And did I mention he’s also a “coward” to boot — the conclusion of MP Michelle Rempel, the CPC’s poster-girl of nothing in particular, if you don’t count sofa selfies?
Or that Kevin O’Leary says Trudeau facing off against Trump in renegotiating NAFTA would be Bambi versus Godzilla?
Another political leader is being de-mythologized, which should surprise no one. After all, politics is the art of the controlled slide from a love affair (usually delusional) to a painful separation or a bitter divorce. Or at least it used to be.
Now it’s the sanguine work of cutting throats from ear to ear over single issues, whatever they might be — praise for Fidel Castro, approving pipelines, arms sales to a despotic state like Saudi Arabia. Anything that will fit on a bumper sticker will do. Trudeau Loves Dictators. Trudeau Lied on Pipelines. Trudeau is Stephen Harper with a Six-Pack.
The worst fate for a politician these days? Getting trashed on Twitter without knowing whether it’s coming from a Tory, a troll, a bot, a butthead, or just another disillusioned voter who has fallen out of love. Arthur Finkelstein, the Republican election guru, has truly turned political discourse into a fight between two or more rabid junkyard dogs. It’s guys like Finkelstein who enabled the rise of that pussy-grabbing plutocrat, Donald Trump.
The colicky Castro episode in the mainstream media here is a case in point: It was nine-tenths nonsense from the get-go. Canada never broke diplomatic relations with Cuba after the 1959 revolution. Canadian businesspeople like Belinda Stronach of Magna and private firms like Onex Corporation have collaborated to invest in a boutique bank in Cuba. Many other Canadian businesspeople are eyeing potential investment as Raul Castro loosens the rules on foreign investment in his brother’s former hermit fiefdom.
The clincher? Canadians were so appalled by Castro’s dictatorship that in 2014 alone 1.2 million lathered on the sunscreen while holidaying in Cuba. I guess not everyone believes the place is just a gulag in the sun, as the alt-right would have them believe. Perhaps that’s because they were more concerned about ditching their own dictator here at home in the 2015 election.
That said, Trudeau is developing the usual problems. Language tends to be the flypaper that catches most politicians — the infernal gulf between words and deeds. And so it is with the man on the top of the wedding cake one year into his stewardship of the country.
As Green Party Leader Elizabeth May rightly points out, Trudeau promised not to proceed with pipeline projects that got their approvals from a tainted National Energy Board.
Under Harper, it was hard to tell the NEB from the boardrooms of the petroleum industry. With the new government’s recent approval of the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines, in tandem with the earlier green light for the Pacific Northwest LNG project, Trudeau has left some deeply disappointed fans in British Columbia and elsewhere in the country. He has left people who see the environment as the overarching issue of our time still in search of a true champion.
Tim Ehlich of Environmental Defence has thrown the gauntlet to a government that partied down on the Paris Climate Accord — and then walked away from it by approving projects that will add 42 million tonnes in additional carbon pollution to Canada’s emissions: “The government must explain why it plans to lock in fossil fuel infrastructure, even though it committed to decarbonize the economy by at least 80 per cent by 2050.”
That question becomes all the more important given that the new pollution will “cancel out” 80 per cent of planned reductions from other Trudeau climate initiatives — the accelerated phase-out of coal, a national carbon-pricing policy and a new national Clean Fuel Standard. In other words, this government seems to be as rhetorically-inclined on reducing carbon emissions as its Liberal predecessors were — not to mention PM Harper, who thought climate change was a scheme invented by poor countries to screw money out of rich ones.
In his defence, Trudeau has reminded the people who are now calling him on his broken promise on the NEB and massive fossil fuel projects that he also promised in the 2015 campaign to get Alberta bitumen to tidewater. Depending on how the court cases aimed at stopping these projects turn out, time will tell if the prime minister can manage to keep his word on that side of his promises. Putting Elizabeth May in jail along the way will not add lustre to his government.
In the meantime, Trudeau must advance the dubious proposition that we can have it both ways — fossil fuel development and environmental protection. I would point out that sucking and blowing at the same time is an elusive skill to master.
In the end, Canadians eventually will decide if Trudeau kept more promises than he broke, or belly-flopped in the task of restoring hope in a political system widely discredited under the Harper Conservatives. They will have to decide if he is, all things in, a better person that Stephen Harper or any of the Conservative leadership candidates looking to replace him. Hopefully their decision will not be based on loons chanting, “Lock him up,” but on a critical look at all that he has done — and not done.
Part of the assessment of the current government ought to include a clear-eyed appraisal of the alternative. Americans who who fell in love with the idea of ditching the political establishment did everything but consider what they would get in its place. It’s the curse of the iconoclast.
As a result, they now have a president with a permanent conflict-of-interest between his private affairs and public duty, a misogynist, a serial liar, a climate-change denier and a pro-torture Commander-in-Chief. He believes he can upend the Constitution and the rule of law because he huckstered his way to the presidency and now holds all the chips. The final joke on the electorate is that a cabinet full of billionaires and the odd fugitive from Goldman Sachs now represents the little guy in America. Their altruism in action should be a thing to behold.
Which is just to say to all those bumper-sticker boo-birds anxious to slogan Justin Trudeau out of office before he’s really begun — are you really ready for the alternative?
The CPC has never accepted any responsibility for its anti-democratic, anti-free press, anti-science, anti-environment and anti-Muslim policies of the Harper era. Nor have any of these worthies explained why they fell at Harper’s feet and played dead for nearly a decade. In fact, leadership candidates like Kellie Leitch — the frontrunner for now in a fourteen-person race — have returned to the same poisonous policies as their former boss.
Whatever else the answers to Canada’s problems are, they don’t include a can of mace in every purse and screening immigrants for anti-Canadian values.
Anyone with me?
Author: Michael Harris