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Professor Ron Dart teaches in the department of Political Science/ Philosophy/Religious Studies at University College of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC. He is the author of The Red Tory Tradition: Ancient Roots, New Routes (1999) and editor of the Red Tory Review. Vive occasionally prints and reprints articles by Dart at his request.
There is no doubt that Peter Dale Scott is one of the most important Canadian political poets.

by Ron Dart


Peter Dale Scott comes from a worthy Canadian line and lineage.  His grandfather, Fred Scott, was a contemporary of Stephen Leacock, an important Canadian poet, an Anglican priest and padre to many soldiers and at the forefront of the Winnipeg strike in 1919. Fred Scott embodied, in thought, word and deed, a vision of responsible citizenship. Peter’s father,

Frank Scott, was one of the best known Canadian poets, constitutional lawyers and founder of the League for Social Reconstruction (LSR) and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). The LSR-CCF were the forerunners of the New Democratic Party (NDP). Frank Scott was a student of Stephen Leacock. Peter’s mother, Marian Dale, was an accomplished Canadian painter. The Politics of the Imagination: A Life of F.R. Scott (1987), by Sandra Djwa, recounts, as an authorized biography, the life of Frank and Marian Scott.
Charles Taylor and the Hegelian Eden Tree: Canadian Compradorism The fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom. Genesis 3:6 Canada may produce more original work on Hegel than any other nation. David MacGregor Literary Review of Canada (February 1994) The fact that the well-known Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor, won the enviable Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities in 2007 has been noted and noticed by many. There are few that have won this prestigious award, and fewer Canadians have taken the trophy home. Taylor did so, and did so in a way that has made many a Canadian proud of their native born boy. But, philosophy is about asking critical questions, and critical questions keep us from slipping into hagiography. Why did Taylor win the Templeton Prize, what questions need to be asked of Taylor, what intellectual agenda does he serve and are there other Canadians of equal worth and merit that might have won the Templeton Prize but did not? Most Canadians that study philosophy in any serious way often learn of Plato and Aristotle, if they are fortunate the Patristic contemplative way (many know little of this), Medieval thought, the fragmentation of thought in the Reformation, then the journey into the modern and postmodern mood and ethos. I suspect, if most Canadians (or non-Canadians) that study philosophy were asked about Canadian philosophy and philosophers a blank and confused stare would come across their bewildered faces and baffled minds. Surely, there is no such thing as a distinct Canadian philosophical tradition and Canadian philosophers that embody such a tradition. Such is the colonial mind. Nothing good can emerge from within the womb of Canada, hence the turn most Canadians make to a variety of elsewhere communities (past and present) in their study of philosophy. Is there, though, a distinctive Canadian tradition of philosophy, and, if so, what is it? And, if there is such a tradition, where does Charles Taylor stand within such heritage, line and lineage? The answer to these questions might assist us in understanding why Taylor won the Templeton Prize.
Gary Snyder, The Beats and Robin Mathews: American Sage and Canadian Prophet danger on peaks and Think Freedom by Ron Dart Snyder is an elder statesman of the natural world and the tribal unions of poetry. He has a body of work as original as predecessors William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. - The Bloomsbury Review I have always found it difficult to imagine this century without the life and work of Gary Snyder. - Wes Jackson Few American poets have attracted so wide a readership while garnering such critical acclaim as Pulitzer Prize-winner Gary Snyder. - Tim McNulty I’m not saying Robin Mathews is yet nearly as good as he’s going to be. But he’s so far ahead of the ruck, right now, that if he wanted to look back at them, he’d have to use binoculars. - Milton Acorn Were Mathews a Quebecois writer who advocated the independence of Quebec, rather than a Canadian patriot who advocates the independence of Canada, he would be a cultural hero in his community, if not a cabinet minister. - Larry McDonald Robin Mathews is a fighter-poet, aggressive in his defense of human rights, expressing his nationalist vision with enough feeling to slash like a razor. - Montreal Gazette I live in Abbotsford BC, and Abbotsford is in the centre of the Fraser Valley. Our home in Abbotsford is on the rock rim of Sumas Mountain. We can, from our nest on the ledge of Sumas Mountain, look across the Fraser Valley to Mount Baker, the USA and eastward to the backbone of mountains known as the North Cascades. The journey from Abbotsford to the North Cascades is a short and scenic one. The many hikes and ambles through dense forests to highland peaks make for a visual feast. Evergreens, gray rock slabs and glacier white vistas are there for one and all to see. It is in the North Cascade mountain range that Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac and Philip Whalen worked as lookout rangers in the early and mid-1950s. The tale of these Beat poets has been well told by John Suiter, in Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades (2002). Poets on the Peaks is informative and evocative, and a literary and eye-holding journey into both the life and times of Snyder, Whalen, Kerouac and the North Cascades. Suiter writes, at the beginning of Poets on the Peaks, “This Book is for Hozomeen”. Mount Hozomeen is a knife edge, razor sharp mountain in the North Cascades. I climbed Mount Hozomeen, from Manning Park, with Outward Bound, in 1976. Jack Kerouac was a lookout ranger on Desolation Peak in the mid-1950s, and he spoke often of Mount Hozomeen. I have hiked up Desolation Peak, and spent many a fond hour there. Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen were lookout rangers on Sourdough Mountain, and I have enjoyed many a ramble up to the cabin on the mountain ridge. Three of the most important Beat poets (Snyder, Kerouac, Whalen), before they were well known, lived and hiked about these peaks, and from their time in the North Cascades, they drew much and used what was internalized in their writings.
ALLEN GINSBERG AND GEORGE GRANT: Howl and Lament for a Nation It is 50 years this autumn (October 13, 1955) since the Beat Movement was launched at Six Gallery in San Francisco. Some of the American Beats from the East Coast (Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg) and the West Coast (Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti) met and read together at this gathering. John Suiter rightly says, “The Six Gallery reading has sometimes been called the first synthesis of the East and West Coast factions of the Beat Generation.” (p.148) Kenneth Rexroth had hiked to many of the peaks in the North Cascades in the 1920s. His rambling and tramping tales are well told in An Autobiographical Novel (Chapter 30). Gary Snyder worked on lookout peaks (Crater and Sourdough Mountains) in 1952-1953, but he could not get work in the North Cascades in 1954 because of his affiliations with unions and anarchist left groups. These were the McCarthy years, and Snyder was a victim of such a red scare. Philip Whalen worked on lookout peaks (Sauk and Sourdough Mountains) in 1953-1955. Jack Kerouac, a year after the Six Gallery reading (1956), spent a summer on Desolation Peak in the North Cascades. The Dharma Bums (1958), Lonesome Traveler (1960) and Desolation Angels (1965) all reflect much of what he saw and experienced on Desolation Peak.
by Ron Dart

The recent decision by the Progressive Conservative party and the Alliance party to fold into and become the Canadian Conservative party does raise some interesting and important questions. What does it mean to be a Canadian conservative? Who defines the term? Why, at this juncture and point in Canadian political life, is the more republican interpretation of the term trumping, censuring out and banishing the older tory interpretation of what it means to be a conservative? Those with little or no sense of the Canadian political journey will not even realize there was and is a tory tradition that has, in many ways, been the backbone of Canadian conservatism. It is this High/Red/Radical Toryism that needs retrieving and remembering at this point in history. The right of centre, republican read of conservatism is before us night and day. This needs little comment or commentary.

The Canadian high Tory Tradition and Our New Republican Party
Ron Dart

Our new Prime Minister, Paul Martin, has finally ascended the throne he has so long desired for many a year. Jean Chretien is now gone, and the Liberal party, guided by Martin, will take Canada further to the political right than the centrist or soft left liberals would say amen to at this stage in the Canadian journey. Is it wise and prudential, the thoughtful might ask, at a point in Canadian history when the Liberal party will swing further to the right, to create a party that is further right than Paul Martin and the Liberal party? Is such a party ever likely to defeat the Liberals? This, we must assume, was the purpose of the merging and coming together of the PC party and the Alliance party.

We might further ask this rather simple question: does such a ‘conservative’ merger truly represent the historic High Tory Tradition within Canadian politics or is such a merger not just another form of Canadians being colonized by the American imperial way? I think the answer is rather obvious and clear for those who have some grounding in the Canadian High Tory Tradition.

[We have a shorter version of this on site already. This is posted on Dart's request.]


by Ron Dart

Posterity may know we have not loosely through silence permitted things to pass away as in a dream. Richard Hooker When everything is made relative to profit-making, all traditions of virtue are dissolved, including the aspect of virtue known as love of country.
George Grant

We were grounded in the wisdom of Sir. J.A. Macdonald, who saw more plainly than a hundred years ago that the only real threat to Canadian nationalism was from the South, not from across the sea. To be a Canadian was to build, along with the French, a more ordered and stable society than the liberal experiment in the United States.
George Grant

Russet Lake-Afghanistan: August 20 & September 5 Gary Bauman, Bryan Ward and I left Abbotsford at 6:00 on Sunday August 20th, and we wound our way up the Sea to Sky and arrived at Whistler by 8:30. The lift did not open until 9:30, so we waited, swapped tales and anticipated the hike under the blue canopy and the heat of day star. We were, by 10:30, off the peak chair and on the wide dirt roadway. We dipped down into the valley, and it took us little time to bid adieu to the heights of Whistler and be on the trail. The older path took us up and over the Musical Bumps (Piccolo, Flute & Oboe), then down into Singing Pass. Many a pleasant ski run has been down in the powder of Flute bowl. The hike up again from Singing Pass into Russet Lake (and the Alpine cabin) was a delight. We were charmed and lured by the sheer beauty of the white tipped Spearhead and Fitzsimmons Ranges. The white robed snowfield and blue lipped glacier of Castle Towers held our attention for many a moment. We had a splendid lunch by the gurgling stream that curled its way out of Russet Lake. The well built rock shelters protected a few tents, and the Alpine hut was empty. We left the lake by about 2:30 and hastened back over the Musical Bumps to the Roundhouse Lodge for the final gondola descent at 5:30. We headed into the Fraser Valley as an alpenglow lit up Baker in a bright orange last gasp of the day. My son has just returned from a 7 month tour in Afghanistan. He has spent much of the time in Forward Operational Bases (FOBs) in the barren mountains outside Kandahar near Pashmul, Panjwai and Gumbad near the dense rock mass of Badwan Outcrop. Many a time he carried an 80 pound pack up steep and treacherous slopes. Needless to say, it is good to have him back safe with us again. We have had many a restless and sleepless night.
Stephen Leacock: A Centennial Celebration He (Leacock) was more famous than this country Don Herron In Canada, I belong to the Conservative party Stephen Leacock At McGill, as at Ottawa Collegiate, I was blessed with exceptional teachers. Stephen Leacock, head of the department of Economics and Political Science, was one of the most brilliant men I have ever known. He was an ardent conservative and fierce Canadian nationalist. Eugene Forsey Political Science, then, deals with the state; it is, in short, as it is often termed, the “theory of the state”. Stephen Leacock Elements of Political Science (1906) Who was Stephen Leacock, as a thinker and activist, before the publication of his best selling books of humour such as Literary Lapses (1910), Nonsense Novels (1911), Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912), Behind the Beyond (1913) and Arcadian Adventures With the Idle Rich (1914)? There is no doubt that Leacock was launched in a certain direction with these bumper crop book sales. He established himself as the central writer in Canada with these slim missives. But, there is more to the tale to tell. Leacock was 41 years of age when Literary Lapses left the publishing tarmac in 1910. What had he thought and written before 1910? It is 100 years this year (1906-2006) since Leacock’s first major work on political theory was published. Elements of Political Science, like his later books of humour, sold at a rapid pace. The book was translated into many languages and used as a standard textbook in political science classes at universities in North America and beyond. Elements of Political Science was so popular that it was republished with additions and updates in 1913 and 1921. Leacock had established himself, with the publication of Elements of Political Science, as one of the most important Canadian political theorists. He was in 1906 the chair of the political economy department at McGill University, and he taught there until his retirement in 1936.
The American Beats and the Canadian West Coast Culture Wars By Ron Dart It is 50 years this autumn (October 13, 1955) since the Bop and Beat poets of the East Coast ( Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg) and the Ecological Beat poets of the West Coast (Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen) met at Six Gallery in San Francisco. In his evocative book Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades (20020), John Suiter has this to say: “The Six Gallery reading has sometimes been called the first synthesis of the East and West Coast factions of the Beat Generation.” (p.148) The American Beat poets were also connected to the Black Mountain tradition of poetry. The history of the Black Mountain tradition has been well told and recounted by Martin Duberman in his revealing and historic missive, Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community (1975). The Beat and the Black Mountain literary traditions attempted, in a conscious and committed way, to break up and break down dated and older ways of writing and doing poetry. This innovative approach to doing poetry was well traversed in The Poetics of the New American Poetry (Donald Allen/Warren Tallman: 1983). The attempt, by the Beats and the Black Mountain traditions, to move poetry in a new direction, and redefine how poetry should be done, prepared the way for the Counter Culture of the 1960s-1970s.

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