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Category Archives: Canadian Politics

LIBERAL COMPLACENCY, CONSERVATIVE BOTTOMFEEDERS OR NDP DECENCY: TAKE YOUR PICK, I KNOW IT’S WRONG

Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. — George Carlin 

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence. — Steve Landesberg

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Whenever Pierre Poilievre, Candice Bergen, Cheryl Gallant, Leslyn Lewis, Andrew Scheer, Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Doug Ford, or any gathering of Conservatives numbering more than one, appear in the same room, observers can be assured tedium, often the product of the shrill whine of white noise issuing from relentlessly flapping lips, is the main course.

The recent Conservative “unofficial” leadership debate of May 7, from which Patrick Brown wisely kept clear, perhaps an indicator of acute foresight and leadership credentials, gave a pretty clear picture of what I mean particularly of three of the contenders who are exemplars of windage, though it must be stated in all fairness that the perceived leader for the top position, outdid all the contenders in both windage and gas. That was Pierre Poilievre. The other two considered as possible contenders, Jean Charest and Leslyn Lewis didn’t stand a chance though Lewis gave a pretty good accounting of herself in the areas of pandering and fulminating noise slugging it out with Poilievre to see who could out-pander the other in trying to win the hearts, minds and votes of the same thugs, bullies, whiners and wallowers in victimhood who occupied Ottawa under the banner of freedom while denying such to the locals. 

Leslyn Lewis took Pierre Poilievre to task for not showing enough support for the so-called “Freedom Convoy” which, of course, Poilievre would have none of saying his was “the loudest voice” of support. When has his ever not been the loudest, most obstreperous voice? Jean Charest struggled for attention, finally achieving it when booed by an ignorant and noisy audience for saying Poilievre supported an illegal protest which was true but also understated because many of those thugs were seditionists calling for the overthrow of an elected government which, apparently appears to be the side Poilievre and Lewis have opted for, each trying to outdo the other in supporting folks who not only whine about non-existent losses of freedom, but also consider democracy fair game adding salt on the wounds of real victims of lost freedoms, some with losses that were absolute, as in Ukraine, victims of the Russian midget butcher, Putin. 

“Freedom Convoy”? Bullies, thugs, ignorant, gathered to convey some vague message of discontent and anger while others, in the background, pull their strings. Ask them exactly what it is that angers and what it is they have lost, they’ll give you the finger accompanied by a few expletives and spittle. 

Look at Poilievre, loud, arrogant and, unbelievably, proud that cheapness and ugliness is all that he has to offer, such is the dearth of ideas and shamelessness of his pursuit of winning conspiracists wallowing in their miserable fetishism of victims of a tyrannical government and a world arrayed against them.

Leslyn Lewis puzzles me somewhat. She’s pro-life. That’s fine. But, in competing with Poilievre for the race to the bottom of the sewer, she too seeks the hearts, minds and votes of folks who, not that long ago, if not still, would not have allowed her to use the same lavatory let alone dine in the same restaurant. What disturbs me is the both Lewis and Poilievre seem incapable of a vision that emboldens and ennobles. They apparently are content to seek the support of bottom feeders.

The official debate of May 11, while a quieter affair because of the format which led Poilievre to unwittingly silence himself somewhat because of his eagerness to speak on every issue. As a consequence, to six questions, contenders were allowed to challenge others up to five times by raising a paddle. Lewis and Poilievre quickly used up their challenges and were thus relatively silent while the others were allowed to offer their thoughts. While the fireworks may not have been there, I did get to learn more about the others. Again, for me, Poilievre came across as particularly odious, when, to a question regarding the so-called “Freedom Convoy”, he seized the opportunity to attack the moderator and media because they concentrated on “truckers who lost their jobs because of an unfair vaccine mandate imposed on them by the Prime Minister, who was targeting them without any scientific basis, than you were about holding accountable people who’ve actually done violence”. The tirade is untrue. The fiction of one who misrepresents, distorts and bends truth into something unrecognizable particularly to Ottawa residents, I am certain, who endured weeks of honking horns and torturous sleepless nights. 

Poilievre was and is by far the worst of the lot. We learned Roman Babar would open the north to mining. This is a highly sensitive region and is already threatened by climate change. Interestingly, while the debate was taking place, the feed at the bottom of the screen was of Nunavut hunters wanting to put a stop to a mine’s ice breakers because of the threat to Narwhales. Charest insisted he would cut taxes. Well, that’s not new. Every Conservative promises that and look what it gets us, infrastructures neglected and Healthcare and Education used as political footballs. Too, he expressed a desire to have more involvement of the private sector in public healthcare wherein taxpayers who will save money on taxes so that they can spend the saving plus even more on healthcare because, remember folks, private health thrives on PROFIT. Well, let’s face it, many politicos, when they leave office, often find work in the private sector, so why not help Big Business further feather the nest with government contracts before they leave or are forced out? That’s the sum of Charest’s vision. That’s some vision. Why not just put the money directly into Healthcare, hire more healthcare workers and cut out the middle men? Not for these folks. Oh, it’s fine to declare you wish to serve Canada, but really, come on, we all look after number one, right? 

Question Period in the House should be required viewing. None of the sides come out well but Conservatives have a penchant for demonstrating how truly ugly they are always on the lookout for the “gottcha” moment, asking questions with answers they already know allowing for no response, whether honest or not, that they will accept. It’s ritual, a game in which none of the players seriously play, an indecent, noisy gong show of insincerity and one-upmanship played on a seemingly endless loop. Loud, shrill and totally without decorum, the Conservatives seem particularly adept in creating the hysterical tone, in acting the wounded, outraged and wronged opposition members fighting mightily to do the job, not for which they were elected, but for seeking power and keeping it by fanning the flames of discontent and fear and untruths feeding the rabble what it wants to hear: they are victims of a inept, corrupt, unheeding governing party. Everyone’s agin ‘em. 

Sick, childish, disgusting. Only a masochist can watch and be inspired.  

Yet, here we are, expected to believe that they are fit to lead a country. Is this truly the best the Conservatives have to offer? Or the Liberals? Is this what we really seek? If so, then we are truly lost, deservedly so because we want it to happen finding it easier to embrace only that which conforms to what we want to believe. 

Conservatives, simply put, with Poilievre and his ilk, have sold themselves for the vilest of reasons and none of them have anything to do with serving Canada and Canadians. It began with Harper and Peter MacKay and the betrayal of the progressives in the party, such as they were, when they turned their backs on a handshake with David Orchard. It’s been downhill since. Look at the list and ask yourselves: Are these people good for Canada? Are the all we have? Do they really have vision, ideas, solutions? Jason Kenney, Stephen Harper, Scott Moe, Doug Ford, Derrick Sloan (booted from caucus), Michael Cooper, Melissa Lantsman, Candice Bergen, and every Conservative MP and MPP holding office today. They are preoccupied by the concept of Power: winning power by any means at any price for as long as possible. If that means stoking the fires of fear, conspiracy, intolerance, and superstition intermixed with a thick larding of revisionist history, so be it.

The Liberals are likely a bit more palatable. If just by a hair. They are probably nicer in handing out their poison but just as deadly. They suffer from a complacency and arrogance that is intolerable with a leader who is not only shallow but also dishonest, deceitful and weak with a propensity for a smug, loudly declarative style when making grandiose promises which he then undermines (as with electoral reform) or quietly walks away from or, when confronted, will lay at the feet of others. For a long while during his first term as Prime Minister, he was also fond of boasting of his feminism until exposure, time, and events laid bare the hollowness of that claim. Saying is not being. Revelations showed him to be less than he seemed and is. Wisely, these days you don’t hear him brag all that much about his feminism.

While it is true I have no fondness for the Liberals, it is the Conservative Party, in its present state, with its paucity of ideas and slate of representatives I find repellent for their meanness, anger, bigotry and parochialism. Just days ago, there was news of Ontario Conservative MPPs, eight thus far, receiving “expenses” from their own riding associations. Earning $165K+ salaries from the public purse, these honourable members were also willing to dip into donor contributions for these generous and quietly offered bonuses. Hopefully “honourable” members and the leadership of the riding associations made it appoint to inform all donors as to how their contributions were being used. I suspect not. It’s not illegal but can this really be ethical? According to Global News, here are the amounts donors directly, if unwittingly, gave to four MPPs on top of their salaries: Lisa Macleod, $56K+; Vincent Ke, $54K+; Kaleed Rasheed $23K and,; Greg Rickford, $14K+. And some people have the nerve to call them “cheap politicians”. With Conservatives, there is no such thing. Doug Ford refused to take questions regarding the matter and went into hiding for a day, perhaps enjoying his “buck-a-beer”. It’s likely donors to eight ridings might reconsider next time they get a begging call to “give”.

Still, while this practice may upset some Conservatives, particularly in the ridings of these members, I suspect this will not be enough to cause supporters to vote for an alternative party other than Liberals. It is almost a certainty that come next election, regardless of who leads the parties, the government of Canada will be Conservative or Liberal.

People often claim they want change but they don’t really mean it. If they did, they would look at the Green or, more realistically, at the NDP with its progressive agendas on health, housing, education and care for the aging and homeless populations while focusing on jobs and wages of those men and women, the real contributors to society, who actually keep the country humming. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is not a perfect man. I never heard him claim to be. But I also know I have never heard him appeal to the worst in us nor heard of him exploiting any situation to enhance his own interests at the expense of others. Look at what we have now with the Liberals and Conservatives. I believe Jagmeet Singh honest, intelligent and more than capable. He is young enough to see and embrace opportunities that will work for Canada and its citizens and yet mature enough to learn from mistakes and own up to them. But even he has made mistakes. I am thinking of his treatment of Erin Weir. I did not like it. But, as I said, he is not a perfect man.

I believe in the hopes and dreams of the NDP. I support them when I can and am able. I believe in the Party’s integrity and ambitious goals and I continue to hope. But, I have seen enough to know that it is doubtful I will live to see the NDP allowed through the revolving Federal electoral door that allows only Conservatives and Liberals to govern, regardless of how coldly, mean-spiritedly or ineptly because the guardians at the door cannot, will not, embrace change. No one owes me that. I would love to see the NDP govern federally but accept I likely will not. But you do owe it to yourself to be smarter, to examine all the platforms of all parties and be open and willing to listen to all sides and to embrace change you believe in even if there may be a risk. Since when should fighting for a decent, just and noble vision be easy. Easy makes me wary. Taking the path of least resistance as we have federally since we became a nation has not allowed us to be the best we can. In fact, we have the flavour of Pablum, have become smug, and are viewed with amused tolerance as “nice people”. But, clearly not all are nice. While visiting the campaign office of Jen Deck in Peterborough, ON, NDP leader was greeted outside by group of thugs, loud, foul-mouthed and cowardly, hurling racist epithets and death threats. These are the types to which Poilievre and his type seek to woo. Bottom-feeding lowlifes. This has happened to Singh before. Again he proved himself calm, poised, adroit and clearly capable of keeping his nerve. That’s not just nerve under threat, but signs of a leader able to react coolly while under fire.

I have heard too often folks saying they want change yet, given the opportunity, do nothing to make the change possible. I have even heard them say, “My heart’s with the NDP but they can’t win” and then go on to ensure they don’t.

That sort of voting is astounding in its simplicity and stupidity. How is it possible for some to be so obtuse and willfully self-harming? Instead of trying something that’s been on standby, and ready, for decades, they are too timid to take the test; so, with a chagrined shrug, perhaps even saying, “What can I do?”, they opt for the easy choice, the “safer” choice, preferring what they have experienced time-and-again, the mean-spiritedness and opportunism exemplified by the Conservatives of today and the complacency and arrogance of a regime too corrupt and tired to really care about offering, let alone making, a real difference. 

Now, when I hear someone say to me, “I want to vote NDP but they can’t win,” I just mouth, “FU” and walk away.

Malcolm X said: If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. He was right.

Canada will lose again and again every time we opt for the same ol’ same ol’. We will convince ourselves we made the right choice but we never will because we could not bring ourselves to take that small step towards change. Voters need to shrug off that apathy, rid themselves of their doubts and fears and sense of victimhood and accept some responsibility for their own choices. Until we do, Canada will be the worst for it.

 And that’s on you.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

TRUCK CONVOY: HIJACKED BY THUGS, EXTREMISTS, IDIOTS, AND CHEAP POLITICOS

Most people mostly use freedom of speech as freedom to bitch. – Mokokoma Mokhonoan

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Whatever the message intended by the so-called “Freedom Convoy” (80 – 90% vaccinated) on Jan. 29, it was lost not only because it happened to fall on the same day as the 5th anniversary of the the mosque attack in Quebec that claimed six lives and injured 19 others, but also because those with agendas, right wing extremists in the white supremacist, anti-government, anti-science movement and Maxime Bernier’s lunatic People’s Party, co-opted the protest in so many despicable and demeaning ways. Because of the few crazies, folks wanting to honour the memory of that tragic event were denied access to the site and opportunity to share their grief. Instead of Canadians witnessing a memorial in which people suffered the ultimate loss of freedom, we were treated to an astounding and disgraceful spectacle of folks loudly and proudly cavorting before cameras ecstatic that the world was able to witness them in all their glorious derangement. 

I agree that truck drivers and all Canadians have the right to protest, the right to be stupid and proud of it. But I don’t support their stated reasons for holding the massive and disruptive protest. Those there, moan of loss of freedom, loss of the right to make their own decisions; everywhere they look they see the big hand of government tearing away at their freedoms. They reject government mandates “telling” them what to do.

They haven’t a clue.

They are selective in what laws they are agreeable. I suspect every truck driver there has a valid license. That’s the law. I would guess they came from wherever in sobriety. That, too, is the law. No drinking and driving. There are countless examples of curbs to what we can do and they are, in fact, limits to our freedom. But we accept them. Yet, during this pandemic which has accounted for millions of deaths worldwide, those truckers and their ilk dispute the right of government to mandate, and businesses to enforce, requirements that employees be vaccinated, the wearing of masks, of social distancing, of not participating in large gatherings and reckless behaviour. In other words, they demand the rights to do whatever irresponsible and dangerous act they wish while denying the same of other members of society who wish only to be safe from the reckless actions of morons who believe themselves special and apart. They are, but not in ways they wish to imagine. 

Those anti-mandators do not like that governments and employers demand that they get the shots, mask, distance and isolate at the risk of losing their jobs. They have the right to refuse and many have done so, placing themselves and their families and their neighbours in danger. If they wish to endanger themselves, that is their right. But, if in doing so, they place others at risk, they are breaking the unwritten social contract necessary for the survival of all. In doing so, they have accepted the attendant risk of refusal: possible job loss, illness, even death. That is their choice just as we in society and employers have a choice and right to be protected from them. They have been warned. And they should pay with their livelihood if necessary. Just as they should if, in refusing to take measures to protect themselves, they end up in the hospital. Health care is publicly funded and, with this pandemic coupled with irresponsible political moves by governments, already at serious risk. Frontline workers are in short supply and those who are left behind are at extreme risk of burnout and falling ill themselves. So, if making stupid decisions lands you in the hospital with Covid because you didn’t like the guidelines and protective measures offered by medical experts and imposed by our government, then you pick up the cost for your own treatment since you have added unnecessarily to the cost and burden to the public purse and workers. Personally, if you end up ill because of your wish to be “free” to make your own decisions, I hope you never make it to the front of the line. You made that choice. But you will because those people you abuse and harass and threaten and, in one instance I am aware of, drove to suicide, will do everything in their power to help you recover because that is what they do. If you do get well, they will line the hallways and applaud their efforts and yours as you leave to resume your life. They care more for you and society than you do. They are the heroes in spite of your imbecility. That life you were willing to squander and that they gave back to you, is much, much more than you deserve. 

In the images on the news (yes, main stream news), there were a few s that stuck out. An anti-vaxxer, maybe 50, parading shirtless in 20 plus below zero; a female, 30 – 40, screaming how she could not wait for Donald Trump (whom she “loved, just loved”) to get re-elected. This, a Canadian protest held in the Canadian capital, with an overweight male without enough sense to come in from the cold and a real, live (breathing, in any case), if simple-minded barbie bimbo apparently confused about which country she was charming with her vacuity.

One of the comments often heard is the concern of injection of “foreign” substances into their bodies. That struck me as strange since we do it every day if not with over-the-counter drugs, with canned foods and frozen pizzas made from who-knows-what from who-knows-where. What do most of us know about what goes on in these factories? We go on trust, believe the food suppliers are legitimate, the products of good quality, the workers hygienic. What if some bored or angry worker spits in the mixture about to be canned, or handles the ingredients immediately after picking his nose or blowing a spray of snot into that ice cream you’re nibbling into. Would we know? Still we eat from the cans, swallow the pizzas, lick our lips to get the last bit of that creamy ice cream. Yet we don’t trust doctors and scientists to work in our behalf, which is also theirs, for they, too, have families and loved ones. No, we will not listen to science but will swallow without question Donald Trump’s recommendation to ingest ivermectin, a deworming drug for farm animals and Hydroxychloroquine which recommendation led to the deaths of a foolish elderly couple with misplaced trust. In the past, there were people who resisted treatment just as they do today. Nevertheless, thanks to science and government efforts, many diseases have been eradicated. Smallpox and polio vaccines have virtually eliminated them as threats and recent vaccines appear to hold promise of putting an end to malaria. Unfortunately, there will never be a vaccine able to erase the line of willing conscripts to misinformation, conspiracy theories and ignorance.  

“Loss of freedoms”? Those anti-mandate, anti-vaxxer folks mostly have no more awareness of what real loss means any more than I do. While all of us likely have experienced the pain of losing someone, most of us have not lost the freedom to roam, to vote, to get educated, to meet and marry the one we love. But there are parts of the world where women cannot work, cannot drive, cannot walk unveiled, cannot get educated, or even vote or speak out except by the say-so of men. In some places, if a woman is raped, she is the one to be faulted. In some parts of the world, homosexuals are imprisoned, even executed. Being a Christian in some parts of the world, as being a Muslim in Canada and the US, can get one killed. Those fortunate few who manage to escape those areas do not always wholly escape the racism, bigotry and violence that drove them here. One needs only look at the news to see how they suffer for wearing a hijab, look and dress differently, speak another language. If they are successful, they are accused of stealing our jobs or being favoured by governments or accused of bribery and corruption. But those six muslims and 19 wounded in Quebec five years ago, the family of four mowed down in London, Ontario last year, their families and friends and community, know all too well that Canada is not immune to the hatred and bigotry and violence played out in all parts of the globe for they and far, far too many pay a terrifying price including the absolute loss of freedom, their lives taken by Yahoos no doubt considered saints by white supremacist whining about wearing masks, social distancing and taking the vaccine shots. That is about their extent of knowledge regarding the loss of “freedom”.

Then you had those others, same type, picayune, parochial, stupid, draping hateful messages on the Terry Fox statue, mostly racist and vulgar, anti-Trudeau messages, the Canadian flag hung upside down having nothing to do with the putative purpose of the protest while others dance upon the grave of the Unknown Soldier. These folks possess not an iota of shame, of decency, or of understanding of the history and sacrifice that gave them the good life they presently enjoy and refuse to recognize. They prefer to whine and bully and threaten while uttering the words “freedom” and “rights”. They are not talking about rights or freedom for all. Otherwise they would not behave as they do. It is their rights and their freedoms only and always, on their terms.

To add insult, almost all of them informed and manipulated by extremists with agendas of their own, are seen in increasing numbers wearing a potent symbol of the past, the yellow star in which they seek to equate their imagined suffering and loss of freedom to the pain, torture and deaths of millions of holocaust victims forced to wear this symbol that identified and doomed them. This vile insult by the protesting, posturing jerks is defilement of the grossest kind. 

Yet, when one thinks it can’t get worse, it does. The anti-mandate thugs, and there are too many, went about harassing pedestrians and beating staff of businesses seeking to enforce the mask mandate. In one instance, they attacked and beat a security employee of a shelter while hurling racist taunts at him as they stole food meant the homeless who, unlike those thugs, really do not have anything. You see everywhere pro-Nazi sympathy, the Confederate flag and hear the endless blare of truck horns and partiers depriving citizens of sleep unconcerned about the health and well-being of the elderly and ill. Citizens were taunted and called “traitors” for wearing a mask, which is their right to do. Evidently these ugly lunkheads don’t seem to understand the irony.

And then you have the low-life sewer rat politicos, Andrew Scheer, Erin O’Toole, Max Bernier, Pierre Poilievre, Candace Bergern and the rest of the sleazy conservative and libertarian haters apprently sanctioning racism, violence and stupidity calling these folk “good”, “honest” citizens. Sure they are. Even the imbecilic Donald Trump and his equally brainless son inserted themselves into the foray. Nothing is too low for such as these. Lawrence J. Peter once quipped, “There’s not such thing as a cheap politician.” He almost had it right. Far too many are cheap in character.

Stealing food from the homeless! Dancing on the grave of the Unknown soldier! Going after the statue of Terry Fox! Displaying the Nazi flag!

Am I angry? You bet. I despise these people. The protestors live in their own world of victimhood, indulging in fantasies and imagined wrongs done them and the opportunistic politicos spur them on, adding fuel to those fears and wrongs. To them, nothing matters but their own selfish desires. They deny others what they demand for themselves. But when they demand the overthrow of a government, they should face charges and for the costs to taxpayers, they should foot the bill with severe fines or, better yet, the seizure of their trucks until the fines are fully paid and the city of Ottawa compensated. Not all the truckers were looking for trouble but those blocking highways, streets, forcing businesses to send staff home were no doubt encouraged by agents provocateurs. They are beyond selfish. They are frightened, loudmouth losers who deep within their core fear that they are less than adequate, that their lives are as empty and meaningless and worthless as they suspect. 

Watching them in action, I can offer them assurances: They are absolutely right in this only. Their lives are empty, meaningless and worthless.

***

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

SAINT JUSTIN TRUDEAU: THE END OF PRETENCE

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Abandoning Allies & Abusing Democracy

Justin Trudeau doesn’t even talk a good game. For the Afghani interpreters and their families numbering in the thousands, there is doubtless a profound sense of betrayal by the US, Canada and allies who have set August 31, 2021 the final day of hope for those seeking help in escaping the Taliban who have marked them for torture and death. 

For Trudeau, who has called an unnecessary, unpopular election in the midst of a pandemic that is on the upswing with the Delta variant, just two years into his second term, the fate of the Afghani men and women, women in particular, who have worked, suffered and risked all alongside Canadian and American troops, is of less importance than that Trudeau gain his Liberal majority. 

He may have miscalculated in that. 

By offering little more than a token gesture, begun eight years too late, he likely weighed the costs and determined the risks of working to rescue those people who helped Canadian troops when they were needed. He likely has determined he risks and gains little by doing nothing; he will allow Americans to bear the burden and do the work.

When Canada, under Harper, pulled out of Afghanistan seven years ago, the Taliban was still seen as a resurgent threat and even then, there were calls to assist those who had worked with western nations hoping to stabilize the country because they were clearly at risk as were their families. The calls fell on deaf ears and Harper and crew, waged the 2015 election exploiting the suspicion, fears and bigotries of Canadians against Muslims from Syria which would eventually extend to almost all Arab speaking states. For Canadians, the Harper-fed bigotry has run deep and still flourishes unable to differentiate friend from foe or, more likely, indifferent to such nuances: all Arabs look alike and must be Muslim and will threaten our good Christian way of life. Trudeau understands this. If he is one consumed with his public image (the saintly, heart-on-sleeves, politically correct, embracer of all safe, feel-good, societally approved schticks) and winning, he is also a pragmatist who finds it very easy to discard and kick aside all that has lost public favour or that proves useless to him embracing even what he once ridiculed. Trudeau loves nothing but the image of Trudeau intact and polished to eye-burning sun-dazzling extremes. He will do as much and as little possible to ensure that his star is the one that is ascendent and witnessed and draws the loudest gasps of awe. For a politico of his stripe, everything is of less importance than what offers the best chance of securing his political survival. He has no soul, harbours no real beliefs and is adept at moving whichever way the wind blows.

Canadian veterans have begged him to act; he has made a pretence of doing so but much, much too late. Men and women and their families are hiding, they are frightened and they are being hunted down. Many will die. But Trudeau will have his election.

And, like all federal elections since Canada became a nation, the outcome will be as it always has been because we have a revolving door that only allows Conservatives and Liberals to win. In spite of claiming to want change, to want something new, better and more transparent, Canadians will vote as they have always done, wanting more of everything while holding tight to their wallets. And the politicians will promise more of everything waving bright, shiny trinkets as bribes and we will snap them up and believe them as we have since 1867. We say we want change but that is a lie. We say we want honest governance. That, too, is a lie. When we keep on voting for the same parties offering the same lies, it’s clear we do not want change or honesty. We are not even honest to ourselves. 

We just want to be stroked, lied to and led. We have always wanted that. If not, why don’t we try something new and yet not that new. What do we really risk by voting NDP? There is no risk. We don’t like what they do, we vote them out.

But at least, we will have opened the revolving door enough to accept one more member. That’s a start. Maybe one day, Canadians will actually do what they say they want to do, that is, hold fair, democratic elections. 

Maybe the day will come when Canadians will actually embrace Proportional Representation as a model. But I will not hold my breath. And I will not hope. I’ve seen this charade too many times and know voters really do not want change, or have vision or even have wisdom. Politicians, when they lose will utter this platitude: The voter is always right. 

They don’t believe that. Neither do I. And, if you are honest, neither do you. 

***

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

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, ERIN O’TOOLE, JAGMEET SINGH: HOSTAGES TO QUEBEC; DOUBLE STANDARDS IN THE FACE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

Terrorism will spill over if you don’t speak up. — Malala Yousafzai

Speak your mind even though your voice shakes. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Never be afraid to speak your mind, you have one for a reason. — Sarah Moores

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Maybe it’s just me. In Canadian politics, I just don’t see much, if anything, to admire or respect, to risk hanging one’s hat on; it’s all about the main chance. Apparently, in matters of belief, principle, duty, and ability, the most important facility one needs to enter politics is the ability to be shameless. Integrity, character, empathy and sincerity are useful assets but not essential, items to be called upon when needed then set aside when not if and when they threaten one own’s goals. Honesty is a mug’s game so best possess a pokerface proficiency when lying.

The day of the truly honest, perhaps principled is a better word, politician has long passed, a product of another era; there was Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles. Three were even Conservatives: Robert Stanfield, Flora MacDonald and Joe Clark. But these are mostly personal impressions from what I have read, heard and witnessed on television. Though I cannot vouch for them first hand, I suspect these five were people, I might have liked though not enough to join the party of three.

The politicians of today do not interest me. None intrigue me or show signs of promise offering hope. The Conservatives are obstreperous, shrill, whiney, dishonest, short-sighted, and two-faced more likely to draw upon and appeal to the worst in us; they prefer to tear down than to raise up and are more willing to foment fear, create enemies and exploit bigotry not with the goal of making Canada a better place but in gaining power and clinging to it for as long as possible. The NDP fares not much better. It has surrendered too much of what I have always supported in the socialist vision. In fact, it spends too much time denying its roots drifting to the right, less interested in actually achieving things, as it often did in the past by holding the balance of power, than in gaining power. It’s a party that has consciously sought the middle ground threatening to drift and sink on the shoals of irrelevancy. As for the Liberals, well, what can one say? It’s a party steeped in corruption, hypocrisy and putrid with smugness, less interested in the governance of the nation than in protecting malfeasant corporate interests at the expense of judicial integrity provided the corporate interests are Canadian.

For all three, it’s about the main chance. 

Justin Trudeau is not a man I would care to know or even meet; I see enough of him on the daily news and that is more than sufficient to form an opinion: he is a poseur. When he wants the world to know that he is about to do done something, particularly if it is politically correct or, at the least, sounds good, as when he announced during the 2015 campaign that that year would be the last ever first-past-the-post election in Canada, he will, first looking to ensure the cameras are there and correctly positioned, loudly, and smugly make the declaration with a bombastic flourish, head high, chin and chest out. A certain cartoon majesty seeking public notice and attention. That will almost always work when the declarations are what most can agree on: equality, human rights, feminism, an end to intolerance and it will work particularly well with those who actually do believe in the good of people, even the very politicos who betray them time and time again. Myself, I’m skeptical. But hindsight informs. The smugness, and you can see it in his carriage in almost every announcement that he believes significant, (they all are — to him), derives from his awareness that, however bold and bombastic the promise, he has them. And if he breaks his promise, and he has and does time-and-again, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of how dishonestly, dishonourably or brutally he breaks the pledge and, at times, their hearts, he only has to smile and, oozing, simply oozing sincerity, dish up another offering just as meaningful to his fans. He is a rock star who can do no wrong no matter how outrageous or callous his betrayal. He treats them as suckers. And they are. They still follow and believe him when he utters, less often now than the early days as prime minister, that he is a feminist, that he believes in human rights, that he will fight for Canada, that his governance will be honest, open, transparent by default. Well, we know none of that was true, don’t we? One can almost hear him snickering: Suckers! He has wormed his way into their hearts with lies and promises that he broke again and again and will do again and again. He is tin sheet with the same depth.  

Oh, he looks good. He looks convincing. But I do not trust him; I cannot believe in him; I certainly cannot like him. I tried, but within months of his taking office, you could see him for what he was. A phony. Jostling female members aside with his elbows as he sprang to the chamber floors of parliament to grab a member and push him back into his seat. Or, most recently, when he, and all the political party leaders, attended and spoke out at a memorial service in London, Ontario after a Muslim family of five, Yumna Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Yumna’s grandmother, and Salman Afzaal, were mowed down by a young man filled with hate using a truck as a weapon. A nine year old boy, Fayez Afzaal, survived to mourn the loss of his sister, mother, father and grandmother. All, three leaders spoke out against terrorism and Islamophobia, Trudeau oozing, simply oozing the most sincerity. Yet, perhaps, we should be reminded if reminders are necessary and they seem to be, that the liberals, conservatives and NDP are on the same page when it comes to words versus action. Addressing Parliament, Jagmeet Singh spoke of his outrage and the need for laws to combat hate, especially Islamophobia. At the London vigil, June 2, he spoke out against the “Heinous act of terrorism” and spoke of the need for Muslims to be proud of who they were, of combating on-line hate, of the need for political parties to stop using “Islam for political games”, a clear reference to the 2015 campaign in which the Harper conservatives announced their intent to create a Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line targeting, you guessed it, Muslims. But Singh’s words were there, the rage real. Or so it seemed. Erin O’Toole who spoke before Singh and after Trudeau, had been a member of Harper’s regime at the time of the snitch line debacle. On that matter, he had been silent as have been all those conservatives reelected until this devastating event. O’Toole’s London address noted the “rise of Islamophobia is the pandemic of darkness” and the need to “repel evil with goodness.” Fine words. But that night, he did not own up to the role his party and he and his colleagues played in that “rise of Islamophobia”. Since then, conservatives O’Toole, Michelle Rempel and others started falling over themselves to apologize for their failures in not speaking out when colleagues Kellie Leitch and Chris Alexander, departed but unlamented MPs, breathlessly announced the promise of the snitch line. Fine words at the vigil, but too late by far and by close to six years. And then we have Trudeau, self-declared feminist and equal rights supporter with his own history of hypocrisy of groping and blackface partying declaring the murders of the London family, a hate crime and act of terrorism. He was and is right on that. But wait.

So, there we have them, the three party leaders on the same page regarding this murderous May 30th event in London, Ontario. And yet, and yet, turning another page, they, Trudeau, O’Toole, and Singh, also appear in agreement that seems to deny their own fine words and sentiments expressed during the vigil for the Afzaal family. On this page, there is no moral outrage, no denunciations of hatred, of racism and of white supremacy. Not a word or, if a word, barely heard, a whisper perhaps. When offered the opportunity to back their words of the Afzaal vigil with deeds, they are peculiarly dumb.

Quebec’s premier Francois Legault has passed into law, Bill-21. It bans religious symbols being displayed in public buildings and on public servants while at work. Quebec aspires to nationhood and calls itself a nation. It is not. Yet not one Federal political leader is willing to say this. Quebec not only aspires to nationhood but aspires also to secularism. But this aspiration has less to do with religion than it has to do with one particular segment of society. You’ve got it. Bill-21 targets Muslims. Again, not one federal leader has challenged this law. You see, they all want to be elected and to do that they need the Quebec vote and Bill-21 is wildly popular in Quebec and politicians, as you know, are nothing if not cheap, sleazy pandering, opportunistic whores. Quebec has Canada in a stranglehold and our leaders cravenly standby, putting their political fortunes over that of Canada. Their silence on Quebec as a “nation” is divisive and may embolden the malcontent whiney premiers like Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Brian Pallister, Doug Ford and their supporters to boast the same and act accordingly. On the matter of Islamophobia or any form of hatred and violence, there is even greater, more immediate need for concern.   

Shortly following the vigil for the murdered family where politicians of all stripes said their fine words, a reporter asked Trudeau if he, Trudeau, believed Quebec’s Bill-21 to be racist. Without looking at the reporter or camera, staring fixedly ahead at nothing, Trudeau, his face tight and expressionless, gave his succinct one-word verdict: “No”! It appears that O’Toole and Singh agree.

That’s about all I need to know about these people.

***

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

TRUDEAU: STARSTRUCK, BAD CHOICES AND CHARACTER

Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke. – Will Rogers

What the country needs is more unemployed politicians. – Angela Davis

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Even as opposition member during Stephen Harper’s reign, Trudeau had about him the air of a youngster eager to please alertly mindful to how the elders were responding to anything he did: Had they noticed what a good boy was he. For many, exhausted by the mean-spirited leadership of the conservative regime, Trudeau’s desire to be liked and noticed, seemed refreshingly innocent particularly when accompanied by loud pronouncements of what he would do during his run as prime minister, a few bold and easy to support: electoral reform; reconciliation with indigenous communities; action on climate change; ending omnibus bills in which were slipped questionable, unannounced legislation; reinstatement of disability pension plans for veterans; and ending the practice of prorogation of Parliament as a tactic to reset an agenda, to avoid questions, to prevent scandals from gaining traction, and to trigger an election. Said Trudeau of the last in 2015, “Stephen Harper has used prorogation to avoid difficult political situations. We will not.” With him and his liberals at the helm, governance would be different, better wherein honesty and transparency “by default” would be the hallmark was the promise. Canadians had heard this before, of course, countless times, but there was something about the young prince that made many willing to suspend incredulity for there was much to like and embrace apart from his earnestness. For the sceptical, perhaps spent by too many disappointments, while there was a desire for change, hope was measured; there was about Trudeau something too calculated for either trust or faith; he could earn their liking, receive their best wishes but not their vote. 

During the 2015 campaign and for some time following as prime minister, Trudeau seemed almost a naïf, earning good-humoured ribbing for his willingness, nay, eagerness, to apologize for almost every real past and present grievance experienced by segments of society. But humour soon turned to scorn when the apologies came too easily and as if by rote and for things over which he had no control ringing even more hollow when offered without reflection or followed by remedial measures. For a period, he was likely the sorriest world leader of our time if not all time. Eventually, ever sensitive to the direction of the public wind, perhaps realizing charm had morphed to smarm in the eyes of some, Trudeau’s apologies waned and then all but ceased. Now, when matters for which he should apologize are raised, and there are a lot of them, there has been a noticeable shift in how he reacts to questions he does not like. The warmth vanishes and, with it, the charm, his body becomes rigid and his gaze wanders coldly off into space for extended periods of time. When he does respond, he does so with frosty politeness offering non-answers, equivocations, deflections, side issues, glib dismissals, and/or excuses meant to be accepted as reasons. Still, the public likes him. Why?

Trudeau’s early forays into his first term, gave a clear vision of the man he would be and is…one of fluid ethics and familiar character failings common among cheap politicos. Even as he took steps to initiate the electoral reform promise, it was clear he meant to rig the outcome to his liking and when that didn’t happen, the committee recommending some form of proportional representation practiced by most democratic nations around the world, he preceded to sabotage it saying Canadians had lost interest. His minister of democratic reform, Maryam Monself denounced the committee for taking a pass on making a decision. The public outrage stemming from that prompted Trudeau to contract a firm to do an online survey on electoral reform that was mocked as unscientific and dishonest, allowing individuals to make unlimited entries and denied opportunities to answer direct questions on electoral reform systems because none were offered. Trudeau was determined. He was going to kill electoral reform and, to that end, Trudeau replaced Monsef with Karina Gould who officially drove the stake into the heart of electoral reform while he, having washed his hands of the affair, walked away the two female MPs bearing the brunt of the fallout. That would not be the last time that happened.

In appointing Jody Wilson-Raybould Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the first indigenous and third female to hold the post, Trudeau had made a prize catch in which he could bask. Unfortunately, politics and business got in the way when he sought to have Wilson-Raybould intervene in a charged court case involving SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based construction giant facing charges of bribery, corruption and fraud. If found guilty, the company would have been barred from doing government business for ten years. Worse, such a verdict might have a negative impact on Trudeau’s Quebec political fortunes if he was perceived as having not done enough to protect a major Quebec employer. Trudeau wanted the Minister of Justice to lean on the Director of Public Prosecutions to offer the company a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that would have allowed the company to avoid a trial, a guilty verdict and continue to do government business simply by meeting certain remedial conditions that were mostly window dressing in nature. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s refusal to intervene in the case enraged Trudeau and liberals who then embarked on a smear campaign to discredit her eventually forcing her from office of Governor General and Minister of Justice to that of Veterans Affairs until her resignation from cabinet to sit as an independent. Of the remaining liberals, only one other, Jane Philpott, a very capable minister and recently appointed to the senior position of President of the Treasury Board, stood up in defence of Wilson-Raybould, resigning to sit as an independent in solidarity. For that debacle, Trudeau staunchly refused to apologize “for saving Canadian jobs” nor did he apologize for seeking to pervert the rule of law. The gloves were off. No more mister nice guy. For that. too, he remains one of the worlds sorriest world leaders. Two more women took the hit. Trudeau? Not so much. Bruised but not battered enough.

Feminist? He declared himself so often enough. If so, perhaps adopted when he was about 28 or 29 and after attending a Creston Valley music event where he was accused of groping a local female news reporter. When it made the news at the time, he apologized to the woman, claiming not to recall any inappropriate behaviour even saying the same 20 years later, “Who knows where her mind was and I fully respect her ability to experience something differently” (CTVNews, July 6, 2018). Incredible. After all these years, when questioned on the allegations, he appeared fairly untroubled even seeming to suggest the reporter chose to remember whatever encounter that took place in a way that suited her. How far removed from his zero tolerance days when he booted from caucus two liberal members for unrelated allegations by an NDP member of sexual harassment. Though both denied the allegations, they were informed that they would not be allowed to run under the liberal banner as long as the allegations stood, Trudeau, to all intents destroying the careers of two individuals on untested allegations. It made for a good if bloody show; unfortunately, the zero-tolerance edict ostensibly didn’t apply to him. Feminist? When it is safe for him, evidently. Then we have Trudeau’s response to the release of the Trump tapes during Trump’s 2016 election bid with Trump educating a tv host on how the rich and wealthy treat women boasting of “grabbing them by the p____”. When asked on at least two separate occasions to comment, Trudeau refused to take the opportunity to condemn Trump saying he didn’t comment on American politics! Evidently, Trudeau’s views on feminism and harassment (among others) are not so deeply entrenched as to hobble him. Politicians are rarely ensnared by principle. Feminist? We only have his word. 

Free gifts; access-for-cash secret fundraising events with multi-millionaires; turning a blind eye to human rights by signing off on the Harper initiated LAV deal with murderous human rights abusing Saudi Arabia and then offering lie after lie as reasons for doing so. When not pretending to be a progressive, as he sought to slip legislation into omnibus bills, Trudeau prorogued parliament to avoid answering questions regarding his sole-sourced contract (two more broken promises) to the high profile WE Charity having determined that charity the only organization capable of administering the $912 million government funds for the student summer grants program. This was a highly visible and popular charity, something Trudeau could easily latch himself to and further burnish his image. But there was a hitch apart from the sole-sourcing of the contract: Trudeau and the liberals had a few too cozy ties with the charity. Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau had made several appearances at WE Day events before and after he became prime minister. In fact, Trudeau’s wife, mother and brother received from the charity about $427K for appearances and expenses. WE Charity paid Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s expenses to the UK so she could meet British superstar Iris Elba. This was arranged by Bill Morneau, then finance minister, whose daughter worked for the organization. When the decision was made to offer the student grant program to WE Charity, both Trudeau and Morneau were in attendance. They should not have been. Morneau had the grace to at least resign. Trudeau? He offered a puerile apology; his days of oozing, simply oozing sincerity over it seemed. The founders, Marc and Craig Kielburger, and the charity, were left battered and bruised, reputations tainted leading to the closure of the Canadian arm. While much of the Kielburger’s difficulties were largely of their own making in the way of bad business decisions and advertising tie-ins, the decision to sole-source was Trudeau’s. He threw the charity and his dazed friends under the bus just as easily as he sabotaged electoral reform once they were no longer utile and posed a threat to his brand. When around Trudeau, it might be well to recall Jeremy Thorpe’s words: Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his political life. Trudeau smiles, but he is as ruthless and as untrustworthy as any political snake. When the WE Charity scandal broke, prorogation was the tool to which he resorted hoping Canadians had a quick forgettery. Clearly, we do; some still consider him Prince Charming.

In one of the most egregious, odious and disgraceful acts by Trudeau and his liberals, the political meddling in government supply ship contracts favouring Irving Shipbuilding must certainly be topmost. As with Jody Wilson-Raybould, Trudeau’s liberals embarked on a campaign to shred the career of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman who opposed the political interference in the contract made by the previous Harper regime. Even when it became clear that Trudeau and his government had lost the public relations and legal battle, the PMO persisted on a path that was vindictive, cruel and incredibly petty. When the case against Norman for breach of trust collapsed, a motion to issue an apology in the House was made, a motion to which Trudeau agreed. However, before it was adopted, Trudeau left the House for an “appointment” in Hamilton, Ontario. That move was worthy of Stephen Harper. Classy. Oh, yes, Trudeau’s days of apologies are seemingly over while another’s life sits in ruins. That is Trudeau. Gotta love the guy!

And, if anyone thinks this is a man of sound judgement, let’s go back to another time after his groping days of reporters to when he was 29 and appeared in blackface, another thing he neglected to mention from his past. When confronted by this, he admitted to doing some “dumb things”. That’s allowed, we all do dumb things. But, in the age of feminist and racial sensitivity, an individual of 28 and 29, especially one as attuned to the political winds as Trudeau, must surely be aware of what is tolerated and not particularly when contemplating a political life smugly serene of having created an image of the sensitive new age guy appealing to the young, women, grandparents, and those calling themselves progressives. He might have been better served by addressing his own “unconscious” racism long before it became public. As leader of a nation, shouldn’t he be more reflective and receptive to delving into his attitudes then and now? 

Trudeau has manufactured an image of himself that the public was meant to embrace. He could be touchy-feely but was determined to demonstrate he was no soft mark. In 2014, as liberal leader, he informed senators in the Upper Chamber who had always considered themselves liberals that they no longer had ties to the party and were, in fact, no longer liberals, but independents. It was a raw, showy, nervy display of muscle-flexing, arrogance, and cynicism that was and remains meaningless except as an indicator of his hubris and character. In May of 2016, seeking to rush through a bill on assisted dying, Trudeau, now PM, strode on the floor of the House to manhandle the Opposition whip and, in doing so, roughly elbowed a female NDP member telling her to get out of the “f… way”. Mr. Nice Guy…well, seems he’s not so nice after all. Political theatrics. He had a point to make. 

Does it boil down to simply politics, the way of doing business? What does that say about his character? Is it that easy it is to throw away the trust of those who gave you the keys to the House? New. Different. Better.

Some have dismissed many of what I have outlined as just youthful enthusiasm and a sincere if at times over-zealous desire to do good. I am not so sure. Trudeau is too studied in what he does, one always on the lookout for the approving looks, the props he can exploit, and is well aware of the location of the cameras. He is starstruck with his own personae believing, I suspect, Canadians will forgive him almost anything. But he is also starstruck as in celebrity stars, but not in the way of a true fan patiently waiting in line for an autograph or hoping for a photo with the star or sappily mooning when the celebrity speaks to him. For Trudeau, celebrities are only tools to be used in the same fashion they and politicians use citizens. Sure, they all stroke and use each other ensuring they all get their rewards. Even the little people, the grateful seekers and voters, if only often in the way of shiny trinkets and empty promises.  

Yet, even as he reaches for the stars and wins them over, he occasionally misjudges and misfires; the reflected glory that he seeks at times redounds negatively on him as it has recently with the resignation of Julie Payette, his personal choice as Governor General. When it came to replacing the governor general, Trudeau did not trouble himself with using a committee to find and vet candidates. He already had one in mind: female, single mother, famous astronaut, Quebec born, fluently bilingual, a scientist, a professor, a musician. On paper, Julie Payette was an excellent choice, a superstar; Canadians would love her, and he would come out of it a winner. He was golden because she was golden. 

Except, she wasn’t so golden, after all, quickly proving herself a loose cannon racking up massive expenses of close to $400K in renovating Rideau Hall, customary home for GGs, and then refusing to move in preoccupied with privacy and scrutiny. And if she proved a headache for security, often ditching them to do whatever, she also proved lazy in the performance of her duties, failing to visit some provinces, often ignoring many public functions routine to her position. Then came the release of the damning report of how she and her top aide, a personal friend, Assunta Di Lorenzo, had transformed a once “idyllic” workplace, as described by one worker, into a “hellhole” of meetings that involved harassment in the form of screaming, foul language and victimization of individual targets at staff meetings that left workers weeping, bruised and exhausted until some, unable to tolerate the toxic environment created by Payette and her aide, resigned. When the noise became too much, Payette offered her resignation, her annuity of $150K a year and an expense account reputed to range from $150K to $200K a year…for life, still intact. And Trudeau’s response to all this? Pretty tame, platitudes about how everyone is entitled to work in a harassment free environment, but no apology for his role in scrapping the vetting committee and for opting for celebrity and the spectacular rather than the more down-to-earth hardworking, capable talent required of the position. With this debacle, he further entrenched his position as a leader of the sorriest kind. No regrets. Not a hint of shae.

There is very little about Trudeau to admire in my books. He is too willing to resort to legalese rather than what is ethical as whe have seen time and again. One more example.

He has opted to dip into COVAX, a global plan coordinated by the World Health Organization created to pool resources of richer countries to offer funding and equal access to vaccines to poorer nations during this current crisis. Now Canada and any of the G7 nation are entitled to dip into the stock, but most, it appears, have no intention of doing so preferring to let it do what it was created to do. Not so Canada. Because the deals made with Pfizer and Moderna to supply the Covid-19 vaccine will not happen as quickly as believed and hoped, Trudeau has unapologetically (are we surprised?) dipped into the plan saying Canada is entitled to do so. That’s true. That’s also legalese. Because one can doesn’t mean one should. No wonder so many are looking at Canada askance and shaking their heads. Have we no shame.

And yet?

For the public, Trudeau’s handling of the pandemic crisis seems about right. Charm, good looks and oozing sincerity, are apparently sufficient. But there are signs the crown is slipping. 

Oh, yes, he’s a good boy, is he not? 

***

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

DONALD TRUMP AND THE AMERICAN WAY TO CRAZY

The pompous son of a bitch knows everything—too bad he doesn’t know anything else. – Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

We have met the enemy and he is us.– Walt Kelly

Frank A. Pelaschuk

It’s enough to drive one crazy.

There’s a madman out there leading a nation of distracted, angry folk. They seem unable to articulate exactly what it is that so riles them but are certain they know it when they see it and they see it, the vast conspiracy, a cabal of radical left-wing socialist terrorists united in effort to take the little they have and Black Lives Matter, an anti-police movement and threat to the white supremacist view of life that should never have been.

Restless and angry, frightened too, most of them uncertain of the future or even if there will be one and their role in it, they just know someone is to blame and trust their leaders to tell them who. And the leaders are there, religious, social and free-market, all experts at fingerpointing and alternative facts. Unfortunately, the rabble do not often pause long enough to reflect and question their choices in whom to trust; they just want easy answers and assurances there is nothing wrong in them and that those responsible will pay. Republicans to the south and Conservatives here, are all too willing to join the game. 

So, they listen to the babble of others expressing the same fears and hear above the noise political and social leaders pointing fingers at Muslim immigrants, Hispanic migrant workers, radical socialist educators and students bent on corrupting the great American and Canadian way of life with impositions of exotic beliefs, faithless religion, and terroristic ideologies. The roiling rabble of discontented see in the BLM movement a threat necessitating the alt-right response, “All Lives Matter”, a response connoting not only recognition but also fear of chickens finally coming home to roost. Racists, such as Trump, the Proud Boys, the Sons of Odin, seize on that fear, likely unaware that in doing so, in seeking to counter the BLM movement, they are acknowledging their brutal historical contribution to the racial and religious divide where the colour of one’s skin and the strength of one’s belief can lead to death. White supremacist racist thugs see a reckoning heading their way; perhaps not in the immediate future but it’s coming and they are afraid. So, they spread the message, “All Lives Matter”, as if a new awakening when, in truth, that was the reality they refused, refused, to acknowledge from time immemorial with their anti-Semitic, anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian sprees of mayhem and death. It is only now, when the victims of the intolerance and violence are speaking up and fighting back, that victimizers, including those who, while not actively engaged, supported with their silence and inaction, have suddenly discovered the value of all lives. That is something the BLM supporters and all victims of intolerance have always known. Yet the bigots and the cowardly silent refused to listen. Yes, all lives matter, but why today? What about my life then, when the lynching, burnings and bombings were happening, where was the All Lives Matter Movement then for the countless victims of religious and racial intolerance? If those in the BLM are angry, who can blame them? The victims have had enough. There is no threat from BLM, just a declaration of notice: They will not, they cannot, they shall not take it any longer. That is not too much to demand of a free society.

But Trump and far too many like-minded political, religious, media, and societal leaders, mostly conservative, relying on support from white supremacist conspiracists with their grievances of victimhood would have you believe otherwise, would have you believe that victims standing up for themselves pose a threat not just to the victimizers but to all of society. The bigots, the stupid, and the cruel lap it up preferring to listen to the loudest lies by the loudest liars, and wink away the bromides and simplistic solutions contrived to further divide and harm claiming of those politicos engaged in such, “They tell it like it is.” Yet, when challenged to explain what they mean, the adherents often cannot only certain they like what they hear because it conforms to what they want to hear. The merits of what they hear don’t enter the picture because the followers of demagogues never question. And, why should they? It’s easier and more comforting to gorge on the poison you like. Chaos is the menu of the day and fear the dessert. 

And then we have the pandemics: Covid-19 and the age of aggressive stupidity, maskless folks, loudly proud of their rugged individualism, eagerly banding together in huge mobs apparently to prove—what?—endangering themselves, their loved ones and others in society with an irresponsible idiot int the White House encouraging such antics. With all the modern devices around us that makes it even easier to learn and know more, it is astounding that we so wilfully embrace a new dark age of ignorance, of superstition, of conspiracies, of magic thinking, preferring to dance to the tune of lunatic Pied Pipers: What we don’t see, hear or know, cannot hurt us.

So, folks drink from the poison chalice offered by that monstrous orange-headed narcissist without any awareness, it seems, that he is their enemy, that, even as he uses them, he holds them in contempt as mere toilers, dirt grubbers, hardworking scrabblers eking an existence far removed from his. Trump is right, they do not know their enemy; they refuse to see, hear and accept what is before them. Trump is a clown but he is theirs in the la la land of present-day America.

What do they see in him that they would surrender everything? Not just themselves and their future, but also possible generations to come. He is the man who will save them. That it is self-evident that he does not care one scintilla for them matters not a whit: he will lead them from the wilderness. They have surrendered completely to this “Grab them by the pussy” predator (his own words), this tax-avoiding business failure, this congenital morally bankrupt liar, this total incompetent who fails miserably as a feeling, empathetic life form in a shell resembling something human. His “leadership” during the pandemic has doubtless resulted in needless deaths. Yet they flock to him, hands outstretched as to a god figure, those millions who love America, quote the bible, go to church and engorge themselves like greedy pigs on every filthy, poisonous deed and sere word he extrudes. They applaud his perspicacity not only in defrauding them, taxpayers, into gifting him millions, but also in avoiding taxes because, as he put it, he is “smart”, ignoring the inference naturally flowing from that. 

These are the men and women who hate and mistrust government. Yet, when Trump was asked during the Presidential debates if he would condemn extremists such as the Proud Boys, he responded, “Stand back and stand by.” Right wing extremists heard that and were elated no doubt recalling Trump’s tweets of April 7, “Liberate Michigan” and “Liberate Virginia”. On October 8, the FBI arrested thirteen extremists for plotting to kidnap the governors of both those states. Yet, when prodded, Trump’s supporters deny any correlation between the three events. Fake news. If Trump loses the election, the presidency will have been stolen. They see conspiracy everywhere. Scientists are conspiring to take away their God given freedoms by recommendations they wear masks and social distance; Covid-19 is a gigantic Chinese hoax which, if real, is spread, by China, through cellphone towers; flu shots cause autism, and the Democrats are pedophilic Satanists plotting to overthrow, with violence, a legitimate government if Trump wins. For them, Trump, predator and misogynist, is as close to a god as any human could ever be. 

These are not just foolish die-hard-from-the-cradle-folk, they are stupid folk and dangerous to themselves and society. Oh, I know that’s not nice, but I have lost whatever tolerance I have had for stupidity and simply wish the idiots would collect their Darwin Awards and slip away unmissed by me, at least. 

Cold? You bet. But the streak of perversity pushing folks to willingly and consciously engage in reckless behaviour and vote for a moral imbecile, a narcissistic weakling, and an inarticulate blowhard liar while professing faith in a God and America when, apparently, they have lost faith in both, begs for retribution. That’s unlikely so I’ll vent. Common sense eludes them, they disbelieve what they see and hear even as it happens before them because they allow nothing to penetrate that wall of ignorance and denial shutting out the world that is from the world they live. Trump will save them. But from whom and what? Themselves? Stupidity? The socialist hordes? It is impossible to reach them even when the dangers posed by the choices they make are real and imminent. In a way, they are protected, living as they do in a world as real to them as the notion they are special and loved and will be protected by the very man who detests them even as he exploits and feeds into their fears. They know, just know, they are protected by a cloak of invincibility and the lasso of truth will help them to make us see they were right. 

Special? Yes indeed.

***

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

HUBRIS AND STUPIDITY: TRUDEAU DOES IT AGAIN

Public office is the last refuge of the incompetent. – Boies Penrose

They are proud in humility, proud in that they are not proud. – Robert Burton 

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Justin Trudeau had it made. He became prime minister largely on his good looks, youth, charm, and oozing, simply oozing, sincerity. He was going to make a change with huge, loudly declared glorious promises, one of which, if followed through, might have changed Canada, parliament and the political landscape for the better forever. For those who wanted to believe in fairy tales, he was Prince Charming, the real deal, the man of vision, the man one could trust to accomplish great things. 

Not surprisingly, that was will-o’-the-wisp wishful thinking, the chimerical promise of the snake oil salesman. The big promises, one in particular, Electoral Reform, did not materialize, being lure to the braggadocio’s strut, the blowhard’s false promise of a hope so many yearned for believing it a remote possibility only to be left with the bitter aftertaste of betrayal upon having it proved true yet again. The pain of disappointment must surely have been acute for those who trusted him perhaps because they really believed in him and in the promise, believed in his claims of feminism and support of human rights, of finally healing the rift between First Nations peoples and Canada. He would help make Canada a better home for all. If so, how much sharper the ache when, put to the test, he walked away from promise after promise again and again beginning with his triumphant declaration that 2015 would be the last first past-the-post election ever and then, upon realizing the keeping of that promise would not allow him the outcome he so desperately wanted, he himself set about to undermine and kill the dream none had called for but fervently wanted saying of its death, “the public had lost interest”. It wasn’t true but we all knew then, or should have, what kind of man he was. 

He’s a feminist. He’s told us that often enough so why didn’t I believe him? Perhaps it’s because of the revelation of his groping a female reporter at a music festival when he was twenty-eight. Or it could be his failure to respond on two separate occasions when asked by reporters to comment on the taped recording of Trump trumpeting his misogyny saying only, “Everyone knows I’m a feminist”. Well, I don’t know that. Saying so doesn’t make it so. We know he is tolerant, anti-racist, and yet has attended events on more than one occasion in black face. No, I don’t believe Trudeau is a racist, but I do believe him very, very foolish. 

Too, his stand on human rights is of great concern. He believes in them as sincerely as Stephen Harper when Harper initiated the Saudi Arabia LAV (light armoured vehicle) deal. Just as did Harper, Trudeau ignored such concerns in spite of UN sanctions and Canada’s own laws regarding international trade with errant nations abusing human rights and Saudi Arabia is one such abuser and in a major way. When taking the moral high road is perceived as imperiling Canadian business interests and Canadian jobs, the moral high-road rarely merits more than lip service by such as Harper and Trudeau. With Harper, there was no surprise in this; he made no pretense of interest or concern in human rights while Trudeau campaigned on the promise of human rights being in the forefront. And then he got elected. If hypocrisy and shamelessness are requisites for a successful career in politics, Trudeau appears particularly adept in the practice of both. 

While no liberal and certainly contemptuous of conservatives, particularly those from the Harper era still infecting the political pool, I nevertheless had hoped for the best from Trudeau without believing we would get it. I could understand his draw and why so many fell for it; I just could not trust what I heard and saw. Sadly, upon taking office as Prime Minister, Trudeau very quickly confirmed my suspicions of him. Straw and empty charm. He believes his own press: he is loved by all and can do anything. Even so, the trail of broken promises in the wake of his first term did have a negative impact on his re-election bid allowing him a narrow victory with with a minority government.   

With all his baggage, I do believe Trudeau wishes to be the man we want him to be: caring, empathetic, sincere, decent, decisive, competent, and successful both as individual and as PM, one who actually will make meaningful contributions to Canada. But, for him, I believe, such traits, which he appears to confidently possess, are merely intellectual adornments, masks to be donned for whatever the occasion accompanied, as always, by the indicators of sincerity, furrowed brows and pursed lips; caring, empathy, and even sincerity cannot be learned but are characteristics bred to the bone. I don’t believe they are intrinsic to Trudeau. There is about him a coldness and calculation that should make those around him wary. He will throw them to the wolves as ruthlessly and as easily as he discarded liberal senators within weeks of taking office when he declared them no longer liberals. It was the loud, grand, even bold, gesture but meaningless and offensive in the publicness of the dismissals. Of his character, it was revealing; not only did it appear to me a particularly cruel way to do what he did, but the exultation he displayed following that was unseemly, his declaration to the world: I can be tough and ruthless as any man! He must have been thinking of Harper. But the move was blind achieving nothing. As easy to have a stranger declaring one cannot love whom one does.     

For Trudeau, there is more interest in the public perception of his image than the fact of it. He is not a bad man, I believe, at least not wholly, but he is too absorbed in the imagining and the work of convincing the pubic of himself as a good person than in the practicing of it. He will pander to all the touchstones that he perceives the public supports as good. If it catches the public’s attention as worthwhile and supportable, Trudeau is certain to be there. He is a politician, after all, with the unerring instincts of the predator honing in on the prey.

So, all the more puzzling his behaviour and involvement in the three breaches of conflict of interests that we know of. How could a man so smart be so stupid? Or am I giving him too much credit?

There was his acceptance of the free helicopter ride for family and friends from the Aga Khan while on a Christmas vacation. For years the Aga Khan’s charitable foundation has received millions from Canada and, following that trip, was promised even more.

Then we have the SNC-Lavalin scandal when Trudeau, a true believer in the “rule of law”, sought to subvert it to save SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based company, from a possible conviction for various criminal acts including bribery and obstruction of justice. Because of that interference, the Attorney-General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the first indigenous woman to achieve this post, was forced to step down because she would not help the company avoid prosecution. This led to the resignation of another extremely competent MP, Jane Philpott, in solidarity of her colleague. So much for his support of First Nations individuals, of feminism, and of the “rule of law”. For that imbroglio, he “refused to apologize for fighting to save Canadian jobs” because that was his job. Yes, it is, but, more importantly, his job is also to ensure the integrity of the courts and uphold “the rule of law” which he clearly sought to undermine and yet always references when it suits his needs.

But the liberal government’s decision to sole source $900K to the WE charity to which Trudeau, his wife, mother and brother have close ties, may be the one straw too many as the Ethics Commissioner launches yet another investigation into Trudeau’s shaky ethical world. Worse, for the liberals, the scandal has ensnared yet another high-profile candidate, the finance minister, Bill Morneau, whose two daughters have worked for the same organization. For both men, issues of ethics seem to be particularly irksome. When questioned whether he or any member of his family had financially benefitted from the ties, Trudeau, as did the charity, founded by Marc and Craig Kielburger, initially denied any such benefit only to recant that a day later claiming there had been an accounting error. Margaret Trudeau and Alexandre, Justin’s mother and brother received close to $300K from the charity. 

That there was no public bid for the contract, Trudeau claiming the WE organization was the only charity capable of distributing the money to student volunteer workers for up to $5K beggars belief. The United Way, for one, has been around for a lot longer than the organization founded by Trudeau friends. That Trudeau did not recuse himself from the selection process by civil servants also forces one to ask: What was Trudeau thinking? Did he really believe no one would question this? Said Alex Wellstead, spokesperson for the PMO, “What is important to remember is that this is about a charity supporting students.” No. What is important to remember is that Trudeau and Morneau did not recuse themselves from that selection decision which liberals claim was the recommendation of public servants. What is important to remember is that Trudeau, Morneau and members of their family have close, at times paid, ties to the charity. What is important to remember is that the selection process was neither open to public bidding nor transparent. And, while it is true that the WE charity refused to accept the funds, that decision was made only following the loud public outcry of disbelief and fury.

I cannot say I believe Trudeau to be a man of integrity. He may wish to be and he may wish us to believe he is but I have witnessed little evidence that convinces. From the first as Prime Minister, he and his colleagues have been plagued by issues of integrity often ignoring and skirting around questions regarding their many numerous and secretive fundraising endeavours at private homes or suggestive of conflicts of interest. Trudeau is flawed but not in the way that induces sympathy or even understanding. He seems to have been made drunk by the adoration of others who have fallen under a spell without understanding there appears to be no real there there. A straw man, he appears to need to be loved and yet would have, as he has demonstrated, little difficulty in throwing those very people who adore him, to the wolves if need be. In that way, he has much in common with Stephen Harper. But I believe Harper understands and accepts exactly who and what he is. Trudeau’s halo has long been tarnished and bent, yet he carries on convinced he is the one who has the attention of the public. He does. Covid-19 has allowed him to shine simply by throwing out billions of taxpayer dollars to the public, to businesses and to charities. Too, with the public preoccupied by the pandemic and all the attendant problems, he might have believed no one was paying attention. He tossed the coin and took his chance. This may be his undoing. 

Maybe the career choice of politician requires risk-taking. That’s a good thing when not foolhardy. Maybe the career choice also requires fluidity in matters of integrity, decency, and the ability to experience shame. If not the case, why have so few in recent years possessed so little of any of these traits? Is it truly all about the main chance?

While I do not share Anne Frank’s generous view of mankind (“In spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart”), I don’t accept that entry into politics requires a propensity for dishonesty and/or self-enrichment. No one can be perfect but they can strive for it in the choices they make. One can talk of being ethical and of possessing integrity; that is Trudeau. Or one can be ethical and act with integrity. I prefer this camp. Unfortunately, those folks are long gone or no longer hold office. Deeds matter more than words. Ethics and integrity, honesty and decency, pride and humility are not cards to be called up or discarded to suit one’s time or needs. They should flow in the character of the individual as smoothly, as easily and as comfortably as blood through the veins. That is an ideal but that is what we should all strive for and demand of our politicians. 

There is too much venality in politics. Trudeau is just another example of the poor choices we make again and again. Politicians and voters do make mistakes. But when they repeat the mistake again and again, it is a habit and cannot be tolerated. Instead, we must take stock, look more closely at ourselves and our motives as well as at those running for office; we must vote with our minds questioning all the promises and challenging all the appeals to our biases keeping in mind those who, at the very least, have done their best not for themselves but for those who have placed trust in them.

***

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

BLACKMAILING CANADA TO SUBMISSION: JASON KENNEY’S WESTERN SEPARATIST CARD

One of the greatest distinguishing marks of false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade; he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like six flags over Jesus. – Paul Washer

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta says he is a proud Canadian. But I ask, how can that be true when he foments western alienation squealing victimhood of a cabal made up of a federal government aligned with eastern provinces to rob Alberta blind, to suck it dry, to grind it down and to spit it out. While such claims that Albertans are targets of a vast conspiracy for whatever reason by envious other provinces and a federal government with a hatred for Alberta in particular may strike some as exaggerated and puzzling, there is a belief in some quarters, mostly justified, that Quebec has been conferred a uniquely favoured status above all other provinces by every federal government since confederation, all forty-three under conservative and liberal banners. If there is envy, there is also anger. Alberta feels as if the unloved child neglected and ignored. But it is the east, that is, every province east of Manitoba, and the federal government which resides in Ottawa, that is the source of most of their anger. Albertans feel they are not viewed and treated as legitimate offspring and, of course, they have the likes of Kenney and Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe to whip up the fires of western discontent confirming such while rabid conspiracists, like Peter Downing, the co-founder of the so-called Wexit movement (get it, nudge, nudge?) act as stooges shouting hysterically, “We are going to do for Western Canada, and Alberta in particular, what the Bloc Quebecois does for Quebec. The only difference is that we are cutting the parasite of Eastern Canada off from our necks. We are cutting this parasite off from your wallets” (Maclean’s, Jen Gerson, Nov. 7, 2019).

 

Hyperbolic and disturbing as is the language, what is equally troubling is the anger fuelled by folks seemingly with agendas of their own that appear poorly formed and ill-conceived. For most westerners, even Albertans, I suspect, if asked, they would not be able to offer a satisfactorily coherent picture of what it is they are angry about. Yes, they would be able to talk of jobs lost, of companies moving elsewhere, of people really suffering through hard times. But is that all the fault of the rest of Canada, an indifferent federal government and an indifferent populace? Do those crying Wexit not accept that the times and world is changing and they must also change or lose out? Do they not understand that much of their problems are of their own making and limited focus?

It’s true, we cannot just suddenly shut off the taps to those provinces reliant on oil and gas. But those provinces must also understand that change must take place, is inevitable, if this troubled planet is to survive. If we do not look for other sources of energy, if we do not look towards new models for success, growth and sustainability, if we as a community do not do more towards saving this precious world, all discussion will be meaningless and the end not too far off from now. Turning away from a bad situation solves nothing. Not working towards change but sticking to what we have and know is surrender and suicidal. Blaming others for most of the problems of our own making does little to resolve the fix we are in. Peter Downing and his ilk contribute nothing meaningful nor worthwhile to the dialogue. They feed anger but offer no solution; how does that work for anyone?

For Albertans and Saskatchewanians, most notably with the leadership they have, playing the role of victim is daily fare they wake to and sleep by. That is not an affirming approach to life that adds meaning or hope. Instead of whining, there must be concerted effort to work together to make change that is constructive and rehabilitative. The planet is dying and we must contribute towards its healing. From the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, there must be more than the whine that they have and do contribute more to Canada and yet their share of the pie is less than that of the others. That is not helpful. We must work to ensure that everyone, everyone, gets a slice of the pie. We have too much of the Kenney, Moe and Doug Ford types who are bundles of festering resentment concerned only with their tiny fiefdoms and feathering their nests rather than genuine leaders willing and eager to work towards a whole, better, more effective nation. We do not need these types with their mean-spirited tax-cutting public-servant-chopping ways and we don’t need citizens whining about paying taxes yet demanding more and more of the services we demand and need. We want it all but too many do not wish to pay their share. We are in it together and it’s time we recognize and accept that. That’s how we survive.

Those who talk of walking away from Canada are contemptible. They have no loyalty except to their imagined martyrdom or despotic yearnings. If Albertans did break away, what then? How long before they once again are moved by that vague discontent but now with their own new found nation, Albertastan? Would there then be an endless succession of fragmentation into newer, ever greater numbers of separatist groups wanting to abandon their ever diminishing newly minted nations with each self-rendering until sundered to microscopic independent cantons eventually reduced to nothing but a vast empty wasteland? One wonders how much of their anger has been thought through. It’s one thing to be angry but it’s another to walk away enraged without a plan. What guarantees will there be that you will be satisfied with your slice of the pie? And what if you get no slice or there is no pie; what then? Empty promises by false prophets lead nowhere.

There are those who decry that Quebec’s Yves-Francois Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Quebecois, a party whose very raison d’etre is separation, seems to get an easier ride than Alberta’s Kenney. There is evidence that may be true, as we see with Quebec’s Bill-21 and its vile racist and religious message and with Trudeau’s efforts to intervene with the rule of law in an effort to have the Director of Public Prosecutions offer the Quebec engineering giant, SNC-Lavalin, a deferred prosecution agreement rather than face trial and a possible criminal conviction for corruption and bribery. Clearly Quebec does appear to receive preferential treatment to save Quebec jobs. For that, the blame rest squarely with weak federal leaders (conservatives and liberals) who continue to pander to the worst in Quebec society and do not condemn that piece of legislation while also hoping to win electoral support by demonstrating a williness to do almost anything, including pervert justice, to save Quebec jobs. Those who have lost jobs elsewhere are understandably enraged with the perception of Quebec’s much favoured status. However, those waving the cudgel of separation, whether in Quebec or the western provinces, to blackmail Canada into acquiescence to demands that are unreasonable and divisive seem guided not by intelligence or belief but by motives absolutely indecently selfish and parochial. While I would prefer the unruly children act like adults to resolve their problems with federation, there is little accommodation that can be achieved if they insist on having their way in everything and are willing to risk independent economic suicide. You can’t force a wayward child to love its parents.

And that’s how I see those folks talking of walking out: Kenney and Moe have no business acting the role of parents when their behaviour is clearly that of petulant children who believe everyone is out to get them.

So, what is Kenney’s plan, really, or even Moe’s, though it seems Kenney is doing the most whining, excuse me, talking? Does he have one or is he just a bag of chinook wind spewing gas that his supporters insist on inhaling as some eternal truth: Albertan’s are getting screwed, the federal carbon plan is a hoax just like climate change, the equalization programme benefits other provinces particularly Quebec at the expense of Albertans who pay more than their share and pulls more than their weight.

Break away from Canada to where and what? Both Alberta and Saskatchewan are landlocked. With whom would they trade and what incentive would the rest of Canada have to deal with the new found State? Absolutely no incentive. How would Alberta, led by a silly little man with no ideas, pay for their share of the national debt before being allowed to leave? Would Kenney and his fellow separatists find the wherewithal to set up its own government, currency, pension plan, and programmes such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, interprovincial transportation, policing, border security? It’s feasible that this newly independent State might be welcomed with open arms with all the baggage of discontent its citizens bring rather than just for its oil resources before Albertans realize that things might not have changed all that much after all. They will not know until too late when there is no possibility of turning back. How long would it be before they begin whining over the same things that caused them to leave in the first place: not getting a larger slice and paying more than their fair share?

Kenney is not a man or leader anyone can trust. He is a man uncomfortable in the presence of truth or speaking it. This is the man who, while in Harper’s cabinet as Minister of Employment and Social Development, oversaw the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) which encouraged Canadian businesses to hire foreign workers at below rates paid to Canadian workers! This until forced to make changes when the news became public. All this to say that Kenney is no friend or ally to Canadian workers or Albertan workers but rather friend and ally to Big Business and self-promotion and self-interest. He certainly is no friend to Canada or even Albertans except as a stepping stone to a creation of his own little fiefdom where everyone will love the man until they wake up and wonder what they had done to themselves.

Kenney is the pied piper to ruin. He is a little narcissist with whine and a fiddle and it’s the people of Alberta getting played.

***

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

 

THE 43RD SUICIDAL REVOLVING DOOR WALTZ: THE CANADIAN PASTIME OF VOTING STUPID

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. – James Bovard

Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender.– Keith Ellison

Frank A. Pelaschuk

On October 21st, nothing will change. That’s a guarantee. Canadians will vote liberal or conservative but, with recent revelations regarding Justin Trudeau, conservatives may now have the edge. With a few exceptions, voters will look to no one else as they have for 42 elections and one of those two parties will take its place to govern the nation as they have for 152 years. The 43rdwill hold no surprises not even if and when the new party of anti-immigrant sentiments with a membership largely of discontented racial and religious intolerants led by a disgruntled former conservative member of parliament takes a riding or two. If that happens, most of us will cluck, say that’s an aberration, that’s not Canada, that’s not who we are. Others may demur, say It is, but let’s not dwell on it, at least we’re not Americans. We puff up our virtues and ignore our deficits. While I hope not, I know Canadians will vote stupid this time too doing the same old same old saying, perhaps even some believing it, though how if any had a brain, “We have no choice but to vote for one of those two; voting NDP or Green is a wasted vote.” The only thing wasted is the source of such utterances. What makes it worse is we have a system that, in almost all instances if not all instances, permits 35 to 40 per cent of the vote “for” to outweigh 60 to 65 “against”. Yet we refuse to embrace a system of voting used by almost every democratic nation whereby every vote counts. Occasionally, politicians will offer hope of change as did Trudeau then proceed to sabotage the promise, as did Trudeau, when it is apparent the outcome will not go as they would have wished.

With every campaign, the promises are bigger and better than the last as are the lies we swallow and the bitterness we experience with each broken promise and whopper exposed. Nothing will be new, better, more open or more transparent nor will voters experience shame any more than previously for their role in this sham song and dance of the revolving door that allows entry to members of only two parties at the exclusion of all others. Before long, after the results are counted, some may feel used – for a microsec – with the victorious politician claiming vindication while the losers, wounds licked, begin planning for the next kick at the can. Next time will be better, just wait and see. For a spell, voters will plant themselves in a corner and examine the cheap sparkly baubles that bought their votes and be content for a time not wanting to admit to themselves, at first, they’ve been had once again and for so cheaply in the same old way with the very same stale promises and often by the same smooth-talking snake oil tinhorns. When they finally do admit what happened, and when the rage begins to boil, they nod and tell themselves in three, four or five years, they can hardly wait, they’ll do it all again only this time, this time, it will be different.

It never is, of course. We see it now, politicos on the hustings spending billions in promises to be broken and slinging mud. You’ll hear the chorus of voices, liberals, conservatives, greens, Bloc, the NDP, the PPC wanting your vote and donations. But the majority will hear only two and opt for the one over the other. Things will be different. Hope has no more limits than stupidity.

Oh, yes, in your heart of hearts, after ten years of mean-spirited conservative rule, you ached for change, or so you told yourself. You grew tired of Stephen Harper and gang, tired of ten years of endless efforts to slip laws buried into omnibus bills in hopes they’ll go unnoticed and heartily sick of conservative efforts to rig elections with robocalls, of illegal campaign spending, of skirting election laws, of attempts to disenfranchise voters and to weaken the scope of the Chief Electoral Commissioner’s ability to investigate suspected election fraud. You had enough of Harper and Jason Kenney, his then minister of employment, pulling off such stunts as encouraging companies to hire foreign workers under protection of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program at 15% below that of Canadians doing the same work. You had enough of them lying about it and lying to you and you wanted to believe that Trudeau and the liberals would not only be a refreshing change but also new, different, better, more open and transparent exactly as they promised and exactly as Harper promised for all those years before. But in your heart of hearts, did you really believe they were new, better, or held any promise? Or where you simply too scared to look beyond those two parties in whom you have always put your faith and who have always failed you? Could you not even bring yourself to look at the NDP or the Greens, to open you mind and hearts and hear them out, perhaps even believe it possible that, this time, it just might be different? Certainly you’re not tired of saying that to yourself because you’ll do the same again.

Of course, you couldn’t, wouldn’t. You have closed your ears, minds and hearts, ignored your better instincts, preferring the easy seduction of the tried, tired and unfaithful succumbing to Trudeau’s slick charm and boastfully grand promises only to quickly find out how consummate a manipulator he and his crew were and how little they really believed in the vision they offered. Not only did they lie about almost everything, they were often shameless enough to admit they had no difficulty in walking away from some of those promises as the Prince had when he tried to stack the committee looking into electoral reform, “the last ever first-past-the-post” he had gushed 2015. But when stacking the deck failed, Trudeau worked even harder at undermining his own program saying Canadians “were no longer interested” without offering evidence of such. Maryam Monsef, then minister of democratic reform, and her replacement, Karina Gould, were thrown under the bus, Monsef for saying the committee members hadn’t worked hard enough (i.e., to find a reason to offer Trudeau’s preference of electoral reform) which led to a public storm of anger and Gould for finally being the one driving a stake through reform’s barely beating heart after a brief, final pretence of working towards reform. Trudeau was not only unapologetic for betraying the promise, he boasted of pride in doing so at a town hall meeting. Unfortunately, since electoral reform was his baby, the one he was so loud in promising and promoting, he demonstrated exactly what he is when the initiative was killed off. It was not the father, not the creator, who killed reform or announced its death. Instead, he allowed two neophyte members, females at that, to carry that burden and take the fall for its failure. Jeremy Thorpe might have been thinking of someone like Trudeau when he wrote: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his political life.” That would not be the last time Trudeau would do such.

In the past, I have posted my long-held belief that the Trudeau the public sees is all façade. I have never believed what I saw and was puzzled why others were so blind. It was not just his reversal on electoral reform but his loud, boastful announcement that electoral reform would happen that set off alarms. There was too much swagger, too much boast, too much smug assurance. I hoped he would let it happen but did not believe he would. With that, all doubts of him as a phoney, if I had doubts, were swept away.

But his secret fundraising meetings, the efforts made to hide them and the lies he uttered to justify them and then later retracted, his lax attitude towards conflicts of interest by senior members of cabinet in contradiction of his own orders in his so-called mandate letters troubled me not only because they happened but because they happened so early into his first term as PM. He was found guilty, twice, of ethical breaches. The had never happened to a PM before. The first for accepting a free helicopter ride from the Aga Khan while on Christmas vacation. Later, we would learn the Aga Khan foundation would receive additional taxpayer funds in the millions for another five years. Then came Trudeau’s efforts to pervert the course of justice and undermine the independence of the Director of Public Prosecutors, Kathleen Roussel, when he sought to pressure the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to intervene in the trial of engineering giant and Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin for bribery and corruption. It is this scandal that offered a totally brutal take of Trudeau and the lengths to which he would go to not only ensure the health and welfare of Big Business but also of the liberal party fortunes. Heavily lobbied by the company, Trudeau slipped the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) into the 2018 Budget. The budget was presented as an omnibus bill a practice made an art by Stephen Harper and roundly condemned by Trudeau who vowed to bring to an end because it allowed governments opportunity to sneak laws into legislation in hopes the public and the opposition would not notice. Well, that was another promise broken and for those with a propensity to do things in the dark, such as Harper and Trudeau, it is an excellent tool to accomplish what you hope no one discovers. As a consequence of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Jody Wilson-Raybould, in refusing to intervene on behalf of the company because the independent DPP believed there was no grounds to not proceed with the trial, was shuffled to Veterans Affairs. She was the first First Nations member and third female to hold the role of Attorney General and Justice Minister; the shuffle made no sense and surely would risk the ire of the indigenous community. When she resigned from cabinet, she was followed by Jane Philpott, recently appointed as President of the Treasury, in solidarity. Trudeau wasted little time in undermining both women, questioning their loyalty (to him and the party) and their abilities, particularly that of the former Justice Minister. Once again, two cabinet members, again women, experienced the brunt of the fallout, their political careers in tatters all in the service of Justin Trudeau who had lied throughout the scandal about what he had and had not done. Wilson-Raybould and Philpott have survived, their images enhanced. Trudeau? Not so much.

Trudeau has often and loudly been boastful of his feminism and points to his gender balanced cabinet. That’s good. But does that really bolster his claim? Not if one looks at how he treated MPs Monsef, Gould, Wilson-Raybould, Philpott. Nor does Trudeau fare any better when we look back to when Trump’s so-called “Pussy Tape” recording became public during the American presidential campaign. Trudeau was offered two opportunities at the least to prove his credentials as a feminist when asked to comment on Trump’s vile, misogynistic remarks. Trudeau refused to unequivocally condemn them saying everyone knew his approach to feminism. Yes, we do. He uses feminism as a flag to be waved when he stands to benefit. But because he was in the midst of the NAFTA negotiation and knowing Trump’s propensity to strike back, the loud feminist retreated; the flag went to his pocket. Then it gets worse. A news story broke of a past event involving Trudeau and a female reporter. While attending a music festival in British Columbia in 2000, Trudeau, 28, was accused of groping the reporter. He apologized, according to an editorial in a local newspaper, saying, “I’m sorry. Had I known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”!!!

So, it was wrong because she was a reporter. But it suggests that if the woman had been Ms. Nobody from Nowheresville, he may have acted differently. Well, that didn’t hurt him but the latest reveal from a Time magazine article on September 18, 2019 of him wearing blackface for an Arabian Nights themed gala in 2001, may result in a different outcome. While prompting a response of apology from Trudeau, who did admit to other instances of wearing blackface, this episode has thus far not prompted him enough to do to himself what he demands of Scheer.

Throwing mud goes both ways but shows most noticeably on those who pontificate from some absurd and lofty aerie on their virtues that later prove far less than advertised.

Human rights? Same thing. By Trudeau’s light, such concerns can also be played with. The health and welfare of business interests, masquerading as a duty and desire to protect Canadian jobs, has been and is a major preoccupation for the liberal leader especially if the jobs are in Ontario or Quebec and Big Money is talking. So, it is no stretch for Trudeau to go against UN sanctions and to disregard Canada’s own laws regarding trade with one of the worlds worst human rights abusers by signing off on the Saudi Arabia $15 billion Light-Armoured Vehicle deal involving about 3,000 Ontario jobs. The deal, begun by Stephen Harper’s conservatives, got the liberal pass with Trudeau offering all kinds of phoney excuses for putting human rights on the backburner. When challenged on this, Trudeau, sounding much like the pampered brat caught with his hand in the cookie jar defiantly offered several takes: the deal was already a done deal; my hands were tied by the previous government; I didn’t want to risk Canada’s reputation as a trading partner that can’t be trusted. It’s not my fault, that bad man Harper made me do it.It’s about Canadian jobs and votes and liberal fortunes in the polls, not so much about saving Canada’s trade reputation. Jean Chretien had little trouble breaking a lucrative helicopter trade deal when he was in office. Canada took a hit in penalties with its reputation as trading partner relatively undiminished.

Trudeau knows all the right feel-good buttons to push. He oozes charm and sincerity. But there is a darker, more unpleasant side to him which occasionally forces its way to the surface. And that side is deeply disturbing. I am not convinced he is a racist as some suggest but I do believe he is extremely arrogant and lacks sound judgement and his failures in this have been too many.

SO, ABOUT THOSE OTHERS  

But if Trudeau is stooge for corporate interests while at the same time appealing performer of feel-good slogans and promises for the masses swayed by surface glitz rather than ideas and deeds, if he is a shameless hypocrite with fluid ethics, is Andrew Scheer, Stephen Harper lite, a better option? For ten years, he was a member of Harper’s cabinet and, as such, the most common and best thing said of him was that he smiled at lot. As the Speaker of the House, always smiling, he was less than objective, once even suppressing documents for several weeks, regarding requests from the Chief Electoral Commissioner that two candidates temporarily step down while investigated for campaign expense irregularities. As opposition leader, he has an uncanny knack for bitching about everything without ever coming up with an idea worth hearing let alone even consider. For him, the exposure of the Trudeau blackface photograph must seem heaven-sent offering him the pleasurable experience of schadenfreude. If so, let him enjoy for a bit but he best not rely on that alone to win the confidence of voters to hand him the top job in Canada. For Scheer and the conservatives have filth of their own to shed.

In 2015, Stephen Harper’s conservatives, of which Andrew Scheer was a prominent if undistinguished member, campaigned stoking the flames of fear, suspicion and hatred seeking votes by any and all foul means possible the most notable and offensive of which was the promise of creating the Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line targeting you know what group. It was disgusting and it was racist. Conservatives clearly had no qualms at the time to appealing to the worst instincts in us and I can recall no conservative voice, let alone Scheer’s, raised in denunciation of such a program. Instead, as we watch Scheer’s campaign during the first week, we see that, again, conservatives have decided wallowing in the gutter and appealing to the worst is better than ideas, light and air. Once again they campaign with the tactics of thugs smearing opponents with stories filled with lies and misinformation when not completely fabricated: Trudeau schmoozing with Faith Goldy, the white supremacist alt-right fan and former employee of the Ezra Levant anti-immigrant Rebel Media; Justin Trudeau prepared to accept child killer and pedophile from the U.K.; the RCMP confirming Trudeau is under investigation regarding SNC-Lavalin. During the Harper years, the conservatives spent too many years in the sewer. Evidently, they are reluctant to leave the warren they call home, though, it must be said, the liberals also seem to prefer muck from the same swamp. The videos of conservative candidates mouthing anti-immigrant and racially intolerant views is the past, made public by courtesy of the liberals, need more than slaps on the wrists. Such views seldom go away, even with maturity. Yet those candidates have apparently received a free pass from Scheer. All they need do is say, “Sorry”. Evidently, it’s okay to be a bigot as long as you’re quiet about it – for now. Hardly surprising from an individual who cut ties with the anti-immigrant Ezra Levant Rebel Media only when he was shamed into doing so. That, alone, should be reason enough not to cast a vote for conservatives.

I have no quarrel with Elizabeth May and the Green Party whom the media insists on painting as leftist and progressive. If that is so, I am Mahatma Gandhi. While I do support her climate change concerns and laud some of her proposals, I find myself unable to trust Ms. May herself. Early in her campaign, when asked whether she would allow members of her cabinet opposed to abortion to revisit the issue, she struggled seeming unsure of her own party’s stand on the matter saying she would because she had no power in the party to whip them or to silence them though she would attempt to persuade them not to raise the matter. Hours later the Green Party issued a statement that there was “zero” chance of abortion being raised even though it was true the leader has no power to whip votes. For the Greens, all candidates must support the party line of the right of choice for women. That May appeared rattled by a question simply presented and seemed not to know her role offers no assurance that her narrow focus is sufficient reason to recommend her to lead a party let alone a nation. I foresee a further unraveling of the Green promise in which so many are willing to place their hopes as she and the party become subject to greater scrutiny. The Greens have been very influential in Europe and have often proven themselves more pragmatic than principled: they make promises from the left but, once elected, often side with those on the right. I cannot trust them and have no reason to thus far.

I have little to say regarding Maxime Bernier leader of the newest Canadian party of bellicose wedge issue politics that draws the self-indulgent malcontents and wallowers of victimhood and haters the way light does moths. It is doubtful that there is a finger pointer, racist or immigrant hater that he would turn away. If Bernier has anything of worth, they are as clear as the mud under the shoes he wears and in the ideas he and his supports espouse. To me, he offers no credibility though I know some yahoos may find his thoughts appealing because, as conservatives often do, Bernier seeks to exploit our worst instincts. It’s not a party of hope or opportunity but of victimhood and despair, anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-tolerance. Allowing him to partake in the election debate serves no useful purpose but to validate the rampant paranoia of its core supporters.

As for Jagmeet Singh and the NDP, I do have high hopes. The NDP is the party of hope, opportunity and possibility. Though I suspect that, articulate and talented and full of ideas as he is, he doesn’t have a hope of leading the country. Canadians will not say it, would likely even deny it, but many, far too many, will not hear him out, will not listen to him, will not even see him. All they will see is his turban. He and the NDP are full of ideas and almost all doable. True, they will cost money but they will also benefit every segment of society particularly those who have the very least. We all benefit and if it doesn’t’ put money in your wallet as conservatives and liberals promise, it will not cost you as much when your well-being is protected head to toe. With the NDP platform everyone will have a share of a better life and the very wealthy will finally be accountable for paying their fair share. Singh is not a perfect man. I am still unhappy with how he handled the matter of Erin Weir and Christine Moore. Weir deserved better and I hope that day comes. But Singh has been, thus far, the only one talking ideas, speaking of healthcare and societal needs with a real plan to take on climate change, affordable housing, potable water for our First Nations community. I have not seen nor heard him or the party slinging mud but stating facts. That’s legitimate. But look at him and his response when the issue of Trudeau’s blackface pictures came to light. Unlike Scheer, who denounced Trudeau, Singh almost immediately and before the media, addressed the nation rather than Trudeau and talked of the personal experiences and the hurt of being a target of racism. Thus far, he opted to talk of intolerance in broad terms rather than use it as a hammer against an opponent who, years ago, committed himself to doing an incredibly offensive act not once but several times. This is a man who, during the debates and on this terrible day for an opponent, behaved in a way that, dare I say, was prime ministerial.

Canadians will on this 43rdelection be offered the opportunity to commit to real change. They had it last time and many other times in the past. They refused to dare, to challenge themselves and the status quo.

It is not enough for voters to say they want something new, different and better. It is not enough to say you want politicians who are decent and honest. We must seek them out and open the revolving door so that it allows all members from all parties to walk through them. Doing what we have done for the past 152 years 42 times with expectations that outcomes will be different without recognizing other possibilities meets Einstein’s definition of insanity

We imagine ourselves thinking beings capable of change, real change. Let us prove that we are. Look at the conservatives and liberals. Do you feel you are better off? Are you not tired of health and education being used as footballs to be kicked around, tinkered with while the sick and elderly overflow hospital hallways? Why have no liberal or conservative governments moved to provide our First Nations people with better housing and drinkable water? Why have they done nothing about housing the homeless?

Just look at the NDP and Greens but more closely at the NDP. Consider them in their totality. We cannot just go with a party of one issue but a party of inclusion ready to work on all the issues that must be considered for a fully functioning society and a better life for all. The day after the blackface story broke, I received a copy of a Jagmeet Singh letter. I offer an excerpt: “There are millions of people in Canada – kids, young people, newcomers to our country – who have been bullied, hurt, attacked, and insulted because of who they are. These photos bring that into focus. 

I faced racism growing up. And I dealt with it by fighting back – sometimes with my fists. But not everyone is able to do that. Many feel powerless – intimidated into a sense of not belonging.

I want to say to the people who’ve felt that pain – you are loved, you have value, you have worth – and we can and will do better for you.

Today I want to ask Canadians not to lose faith in our great country. The last 24 hours have been difficult and so will the coming days. But, remember this – you belong, and together we can fight for a Canada that rejects racism and discrimination. Together, we can fight for a Canada where we are celebrated for who we are, and where we take care of each other.”

What do you think? Look at Mr. Singh again. Ignore the turban, open you mind and heart and hear him, really hear him. You may be pleasantly surprised if you open the door to the NDP and the Greens. You may also be disappointed but you, at least and at last, will have dared to expand your horizon and see a little more of what good things await you.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

 

CAUGHT! JUSTIN TRUDEAU’S SHAMELESS, UNAPOLOGETIC ETHICAL FAILURES

Politicians were mostly people who’d had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.– George R.R. Martin, Ace in the Hole

I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.– Charlie Chaplin

Frank A. Pelaschuk

I have said in the past that Trudeau must be the sorriest leader on the planet. I was referring of course to his penchant for apologizing for almost everything. There is nothing wrong with that, but the list seems endless and the act wearying smacking as it often does more of the opportunistic seizing of the photo-op moment than of sincerity. Too, there were moments missed, when he could have, should have, apologized but didn’t. As when he offered the tantalizing prospect of electoral reform and seemed committed to it until caught stacking the deck when he formed the committee to make recommendations. Before long, he began in earnest to undermine the committee when it appeared certain they would make a recommendation not to his liking muttering the public had lost interest in reform and when, in fact, they did make a recommendation excluding his preference of the ranked ballot vote, he drove a stake through the heart of the idea and later, during a town hall meeting declared it didn’t bother him a bit to walk away from it. That is the real Trudeau, the petulant minor figure who, not getting his way takes home the marbles. He’ll apologize when the cause is easy, appealing, and works to his benefit but, when not, will as quickly abandon them loyal to none but one: himself.

Trudeau cannot be trusted with much. His claims of feminism ring hollow to me. It is not enough to have a balanced cabinet. What is important is to stand up when it matters. He failed to do that when asked about a released recording during the presidential election campaign clearly outlining Donald Trump’s vile misogynistic views, declaring everyone knew where he stood and it was not Canada’s policy to comment on American politics. He was given an opportunity to redeem himself later but failed once again using the same words. He failed to apologize then and hasn’t since. Nor did he for signing off on the Light Armoured Vehicle deal with Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, turning his back on Canada’s own laws as well as UN sanctions regarding trade with human rights abusers even though he, as opposition leader, hotly contested the deal. Instead, he came up with excuses, much the way a child does, for why he signed off on the LAV deal: the deal was all but done by Harper when the liberals took office; he could not risk Canada’s reputation as a trading partner not to be trusted should he break the deal. That was a joke, of course, we’ve done it before, most recently when Chretien was in office. It was everyone’s fault but Trudeau’s that the deal went through. He had turned his back on human rights, but don’t expect apologies for that. Canadian jobs were at stake and so was big money. Pragmatism must never be hindered by principle.

When the SNC-Lavalin affair broke ending with the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould, justice minister and attorney general and Jane Philpott in support, Trudeau, in February of this year, declared his concerns where Canadian interests and Canadian jobs and that her decisions regarding the Quebec-based construction giant, was “hers and hers alone.” But we know now and most suspected then, that that was a falsehood. Trudeau and the PMO exerted enormous pressure on the justice minister to get the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kathleen Roussel, to drop the criminal charge in exchange for a DPA (Deferred Prosecution Agreement), a clause sought for by SNC-Lavalin and inserted in the liberal budget in 2018 something the liberals did not hide but certainly had not advertised. Not only did JWR refuse to intervene, the DPP making clear they had no grounds to not proceed with the criminal case, she felt compelled to resign when demoted from the ministry she loved to that of Veterans Affairs due to a cabinet shuffle prompted, Trudeau claimed, by Scott Brison’s resignation. For some, that move was Trudeau’s way of striking back at Jody Wilson-Raybould. Evidently you don’t defy the PMO.

If the DPA had been allowed to proceed, the company would need only to admit guilt, promise corporate changes, apologize and pay hefty fines. The liberals say that that is no small thing. They are right, of course, it is no small thing that a government devout so much effort protecting a private company with a history of criminal errancy. It is no small thing that the same company avoids trial for bribery and corruption, avoids the risk of a criminal record if found guilty and, as a consequence, is able to continue to bid on lucrative government contracts.

Once the mud hit the fan following JWR’s resignation, Trudeau was particularly brutal regarding his behaviour to her, undermining her at press scrums by questioning her loyalty, discretion and authority. It was vile and brutal and personal. This from a smiling charming feminist oozing, simply oozing sincerity as he inserted the stiletto into the first First Nations member to ever hold the post of Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada. Even as he was undermining JWR, he claimed, that while he had done nothing wrong, his concerns were Canadian interests and jobs. That’s what he said then and that’s what he said again on August 14. And for that, he said, he could not and would not apologize.

The resignation of JWR led to another in support of her, that of the capable Jane Philpott recently shuffled from the ministry of Indigenous Affairs to that of President of the Treasury Board. Neither women, nor the public, should expect or believe that an apology from the prime minister will be forthcoming. That’s another side to his character: a weak man who wrongs others but is unable to publicly admit to being wrong. Today, he must be truly the sorriest man in the country, not for all the apologies nor for what he’s done, but for the fact he was caught for the second time for breach of ethics and for something far more serious. In the first instance, he was chided but unpunished for accepting free gifts, as the helicopter ride from the Aga Khan to the Aga Khan’s private island during a holiday trip in December 2016 but, in this instance, with the August 14 release of the Ethics Commissioner’s report on the role Trudeau and the PMO played in the SNC-Lavalin affair, for a conflict of interest when he and the PMO sought to obstruct justice by pressuring the attorney general to intervene with the Department of Public Prosecutors regarding the company’s approaching trial. He had sought to obstruct justice, he had lied again and again about his role, he had sought to destroy the reputation of JWR by engaging in character assassination, and, according to the Ethics Commissioner, Trudeau and the PMO, withheld vital information. Michael Wernick, at that time Clerk to the Privy Council, when testifying before the Justice Committee, clearly had abandoned the role of non-partisanship that is required of the job, had submitted testimony but his replacement, Ian Shugart refused to hand over vital documents citing cabinet privilege. The commissioner, Mario Dion, stated in his report, “The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”

Following the release of the report, with Scheer screaming in the back-, fore- and all grounds as usual, Trudeau told reporters he accepted responsibility but took exception to some of the findings which is risible since any adult with a modicum of integrity, pride and intelligence, would not accept blame if he had done nothing wrong. Yet, while publicly accepting responsibility, saying the buck stops with him, he had told the Ethics Commissioner the exact opposite, saying he could not be held “vicariously” responsible for the acts of his staff and advisors. Which Trudeau statement should we accept? Conflict of interest and obstruction of justice. This is serious stuff. This is a sign of a government in a crisis of its own making. Pride, shamelessness, duplicity, ethical misconduct, corruption and simple lying seem to be routine accepted practice by this government. This is the Trudeau who promised to do things differently, to be better and to be more transparent than the previous regime. Well, the previous regime under Stephen Harper promised the same thing exactly as Scheer does today. The liberals and conservatives are two faces on the same coin. Nothing differentiates one from the other because their interests are exactly the same: getting power and holding on to that power by any and all means. Your interests only match theirs until the vote is counted.

From the time Canada became a nation, only two parties have ever governed federally. What the hell are Canadians afraid of? Do we lack that much character, that much intelligence, that much courage that we are afraid of trying something different, new, perhaps even with the real risk of being better?

Shortly after the report was released by Mario Dion, Trudeau said he can’t apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs because “that’s what Canadians expect him to do”. Really? At what cost? SNC-Lavalin is a serial offender and governments at every level seem determined to forgive and help this corrupt company break the law again and again even going so far as to make illegal donations to political parties (since reimbursed by the liberals and conservatives). Does Trudeau really believe Canadians are that indifferent to corruption, cronyism, and bought political favours that they would approve his assisting Big Business get away with taunting, flaunting, and flouting of the law when not too long ago he was bragging about how he was upholding the “rule of law” with the arrest of Huawei executive on behalf of the USA extradition request. This is less about protecting jobs than about getting re-elected by pandering to the Quebec electorate. You do not aid and abet a company in its criminality. If you do it once, why not do it again? And if they can get away with bribery and corruption, what about cutting corners regarding issues of safety of the projects with which they are involved? Trudeau apparently is untroubled by such concerns. He is more preoccupied with the liberal party fortunes and the health and welfare of business interests than that of Canadians; I know it, so does he, and so should you after seeing him in action as prime minister.

Trudeau is an oleaginous liar, he is an opportunist, he is hypocritical, he is craven, he is unethical, he is a zero, the inveterate unrepentant diminished Prince of Promise who has joined the conservatives in the home that offers them the only true comfort from which they derive pleasure: the sewer. Liberals and conservatives, sewer rats, have failed us time and again. Voters have made that possible simply because they have refused to switch on their brains and THINK.

SNC-Lavalin did not threaten to leave Quebec or Canada if the DPA was not allowed; yet Trudeau seems to suggest otherwise. He knew better but sought to blur the lines in hopes we didn’t. If Trudeau truly believed in the rule of law, he would not have intervened as he has. With him and others in positions of power, it is as many have always suspected, when it comes to the justice and business: there are two sets of books with two sets of rules.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

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