REALity – Volume XXXIV Issue No. 12 December 2015
Since winning the federal election in October, the Liberals have been basking in self-congratulations, reflected in an intoxicated media. Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre), stated modestly that the Liberal win means that “Canada is back again”. The media’s adulation of Trudeau has been extreme. An editorial in the Toronto (Red) Star on October 20th stated, “Trudeau Win is a Triumph for Decency”. A columnist in the Toronto Star commented that “Ottawa Returns to Normal after Dark Decade of Stephen Harper”. CBC’s Peter Mansbridge was as wide-eyed as an awestruck adolescent when interviewing Trudeau.
A large part of the media’s fawning attitude towards Trudeau is due to the so-called “Laurentian Consensus” which consists of the media, bureaucrats, left-wing university professors and NGO’s, who are located within the so-called “progressive” eastern Canadian cities of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. This group has governed Canada for most of the twentieth century. The October election restored their political power, leaving the west, more or less, outside once again.
The Laurentian group never shook off its sense that the Conservative decade was not so much a democratic triumph as a coup, a take-over by a subversive foreign element. That is, they regarded Mr. Harper’s government as illegitimate, claiming that his majority mandate, with a mere 39.6% of the vote in the 2011 election, meant that his election as Prime Minister was invalid. They ignore the fact that Mr. Trudeau won the vote in the 2015 election with only 39.5% of the popular vote! Mr. Trudeau is the personification of “old world power” or the closest we have come to it in Canada, whereby family, connections and privilege dominate. This power is desirable for the elites because Trudeau promotes unrestricted abortion, legalization of marijuana, physician assisted suicide, and other “progressive” (left-wing) ideas.
Scrutinizing the Political Landscape
The Liberal Party
Mr. Trudeau won the election with the sunny image of himself as the epitome of hope and change. This, however, was more spin than reality. He was a very touchy-feely candidate, who is a reflection of today’s young generation which blindly accepts politically correct concepts and clichés. Rational thinking is optional. Trudeau apparently doesn’t bother to study the issues to determine any possible downside to his liberal views.
Significantly, the Liberals received the lowest percentage of votes to win the largest percentage of seats since 1867. That is, the Liberals won 54.4% of seats with just 39.5% of voters’ support. The Liberals should be aware that this minor miracle is very unlikely to happen in future elections. The Liberals have a 14 seat majority, but with 15 seats won by a margin of less than 2.6% of votes. As a result, the Liberal win wasn’t as decisive as the party and the media pretend.
The Liberal campaign was in trouble in the middle of August. At that time, the Liberals sought help and advice from US President Obama’s campaign organizers. They promoted “change” as the mantra for Trudeau’s campaign, which resulted in Trudeau’s campaign taking off. Trudeau became a vessel for a wide array of voters’ hopes and aspirations. It is noted, however, that seven years after Obama’s election in 2008 “hope and change” has withered because of his many political blunders. We will be searching for Trudeau’s “sunny ways” when he has to deal with the reality of actually governing.
It is not unreasonable to suggest that Mr. Trudeau, a former drama teacher, is an expert in theatrics. We witnessed some of the theatrics when, with the sun shining down from a cloudless sky, the Cabinet was led by Mr. Trudeau and his handsome family, as they walked up the 700 metre driveway to Rideau Hall for the swearing-in ceremonies.
We also witnessed theatrics with Trudeau’s Cabinet appointments. He proudly presented the public with a gender parity Cabinet: 15 women and 15 men. Hidden behind this, however, was the fact that five of the female appointments were not really Ministers at all, but were appointed as Secretaries of State or junior ministers to assist the male Ministers. That is, five women in the Cabinet had no government departments to manage, and were to work under the Ministers, who had all the responsibilities. These female junior ministers also had lower salaries, no budgets and no signing authority. When this was revealed by the media, Trudeau quickly, in keeping with his theatrical spin and feminist beliefs, stated that these women were to be called Ministers after all and given the same salaries as the actual Ministers. These Ministers of State are women, and therefore should be elevated and paid the same as males, even though they do not have the same authority or responsibilities. Why let the facts stand in the way of theatrical appearances?
1 . Liberal Old Guard Returns
The positive spin on the election is covering up a return of some of the Liberals’ old guard. For example, Mr. Trudeau has appointed Peter Harder to lead his transition team. Mr. Harder was a senior bureaucrat in previous Liberal governments, including serving as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is currently President of the Canada/China Business Council (CCBC). That organization’s board consists almost entirely of former Chretien Cabinet Ministers and representatives from the Montreal Power Corporation, which has had a strong influence on the Liberal Party over the past decades. We can expect closer ties with China in the future as well as much input from these former Liberal Cabinet Ministers.
Another senior advisor to Trudeau is his socialist/Marxist brother, Alexandre (called Sacha). The latter made a documentary on Cuba’s Communist Leader Fidel Castro, portraying him as a noble, patriotic hero who rescued Cuba from disaster caused by its former government. The facts are otherwise.
Sacha has also completed another documentary portraying Israel as an aggressor and downplaying the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. We can expect the Trudeau regime will be much less positive towards Israel (the only democracy in the Middle East) than the Conservatives were.
2. The Conservative Party
During the 2015 election, despite the vicious personal attacks on Mr. Harper by the Laurentian Group, he still managed to hold on to a respectable 99 seats. The Conservatives had expected that the left-wing parties, the Liberals and the NDP would split the left-wing vote, with the Conservatives coming up the middle. This didn’t happen: because of Trudeau’s burgeoning campaign, the Liberals picked up many votes that would have gone to the NDP. The media’s intense campaign to elect “anyone but Harper” clearly played a role in motivating hitherto apathetic voters to go to the polling stations. The sheer dramatic scale of Trudeau’s promises also managed to strike a chord with voters who no one expected would be casting a ballot. The fact is, however, the Conservatives lost only about 8% of the popular vote that they had received in the 2011 election: not a bad result, considering the media’s constant attacks before and during the campaign, with rarely any positive coverage. The Conservative base held firm and loyal to the party.
It is also significant that many of the Conservative policies have been left intact by the Liberals, such as low taxes, free trade agreements, the oil pipeline, etc. The Liberals also mainly support the Conservatives’ anti-terrorism legislation (Bill C-51), promising amendments only.
There is no question that the Conservatives are going to live to fight another day, both in the present Parliament, and during the next federal election in October, 2019.
3. The NDP
At the beginning of the election campaign, called in early August, the NDP was in the lead in popular support. It started the campaign with 103 seats, but at the end of the campaign had only 44 seats. The NDP’s day in the sun was brief.
The next NDP leadership review will take place in April, 2016. NDP Leader, Thomas Mulcair, may resign before then or be voted out by the party at the convention. However, the NDP is used to defeat and may just continue on with Mr. Mulcair despite the fact that he caused bad blood within the party during the campaign because of his centrist policies, such as insisting upon a balanced budget. These policies were unacceptable to the left-wing purists within the party, such as Stephen Lewis and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent. It seems, however, that the NDP is doomed at least to remain in its customary place as the 3rd party in Parliament for the time being.
What Lies Ahead
The Liberals’ 88 page platform included 385 promises. These promises touch almost every aspect of Canadian life. It will be all but impossible for the Liberals to fulfil them all. There are going to be a lot of disappointed people who voted for the Liberals.
The Liberal campaign was adept at making things sound good, but now Mr. Trudeau must switch gears from the touchy/feely campaigner to governing Canada. It won’t be easy. There are divisions in his caucus, with a large contingent of MPs from Atlantic Canada and Quebec, who are ambivalent, at best, with the issues of wide open immigration and multi-culturalism. The caucus also contains a swath of MPs from suburban Toronto and from outside of Vancouver. Polling shows that the immigrant voters, who predominate in these ridings, are more economically and socially conservative than many of the native born Canadians with European backgrounds. In this election, many of these immigrants voted for the Liberals over the Conservatives. However, these voters may be inclined to drift back to the Conservatives in the 2019 election. Additionally, the three fastest growing provinces are in western Canada: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are outside of the Ontario-Quebec loop dominating Canada today. These rising western provinces are making Canada a more conservative place, which may make things very difficult for the Liberals in future elections.
“Events” do happen. It cannot be predicted what will affect the political parties in the next few years. In the meantime, we must endure the Trudeau government. It has four years to make mistakes. And it will.