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Andrew Coyne

Nationally syndicated columnist for Southam Newspapers, and contributor to Saturday Night magazine, TIME magazine, Wall Street Journal and National Review


Click here for an essay by Andrew Coyne
Politics is a business that inverts all the normal rules of human conduct. In most walks of life, it is thought dishonourable - personally shaming - to lie, or even to shade the truth; to boast of one's own achievements, and sneer at others'; to flatter and connive in private, to mock and rage in public. Yet these and worse are the daily work of those we elect. ... If that is the price of power, of seeing your ideals enacted into law, perhaps it is a price worth paying, as statesman have since politics began. But our MPs, especially those on the government side, must endure another humiliation: that of impotence. Having compromised themselves ... they soon learn they have done all this for nothing. They are not legislators. They have no power. All they have is a job, and that dependent on keeping nice with the leader.

Jun. 6, 2001 - from "Honourable Members? Which ones?", published in the National Post
There's nothing inherently subversive of democracy or national sovereignty in a trade agreement. It is as much an act of sovereignty, after all, to renouce trade barriers as it is to put them up. In many ways, morerover, free trade gives individual citizens more contol over their lives, not less: When corporations are beating a path to your door from half-way around the world, when consumers are liberated from the tyranny of local monopolies, then in the economic sphere, at least, the power of the ordinary citizen is enhanced.

Apr. 18, 2001 - from "Free trade's 'democratic deficit'", published in the National Post
This is the paradox of monopoly, political or economic: the more decrepit it is, the more entrenched it becomes. The reason is apparent in the latest election results. Without competition, innovation lags, standards deteriorate. Yet without being presented with a clear alternative, the public cannot imagine how things could be any better. The Liberals have succeeded by lowering expectations, not only of themselves, but of government.

Nov. 29, 2000 - from a column in the National Post
The Liberals are a party with a built-in common denominator: power. Those who love power, who are used to power, and who are willing to do without certain things - principles, conscience, personal dignity - for power are inevitably drawn to the Natural Governing Party. Opposition parties in Canada are hence at an automatic disadvantage. As they are necessarily coalitions of vastly different groups who, for one reason or another, have been excluded from power, they will be forever beset by fractiousness. They can only be unified by a common enemy, that is by a Liberal party that has become so corrupt, so doctrinaire, so bloated with power as to persuade the oppositions warring factions to drop their differences long enough to defeat them.

Jan. 24, 2000 - from a column in the National Post
The thing to remember about any Supreme Court ruling upholding freedom of speech is that the Supreme Court does not actually believe in freedom of speech. It believes in some freedom for some speech.

Dec. 18, 2000 - from "Some freedom for some speech", published in the National Post