Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s problems.– Marshall McLuhan
A Liberal is a man who leaves the room when the fight begins.– Heywood Broun
Frank A. Pelaschuk
A few days ago, a young Saudi woman asylum seeker, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, came to Canada. She had barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel and took to the Twitter-verse in an effort to fight off deportation to Kuwait where, she stated, her brothers, family and the “Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait. They will kill me. My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things” (Independent, Richard Hall, Jan. 7, 2019). She was seeking asylum, hopefully with Australia but, unsurprisingly, it was Canada that was able to respond with a rapidity Australia could not match. This was too good an opportunity for the Trudeau regime to miss.
When Ms Qunun landed in Toronto, she was not only greeted by reporters and well-wishers, she was ushered out to face the public by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, with the minister’s arm proprietorially draped over the teenager’s shoulders as she welcomed this “brave new Canadian”! That’s how easy one becomes a Canadian, evidently.
This event, and this image, about sums up what all one needs to know of this liberal government. I did not like what I saw, a young Saudi woman used as a photo-op. While I have no reason to doubt, and I don’t, the dangers outlined by Ms Qunun, Saudi Arabia is, after all, a notorious human right abusing nation and we are well aware of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi case, I do have grave reservations regarding the motives of the Trudeau government in this particular instance; we’ve seen this before by him. With Freeland’s presence at the airport, I saw what I’ve seen too often, shameless politicians seizing an opportunity for a grand photo-op to promote themselves under the guise of doing the right, the decent, the noble thing. For the liberals, Ms Qunun’s plight was fortuitously ancillary to burnishing Trudeau’s image and they did not hesitate to exploit that opportunity. It was cynical and cheap and even mean. They could have allowed Ms Qunun a day before sinking their filthy claws into her.
I welcome Ms Qunun and just hope she meets better people than the one she met in Freeland acting on behalf of Trudeau’s government.
ONE TERM FOR THE PRINCE?
This new year might well see the end of the liberal reign after one term with Trudeau at the helm. That is neither good news nor bad news; just more of what Canadians have known since Canada became a nation. Whichever party wins or loses, the beneficiaries of the election are from the same coin and remain as unlikable, untrustworthy and undeserving as any gang of bigoted, mean-spirited and stupid group of people inflicted upon Canada: conservatives and liberals, sewer rats out only for the main chance. Whatever happened to the goal of truly serving Canada and the people who elected them?
For Trudeau, glibness, fake sincerity and mean-spirited cynicism are lodestones masqueraded by charisma and simple-minded public tolerance and good will. Political correctness offered with smarm and charm: feminism, tolerance, human rights, the things that all decent folk profess to believe in but, as does Trudeau, will turn their backs upon as easily as he can call up a tear when it suits provided a camera is nearby to catch that single effortlessly milked saline drop.
Not content with just fluid ethics, his shamelessness is boundless as when, while first working to undermine his own promise of electoral reform, he proudly boasted of not regretting turning his back on it saying the public had lost interest. That wasn’t true, but what the hell, this is Trudeau, Trump-lite liar with a smile. Anything goes with him. Even his decency is prodded and primped for that photo-op public consumption. With his election, everything would be newer, better. Remember? Well, that didn’t happen. The same old politics as practiced by Harper. Trudeau could have called three by-elections months ago but, mimicking Harper in pettiness and meanness, he held off until he could hold off no longer without looking even smaller than he is; on January 6, he called the by-elections for February 25. It is Jagmeet Singh he really fears but not because Singh is a charismatic leader (he certainly is not) with a chance of winning (zero), but because he fears that the NDP, starving for funds under an absolutely weak and unprepared leader (this hurts; I have supported the NDP throughout my long life) will take away some of the votes from the disappointed who strayed to the liberal fold when they succumbed to shimmering image and grandiloquent, ultimately empty, promises. Trudeau’s is the substance of eye candy.
But Trudeau didn’t just break promises. He broke trust. It is not enough to say words. You must believe what you say and promise and follow through. With First Nations people, he must surely be a disappointment. He makes grand declarations but cannot keep to them because he wants to be all things to all people. That’s wishful thinking, folks. Just as easy to believe in fairy tales and wishful thinking as did all those folks who elected him. First Nations members gave him the benefit of the doubt as did most Canadians and, for a time, he seemed to be up to his words. Maybe, just maybe. Communities would finally experience what it was like to have their own pure, clean, drinkable water. They would finally have homes they could live in, programs that their young could take towards better education, away from alcoholism, drugs, despair, suicide. Maybe never had a chance at “Yes!” So much for promises, communities still suffer, kids are still dying. Newer and better? Just words, wishful thinking, phony baloney.
We have First Nations members divided when it comes to pipelines. Almost everyone believes in climate change just no one wants to do anything about it. We have blockades set up by indigenous members and their supporters. The pipeline issue seems unresolvable without someone not just bending, but bending a lot. Climate change is here; the danger is real. But so is the need for jobs. Until one of the needs is met, there is no possibility of meeting the other need. We all have to change, not just our behaviour but also our mindsets. Change must happen quickly but it cannot happen overnight. But it must happen.
Trudeau does not measure up to the job. Not only were his first two years plagued by conflict of interest issues and questionable secret fundraising efforts, there were the unwarranted expense claims by various ministers early in the liberal mandate including Catherine MacKenna, Chrystia Freeland and three by then education minister Jane Philpott who was embarrassed into repaying them. She now replaces Scott Brison who resigned as president of the Treasury Board and was alleged to have intervened in the procurement process of an interim supply ship rescinding a contract with a Quebec shipbuilding company in favour of the Halifax based Irving Shipbuilding company in Brison’s home province. There was some speculation that this was a thank-you present to the eastern provinces for giving the liberals a clean sweep in the 2015 election. It doesn’t help that the opposition and that premiers across the country are more bent on advancing their own causes than in fighting Trudeau and his party and their ideas with ideas of their own in a manner not so crudely self-serving. Do they really act in the best interests of the nation when they point fingers and then, when upon winning the brass ring, they do what they once condemned?
The conservatives, federally and provincially, are not builders of a nation while in opposition any more than were the liberals. The NDP have never governed federally. It is difficult to know if they would be any better unless they are giving the opportunity to do so. None of the sides show real signs of wanting to contribute through cooperation but all sides have shown clearly that they are out for the main chance: what’s in it for me?
I dislike Trudeau. I do not believe he is sincere or ethical; I believe him to be craven and weak. He does not stand up for what he says he believes because I don’t believe he believes in anything but saying the thing that will win people to his side. Scheer is another I dislike because he is from the old Harper gang and, in spite of his smile, absolutely charmless and brings with him the same meanness of his predecessor. His idea of being opposition member is that of whinging, tearing down and never, ever contributing something constructive because, you see, it just might help the liberals.
I support the NDP but not Jagmeet Singh. He is an ineffectual and unprepared leader. That’s too bad. His handling of the harassment allegations against Erin Weir brought against him by NDP member Christine Moore on behalf of others was poorly handled to the extreme and effectively destroyed the promising political career of one NDP member whose only real crime seems to be one of social awkwardness while Moore, herself a subject of predatory harassment allegations, escaped relatively unscathed.
So, why did the NDP go with Singh. Well, he was young, handsome, articulate, intelligent and a visible minority. Trudeau-lite if you will. The NDP had shed its old image of being the conscience of the country as willingly as Trudeau his electoral reform initiative. Elections are about winning is the NDP song: the main chance. That must have been the thinking behind Thomas Mulcair’s election strategy. For decades, the call for balanced budgets won elections. The NDP was known as the spend and spend party with good intentions but poor budgetary skills. Not in 2015! Mulcair would run on the promise of a good heart and a balanced budget. Oh, dear, look where it got him. Trudeau veered to the left and, of course, won the election. People can always be bought with their own money. For old fools like me, it’s about roots and principles. In the past, the NDP has proven itself effective even without winning. But that’s the past, I guess. It’s not enough that a leader be “likeable”; for me, Singh never coulda been a contender.
And what can I say of Maxime Bernier who, as a member of Harper’s cabinet with extreme libertarian views, distinguished himself by leaving behind secret government documents after an overnight romp at the home of his then girlfriend, a one-time girlfriend to a Hell’s Angels member? Disenchanted with losing to Andrew Scheer in his bid for the Conservative leadership, Bernier left the party to form his own unimaginatively called People’s Party of Canada made up largely of constituents to whom he and the conservatives he left often pander: the ignorant, the disenchanted, the intolerant. Is this know-nothing to be trusted let alone supported?
Oh yeah, happy new year.
But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.
They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin