Friday, January 08, 2016

Justin Trudeau and the De-Harperization of Canada

He has only been in power for eighty days, but already Justin Trudeau is being caught between the right and the left.

Between the Cons who are enraged at the way he is tearing down their beloved Harperland.

And progressives like Michael Harris, who want him to de-Harperize Canada faster. 

No matter what the pundits, pols or PR types tell you, de-Harperizing Canada will be the biggest political story of 2016.

The writing, or rather the graffiti, is already on the wall; it’s all about Liberal credibility now. The Conservative Opposition has made it crystal clear — if the Trudeau government doesn’t change Harper’s decisions, it’s endorsing them.

While people voted for Justin Trudeau in large numbers because of the ‘positive’ things he promised to do, they also have a long list of things they expect him to undo. In the Westerns, it’s called ‘cleaning up Tombstone’. Trudeau is Wyatt Earp.

Progressives who are unhappy that Trudeau hasn't yet ended our bombing mission in Iraq.

Every day the question is asked with a slightly greater sense of unease: When will Trudeau bring the CF-18s home? And how deeply will Canada remain enmeshed in this inscrutable conflict when we do stop bombing? The answers so far have been mushy. Bringing Steve’s bombers back from the Middle East is a touchy business. But it’s a necessary step, if Trudeau is to keep faith with his supporters.

Or isn't cancelling the Con's $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that Stephen Harper signed...

The young Trudeau government has declared that it will not cancel this dubious contract. Given Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record — which includes that country’s use of Canadian military hardware in Bahrain to quell public protests against the government in 2011 — Ottawa’s stance is flatly contradictory. It’s turning Canada into a Dictator’s Little Helper in the Kingdom.

Or isn't bringing in refugees in fast enough.

But while all those concerns are legitimate, and I share them myself. I don't see any of them as a major problem.

For although I personally believe that we shouldn't be selling weapons to anyone, let alone the barbarous kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These facts should be taken into consideration:

A contract was signed, factories all over the place are gearing up, and in an area which has been reduced to a wasteland of lost jobs and shattered hopes...

Who is going to tell those 3,000 Canadian workers and their families that those good jobs won't be coming after all?

And at a time when this country's economy is tanking, how do you think that decision would be received? 

During the election campaign neither the Liberals nor the NDP promised to scrap the deal. So why are some of them, with jobs and comfortable pensions, ignoring the plight of the unemployed?

Or making it such a big deal out of the issue.

Which only plays into the hands of the Cons who want to see us divided.

As for the CF-18s, I too would like to see them fly home as soon as possible. ..

But we are part of an alliance. We did agree to keep the planes there until March. So what's another couple of months?

When it's the commitment to pull them out that counts. 

Just like on the refugee front it's the commitment to bring them in that counts. Not the timetable.

Why fall over ourselves to meet some artificial deadline? When the important thing is making sure we are ready to welcome the refugees as well and as warmly as possible.

As this school in Toronto welcomed Ibrahim Sultan. 

This is what young Syria can look like as it begins its way in Canada; wide-eyed and quiet, smiling yet tentative, living with unimaginable memories — old schools bombed to rubble, neighbours blown to pieces — but now bursting to be one of the locals.

Because if we keep doing that we'll know that we are definitely heading in the right direction.

So although I like the idea of Justin Trudeau as Wyatt Earp...

Wyatt Earp drew fast and shot straight. Nothing less is expected of the man who laid low the baddest man in Tombstone.

Because Justin Trudeau did bring down the bad guy, and has done a lot to de-Harperize this country in just eighty days.

I think progressives should be more patient, and give him more time to keep his promises.

Show us what he can do.

And finish what he started....

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  1. Sums up my feelings precisely. Well said.

    1. hi David...thank you. I'm in such an exhausted state these days that even arguing the obvious is a bit of a strain. But I can't believe how so many are already jumping all over the Trudeau Liberals, even though they are off to a better start than any government I have ever seen. I didn't vote for Justin, but even I can see that, and I won't let them get away with smearing him so unfairly...

  2. e.a.f.3:33 PM

    I'm not happy with the Saudi deal and would like it cancelled. Its all about the money and yes, it might be all about the jobs, but other jobs could be found. Its a huge deal, but who gets the profits? Are we keeping this deal in place to keep some corporate entity happy? A deal maybe a deal, but if its a really bad deal, sometimes you have to scrape it.

    Now they could start shipping and later cancel the deal because the armaments are being used against civilian, et.c But keeping this deal in place, its like keeping a deal in place with North Korea. For that matter what is the difference between Saudi Arabia and North Korea, except for the money?

    1. h e.a.f...well nobody can be happy with the Saudi deal. But as I said in my post a deal was signed by a Canadian government, and getting out of a deal like that one can be both very difficult and expensive. Cancelling it won't hurt the Saudis, but it will hurt our workers in a region of Canada where good jobs are scarce. And I should point out we sell weapons to at least eight countries with poor human rights records. So I say give the Kingdom a cold shoulder, but take its money. And above all never do anything like that again...

  3. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Even for you this is pathetic. You attacked Harper for these things and now you are trying to slither away so PM Butts isn't really breaking promises to people like you.

    You really are a liberal, not progressive, not conservative just empty. I hope the NDP take people like yourself to task.

    1. hi I'm not. I criticized Harper for making a deal like that one. But a deal is a deal, and in my mind it should be respected. It's too far along to scrap it now, and as I pointed out above, doing that will not hurt the Saudis just Canadian workers. Which in my view amounts to cutting off your nose to spite your face. Finally, I may have voted for the NDP, but I march to the sound of my own drum, no party could ever tell me what to do. And I honestly believe that Justin Trudeau has been doing a terrific job...

  4. Here is an article that looks at how the Saudis control the world's media:

    The Saudi Royal Family has bottomless pockets when it comes to controlling any negative coverage that they may receive. Kind of reminiscent of the Harper regime, isn't it?

  5. Simon, I don't think it is just a question of "faster". It is a question of the very (capitalist) nature of the Liberal Party. Sure, just about everyone, myself included, is thrilled to see the back of the authoritarian, ecocidal gang of Cons, but the Liberals aren't "progressive". They are business as usual without the gross reactionary excesses of the Cons. I remember many cuts to social services and unemployment insurance under the Liberals.

    1. hi I've told you before, I have a scientific mind, and it forces me to deal with reality. Canada is a centrist country, not a beacon of left wing revolution as I might hope, so in the context in which we live the Liberals are progressive. And don't forget at the present time they are to the left of the NDP. And although you're right, the Paul Martin Liberals were definitely too conservative for me, I think Justin Trudeau has a chance to be different, and should be given a chance to see what he can do...

    2. I don't think defining a nation-state as "centrist" (or left, or right) is particularly scientific. Political consciousness changes, sometimes very swiftly, and for better and worse.

      We've seen Trudeau up close where I live; he'd never make any concrete commitments about improving the lives of people in Papineau riding.

      I don't like Mulcair either, nor the platform the NDP stood on, but that party is sociologically very different from the Liberals (or the Cons). I hope Trudeau can be pushed to make some improvements, in particular in terms of funding for cultural affairs, for some desperately needed commitments to Indigenous people, perhaps to restoring funding to human rights and international solidarity and co-operation agencies. I doubt he'll do anything for people who actually are middle-income or below, despite being MP for one of the poorest urban ridings within the Canadian state.

      I think it is important to ensure that our joy in seeing the back of Harper and his crew doesn't blind us to the class nature of the Liberal party and their long history of campaigning left and governing right.

  6. I'd like to add that my concerns extend to the plan to subsidize LNG for BC. Also, unless the Site C Dam is stopped, then Trudeau's promise of a Nation to Nation relationship are completely hollow. On top the the foreign policy problems.

    1. hi Kim....I'm not familiar with those projects, but if you're concerned I'm sure I should be too. However, as I said in my post, right now we need to focus on the big picture. Justin Trudeau has been in power for less than three months. He has already done a lot to make us feel like we are living in Canada again. So I think it's only fair to give him at least six months to show us what he can do, and where he wants to take this country. I admit I am particularly vulnerable to his kind of gentle idealism. But if he let's me down, I will be honest, and I will criticize him....

  7. e.a.f.2:28 AM

    Kim certainly has a point. Trudeau did make mention of the "nation to nation relationship". What is B.C. doing? Trampling all over the rights of the First Nations and their ancesteral lands. Well more than trampling. First they want to clear cut and get all the money from selling the logs and then they want to flood the land and render it useless.

    So if Trudeau and his Liberals don't tell the "photo-op queen" of B.C./premier, to knock it off, he has failed his first test in that "Nation to Nation" stuff. that Land Christy cluck, cluck wants to flood, well the First Nations have the right to use it. that precludes Christy and her friends from logging it and keeping all the money and it precludes Photo op queen from giving contracts to her "friends" so they can all party down and build a dam for $8BILLION and climbing.

    yes Christy has $8BILLION for a dam but not $250K a year for a bus along the Highway of Tears, you know that highway where First Nations women keep getting killed and no one gets arrested for? If Canada is to have a Nation to Nation relationship, the first thing the province of B.C. needs to do is respect the First Nations and their rights, not drown them and their history.

  8. hi e.a.f.. as I told Kim I am not familiar with what is happening in BC these days. But I think that so far Justin has shown a great willingness to stand up for our indigenous people, more than any other leader has before him. So I'm willing to give him a chance to see what he can do. Unfortunately I live in a country that is quick to criticize its own, and put down anyone who sticks out. But I'm not like that, I am far more patient and supportive, and after ten years of hell I find many reasons to celebrate....