When Canadians pick up pencils on October 21 and determine who will lead this increasingly fractious nation performance, policy and promises will factor into beside whose name an ‘X’ appears, but increasingly the 2019 federal election will evolve into a cult of personality.
The incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is dragging along a series of blunders, ethics and behavioural violations which in decades past would have attracted only the most confirmed supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada.
In subsequent columns we’ll review the opposition party leaders and their performances/commitments. We’ll begin though with a critical view of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
There is much to critique. The Omar Khadr $10.5 million payout. Trudeau pushing legislation to safeguard Canadian citizenship of convicted terrorists who are dual citizens.
The charge by a young female reporter of sexual harassment against a then 27 year old Justin Trudeau who while constantly describing himself a feminist argues it’s all about interpretation of what took place.
An at best bumpy and at worst disastrous visit to India last February, with Jaspal Atwal, convicted of the 1986 attempted assassination of an Indian politician visiting British Columbia, invited by the Canadian high commission to an official dinner honouring Trudeau, the day before he was to meet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That Atwal had been seen in the company of Canadian Minister Amarjeet Sohi and had his photo taken with Sophie Gregoire, Trudeau’s wife, clearly failed to impress the Modi government. As it was, the Indian Prime Minister kept Trudeau waiting days for a one-on-one meeting.
There are also the repeat convictions of ethics violations brought against Justin Trudeau by the parliamentary ethics commissioner.
The greatest fail though of serving the interests and needs of Canada by this Prime Minister concerns his distaste for the Western Canadian energy sector, as in “phase out the oilsands;” words spoken by Trudeau at a nationally televised town hall meeting.
Not since his father has a Prime Minister so alienated an increasingly frustrated Western Canada. A recent four-part series of polling by the Angus Reid Institute underscores the displeasure growing west of Ontario.
Trudeau continues to engage in deep-sixing the Alberta and to a lesser extent Saskatchewan oil and energy sectors. Pipelines which would deliver oilsands product to the international marketplace by way of Canadian ocean terminals have been permanently halted, or at best significantly delayed. Bill C-69, which at this writing is being debated in the Canadian Senate will, if passed drive the final nail into nationally impactful pipeline development. Safeguarding sensitive British Columbia coastal environment is the argument the Liberals insist justifies C-69.
The Energy East pipeline was to deliver Alberta oilsands product to Eastern Canadian refineries in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. Quebec politicians though, notably then Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, shouted their refusal to accept Energy East crossing Quebec. Trudeau’s sum total engagement to challenge this attitude amounted to zero.
Instead, some 800,000 barrels of foreign oil are daily delivered to the same Eastern Canadian refineries and again without as much as a peep of protest from the federal Liberals, their leader and Prime Minister.
While Alberta oil is described as “dirty” by Quebec’s new Premier, oil tankers ply the environmentally sensitive waters of the St. Lawrence river and Great Lakes and have for years. In 2013 alone some 500 ships filled with petroleum product entered the port of Montreal.
How negatively is Trudeau’s determination to “phase out the oilsands” affecting this nation’s economic wellbeing? International investors have written letters of concern to Justin Trudeau urging him to properly support the sector. Major oilsands projects have been halted and more will be if no significant course correction is initiated.
Because Canada trips itself in getting oil to the international marketplace and counts on the United States as our only real client we agree to sell to the Americans at a significant discount.
Frank McKenna, vice chair of TD Bank told us on air that bank studies show some $107 billion was lost to the Canadian economy over a recent seven year period as a result of the discount.
Has Justin Trudeau governed in a manner leading to a facture of the Canadian federation? He did tell the New York Times after just days in office his ambition is for Canada to become the first post-nation state.
Since then Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has asked openly on air “Do we have a country?” and Premier Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick added “is Canada a nation or a notion.”
That buck stops with the Prime Minister.