Monday 12 September 2022 at 7:45 in the morning
We went away this past weekend to a fishing camp which was located at the end of a fifty minute drive along a rough track over Laurentian rock. We drove at somewhat better than a walking pace. I recommend the periodic withdrawal from wider society, and the fishing camp was the perfect retreat: no yoga, no periods of silence, no meditation. Just reasonable people conversing on a dock and occasionally going boating on paddle boards and canoes. No fish were caught or harmed, it being the wrong season for trout on the surface . Plentiful food, wine and booze, though less than we did in our forties.
In the time away, Her Majesty the Queen died, the Russians suffered a large defeat in Ukraine, and Pierre Poilievre was decisively affirmed as Conservative leader.
I don’t think that it is possible to exaggerate the immense stabilizing influence of Queen Elizabeth on the United Kingdom or the world. For seventy years she maintained a discreet and effective role as advisor and occasional admonisher to the great. She lived a life of unimpeachable dignity while still showing that she was not deceived by earthly pomps and quarrels. She was a devoted Christian and I think some of her annual Christmas messages were in fact sermons of profound relevance.
When we got the news we were in a restaurant in the village of St Jean de Matha, surrounded by French Canadians having lunch, who treated the matter, as I suppose legions of other nations would have, with courtesy and respect. The Queen had earned the respect of people of many nations, including republicans of the breakaway United States. I think everyone naturally measures life ‘s events in terms of the life and death of Sovereigns, however powerless they may be in constitutional terms. Like the passing of Queen Victoria, the death of Queen Elizabeth will be marker between one era and the next.
Then we left the village to go to the the fishing camp. We drove along an atrocious rock- strewn path at 10 kilometers an hour. An hour and a quarter later, we unloaded cars and went by pontoon boat to the ancient fishing camp, an artifact of the era of lumber barons picking out choice lakes for their buddies to fish in. Huge beams, gas mantle lamps, and low to non existent internet connectivity, coupled with copious quantities of alcohol and food.
We heard the news of Poilievre’s decisive victory on Saturday night, by which I was greatly gladdened. Unfortunately I was surrounded by five devotees of the milquetoast conservatism – if that is what it is – of Jean Charest, who are persuaded that Poilievre is the sure path of defeat for the Conservative Party. You know the type, I am sure: all reform is acceptable short of actual change. In terms that a western Conservative would be happy with, they were perfect exemplars of the Laurentian consensus. Highly intelligent people of good faith, the lot of them, but politically clueless, as far as I am concerned. If Poilievre fails, they will be sure to crow about my so called radicalism in leaving the sure path of Jean Charest. 68.15% of my fellow conservatives agreed that Poilievre was the better candidate, which should be enough to silence the whining of advocates of the losing candidates, even in a party that romanticizes losing.
Predictions are difficult, especially about the future. Nevertheless I think that the abhorrence I feel for the current Liberal government in Ottawa is shared by a possible electoral majority. We will either succumb to the Woke shit of Trudeau the Lesser, after we go down fighting it, or we will rescue the country. The Liberals and their media allies are asking us to acquiesce in the ruin of Canada, and I for one will not abide it.
As to the Russian defeats in Ukraine, I am as surprised as I am pleased. I had thought that the Russians would take over Ukraine in six weeks. The fact that large piles of equipment are being abandoned, so much so that this offensive marks the largest weapons transfer by far since Lend Lease, indicates that Russian morale is collapsing. In World War 2 , Allied soldiers noticed that the German soldier began to abandon usable equipment only in the Falaise Pocket in July-August of 1944, six years into the war. The Russians may rebound; the war is by no means over, but I think the recent defeats of Russian arms show that the era of Russia as a great power is over.
It is evident that the drone has come to be decisive. In many case the drone is substituting for an air force at a small percentage of the cost. Russians are abandoning equipment because, if they flee in their trucks and armored vehicles, they will be killed by drones. So they flee on foot. Drones are still not cheap enough to waste on individuals. They are however, sufficiently cheap to offer the less powerful an air force at a price they can afford. Much as I loved them, the tank has become too cheap to destroy relative to its utility as an offensive weapon. They talked of the foolish bravery of Polish cavalry attacking columns of German tanks; they will soon talk of the folly of tanks attacking across open fields against anti-tank missiles and drones.