1st Edition

Canadian Conservative Political Thought

Edited By Lee Trepanier, Richard Avramenko Copyright 2023
    290 Pages
    by Routledge

    290 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book corrects an imbalance in Canadian political literature through offering a conservative account of Canadian political thought.

    Across 15 chronologically organized chapters, and with a mixture of established and rising scholars, the book offers an investigation of the defining features and characteristics of Canadian conservative political thought, asking what have Canadian conservative political thinkers and practitioners learned from other traditions and, in turn, what have they contributed to our understanding of conservative political thought today?

    Rather than its culmination, Canadian Conservative Political Thought will be the beginning of conservative political thought’s recovery and will spark debates and future research. The book will be a great resource for courses on Canadian politics, history, political philosophy and conservatism, Canadian Studies, and political theory.

    Introduction: What is Canadian Conservative Political Thought?

    Lee Trepanier

    Part 1: A Founding of a Nation among Strangers

    1. "Little Platoons and Ancient Traditions": Edmund Burke’s Critique of Imperialism and Contemporary North American Indigenous Anti-Colonialism

    Brian T. Thorn

    2. Praying Alone: Tocqueville on the Present State and Probable Future of Quebec

    Richard Avramenko and Noah Stengl

    3. John Strachan’s Loyalist Political Thought: Tocqueville’s "Aristocratic Mores Without Aristocrats"

    Jeremy Seth Geddert

    4. The Sacred Temple of Truth: Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s Civic Nationalism

    David Livingstone

    5. Canadian Conservatism and National Developmentalism: Sir John A. Macdonald’s Hamiltonian Persuasion

     Ben Woodfinden and Sean Speer

    Part 2: High Toryism, Liberalism, and Globalism

    6. The High Tory Conservatism of Eugene Forsey and John Farthing

    Tyler Chamberlain

    7. Globalist Nihilism, Liberal Relativism, and Tutorialist Statecraft: A Critique of Janet Ajzenstat’s Canadian Political Philosophy

    Colin D. Pearce

    8. Ajzenstat Versus the Oligarchs

    Travis D. Smith

    9. Charles Taylor’s Interculturalism and the Crisis of Liberalism

    David Edward Tabachnick

    10. "Even More Than International": Brock Chisholm and the Origins of Canadian Globalist Thought

    Ian Dowbiggin

    Part 3: Culture, Technology, and Place

    11. Marshall McLuhan: Canadian Political Philosophy for the Digital Age

    Christopher S. Morrissey

    12. History as Progress or Reversal?: The Mythical Prognostications of Kojève and McLuhan

    Grant Havers

    13. George Grant, Time, and Eternity

    Colin Cordner

    14. Of Homesteaders and Orangemen: An Archeology of Western Canadian Political Identity

    Richard Avramenko

    15. Globalization through Rose-Tinted Glasses: Schitt's Creek and the Power of Civic Virtue

    Mary Craig and Sara MacDonald

    16. Sources for Renewal for Canadian Conservatism

    Lee Trepanier


    Richard Avramenko is Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb (2011), and has co-edited books on Friendship and Politics (2008), Dostoevsky’s Political Thought (2013), and Aristocratic Souls in Democratic Times (2018).

    Lee Trepanier is Professor of Political Science at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the author and editor of several books and the editor of Lexington Books series Politics, Literature, and Film.

    "Using a history-of-ideas approach, the editors have woven together several strands of Western Canadian conservative political thought. The focus, chiefly on the thinkers of Laurentian Canada, is well executed. Even Canadians will find these accounts stimulating!"

    Barry Cooper, Professor of Political Science, University of Calgary

    "The conventional story of Canada is that its Fathers of Confederation founded a conservative nation to guard against its plebiscitarian southern neighbor. In the twentieth century, this regime was replaced by a leftist, “Laurentian” liberalism. The triumphalism of “Laurentian” liberalism has led Canadians and foreign observers to neglect Canada’s conservative intellectual sources, including those that have contested liberal triumphalism. Trepanier and Avramenko have assembled a fine volume of essays that bring those sources back to life by engaging them with the perennial questions that confront Canadians. With essays on John A. MacDonald, George Grant, Charles Taylor, Marshall McLuhan, Indigenous anti-colonialism, and even the Schitt’s Creek television series, the authors demonstrate the variety of thought in Canadian conservatism."

    John von Heyking, Professor of Political Science, University of Lethbridge

    "There has come to be, sadly so, in the last few decades, a paper thin and reactionary notion of Canadian conservatism. Gratefully so, this bounty of a book by fine scholars digs yet further and deeper into the historic and mother lode of a heritage that has been caricatured and almost forgotten – a beauty of a remembering book worthy of many a read."

    Ron Dart, Professor of Political Science, University of the Fraser Valley 

    "This book is witness to the fact that there is a rich legacy of conservative intellectual thought connected to Canada, and the life of the mind goes on. Canadians have lost representative government to an administrative state, yet they still attempt to work out their freedom in local communities, they are aware of the dangers of globalization, and so this book adds to a larger body of conservative thought about the fate of the liberal west which is still emerging in light of current events."

    Roberta Bayer, Patrick Henry College, Front Porch Republic