Grace, a Toronto-born, Victoria-based freelance journalist, maintains the Ambler, a blog-like archive of musings on Canadian culture and politics. Many of the entries are devoted to a stylish and devastating deconstruction of neo-Con pretence. In his 2002 piece, "Fear and (Self)Loathing on the Canadian Right", he quotes right-wing Canadian Jamie Glazov's representative neo-Con virulence:
"Canada's destiny--being absorbed into the American empire--is much closer than we think. As a Canadian, I can hardly wait. I must admit: the supremacy of globalization and free trade fills me with an intoxicating sense of glee. After all, the victory of unrestrained international capitalism translates into market forces running unhindered in Canada, which, in turn, translates into a diminishment of Canadian 'sovereignty'--that absurd joke that has imposed socialized health care, federal funding of bilingualism and multiculturalism, and other intellectually-bankrupt policies, onto heavily-burdened Canadian taxpayers."
Grace later relays the reaction to Canada's post-9/11 debasement of Dr. William Christian, Tory historian and George Grant biographer:
Prof. Christian laughed when he was asked about the future of Canada because "I'm much more pessimistic after the World Trade Center bombings than I've ever been. The process of assimilating the two countries is accelerating far more rapidly than I ever thought possible: in the military, in the customs union, in economics, dollarization. When Chretien led the other four leaders to the WTC site, I thought it was almost a political abasement. And never has the Canadian media been so servile."
Grace then quotes Dr. William Gairdner, old-school conservative and passionate anti-Trudeau militant:
Mr. Gairdner argues that the Canadian Right is not conservative. "It is now outrè to suggest there is such a thing as the 'good life,' that a common vision of it is even possible and that civil society and all its institutions should be conscious of that. Autonomous individualism has replaced conservatism."
Grace ends with a reflection from B.C. publisher Karl Siegler:
[Siegler] argues that Canada's disappearing sovereignty is not the fault of the Right. Rather, it is "the fault of the liberals, and I mean that in every sense of the word, and both small and large 'L.'" The Canadian Alliance, he contends, is just as liberal as the Liberals...Liberals are flexible, 'forward-looking' and 'progressive.' They are historical positivists. They believe in inevitability, like the 'inevitability' of Canada merging with the United States."
As engaging as his real journalism is Grace's more "gonzo", first-person mode. This from a 2005 skewering of Rachel Marsden:
My question for members of the "conservative movement" in America or Canada is this: What are the benefits of membership? If tribal solidarity ("us vs them") is your thing, there are other, far more rewarding binary divisions: Yankees vs Red Sox, Eskimos vs Stampeders, Celtics vs Rangers, Coke vs Pepsi, dogs vs cats... Conservative movementarians will reply that their membership demonstrates they are on the side of prudence vs recklessness, right vs wrong and even good vs evil, but I remain unpersuaded. What has the conservative movement ever done to make America and Canada better places? And no, I don't mean the phantom accomplishment of growing the Gross Domestic Product, whatever that might be.
Grace and I are not always in harmony (for instance, a recent offering suggests that he is a modest admirer of the late Enoch Powell; I am not), and his output seems to have slowed considerably of late. His site is richly and deeply archived, though, and so much of what he says desperately needs saying. Ultimately, Grace manages to make this lonely Tory feel just a little less alone.