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Saturday, November 24, 2012

More Canadian Political Drama

Awhile back I posted about the emerging political drama in Canada, with the son and the former lover of the great Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau vying for the Liberal leadership. So far these two, Justin Trudeau and Deborah Coyne, are the only official candidates, according to the Party website. Last week Canadians got a reminder of who they were dealing with in the case of Justin Trudeau. A video emerged of a TV interview where Trudeau lashed out at the Western Canadian province of Alberta, stating "Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community." (The current Conservative Prime Minister is from Alberta). The interview came to attention while Trudeau's rival Coyne was campaigning in Alberta; but the timing of the revelation seems more to do with a by-election in the province which, until the video was released, the Liberals seemed to have a chance of winning. In the same interview, Justin Trudeau mused: "“certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec. … This country — Canada — it belongs to us.” He thus insinuated that non-Quebeckers ought not to bother applying for the position of Canadian Prime Minister. This is the kind of arrogance and divisiveness that Justin's father fought against throughout his political career: the elder Trudeau liked to describe himself as French-Canadian. He believed in a pan-Canadian understanding of political identity not a provincialist one. Justin Trudeau's handlers immediately responded that the interview was old and the remarks were taken out of context. In fact it was done in 2010-when Trudeau was a parliamentarian in his late 30s, not an errant adolescent. As for context, this wasn't a drunken dinner on St. Jean-Baptiste Day-it was an official performance for television. Eventually and inevitably, Trudeau apologized. The shockingly chauvinistic and parochial statements from 2010 did, however, draw attention away from Justin Trudeau's more recent gaffe-an oped where he suggested that Canada ought to rubber-stamp proposals for Chinese investment in Canada, because the Chinese play by their own rules and there is nothing that little countries like Canada can do about it. In fact the oped is chock full of contradictions that say a great deal about the quality of Justin's mind: on the one hand he warns that the Chinese play by their own rules while on the other hand reassuring everyone that once inside Canada they will scrupulously bow down before existing laws on labor, environment etc. Deborah Coyne shot back with her own oped, which while eschewing Sinophobia was far more shrewd about China, pointing out the current federal Government's lack of clear standards to steer Canadian investment policy. It now appears that Justin Trudeau and Deborah Coyne will soon be joined in the race by a former astronaut. After last week, we might well ask if one space cadet isn't enough in this contest.

Posted by Rob Howse on November 24, 2012 at 02:58 PM | Permalink


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So, if Quebec leaves Canada, will it take Canada with it?

Posted by: Bruce Boyden | Nov 24, 2012 5:50:26 PM

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