Appeared in the North Shore News – November 20, 2015
I’d say Justin Trudeau fell from the honeymoon bed.
Possibly a matter of coitus interruptus in his post-election love affair with an adulating public and media. The CBC must be heartbroken. Even Mother Corp’s loyal radio arm noted Trudeau’s awkward pauses answering questions at the G20 meeting in Turkey soon after the terrorist attacks in Paris. (Will CBC newspeak now stop describing terrorists murdering innocents as ‘‘militants’’?)
Truly, I sympathized from afar with Trudeau. How many people would be composed, fast on their feet, quick with their tongues, under such pressure? Even, or especially, a 43-year-old brand-new prime minister? He’s just not ready.
Who would be? Stifle that man at the back of the room muttering, ‘‘Where is Stephen Harper, now that we really need him?’’
Trudeau’s fall from the honeymoon bed caused three bounces:
One, in the absurd auction – or was it poker? – in which Tom Mulcair out-Canadianized Harper’s promise to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees over three years: ‘‘I’ll admit 10,000 immediately!’’ followed by Trudeau’s ‘‘I’ll admit 25,000, by the end of the year!’’
Sheer logistics made fulfilment of this campaign vow highly unlikely. The Paris attacks made it approach cuckoo-land territory.
If letters to the editor accurately reflect quick public reaction, Canadians abruptly woke up to the consequences that Ottawa, posturing about Canada’s famous compassion and generosity before an international audience that barely notes or cares what we do, would be dumping on the unprepared provinces and cash-strapped municipalities. You know – taxpayers.
Premier Christy Clark’s suggestion that B.C.’s northeast could accept the Syrians – suddenly discovered as mainly Muslims, even a very few of them terrorists? – triggered an immediate hostile petition from the economically pressed people who merely live there already. Let’s not speak of the refugees’ cultural shock. Saturday night in Fort St. John could be alarming.
Two: When Paris was struck, Trudeau’s promise to withdraw our (six) Canadian planes striking ISIS targets in Syria, in favour of increasing our present (69) military advisers on the ground training soldiers, looked untimely at best. But he stands by it. The shock of the attacks – which are nothing compared to France’s leftist uprising in 1968 – will wear off (in Monday morning’s Globe and Mail three business reporters predicted markets collapsing; in fact Toronto and New York roared ahead more than 200 points).
Three: How now, Trudeau’s ambiguous support for, and promise to amend when in government, Bill C-51, the evil, uncaring Harper’s law to tighten the screws on real and aspiring terrorists? Well, the lawyers absolutely love ambiguity, and the immigration lawyers adore defending bad apples committed to destroying our vaunted, and, to ratchet my skepticism down a notch, deservedly protected Western values.
Chief JuCstice Beverley McLachlin and the Supremes, who so obviously detested Harper and Harper law, may look more kindly on Trudeau’s tweaking of C-51. What the great unwashed are feeling, post-Paris, though of course ignorable by the high-minded liberal elites, may be different.
Speaking as one who could use a shave and a clean-up myself: I delight in gloomy, gasbag-puncturing wisdom, and here is a timely shard of it, in light of French President Francois Hollande’s declaration that France is at war against ISIS: National Post columnist George Jonas, a Hungarian Jew aged 80 who lived through Europe’s horrors, has written that war is fought not to make the world a better place, but to keep it from becoming a worse one. A late Remembrance Day thought. Think it. Canadians may need it in days to come.
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A contrarian footnote to the above: Last January’s Charlie Hebdo affair, a backdrop to last week’s attacks, is surrounded by hysterical champions of free speech – few knowing anything about the magazine issue and its “cartoon” that caused death and chaos.
Tariq Ali, a big 1960s radical, wrote a sombre corrective in the leftist London Review of Books: Henri Roussel, founder of Charlie Hebdo’s predecessor, denounced editor “Charb” (Stéphane Charbonnier) as reckless for running the cartoon that infuriated Muslims.
And with good reason. Roussel describes the cartoon – which I nor most fanatical “Je suis Charlie” free-speechers haven’t seen reproduced – of Mohammed in words which I would not write, and this paper, properly, would not print. It is revolting, scurrilous, reprehensible, and led to deaths not just of damned fool Charb but of magazine staff that Roussel knew well, leaving him “both angry and sorrowful.”
Yes, reader, there are two sides to every story. Even the seemingly morally one-dimensional. As I too wrestle with.
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Scoop! Ralph Sultan, popular Liberal MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano, will run again in the far-off-but-nearer-than-you-think May 2017 election – at a dewy 82.
His slightly party-outsider reputation notwithstanding, Sultan broadly thinks Christy Clark has it right, considering the complexities of running a $45-billion-a-year operation. And, speaking of emails, in case you were, Sultan replies to constituents in hand-writing. His.
© Trevor Lautens, 2015