Brian Lee Crowley, President of the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and author of the new book ‘Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada’s Founding Values’, challenges the popular notion Canada has always been a country characterized by the socially progressive political values of the welfare state. Released this week, Crowley’s new book argues Canada originally began as a nation of ‘makers’ instead of a nation of ‘takers’ and that the time has come for the country to return to its founding values of self-reliance and rugged liberty. Crowley writes:

“The view that predominates today on both sides of the border is of Canadians as kinder and gentler than their American neighbours, more willing to use the power of the state in pursuit of public goods, more welfare-minded, more socially left wing. It is also a view that could establish itself only by defeating and then consigning to a trunk in the never visited attic of our collective memory the older view that had defined Canada for almost the first century of its existence and for many decades prior to 1867.”

Crowley goes on to explain the historic political and social spirit of Canada before 1960:

“In most ways that matter, by 1960 we had comparable achievements and believed those achievements to be rooted in our shared heritage of limited government, individual freedom, personal responsibility and the rule of law. Canada was not a European welfare state, we were not Sweden or France or Germany; indeed those were the ideas that were foreign to our history and traditional practices. We were resolutely North American, men and women, French-speakers and English-speakers, Westerners, Central Canadians and Easterners together. Indeed, we often thought that what distinguished us from Americans was their less fervent attachment to those values that set us both apart from other peoples who had not yet understood the secrets of development, both personal and economic. We didn’t think we were Americans. We thought we were the superior brand of North American.”