Tuesday, 27 March 2012

John Ibbitson on the 'Laurentian Consensus'

I have just read John Ibbitson's long essay on the fall of what he calls the 'Laurentian Consensus' (published online at the Literary Review of Canada site here). It is, essentially, an argument that the 2011 election mattered in a historically significant way - that it represents a shift in the political nature of the way the country is governed.

He seems good on the last five years and the current mood of the country, but his ideas about the Laurentian elite seem to simply echo the Conservative Party rhetoric on why one ought to vote Conservative. In other words, they pick up on a few facts and then shape them in such a way as to make those who oppose them part of a cultural elite of snobby, CBC and arts loving folk who don't buy enough double-doubles at Timmies. I noticed that he was also taking an uncharacteristically sceptical line on robo-call. Is he trying to cosy up to the Conservatives? Trying to win some favour so that those in the know will start talking to him?

He does wonder about the origins of the term Laurentian consensus. If he's looking for an answer, my guess is that he (or someone else) picked it up from the idea of the Laurentian thesis of Canadian history associated with, amongst others, Donald Creighton. Take a look at Carl Berger's classic book on the writing of Canadian history for a deeper explanation.


  1. Where is your data?

    Where is your data proving the huge demographic shift of the last 40 or so years will move back in favour of the Laurentian Consensus? Where is your data proving that Quebec and Ontario's political power is NOT in decline and that the West is NOT the fastest growing region in the country? Where is your data proving that Chinese Canadians are so NOT overwhelmingly voting Conservative that the Conservatives have simply given up identifying them as voters and just moved onto GOTV efforts of Chinese people on election day. Where is your data showing those 30 some new ridings will NOT go Conservative, or to any party who speaks to those ridings about what their concerns are.
    The first stage of admitting you have a problem is denial. Citing some random book because they use the same word isn't going to cut it, you crusty old Laurentian elite!

  2. Wow, my first Troll. I'm honoured. Any other crazy, aggressive things you want to say?

  3. Wow, a non response from someone in denial. Not my first mind you, but just nice to know the art of not answering questions is still alive and well.

    How are you (and I'm referring to you and the rest of the Laurentian Consensus), going to convince suburban Ontario voters, who are increasingly prioritizing the economy over anything else, to switch allegiances back to Quebec and the notion of a national (insert name here) strategy on almost every facet of Canadian life? How are you going to convince the immigrants who are coming here in droves, who have an entrepreneurial mindset about making it on their own, to continue supplementing the EI for Maritimers?

    Let's hope you actually answer my question, instead of providing a non response.