ibid.p, 37. 2F5eIbid., 243. 26,Lipset, The First New Nation, 251. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 153 The next step in tracing the development of the English-Canadian political culture must be to take account of the tremendous waves of British immigra- tion which soon engulfed the original American Loyalist fragment. Here McRae’s concern is to argue that the liberal ideology of the Loyalist fragment had already “frozen, congealed at the point of origin”; that the national ethos had already been fully formed (an American liberalism not “exactly” like American liberalismyf W K D W W K H O D W H U Z D Y H V R I L P P L J U D W L R Q S O D H G Q R S D U W L n the formation of English-Canadian political culture; that they found an established culture, and were impelled to acclimatize to it.27 It is imporant for McRae to prove this point, for while there is roomn for the argument that the Loyalists were American whigs with a tory touch, the later British immigrants had undoubtedly been heavily infected with non-liberal ideas, and these ideas were undoubtedly in their heads as they settled in Canada. The political culture of a new nation is not necessarily fixed at the point of origin or departure; the founding of a new nation can go on for generations. If the later waves of immigration arrived before the point of congealment of the political culture, they must have participated actively in the process of culture formation. If this be so, the picture of English Canada as an almost exactly American liberal society becomes very difficult to defend. For even if it be granted that the Loyalists were (almost exactlyyf $ P H U L F D Q O L E H U D O V L W L s clear that later participants in the formation of the culture were not. Between 1815 and 1850 almost one million Britons emigrated to Canada. The population of English Canada doubled in twenty years and quadrupled in forty. The population of Ontario increased tenfold in the same period-from about 95,000 in 1814 to about 950,000 in 1851.28 McRae himself admits that “it would be inaccurate to say that this wave of migration was absorbed into the original fragment: an influx of these proportions does not permit of simple assimilation.”29 Nevertheless, he concludes that “despite the flood tide of immigration … the original liberal inheritance of English Canada survived and dominated.”30 According to McRae, the universal urge to own property and the classlessness of North American society had such a powerful impact on the immigrants that they simply “forgot their old notions of social hierarchy” and became American liberals.31 Surely this argument is an instance of stretching the facts in order to fit a theoryl Do people simply “forg” their old notions so quickly and so completely? Is it not possible that the immigrants, while they were no doubt considerably liberalized by their new environment, also brought to it non-liberal ideas which entered into the political culture mix, and which perhaps even reinforced the non-liberal elements present in the original fragment? If the million immigrants had come from the United States rather than Britain, would English Canada not be “significantly” different today? The difficulty in ap-plying the Hartzian approach to English Canada is that although the point of departure is reasonably clear, it is difficult to put one’s finger on the point of congealment. Perhaps it was the Loyalist period; perhaps it was close to the mid-century mark; there are grounds for arguing 27New Societies, 244-7. 2SIbid., 245. 291bid., 246. 3OIbid., 247. 3lIbid., 246. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 154 G. HOROWITZ that it was in the more recent past. But the important point is this: no matter where the point of congealment is located in time, the tory streak is present before the solidification of the political culture, and it is strong enough to produce significant “imperfections,” or non-liberal, un-American attributes of English-Canadian society. My own opinion is that the point of congealment came later than the Loyalists. The United States broke from Britain early, and the break was complete. Adam Smith and Tom Paine were among the last Britons who were spiritual founding fathers of the United States. Anything British, if it is of later than eighteenth century vintage, is un-American. The American mind long ago cut its ties with Britain and began to develop on its own. When did Canada break from Britain? When did the Canadian mind begin to develop on its own? Not very long ago mosit Canadians described themselves as followers of the “British way of life,” and many railed against egalitarian ideas from south of the border as “alien.” Nineteenth-century British ideologists are among the spiritual founding fathers of Canada. In the United States they are alien, though we may make an exception for Herbert Spencer. The indeterminate location of the point of congealment makes it difficult to account in any precise way for the presence of socialism in the English- Canadian political culture mix, though the presence itself is indisputable. If the point of congealment came before the arrival of the first radical or socialist-minded immigrants, the presence of socialism must be ascribed primarily to -the earlier presence of toryism. Since toryism is a significant part of the political culture, at least part of the leftist reaction against it will sooner or later be expressed in its own terms, that is, in terms of class interests and the good of the community as a corporate entity (socialismyf U D W K H U W K D Q L n terms of the individual and his vicissitudes in the competitive pursuit of happiness (liberalismyf , I W K H S R L Q W R I F R Q J H D O P H Q W L V Y H U H D U O V R F L D O L V m appears at a later point not primarily because it is imported by British immigrants, but because it is contained as a potential in the original political culture. The immigrants then find that they do not have to give it up-that it is not un-Canadian-because it “fits” to a certain extent with the tory ideas already present. If the point of congealment is very late, the presence of socialism must be explained as a result of both the presence of toryism and the introducion of socialism into the cultural mix before congealment. The immigrant retains his socialism not only because it “fits” but also because nothing really has to fit. He finds that his socialism is not un-Canadian partly because “Canadian” has not yet been defined. Canadian liberals cannot be expected to wax enthusiastic about the non- liberal traits of their country. They are likely to condemn the tory touch as anachronistic, stifling, undemocratic, out of tune with the essentially American (“free,” “classless”yf V S L U L W R I ( Q J O L V K & D Q D G D 7 K H G L V P L V V W K H V R F L D O L V W W R X F h as an “old-fashioned” protest, no longer necessary (if it ever wasyf L Q W K L V E H V t (liberalyf R I D O O S R V V L E O H Z R U O G V L Q Z K L F K W K H H Q G R I L G H R O R J K D V E H H n achieved. The secret dream of the Canadian liberal is the removal of English Canada’s “imperfections’>-in other words, the total assimilation of English Canada into the larger North American culture. But there is a flaw in this This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 155 dream which might give pause even to the liberal. Hartz places special emphasis on one very unappetizing characteristic of the new societies- intolerance-which is strikingly absent in English Canada. Because the new societies other than Canada are unfamiliar with legitimate ideological diversity, they are unable to accept it and deal with it in a rational manner, either internally or on the level of international relations. The European nation has an “identity which transcends any ideologist and a mechanism in which each plays only a part.”32 Neither the tory, nor the liberal, nor the socialist, has a monopoly of the expression of the “spirit” of the nation. But the new societies, the fragments, contain only one of the ideologies of Europe; they are one-myth cultures. In the new setting, freed from its historic enemies past and future, ideology transforms itself into nationalism. It claims to be a moral absolute, “the great spirit of a nation.”33 In the United States, liberalism becomes “Americanism”; a political philosophy becomes a civil religion, a nationalist cult. The American attachment to Locke is “absolutist and irrational.”34 Democratic capitalism is the American way of life; to oppose it is to be un-American. To be an American is to be a bourgeois liberal. To be a French Canadian is to be a pre-Enlightenment Catholic; to be an Australian is to be a prisoner of the radical myth of “mateship”; to be a Boer is to be a pre-Enlightenment bourgeois Calvinist. The fragments escape the need for philosophy, for tiought about values, for “‘where perspectives shrink to a single value, and that value becomes the universe, how can value itself be considered?”35 The fragment demands solidarity. Ideologies which diverge from the national myth make no impact; they are not understood, and their proponents are not granted legitimacy. They are denounced as aliens, and treated as aliens, because they are aliens. The fragments cannot understand or deal with the fact that all men are not bourgeois Americans, or radical Australians, or Cat-holic French Canadians, or Calvinist South Africans. They cannot make peace with the loss of ideological certainty. The specific weakness of the United States is its “inability to understand the appeal of socialism” to the third world.36 Because the United States has “buried” the memory of the organic medieval comnmunity “beneath new liberal absolutisms and nationalisms”37 it cannot understand that the appeal of socialism to nations with a predominantly non-liberal past (including French Canadayf F R Q V L V W V S U H F L V H O L Q W K H S U R P L V H R I F R Q W L Q X L Q J W K H F R U S R U D W H H W K R s in the very process” of modernization.38 The American reacts with isolationism, messianism, and hysteria. English Canada, because it is the most “impierfect” of the fragments, is not a one-myth culture. In English Canada ideological diversity has not been buried beneath an absolutist liberal nationalism. Here Locke is not the one true god; he must tolerate lesser tory and socialist deities at his side. The result is that English Canada does not direct an uncomprehending intolerance at heterodoxy, either witliin its borders or beyond them. (What a “backlash” 32Ibid., 15. 33Ibid., 10. 34Hartz, Liberal Tradition, 11. 35Hartz, New Societies, 23. 38Ibid., 119. 37Ibid., 35. 38Ibid., 119. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 156 G. HOROWITZ Parti-Pris or PSQ-type separatists would be getting if Quebec were in the United States!yf , Q ( Q J O L V K & D Q D G D L W K D V E H H Q S R V V L E O H W R F R Q V L G H U Y D O X H s without arousing the all-silencing cry of treason. Hartz observes that “if history had chosen English Canada for the American role” of directing the Westem response to the world revolution, “the international scene would probably have witnessed less MeCarthyite hysteria, less Wilsonian messianism.”39 Americanizing liberals might consider that the Pearsonian rationality and calmness which Canada displays on the world stage-the “mediating” and “peace-keeping” role of which Canadians are so proud-is related to the un-American (tory and socialistyf F K D U D F W H U L V W L F V Z K L F K W K H F R Q V L G H U W R E e unnecessary imperfections in English-Canadian wholeness. The tolerance of English-Canadian domestic politics is also linked with the presence of these imperfections. If the price of Americanization is the surrender of legitimate ideological diversity, even the liberal might think twice before paying it. McRae comes close to qualifying his pan-North Americanism out of existence by admitting at one point that “it would be a mistake to underrate the emotional attachment that many Canadians . . . still feel for British institutions…. English Canadians . . cap the foundations of their North American liberal social ethos with a superstructure embodying elements of the wider British political heritage.”40 But the pan-North Americanism wins in the end; the foundations of English Canada are American liberal, only the superstructure is British. My argument is essentially that non-liberal British elements have entered into English-Canadian society together with American liberal elements at the foundations. The fact is that Canada has been greatly influenced by both the United States and Britain. This is not to deny that liberalism is the dominant element in the English-Canadian political culture; it is to stress that it is not the sole element, that it is accompanied by vital and legitimate streams of toryism and socialism which have as close a relation to English Canada’s “essence” or “foundations” as does liberalism. English Canada’s “essence” is both liberal and non-liberal. Neither the British nor the American elements can be explained away as “superstructural” excrescences. 4 / Un-American aspects of Canadian conservatism So far, I have been discussing the presence of toryism in Canada without referring to the Conservative party. This party can be seen as a party of right-wing or business liberalism, but such an interpretation would be far from the whole truth; the Canadian Conservative party, like the British Conservative party and unlike the Republican party, is not mono- lithically liberal. If there is a touch of toryism in English Canada, its primary carrier has been the Conservative party. It would not be correct to say that toryism is the ideology of the party, or even that some Conservatives are tories. These statements would not be true even of the British Conservative party. The primary component of the ideology of business-oriented parties is liberalism; but there are powerful traces of the old pre-liberal outlook in the British Conservative party,4′ and less powerful but stil perceptible traces of 391bid., 120. 4oibid., 267. 41See Samuel Beer, British Politics in the Collectivist Age (New York, 1965yf H V S F K D S V 3 and 9-13. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 157 it in the Canadian party. A Republican is always a liberal. A Conservative may be at one moment a liberal, at the next moment a tory, and is usually something of both. If it is true that the Canadian Conservatives can be seen from some angles as right-wing liberals, it is also true that figures such as R. B. Bennett, Arthur Meighen, and George Drew cannot be understood simply as Canadian versions of William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, and Robert Taft. Canadian Conserva- tives have something British about them that American Republicans do not. It is not simply their emphasis on loyalty to the crown and to the British connection, but a touch of the authentic tory aura-traditionalism, elitism, the strong state, and so on. The Canadian Conservatives lack the American aura of rugged individualism. Theirs is not the characteristically American con- servatism which conserves only liberal values.42 It is possible to perceive in Canadian conservatism not only the elements of business liberalism and orthodox toryism, but also an element of “tory democracy”-the paternalistic concern for the “condition of the people,” and the emphasis on the tory party as their champion-which, in Britain, was expressed by such figures as Disraeli and Lord Randolph Churchill. John A. Macdonald’s approach to the emergent Canadian workdng class was in some respects similar to that of Disraeli. Later Conservatives acquired the image of arch reactionaries and arch enemies of the workers, but let us not forget that “Iron Heel’ Bennett was also the Bennett of the Canadian New Deal. The question arises: why is it that in Canada the Conservative leader proposes a New Deal? Why is it that the Canadian counterpart of Hoover apes Roosevelt? This phenomenon is usually interpreted as sheer historical accident, a product of Bennett’s desperation and opportunism. But the answer may be that Bennett was not Hoover. Even in his “orthodox” days Bennett’s views on the state’s role in the economy were far from similar to Hoover’s; Bennett’s attitude was that of Canadian, not American, conservatism. Once this is recognized, it is possible to entertain the suggestion that Bennett’s sudden radicalism, his sudden concern for the people, may noit have been mere opportunism. It may have been a manifestation, a sudden activation under pressure, of a latent tory-demoicratic streak. Let it be noted also that the depression produced two Conservative splinter parties, both with “radical” welfare state programmes, and both led by former subordinates of Bennett: H. H. Stevens’ Reconstruction party and W. D. Herridge’s New Democracy. 42Historic toryism finds expression today in the writings of Conservatives like W. L. Morton, who describes America as a liberal society integrated from below, by a covenant of brothers, and Canada as a monarchial society held together at the top, itegrated by loyalty to the Crown. (The Canadian Identity (Toronto, 1961yf f In another of his writings Morton stresses the tory belief in personal leadership, in loyalty to leaders and readiness to let them govern. (“Canadian Conservatism Now,’ in Paul Fox, ed., Politics: Canada (Toronto, 1962yf f He takes an organic view of society, stresses the values of authority and tradition, rejects the liberal values of individualism and egalitarianism. He calls for the rejection of the “dangerous and improper idea of the electoral mandate” (ibid., 289yf + H F D O O V I R U W K H F U H D W L R Q R I D & D Q D G L D Q V V W H P R I K R Q R X U V L E L G f. And he exhorts Canadian Conservatives frankly and loyally to accept the welfare state, since “laissez faire and rugged individualism” are foreign to “conservative principles” (ibid., 289yf & D Q D – dian and British tories are able to rationalize their parties’ grudging acceptance of the wel- fare state by recalling their precapitalist collectivist traditions. Can one conceive of a respected spokesman of traditional Republicanism denouncing “rugged individualism” as un-Republican? This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 158 G. HOROWITZ The Bennett New Deal is only the most extreme instance of what is usually considered to be an accident or an aberration-the occasional manifestation of “radicalism” or “leftism” by otherwise orthodox Conservative leaders in the face of opposition from their “followers” in the business community. Meighen, for example, was constantly embroiled with the “Montreal interests” who objected to his railway policies. On one occasion he received a note of congratulation from William Irvine: “The man who dares to offend the Montreal interests is the sort of man that the people are going to vote for.”43 This same Meighen expressed on certain occasions, particularly after his retirement, an antagonism to big government and creeping socialism that would have warmed the heart of Robert Taft; but he combined his business liberalism with gloomy musings about the evil of universal suffrage44-musings which Taft would have rejected as un-American. Meighen is far easier to understand from a British than from an American perspective, for he com- bined, in different proportions at different times, attitudes deriving from all three Conservative ideological streams: right-wing liberalism, orthodox tory- ism, and tory democracy. The Western or agrarian Conservatives of the contemporary period, John Diefenbaker and Alvin Hamilton, who are usually dismissed as “prainre radicals” of the American type, might represent not only anti-Bay Street agrarianism but also the same type of tory democracy which was expressed before their time by orthodox business-sponsored Conservatives like Meighen and Bennett. The populism (anti-elitismyf R I ‘ L H I H Q E D N H U D Q G + D P L O W R Q L V a genuinely foreign element in Canadian conservatism, but their stress on the Tory party as champion of the people and their advocacy of welfare state policies are in the tory democratic tradition. Their attitudes to the monarchy, the British connection, and the danger of American domination are entirely orthodox Conservative attitudes. Diefenbaker Conservatism is therefore to be understood not simply as a Western populist phenomenon, but as an odd combination of traditional Conservative views with attitudes absorbed from the Westem Progressive tradition. Another aberration which may be worthy of investigation is the Canadian phenomenon of the red tory. At the simplest level, he is a Conservative who prefers the CCF-NDP to the Liberals, or a socialist who prefers the Con- servatives to the Liberals, without really knowing why. At a higher level, he is a conscious ideological Conservative with some “odd” socialist notions (W. L. Mortonyf R U D F R Q V F L R X V L G H R O R J L F D O V R F L D O L V W Z L W K V R P H R G G W R U y notions (Eugene Forseyyf 7 K H Y H U V X J J H V W L R Q W K D W V X F K D I I L Q L W L H V P L J K t exist between Republicans and Socialists in the United States is ludicrous enough to make some kind of a point. Red toryism is, of course, one of the results of the relationship between toryism and socialism which has already been elucidated. The tory and socialist minds have some crucial assumptions, orientations, and values in common, so that from certain angles they may appear not as enemies, but as two different expressions of the same basic ideological outlook. Thus, at t-he very highest level, the red tory is a philosopher who combines elements of 43Roger Graham, Arthur Meighen, vol. II (Toronto, 1963yf . 44Ibid., vol. III (Toronto, 1965yf . This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 159 socialism and toryism so thoroughly in a single integrated Weltanschauung that it is impossible to say that he is a proponent of eitier one as against the other. Such a red tory is George Grant, who has associations with both the Conservative party and the NDP, and who has recently published a book which defends Diefenbaker, laments the death of “true” British conservatism in Canada, attacks the Liberals as individualists and Americanizers, and defines socialism as a variant of conservatism (each “protects -the public good against private freedom”yf 5 5 / The character of Canadian socialism Canadian socialism is un-American in two distinct ways. It is un-American in the sense that it is a significant and legitimate political force in Canada, insignificant and alien in the United States. But Canadian socialism is also un-American in the sense that it does not speak the same language as American socialism. In Canada, socialism is British, non-Marxist, and worldly; in the United States it is German, Marxist, and other-worldly. I have argued that the socialist ideas of British immigrants to Canada were not sloughed off because they “fit” with a political culture which already contained non-liberal components, and probably also because they were introduced into the political culture mix before the point of congealment. Thus socialism was not alien here. But it was not alien in yet another way; it was not borne by foreigners. The personnel and the ideology of the Canadian labour and socialist movements have been primarily British. Many of those who built these movements were British immigrants with past experience in the British labour movement; many others were Canadian-born children of such immigrants. And in British North America, Britons could not be treated as foreigners. When socialism was brought to the United States, it found itself in an ideological environment in which it could not survive because Lockean individualism had long since achieved the status of a national religion; the political culture had already congealed, and socialism did not fit. American socialism was alien not only in this ideological sense, but in the ethnic sense as well; it was borne by foreigners from Germany and other continental European countries. These foreigners sloughed off their socialist ideas not simply because such idelas did not “fit” ideologically, but because as foreigners they were going through a general process of Americanization; socialism was only one of many ethnically alien characteristics which had to be abandoned. The immigrants ideological change was only one incident among many others in the general process of changing his entire way of life. According to David Saposs, “the factor that contributed most tellingly to the decline of the socialist movement was that its chief following, the immigrant workers, . .. had become Americanized.”46 A British socialist immigrant to Canada had a far different experience. The British immigrant was not an “alien” in British North America. The English- 45George Grant, Lament for a Nation (Toronto, 1965yf 6 H H * D G + R U R Z L W ] 7 R U L H V , Socialists and the Demise of Canada,” Canadian Dimension, May-June 1965, 12-15. 40Communism in American Unions (New York, 1959yf . This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 160 G. HOROWITZ Canadian culture not only granted legitimacy to his political ideas and absorbed them into its wholeness; it absorbed him as a person into the English-Canadian community, with relatively littde strain, without demanding that he change his entire way of life before being granted full citizenship. He was acceptable to begin with, by virtue of being British. It is impossible to understand the differences between American and Canadian socialism without taking into account this immense difference between the ethnic contexts of socialism in the two countries. The ethnic handicap of American socialism consisted not only in the fact that its personnel was heavily European. Equally important was the fact that it was a brand of socialism-Marxism-which found survival difficult not only in the United States but in all English-speaking countries. Marx has not found the going easy in the United States; but neither has he found the going easy in Britain, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. The socialism of the United States, the socialism of De Leon, Berger, Hillquit, and Debs, is predominantly Marxist and doctrinaire, because it is European. The socialism of English Canada, the socialism of Simpson, Woodsworth, and Coldwell, is predomi- nantly Protestant, labourist, and Fabian, because it is British. The prevalence of doctrinaire Marxism helps to explain the sectarianism of the American Socialist party. The distinctive quality of a sect is its “other- worldliness.” It rejects the existing scheme of things entirely; its energies are directed not to devising stratagems with which to lure the electorate, but to elaborating its utopian theory. Daniel Bell describes the American Socialist party as one “whose main preoccupation has been the refinement of ‘theory’ at the cost, even, of interminable factional divisions.”47 “It has never, even for a single year, been without some issue which threatened to split the party.”48 For Bell, the failure of American socialism is its failure to make the transition from sect to party, to concem itself with popular issues rather than theoretical disputes. The unfortunate decisions made by the party-especially the decisions to oppose the two world wars-were a result of this sectarianism, this refusal to compromise with the world. The CCF has not been without its otherworldly tendencies; there have been doctinal disagreements, and the party has always had a left wing interested more in “socialist education” than in practical political work. But this left wing has been a constantly declining minority. Tle party has expelled individuals and small groups-mostly Communists and Trotskyites-but it has never split. Its life has never been threatened by disagreement over doctrinal matters. It is no more preoccupied with theory than the British Labour party. It sees itself, and is seen by the public, not as a coterie of ideologists but as a party like the others, second to none in its avidity for office. If it has been attacked from the right for socialist “utopianism” and “impracticality,” it has also been attacked from the right for abandoning the “true” socialist faith in an un- principled drive for power. The contrast between American Marxist socialism and Canadian non-Marxist socialism, and the weakness of Marxism not only in America but in all other 47″The Background and Development of Marxian Socialism in the United States,” in D. Egbert and S. Persons, eds., Socialism in American Life (Princeton, 1952yf . 48Ibid., 221. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 161 English speaking countries, at first led me to think that Hartz’s “single factor” explanation of the illegitimacy of American socialism might be overdone. This question arose: was it socialism per se that could not live in the United States, or only Marxist socialism? What if American socialism had looked to Britain rather than Germany, if it had been “empirical” rather than doctrinaire Marxist? The answer that suggested itself was that if American socialism had not been handicapped by its Marxian character-if it had been handicapped only by the fact that America had not known toryism and therefore would not listen to socialism-it might have been able to live a little longer and might not have died such a horrible death. What this line of reasoning ignored was the fact that there was an impact in America of British socialist thought which was, however, even weaker than the Marxist impact. Why, in America, an English-speaking country, should the British influence on socialism have been so much weaker than the German? Precisely because the “single factor” explanation is not overdone. Socialism could not attain any degree of strength in America, for the Hartzian reason, except for a short while as a socialism in America but not of America, that is to say, except among unassimilated foreign groups. There was an unassimilated continental European group; there was never an unassimilated British group. The British influence was therefore much weaker than the Marxist. At first I thought that since Marxism fails not only in the United States but in all English-speaking countries, peculiarly American characteristics cannot be the explanation of its failure in the United States. This is true; the peculiarly American characteristics account for the failure of all socialisms, even English- speaking socialism, in the United States. The failure of Marxian socialism is less complete and less rapid than the failure of the others precisely because of the peculiar American cultural characteristics which mean doom for all socialisms except those sustained by immigrants prior to their Americanization. The strength of Marx relative to other socialisms in America is a confirmation of the Hartzian hypothesis. 6 / Canadian liberalism: the triumphant centre Canadian Conservatives are not American Republicans; Canadian socialists are not American socialists; Canadian Liberals are not American liberal Democrats. The un-American elements in English Canada’s political culture are most evident in Canadian conservatism and socialism. But Canadian liberalism has a British colour too. The liberalism of Canada’s Liberal party should not be identified with the liberalism of the American Democratic party. In many respects they stand in sharp contrast to one another. The three components of the English-Canadian political culture have not developed in isolation from one another; each has developed in interaction with the others. Our toryism and our socialism have been moderated by liberalism. But by the same token, our liberalism has been rendered “impure,” in American terms, through its contacts with toryism and socialism. If English- Canadian liberalism is less individualistic, less ardently populistic-democratic, more inclined to state intervention in the economy, and more tolerant of This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 162 G. HOROWITZ “feudal survivals” such as monarchy, this is due to the uninterrupted influence of toryism upon liberalism, an influence wielded in and through the conflict between the two. If English-Canadian liberalism has tended since the depres- sion to merge at its leftist edge with the democratic socialism of the CCF-NDP, this is due to the influence which socialism has exerted upon liberalism, in and through the conflict between them. The key to understanding the Liberal party in Canada is to see it as a centre party, with influential enemies on both right and left. Hartz’s comparison of the Liberal Reform movements of the United States and Europe casts light on the differences between American and English- Canadian liberalism. Hartz defines Liberal Reform as the movement “which emerged toward the end of the nineteenth century to adapt classical liberalism to the purposes of small propertied interests and the labouring class and at the same time which rejected socialism.”49 The fact that European Liberal Reform was confronted with a significant socialist challenge meant (ayf W K D t liberals influenced by socialist theory, tried to “transcend the earlier indivi- dualism” and recognized “‘the need for collective action to solve the class problem,”50 and (byf W K D W O L E H U D O V I D F H G Z L W K S R Z H U I X O H Q H P L H V R Q E R W K W K e left and the right, presented an ambivalent conservative-radical image; they attacked the tories and the status quo, but they also defended the status quo from its socialist enemies. American liberals, impervious to the socialist challenge and therefore unaffected by socialist ideas, remained “enslaved” to individualism. “Even in its midnight dreams” American Liberal Reform “ruled out the concepts of socialism.”5’ Its goal was not to reform modem capitalism by abandoning Lockean individualism and moving in the direction of socialism, but, by smashing or controlling trusts and bosses, to restore the old individualistic way of life. It struggled to retain individualism and yet to recognize the new problems of a modem industrial society: “An agonized reluctance . . . charac- terized the outlook of Progressivism toward the positive legislation advanced everywhere by Western Liberal Reform.”52 Yet American Liberal Reform had an unambiguous radical image; its only enemies were the big-propertied liberals of the right. American Liberal Reformers were thus “Csaved from a defensive appearance, were able to emerge as pure crusaders.”’53 If they had had to answer socialist attacks, they would have appeared much less radical. The relevance of this analysis for the English-Canadian situation is apparent. In English Canada Liberal Reformn, represented by King’s Liberal party, has had to face the socialist challenge. Under socialist influence, it abandoned its early devotion to “the lofty principles of Gladstone, the sound economics of Adam Smith, and the glories of laissez faire.”54 King’s Industry and Humanitti 49Liberal Tradition, p. 228. 5NIbid., 231. 51Ibid., 234. 52Id. 243 5-Ibid., 229. 54Bruce Hutchison, The Incredible Canadian (Toronto, 1952yf + X W F K L V R Q Z U L W H V S f of Industry and Humanity: “In ahrost every respect this book repudiates the historic? Liberalism of Canada, denounces the economic system which Liberal politics have nurtured, proposes a society of an entirely different sort, edges uncomfortably close to the theories of the Socialist CCF.” See also F. A. McGregor, The Fall and Rise of Mackenzie King: 1911- 1919 (Toronto, 1962yf . This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 163 and the Liberal platform of 1919 mark the transition of English-Canadian Liberalism from the old individualism to the new Liberal Reform.55 King’s Liberal Reform, since it had to answer attacks from the left as well as from the right, projected a notoriously ambivalent conservative-radical image: Truly he will be remembered Wherever men honor ingenuity Ambiguity, inactivity, and political longevity. When he faced Bennett and Meighen, King was the radical warrior, the champion of the little people against the interests. When he turned to face Woodsworth and Coldwell, he was the cautious conservative, the protector of the status quo. He … never let his on the one hand Know what his on the other hand was doing.56 Roosevelt’s New Deal involved “departures from the liberal faith of a veiy substantive kind.”‘7 Unlike the earlier Progressivism it did not shun state action. But neither did it consciously abandon Locke. Since Roosevelt did not have to face the socialist challenge, he did not have to “spell out his liberal premises. He did not have to spell out any real philosophy at all. His ‘radicalism’ could consist of what he called ‘bold and persistent experimenta- tion’ which of course meant nothing in terms of large social faiths and was indeed perfectly compatible with Americanism.”58 The Republican opplosition tried to alert the American people to the fact that Roosevelt’s experiments were indeed socialistic and un-American, but the American people did not listen. They were convinced by Roosevelts plea that his legislative schemes were “mere technical gadgetry,”59 that questions of political philosophy were not relevant. Roosevelt and the American people, by closing thefr eyes to the philosophical implications of the New Deal, had their cake and ate it too; they subverted Lockean individualism in fact, but they held on to their Ameri- canismyf W K H L U / R F N H D Q L Q G L Y L G X D O L V W I D L W K . Hartz points out that this “pragmatism” of the New Deal enabled it to go “5Before the thirties there was no strong socialist party in Canada. I would therefore be on safer ground if I were to locate the socialist challenge and liberal response in the thirties rather than at the time of the First World War. Nevertheless, the King of Industry and Humanity and the platform of 1919 does manifest the kdnd of transition from individualism to socialized Liberal Reform that occurred in Europe. The socialist challenge was there, not in the form of a menace at the polls, but “in the air,” in the political culture as a legitimate ideology which evoked response-rejection and incorporation-from other ideologies, even though it was not yet a power at the polls. And from 1921-the time of Woodsworth’s election to the Commons-the direct political influence of Woodsworth on King comes into the picture, even though Woodsworth in the twenties did not present a significant electoral danger. American liberalism did not have to answer socialist attacks not primarily because of the weakness of socialism at the polls but because of its weakness in the political culture-its alien, illegitimate, un-American character. I might also mention that British liberalism began to revise itself in response to the socialist challenge long before socialism became a significant electoral menace. 56F. R. Scott, “W.L.M.K.,” The Blasted Pine, ed. F. R. Scott and A. J. M. Smith (Toronto, 1962yf . 57Hartz, Liberal Tradition, p. 263. 581bid. 59Ibid.30 260. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 164 G. HOROWITZ farther, to get more things done, than European Liberal Reform. “Te free- wheeling inventiveness typified by the TVA, the NRA, the WPA, the SEC”60 was nowhere to be found in Europe. Defending itself against socialism, European Liberal Reform could not submerge questions of theory; it had to justify innovations on the basis of a revised liberal ideology; it had to stop short of socialism openly. The New Deal, since it was not threatened by socialism, could ignore theory; it “did not need to stop short of Marx openly”; hence it could accomplish more than European Liberal Reform. King had to face the socialist challenge. He did so in the manner of European Liberal Reform. No need to worry about abandoning individualism; Locke was not Canada’s national god; like European liberalism, Canadian liberalism had been revised. The similarity of socialism and Liberal Reform could be acknowledged; indeed it could be emphasized and used to attract the socialist vote. At the same time, King had to answer the arguments of socialism, and in doing so he had to spell out his liberalism. He had to stop short of socialism openly.6′ Social reform, yes; extension of public ownership, yes; the welfare state, yes; increased state control of the economy, yes; but not too much. Not socialism. The result was that King, like the European liberals, could not go as far as Roosevelt. “What makes the New Deal ‘radical’,” says Hartz, “is the smothering by the American Locklan faith of the socialist challenge to it.” Roosevelt did not need to reply to Norman Thomas as the European liberals had to reply to their socialists. Roosevelt therefore did not have to “spell out his liberal premises and hence create the atmosphere of indecision which this necessarily involved.”62 Atmosphere of indecision: Is this not the characteristic atnosphere of King Liberalism? Hartz asks: ‘What would Roosevelt have said had he … been compelled to take Thomas . . . seriously?”63 and shows that Roosevelt would have been forced to defend private property against nationalization, to attack “bureau- cracy” and the all-powerful state, to criticize “utopianism” and “impractica- bility” in politics. He would have had to qualify his radicalism by an attack on the larger radicalism which faced him to the left. In other words, instead of being “radical,” he would be half radical and half conservative, which is precisely the position that the Liberal Reforners of Europe were compelled to occupy. Instead of enlisting the vigorous passions of youth, he might easily be described as a tired man who could not make up his mind; a liberal who tried to break with Adam Smith but could not really do so.64 What Roosevelt would have said if he had answered Norman Thomas is what King did say in answering Woodsworth and Coldwell. Like the Europeans, and unlike Roosevelt, he had to defend private property, he had to attack excessive reliance on the state, he had to criticize socialism as “impracticality’ 6oibid., 271. 61Speaking in the Commons on February 27, 1933, King assured the socialists that their objectives were not alien to the spirit of Liberalism. His objection was to their “implied method of reform through dictatorship.” Nornan McL. Rogers, Mackenzie King (Toronto, 1935yf . 62Hartz, Liberal Tradition, p. 261. “Ibid., 262. 64Ibid. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 165 and “utopianism.” “Half radical and half conservative-a tired man who could not make up his mind”-is this not the living image of Mackenzie King? “In America, instead of being a champion of property, Roosevelt became the big antagonist of it; his liberalism was blocked by his radicalism.”65 In Canada, since King had to worry not only about Bennett and Meighen and Drew, but also about Woodsworth and Coldwell and Douglas, King had to embark upon a defence of private property. He was no traitor to his class. Instead of becoming the antagonist of property, he became its champion; his radicalism was blocked by his liberalism. An emphasis on the solidarity of thfe nation as against divisive “class parties” of right and left was “of the very essence of the Reformist Liberal position in Europe.” “Who,” asks Hartz, “would think -of Roosevelt as a philosopher of class solidarity?”66 Yet that is precisely what Roosevelt would have been if he had had to respond to a socialist presence in the American political culture. And that is precisely what King was in fact in Canada. His party was “the party of national unity.” One of the most repeated charges against the CCF was that it was a divisive “class party”; the purpose of the Liberal party, on the other hand, was to preserve the solidarity of the Canadian people-the solidarity of its classes as well as the solidarity of French and English. Hartz sums up Roosevelt in these words: ‘What emerges then . . . is a liberal self that is lost from sight: a faith in property, a belief in class unity, a suspicion of too much state power, a hostility to the utopian mood, all of which were blacked out by the weakness of the socialist challenge. “67 King’s liberal self was not lost from sight, for the socialist challenge was stronger in Canada than in the United States. The Liberal party has continued to speak the language of King: ambiguous and ambivalent, presenting first its radical face and then its conservative face, urging reform and waring against hasty, ill-considered change, calling for increased state responsibility but stopping short of socialism openly, speaking for the coanmon people but preaching the solidarity of classes.68 In the United States, the liberal Democrats are on the left. There is no doubt about that. In Canada, the Liberals are a party of the centre, appearing at times leftist and at times rightist. As such, they are much closer to European, especially British, Liberal Reform than to the American New Deal type of liberalism. In the United States, the liberal Democrats are the party of organized labour. The new men of power, the labour leaders, have arrived politically; their vehicle is the Democratic party. In English Canada, if the labour leaders have arrived politically, they have done so in the CCF-NDP. They are nowhere to be found in the Liberal party. The rank and file, in the United States, are 65Ibid., 267. 66Ibid. 671bid., 270. 68″The Canadian voter is in favour of progress and against social experimentation” (my emphasisyf 1 D W L R Q D O / L E H U D O ) H G H U D W L R Q 7 K H / L E H U D O 3 D U W R I & D Q D G D 2 W W D Z D 1 D W L R Q D l Liberal Federation, 1957yf f “Liberalism accepts social security but rejects socialism; it accepts free enterprise but rejects economic anarchy; it accepts humanitarianism but rejects paternalism.” (Lester Pearson, Introduction to J. W. Pickersgill, The Liberal Party (Toronto, 1962yf [ f “Liberalism insists that the government must not stand by helpless in the face of … human suffering…. Liberals, however, do not believe in socialism, with its veneration of the powerful state; with its emphasis on bureaucracy; with its class consciousness.” (Pickersgill, The Liberal Party, p. 115.yf This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 166 G. HOROWITZ predominantly Democrats; in Canada at least a quarter are New Democrats, and the remainder show only a relatively slight, and by no means consistent, preference for the Liberals as against the Conservatives. In the United States, left-wing “liberalism,” as opposed to right wing “liberalism,” has always meant opposition to the domination of American life by big business, and has expressed itself in and through the Democratic party; the party of business is the Republican party. In Canada, business is close to both the Conservatives and the Liberals. The business community donates to the campaign funds of both and is represented in the leadership circles of both. A comparison of two election broadsides, one by an American liberal Democrat and one by a Canadian Liberal, is most instructive. Kennedy or Nixon, by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., is suffused with the spirit of the New Deal. Liberalism is defined as “opposition to control of the government by the most powerful group in the community.”69 The Democratic party is described as the party which unites all other groups, including individual “nonconformist businessmen” who have transcended their class interests, for the struggle against the forces of business orthodoxy, against the status quo. The Republican party is labelled as the party of the orthodox business “establishment.”70 The book closes with an attack on bankers, owners of television stations, Wall Street brokers, General Motors, Du Pont, and -the American Medical Association. The Liberal Party, by J. W. Pickersgill, is suffused with the ambivalent, centrist, radical-conservative spirit of Mackenzie King. The Liberal party is for judicious reform, against unreasoning attachment to the status quo, but of course it is also opposed to headstrong and irreverent socialism. Schlesinger does not hesitate to relate liberalism to the conflicting interests of specific social forces. Pickersgill defines liberalism in vague, inoffensive generalities: “The first principle of Liberalism is that the state . .. exist[s] to serve man, and not man to serve the state. The second principle of Liberalism is that the family is the foundation of human society and that it is the duty of all govern- ments to promote the welfare of the family and the sanctity of the home.”7′ The Liberal party in Canada does not represent the opposition of society to domination by organized business. It claims to be based on no particular groups, but on all. It is not against any particular group; it is for all. The idea that there is any real conflict between groups is dismissed, and the very terms “right’ and ‘left’ are rejected: “The terms ‘right’ and leff belong to those who regard politics as a class struggle…. The Liberal view is that true political progress is marked by . . . the reconciliation of classes, and the promotion of the general interest above all particular interests.”72 A party of the left can be distinguished fromn parties of the centre and right according to two interTelated criteria: its policy approach, and its electoral support. 69(New York, 1960yf 2 , E L G 3 L F N H U V J L O O 7 K H / L E H U D O 3 D U W . 72Ibid. 68. David Marquand notes that the British Liberal party’s “proudest boast is that they are not tied to the great power blocs of modern society, that they are a party of indi- viduals and not of interests…. Their ideology … is characterized by a pervasive disdain for the unpleasant realities of social and political conflict and a refusal to admit that society is made up of opposing groups.” (“Has Lib-Lab a Future?” Encounter, April 1962, 64yf This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 167 POLICY APPROACH The policy approach of a left party is to introduce innovations on behalf of the lower strata. The Liberals, unlike the liberal Democrats, have not been a party of innovation. As a centre party, they have allowed the CCF-NDP to introduce innovations; they have then waited for signs of substantial accept- ance by all strata of the population, and for signs of reassurance against possible electoral reprisals, before actually proceeding to implement the innovations. By this time, of course, they are strictly speaking no longer innovations. The centre party recoils from the fight for controversial measures; it loves to implement a consensus. Roosevelt was the innovator par excellence. King, though he was in his own mind in favour of reform, stalled until public demand for innovation was so great and so clear that he could respond to it without antagonizing his business-sponsored right wing. He rationalized his caution into a theory of democratic leadership far different from Roosevelt’s conception of the strong presidency: Mackenzie King’s conception of political leadership, which he often expressed, was that a leader should make his objectives clear, but that leadership was neither liberal nor democratic which tried to force new policies … on a public that did not consent to them.73 He believed that nothing was so likely to set back a good cause as premature action.74 This was the official Liberal explanation of King’s failure to embark on any far reaching programme of reform until 1943. King himself undoubtedly believed that his caution was based at least in part on a “democratic” theory of leader- ship. But his diaries suggest that the reforms came when they did because CCF pressure became so threatening that it could no longer be ignored by King’s right-wing colleagues, so threatening that King felt able to surrender to it without jeopardizing the unity of his party. The bare facts are these: In August, 1943, the CCF became the official opposition in Ontario. In September, 1943, the CCF overtook the Liberals in the Gallup poll (Canada: CCF 2w9, Liberals 28yb 2 Q W D U L R & & ) b, Liberals 26yb 7 K H : H V W & & ) b, Liberals 23yb f.75 King’s reaction is summed up in the following quotation from his diary: “In my heart, I am not sorry to see the mass of the people coming a little more into their own, but I do regret that it is not the Liberal party that is winning that position for them…. It can still be that our people will learn their lesson in time. What I fear is we will begin to have defections from our own ranks in the House to the CCF.”76 Almost immediately after the release of the Sep- tember Gallup Poll, the Advisory Council of the National Liberal Federation, meeting at King’s request, adopted fourteen resolutions ‘constituting a pro- gramme of reform . of far reaching consequences.”77 King wrote in his diary: “I have succeeded in making declarations which will improve the lot of . . . farmers and working people. . . . I think I have cut the ground in large part from under the CCF….”78 ‘The great numbers of people will see that I have been true to them.”79 73Pickersgill, The Liberal Party, pp. 26-27. 74J. W. Pickersgill, The Mackenzie King Record (Toronto, 1960yf . 75Globe and Mail, Sept. 29, 1943. 76Pickersgill, Record, 571. 77National Liberal Federation, The Liberal Party, 53. 78Pickersgill, Record, 601. 79Ibid., 635. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 168 G. HOROWITZ The Liberal slogan in the campaign of 1945 was “A New Social Order for Canada.” The election of June 11 returned King to power with a drastically reduced majority. The CCF vote rose from 8.5 per cent to 15.6 per cent, and its representation in the Commons from 8 to 29. But King’s swing to the left had defeated the CCF’s bid for major party status. The C’CF’s success was much smaller than it had expected. The success was actually a defeat, a disappointing shock from which socialism in Canada has not yet recovered. The Liberal-CCF relationship in 1943-1945 is only the sharpest and clearest instance of the permanent interdependence forced upon each by the presence of the other, a relationship which one student describes as “antagonistic symbiosis.” The Liberals depend on the CCF-NDP for innovations; the CCF- NDP depends upon the Liberals for implementation of the innovations. When the left is weak, as before and after the Second World War, the centre party moves right to deal with the Conservative challenge; when the left is strengtiened, as during the war and after the formation of the NDP, the centre moves left to deal with that challenge. In a conversation between King and Coldwell shortly before King’s death, King expressed his regrets that Coldwell had not joined him. With Coldwell at his side, he would have been able to implement reforms which were close to his heart; reforms which had either been postponed until the end of the war or not introduced at all. He said the CCF had performed the valuable function of popularizing reforms so that he could introduce them when public opinion was ripe. Coldwell replied that it was impossible for him to join King, especially in view of the people who surrounded King.80 There, in a nutshell, is the story of the relationship between the Liberal party and the CCF-NDP. The Liberals, says King, are too conservative because the left has not joined them. The left has not joined them, replies Coldwell, because they are too conservative. King wanted to show the people that he was “true to them.” He was saddened that the CCF and not the Liberals were fighting the people’s battles. But he could not move from dead centre until CCF power became so great that the necessity of moving was clear, not only to himself but to all realistic politicians. King’s best self wanted to inniovate; yet he saw the Liberal party not as a great innovating force but as the party which would implement reforms once they had been popularized by the CCF. Yet he wanted to absorb the CCF. The lot of the centrist politician is not a happy one. Norman Thomas explains his party’s failure to make a significant impact on politics during t-he depression with a phrase: “It was Roosevelt in a word.”81 The explanation of the impact made by the CCF on Canadian politics during the depression and especially the Second World War has been presented just as simply by Eugene Forsey: “Canada has had no Roosevelt and no New Deal.”82 The absence of Lockean “monotheism” strengthened socialism in Canada. Socialism was present in the political culture when liberalism began to concern itself with the problems of the industrial age; liberalism was therefore forced 801nterview with M. J. Coldwell, March 28, 1962. 81M. Seidler, Norman Thomas (Syracuse, 1961yf . 82Untitled manuscript, n. d., New Democratic Party Files, Ottawa. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 169 to react to the socialist challenge. In doing so, it was cast in the mould of European Liberal Reform (centreyf S D U W L H V D P E L Y D O H Q W U D G L F D O D Q G F R Q V H U Y D – tive, alternating attacks on the status quo with defence of the status quo. Socialism had sufficient strength in English Canada to force liberalism into the European ratier than the American position-centre rather than left. King’s liberalism was therefore not capable of reacting to the depression in a Rooseveltian manner. As a result, socialist power grew. Socialism was not powerless, so there was no New Deal. There was no New Deal, so socialism grew more powerful. Socialism grew more powerful, so King reacted with “A New Social Order for Canada.” The centre and the left dance around one another, frustrating one another and living off the frustra- tion; each is locked into the dance by the existence of the other. I have been stressing the strength of Canadian socialism in order to make clear the differences between the Canadian and the American situations. Of course this does not mean that the differences between Canada and Europe can be ignored. Canadian socialism has been strong enough to challenge liberalism, to force liberalism to explain itself, and thus to evoke from it the same sort of centrist response as was evoked in Europe. But socialism in Canada has not been strong enough to match or overshadow liberalism. The CCF became a significant political force, but except for the years 1942-45 it never knocked on the gates of national power. In Europe, the workingman could not be appeased by the concessions of Liberal Reform. The centre was squeezed out of existence between its enemies on the right and on the left. In Canada, the centre party’s concessions were sufficient to keep the lower strata from flocking en masse to the left. The concessions were not sufficient to dispose of the socialist threat, but they were sufficient to draw the socialists’ sharpest teeth. In Canada the centre party emerged triumphant over its enemies on the right and on the left. Here, then, is another aspect of English Canada’s uniqueness: it is the only society in which Liberal Reform faces the challenge of socialism and emerges victorious. The English-Canadian fragment is bourgeois. The toryism and the socialism, though significant, are “touches.” ELECTORAL SUPPORT There is a dearth of information about the influence of class on voting be- haviour in Canada, but there are strong indications that the higher strata are more likely than the lower to vote Conservative, the lower strata are more likely than the higher to vote CCF-NDP, and that both groups are about equally attracted to the Liberals.83 This would, of course, confirm the picture 83The left-centre-right character of NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives appears very clearly in the distribution of the trade union vote among the three parties in the election of 1962: Union families Non-union families Conservative 26yb b Liberal 38yb b NDP 22yb b R. Alford, “The Social Bases of Political Cleavage in 1962,” in J. Meisel, ed., Papers on the 1962 Election (Toronto, 1964yf . This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 170 G. HORoW= of Conservatives as the right, NDP as the left, and Liberals as the ‘classless” centre. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in the United States, where the lower strata prefer the Democrats, the higher prefer the Republicans, and there is no centre party. Although this picture of the relationship between class and voting is broadly true, it is also true that class voting in Canada is, generally speaking, over- shadowed by regional and religious-ethnic voting. In some parts of Canada, e.g. Ontario, class voting is as high as in the United States or higher. Never- theless, in Canada considered as a whole class voting is lower than in the United States; non-class motivations appear to be very strong.84 Peter Regenstrief suggests that one factor accounting for this is the persistent cultivation by the Liberal party of its classless image, its “abhorrence of anything remotely associated with class politics,”85 its refusal to appeal to any class against any other class. What this points to again is the unique character of English Canada as the only society in which the centre triumphs over left and right. In Europe the classless appeal of Liberal Reform does not work; the centre is decimated by the defection of high-status adherents to the right and of low-status adherents to the left. In Canada, the classless appeal of King centrism is the winning srtategy, drawing lower-class support to the Liberals away from the left parties, and higher-class support away from the right parties. This forces the left and right parties themselves to emulate (to a certain extentyf W K H / L E H U D O V ‘ classless strategy. The Conservatives transform themselves into Progressive Conservatives. The CCF transforms itself from a “farmer-labour” party into an NDP calling for the support of “all liberally minded Canadians.” The Liberal refusal to appear as a class party forces both right and left to mitigate their class appeals and to become themselves, in a sense, centre parties. Class voting in Canada may be lower than in the United States not entirely because regional-religious-ethnic factors are “objectively” stronger here, but also because King Liberalism, by resolutely avoiding class symbols, has made other symbols more important. He blunted us. We had no shape Because he never took sides, And no sides, Because he never allowed them to take shape.86 F. H. Underhill and many other pan-North Americans simply assume that the Liberal party is a party of the left like the liberal Democrats of the United States. They admit that it has not behaved as a left party, but they consider that this is merely an accident-a matter of piersonalities perhaps: perhaps King’s personality. Any day now, a magic word will be spoken, a great Rooseveltian leader will appear, the Liberal party will shed its misleading centrist image, its “essentially” leftist nature will be clear for all to see, and organized labour and other elements of the left will return from their NDP 84R. Alford, Party and Society (Chicago, 1963yf F K D S . 85″Group Perceptions and the Vote,” in Meisel, ed., Papers on the 1962 Election, 249. 86Scott, The Blasted Pine, 27. This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism 171 exile to their “natural” Liberal home.87 What these people fail to realize is that important political phenomena are seldom accidents. The Liberal party behaves as a centre party because it is a centre party. It is a centre party because cultural factors (the presence of non-liberal ideologiesyf D Q G L Q V W L W X – tional factors (the tendency to a multiplicity of parties in Canadayf K D Y e combined to produce a socialist party on its left. It will cease to behave as a centre party when its enemy on the left disappears. But the NDP, although it may not be “going anywhere,” is not about to disappear. Underhill believes that if the Liberal party becomes a left party, organized labour and other leftist elements will join it. But the Liberal party will not become a left party unless these elements join it. What makes this vicious circle possible is the existence in Canada of an alternative which does not exist in the United States-a socialist party which is strong enough to play an important role in national politics. As long as a socialist party is alive and as long as the left has this alternative to a Liberal party interlocked with the business community, the Liberal party will continue to be centrist in the European way rather than “truly liberal” (leftistyf L Q W K H $ P H U L F D Q Z D D Q d as long as it continues to be centrist, the left will continue to support the socialist party. The “antagonistic symbiosis” of Canadian liberalism and socialism probably cannot be ended even by the magic of a charismatic leader. 87″It is just possible that the so-called Liberal party under Mr. Pearson will become at last a Rooseveltian party of the left…. If that happens, I predict that our trade unions will follow the Reuther example.” (F. H. Underhill to G. Horowitz, Feb. 18, 1962yf . This content downloaded from on Thu, 21 Jan 2021 19:49:28 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms


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