Sunday, November 25, 2012

On sad traditions

I haven't commented much on the latest out of the federal Libs' camp. But I'll quickly expand on the similarities noted by Paul Wells between Justin Trudeau and some of his predecessors - who did so much to alienate progressive Canadians during their stay in power:
The other reason I think Pierre Trudeau would have recognized a familiar style in Justin Trudeau’s announcement is that the older man was hardly immune to taking stances that might alienate the drowsiest elements of his electoral base. He didn’t win three majorities on debating-club points. Take his decision in 1983 to allow Ronald Reagan to test cruise missiles over Canada. (If you take this walk down memory lane, stick around long enough to hear NDP foreign-affairs critic Pauline Jewett’s magnificent rant in rebuttal. “Isn’t this typical? Parliament’s not in session, six o’clock on a Friday afternoon they make the announcement hoping you’re not around either.” Plus ça change.)

Nor indeed does one need to make connections to Pierre Trudeau to see that Justin Trudeau’s stance has roots in solid, if lately undernourished, Liberal traditions. Winning Liberals have often been natural-resource Liberals. Here’s Chrétien this year at the world’s biggest mining conference in Toronto; he subsidized the oil sands up the wazoo and made an Edmontonian his natural-resources minister.
Of course, at the same time, Chretien paid lip service to fighting climate change without ever figuring out what he planned to do about it, pushed alarmist deficit-fighting and tax cuts ahead of any interest in social programs, and worked to slash the social safety net. And all this after rising to power on a relatively progressive platform - which of course went out the window after it had served its purpose of helping the Libs to win power.

Now, there's a case to be made that the Libs's most plausible path to put themselves into contention for government in 2015 involves digging the 1993 songbook out of the attic with Trudeau as the new frontman, while concurrently trying to make up a fund-raising gap by echoing the Cons' rhetoric in the hope that the resource sector will want to take them over as a hedge against Con losses.

But as is often the case, there's a massive difference between what's best for the Libs and what's best for progressive politics in Canada. And Trudeau's choice to push the idea that we should see ourselves as a "grocery store" eager to hand over whatever anybody will pay for might make for the most obvious conflict between the two yet.

If the Libs and their presumptive leader in fact plan to compete with the Cons for the title of the most resource-obsessed party while pulling in legacy voters in the process, they'll all too likely succeed only in muddying the waters of a choice between social and corporate values where the progressive side can win - while also raising the likelihood that the next non-Con government will follow the Cons' myopic focus on resource exploitation. And Canadian progressives should take care not to get trapped in that worst of all possible worlds - both in voting in tomorrow's by-elections, and in their choice of focus over the next few years.


  1. Anonymous6:50 p.m.

    Canada has become too divided. Chasms between provinces and Harper, are too wide to cross. And, we don't want to cross to Harper's side. The anger with Harper, for selling us out to Communist China, plus giving China all of the resource jobs too? Forget it. We don't want Red China on our Canadian soil, what-so-ever.

    There is another source of anger that is not going away. Most Canadians know, Harper cheated to win the election. The Federal election was, dirtied, fouled, undemocratic and not even valid.

    China has hacked into other country's secret files. They sold infected electronic components. U.S. missiles and other weapons, had infected components purchased from Red China. While other country's are kicking China off their lands. Harper brings that country, right onto our land.

    The only way provinces can save themselves from Harper's treachery, is to leave Harper's Canada. This country isn't Canada anymore anyhow. This country will belong to Red China.

    1. Anonymous3:07 a.m.


      Have you read any of the Wikileaks documents detailing conversations between American & Canadian officials? Our officials prostrate and "report to" Americans as if we were subordinates.

      Harper is "selling us out"?

      We were "sold" the minute our effete Liberal elites decided nuclear deterrents were too unseemly an endeavour. The result is that our national security is paid for through servitude to foreign governments.

      Where was your soliloquy when the Liberals mercilessly shipped off our sons & daughters to fight & die for American security interests in Afghanistan?

      Spare me,
      Dan Tan

    2. Anonymous1:24 p.m.

      To all,

      As if to prove my point...

      According to the Bank Of England:

      "Mr Carney has indicated he intends to apply for British citizenship."

      Remember Liberal fawning over this man.
      Remember Liberal claims to Canadian patriotism.
      Remember Liberal theatrics over Conrad Black's renunciation of his Canadian citizenship.

      Cry for us Argentina,
      Dan Tan