Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Justin Trudeau and the Signs of the New Canada

It was an amazing sight, and yet another sign that we are living in a very different Canada.

For there in the massive Eaton Centre mall, a place so full of frenzied shoppers these days I dare not enter it, was Justin Trudeau.

Mingling with real Canadians.

And joining in a toy drive. 

Which may be a small thing, but is something I could never imagine Stephen Harper doing. 

And it does seem to reflect the national mood, which as this EKOS poll suggests, is soaring. 

Confidence in the country has shot up almost 20 points to 61 per cent positive since the last read when the Harper government was sitting. More significantly, confidence in the direction of the federal government is almost as high as national direction at 58 per cent and this is the highest score for federal direction since 2001. For a neophyte Prime Minister who was depicted as ‘not ready’ and languished in third place entering the recent campaign, this is a strong public endorsement.

And despite the best attempts of some in the corporate media to try to put a gloomy face on the situation...

Or make it sound like Justin has failed already, like the hysterical John Ivison is always doing...

Nothing they do to try to dent his popularity seems to be working. 

And now even some in the Con media, are being forced to admit that Trudeau cannot be so easily dismissed.

In broaching major reforms the Liberals are inviting the certainty of some future failures. They are also opening the door to debate, which can lead to eventual compromises that may result in lasting improvements, whereas until recently there was little hope of any, on multiple fronts.

From the start of his run for the Liberal leadership in 2012, Trudeau said he would not be a placeholder. It appears he meant that. We are in for a ride.

And that they are dealing with a very different kind of politician. One willing to take the Maclean's 60-second challenge...

And invite questions from the media and the public. 

Rather than running or hiding them from them, as Stephen Harper did and is still doing...

But what I think the Con media still fails to understand, is that one of the main reasons Justin Trudeau is so popular is that Canadians were so sick of the meanness of the brutish Con regime. 

It’s hard to believe that less than two months ago Canada was embroiled in its own version of ugly Muslim-baiting by politicians desperate for votes.

Stephen Harper grimly pressed on with his war against the niqab and Muslim women in general. And then there were the snitch lines organized by government to ferret out “barbaric cultural practices.” And let’s not forget the many moves by the Harper government to severely limit and delay the number of Syrian refugees admitted to Canada.

And that by embracing the Syrian refugees so warmly...

Trudeau has helped bring out the best in us, and made us feel better about ourselves, and our country.

It’s not just Trudeau that has made Canada a sunnier place, a place where robust kind-heartedness trumps fear. There are scores of other politicians, activists, and people determined to help who have spoken out against racism and pitched in to show the world that Canada is not like the U.S, or Hungary, or many other European countries that are refusing to shelter refugees.

Which whether you voted for him or not, and I didn't, is quite an achievement.

And since the Cons can never match Justin's ability to reach out to others, and project warmth and hope, and yes glamour... 

For that's not who Harper was, he was a cruel and boring bully.

And since Rona Ambrose is just more of the same, and is still dancing to his deathly tune.

Or running from it....

The future of the Cons has never looked gloomier.

And that's before we use electoral reform to finish them off.

While our future has never looked brighter...

You know, some of my friends laugh at me when I say I feel I'm living in a fairy tale.

But it really does feel like that to me.

I still can't believe it. But the signs of the New Canada are everywhere.

And I couldn't be happier...

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  1. Anonymous8:03 AM

    Soon after the Maple Leafs moved to the ACC I took my father to a game there. Because my dad was about 70 he took the GO train into Toronto rather than drive. We met for a pre-game drink at the Royal York. Checking into the hotel was former Prime Minister Joe Clark. He was carrying his own bags and was without security. (I believe this was post 9/11/2001.) Mr. Clark was noticed by those in the lobby. One or two people nodded or shook his had, otherwise Canadians politely allowed Mr. Clark to go about his business without interruption.

    That was the Canada we loved. That's the Canada that's back. That's the Canada Harper tried to destroy.


    1. Anonymous9:27 AM

      Yes it was essentially the same Canada in those days whether you were on the left or right! It took the Harper Cons to define the ditch on left side or the road. We are now back in the center of a progressive road where Canada belongs. Hopefully the Con worshipers will shed their fear driven reactionary shackles and join us near the center line.Yes the world has changed since 911 but Canada remained a positive influence during the dark days of Vietnam and the cold war and surely we can do so now.

    2. hi p2p...well Joe Clark may be a Conservative, but he's a really decent man, and a real Canadian. And I once saw Pierre Trudeau walking up the steep hill to his home in Montreal, without a single bodyguard, because he was no coward. And I have seen Stephen Harper's motorcade roar past me several times, and it was bigger and more sinister looking than Obama's secret service special. I felt that had I even put my hand in my pocket I might have been shot. So yes, thank goodness we finally got our Canada back....

    3. hi RT...yes that's true, once upon a time the Cons, as wrongheaded as they might be, did share our Canadian values. And I think that historians will finally agree that Stephen Harper did his own party more damage, that he did the others. But I am optimistic that now that Canadian terrorist has been routed, that Canada can regain its values, and be a positive influence in the world....

  2. Anonymous8:50 AM

    The media drive me crazy. Columns and columns of writing about nannies and hardly,or never, a mention of the 49 appointments from the grave. We must all fight very hard for some sort of Proportional representation. And for a redo of the CBC.

    1. hi anon...yes I know, I share your frustration. The MSM hasn't even bothered to tell us the names of most of those lucky 49. Or add up how much they're costing us. But if the 49 don't agree to resign it could get messy, and then the MSM will have no choice but to cover the story. And yes, we will have to fight hard to get proportional representation, and the CBC needs to be saved from those who would destroy it...

  3. Just look farther South! People will reap what they sow!

    1. hi Kathleen...the timing of our great victory couldn't have been better. For there couldn't be a greater contrast with what's happening in the U.S. I watched my first Republican debate last night, and if any of them ever become President, I would recommend building a fallout shelter as soon as is humanly possible...

  4. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Everyone who has suffered under Harper's dictatorship owes Justin a huge debt of gratitude. What he pulled off is nothing short of amazing. He not only beat Harper, he destroyed him with niceness. That must be driving Harper more insane than he already is. Same goes for the Con media and the half-wits who post their hateful comments.
    Yes our Canada's back Simon, and as Bono stated at the recent U2 concert in Paris "we need more Canadas". Even more poignant was his quote that fits Justin to a tee, "that we don't become a monster to defeat a monster".

    1. hi anon....I have to agree, Justin Trudeau and his government have got off to an excellent start, one that has exceeded even my dreamiest expectations. He has a very strong cabinet, and the way he is restoring our Canadian values, with his actions and his warm personality, is a joy to behold...

  5. Anonymous10:58 AM

    While I can't speak for the media, I think they understand quite well, as do I, even as a Harper voter, that many people had had enough. And there's some merit to the notion that Harper's real or percieved lack of openness was a turn-off for Canadians.

    Rather, I think that the media's criticism is that Trudeau is a creature of appearance, or optics. Indeed, for some of us who know how the sausage gets made, we know that there really isn't much in the way of substance to the new team. I always get accused of defending Harper, but I'm not; Harper was no Saint. Harper, didn't however, demand the impossible.

    Like, he didn't promise that we'd get 25K refugees in something like 8 weeks; Trudeau did. Then he had to moderate the expectations to 10K. And, from whence I sit, even that number is going to prove out of reach; the machinery of government just doesn't work that fast.

    And, the modest deficit financial picture he attempted to paint is falling apart, in an all-too predictable fashion.

    Now, a rational person would conclude that the Trudeau government is long on ambition, but short on being able to deliver; that's what the evidence shows. It shows that this is a government which likes to promise big, and not deliver very much. Reminds me of a certain Noble laureat... It's certainly early for the public mood to turn, but given the evidence, one would rationally come to expect much more of the same sort of hum-drum performance, at least compared to the expectations set.

    That's what a rational person should think, because that's evidence-based.

    That yourself, and a majority of Canadians are ignorant of this, shows that we're not dealing with rational people, we're dealing with emotional people. We have a government which governs based on good feelings, optics, and emotions over substance.

    In four years, your life won't be measurably improved, I daresay, it'll probably be worse given stormy the financial clouds on the horizon; the President and her husband are about to Cloward-Piven the United Stats into financial oblivion, and we're going to get annihilated, maybe annexed, as part of the collateral damage. But that doesn't matter, does it? As long as PM Soundbite makes a lot of people feel good, with easily digestible platitudes, and selfies, and sound-bites, everything is rosy and wonderful.

    Canadians deserve exactly what we're going to get.

    1. Anonymous10:35 PM

      Surely you are being satirical when you refer to evidence based thinking and the Harper Cons in the same paragraph.Is a perceived lack of openness the same as muzzling scientists, killing the long form census, rewriting our historical roots and firing senior civil servants for not following the party line? Its hard to make evidence based decisions when the evidence is "what I say it is".
      The Cons ran an annual budgetary deficit of around 13 billion with a balance of trade deficit of approximately the same magnitude.This followed after some 30 years of trade surpluses. In short we lost our competitive position under Harper's watch.Perhaps it was his myopic fascination with big oil or just the luck of the draw. The future is unknown but at least it promises to be a team effort rather than just the Captain and his select crew on deck with everyone else locked below for their own safety.

    2. hi anon 10:58...The Trudeau government has been in power for such a short time it's absurd to write them off already like you seem to be doing. Especially since his cabinet is an extremely talented one, that makes the one Stephen Harper had mediocre by comparison. And dare I say that for any Con supporter to criticize others by claiming their criticism is "evidence based" after the way the Harper government treated science and scientists, is also bizarre. Only time will tell of course, but I think Justin Trudeau is going to Prime Minister for a very long time., so I'm afraid you and your fellow Cons are going to be the ones disappointed...

    3. Anonymous8:58 AM

      Oh Simon, you think I'm not realistic?

      Trudeau will be PM for 12ish years or so, minumum, because, as is your way, you missed the operative remarks of the comment: you, and Trudeau admirers are not rational people, because of your penchant for ignoring evidence.

      Instead, he makes you feel good, whereas Harper didn't.

      What that means for you, for the country, for the government is nothing good. In fact, I've reached the point where I think Canada is no longer defensible. And unless I misread the US economy, a Trump presidency won't be enough to save the countries of North America. It's Cloward-Piven all the way baby! Ready to embrace your chains? Because that's what Cloward-Piven is going to do to you; it's a form of slavery.

      And that, is by far, the *best* outcome of the Cloward-Piven strategy. That's *assuming* it works as intended. That's assuming that your new masters don't deliberately decide to starve people like you to death, or you die of exposure in the ensuing chaos of an economic catastrophe.

      I don't want that for anyone, but reading this blog has firmly convinced me, that you, and people like you, self-styled "progressives" will never believe such a thing. Rather, you're firmly convinced, and will not be swayed by any ammount of facts that people such as myself, really harbour a secret desire to exterminate you, or to, as you so succinctly put it, torch the planet, I guess so that we can make money, somehow... Not sure how that one works, but hey, it's in your mind, so I shouldn't confuse you with the facts.

      I'll do my best to take a page out of Captain Capitalism and enjoy the decline, it might be through tears, but you'll never believe me anyway.

  6. Anonymous11:12 AM

    And now for something completely different......
    If the Bank of Canada resorts to negative interest rates (as I just have read in two relatively easy to ignore posts) we will see the same economic implosion that has hit Greece and to a smaller extent, the usa. Time to wake up and get past the honeymoon for our own sakes. If we let this happen, we are to blame and we will suffer like only heil harper could wish on us.

    1. Anonymous10:03 PM

      In that same post, it said that stimulus spending was the way to go. Only so much the G of BC can do by lowering interest rates. Apparently infrastructure spending is what's needed to stimulate the economy. This is from same post that talked about negative interest rates.

      So what honeymoon are you referring to? Maybe this is just the way things are now.


    2. hi anon...yes I've seen that negative interest story, and it is truly alarming. I'm not convinced that Poloz knows what he's doing. And if the banks start hoovering off the savings of Canadians, I wouldn't be surprised if the economy does collapse. We have a dying oil economy, one of the highest rates of household debt in the world, and an over inflated housing market. So it wouldn't take very much for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down

  7. I was watching CTV last night, Simon, when Trudeau joined Tom Brown for Toy Mountain. Unbelievable, isn't it, that we now have a Prime Minister who is so accessible? Like night and day, eh?

    1. hi Lorne...yes I caught the tail end of that Tom Brown interview, and it was truly amazing. I especially liked the way that after the interview was over, he quickly arranged to get his picture taken with Justin. It is like night and day, and it couldn't be more wonderful...

  8. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Two thumbs up for Simon and p2p. Reclaiming our Canada.


    p.s. That opinion post in ipolitics was predictable (Simons first cartoon). I tweet protest every one of those I find. Cannot call it journalism.

    1. hi anon...well two thumbs up to you for saying that ;) Lawrence Martin had a column yesterday where he said that never had a government changed course so quickly. And I definitely feel that we are now heading in the right direction...

  9. e.a.f.2:29 PM

    At the Eaton Centre, out in Public???? O.K.

    a restaurant in Vancouver, Bishop's, recently had its 30th birthday. Its owner John Bishop talked about all the leaders who have come through, including P.E.T., Clinton, Yeslin, Harper. When P.E.T. came in with a party of 20, no security. Harper's full of security.

    Joe Clark understands Canadians are not wanting to do him harm nor are they a violent people. Harper never understood that. Trudeau, Jr. understands things the way Joe Clark does and his father did.

    It doesn't matter much what the MSM says, all we have to see is Trudeau out meeting refugees, at malls, at the TR C final report today, no handlers sitting next to him, no tons of RCMP around him, just sitting in the crowd.

    The economy is impacted by world events, way beyond Canada's control. What Trudeau brings to the table is hope and in many cases, that can be enough.

    If the country runs a deficit to provide jobs, social services, I'm O.K. with that. What are we to do? Let kids go hungry because we might have a deficit? No, raise taxes. There are problems in Greece, but the biggest one was the failure of the country to collect taxes. It was like a national sport, not paying them. How does a country run with no money coming in? It doesn't.

    1. hi e.a.f....yes it is great to see Trudeau mingling with ordinary Canadians as Harper never did. Although I have to admit that the way he wades into crowds worries me a bit. He needs to be careful, because there are a lot of sick people out there, and I would hate to see this fairy tale end tragically....

  10. I had a friend who married money. I was told the most important thing for them was to not pay taxes. The rich are different.

    1. Anonymous3:10 AM

      The Little Prince, sliver spoon in mouth, is most likely the same way.

      Arrogant, entitled and spoiled rotten. We shall see all these things, and more, in due course.

    2. hi LaPais...unfortunately it's not just the rich who are guilty of avoiding taxes. Because the Cons made tax cuts such a big thing, a lot of Canadians have become greedy and want first-class services without having to pay for them. That will have to change, new ways of raising revenue will have to be found, or we will end up living in a second-world country....