OTTAWA, ON (September 23, 2020): In the new book Gardeners vs Designers, MLI managing director Brian Lee Crowley swims against the “progressive” zeitgeist that claims Canada is a nasty vile place, full of racism, homophobia and hate, desperately in need of smart politicians, guided by expert advice, who will replace this failing ramshackle excuse for a country with a brand new and improved model.

Instead he proudly asks questions like: What makes Canada great? Why is Canada a rare jewel in human experience? Why are we a magnet for people from virtually every other country in the world?

The answer to all these questions is that we have slowly and incrementally evolved a society that is the envy of the world. Canada is not a problem to be fixed, but a rich inheritance of freedom and courage to be enjoyed and cautiously, incrementally adjusted to embrace new ideas and experiences.

A society that has “grown” in this way is far more likely to be harmed than improved by a handful of ignorant politicians and bureaucrats thinking they know more about Canada than the generations of Canadians who have built the successful institutions and practices that each generation has handed off, enriched and improved, to its successor.

In the future this will be the great fault line separating Canadians politically. On the one hand will be those who believe politicians should harness experts to “fix” Canada according to principles that appeal to progressives. These are the “designers” of the book’s title.

On the other hand will be the “gardeners,” those who believe that such claims to superior insight into Canada and Canadians are in fact simply thinly disguised power grabs to impose progressive prejudices on people who have other plans for how to live their best lives. Politicians are in no position to second guess either the institutions and behaviours that Canadians hold in great affection or the things that each of us have decided matter to us, our families and our communities. Canada was not imposed from the top down but built from the bottom up.

Thus, creeping progressivism and its irresistible itch to “fix” things by designing something “better” and imposing it from above endangers what has made Canada great. Progressives think the more they can design society and history in accordance with their prejudices, the happier we will be. Gardeners think that happiness resides in the free choices we make for ourselves and the life we make for ourselves through those choices. Thus, they believe that the “designing” approach of the progressives is the greatest threat to Canada’s continued success as one of the world’s most wealthy, dynamic and attractive societies.

Already, reviews for Dr. Crowley’s book suggest that it could fundamentally reframe the way Canadians think about public policy and politics in the country:

“This is a timely and important work – a must-read for those concerned about the welfare of the Canadian and human condition.”

- Former federal Justice Minister Irwin Colter

“Patience, humility, and gratitude: these are the virtues of the successful gardener. These are the qualities Brian Lee Crowley brings to his tender, philosophical defence of free societies against those who would demolish and rebuild them anew.

- David Frum, author, Trumpocracy and Trumpocalypse

“A refreshingly provocative analysis of the increasingly ‘Progressive’ trend in Canadian politics which he sees as anything but ‘progressive’… A compelling delightful read that should command the attention of anyone concerned about the quality of our governance.”

Derek H. Burney, OC, former Canadian ambassador to Washington

“…his book should be read by all of our young people entering our colleges and universities who are often unaware of Canada’s real and outstanding achievements since 1867.”

- Hon. Mr. Justice Marc Nadon

“Brian Lee Crowley has drafted a passionate defense of individualism… an entertaining sweep of public policy… [that] is very lucid in its structure and the prose flowed beautifully, as always.“

- John Ivison, National Political Columnist, National Post

To order your own copy of the book, click here.


Brian Lee Crowley is founder and managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa and also founded the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Halifax. He is the author or co-author of two Canadian national bestsellers: Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada's Founding Values and The Canadian Century: Moving Out of America’s Shadow.

To arrange an interview with Dr. Crowley, media are invited to contact:

Brett Byers
Communications and Digital Media Manager
613-482-8327 x105

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