Scheer shows us how it’s done in In­dia

The Expositor (Brantford) - - OPINION -

Some­thing re­mark­able hap­pened in In­dia the past few days. A prom­i­nent Cana­dian politi­cian toured the coun­try and even met with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi wear­ing just a busi­ness suit and con­duct­ing him­self in a ma­ture and dig­ni­fied man­ner.

Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer is in In­dia to talk trade and pro­mote ship­ping Cana­dian oil to In­dia from New Brunswick via a re­vived Tran­sCanada’s En­ergy East pipe­line.

Back in Fe­bru­ary, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s pop­u­lar­ity took a hit af­ter the world me­dia panned the PM as a se­ri­ous world leader fol­low­ing his tour of In­dia. Trudeau em­bar­rassed him­self and the coun­try by dress­ing up in at­tire be­fit­ting a Bol­ly­wood bride­groom and gen­er­ally mak­ing a spec­ta­cle of him­self.

It was one of the more bizarre forms of cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion and eth­nic pan­der­ing com­mit­ted by a po­lit­i­cal leader in a long time. And the In­dian pub­lic didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate his charm of­fen­sive.

Scheer is by his own ac­knowl­edge­ment on the trip mostly to high­light this con­trast. In fair­ness, his trip is largely for do­mes­tic con­sump­tion — es­pe­cially for Cana­dian vot­ers of In­dian her­itage — as much as it to re­pair re­la­tions with In­dia.

Yet Modi, who snubbed Trudeau when he showed up in New Delhi, clearly felt it worth his time to sched­ule Scheer in and forge a re­la­tion­ship with the man who might be our next PM.

And it’s only nat­u­ral for Canada and In­dia to fur­ther strengthen ties. Modi pledged to work to­ward a free-trade deal with Canada sev­eral years ago and we should urge him along on that project. Mean­while, the no­tion of ex­port­ing our oil to In­dia’s mar­ket via our East Coast should be se­ri­ously pur­sued.

Scheer’s bal­anced visit though isn’t just about Trudeau’s In­dia trip. It’s about how poorly the Lib­eral govern­ment has been en­gag­ing in diplo­macy in gen­eral.

Our spat with the Saudis was un­nec­es­sary. Trudeau’s in­ces­sant virtue-sig­nalling on gen­der and other is­sues has caused headaches with both TPP and NAFTA talks.

And For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land par­tic­i­pated in events liken­ing U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to a tyrant. Thank­fully, we still made it out of the USMCA talks rel­a­tively un­scathed.

How our lead­ers con­duct them­selves while rep­re­sent­ing our coun­try mat­ters.

In Trudeau, we’ve seen a leader fo­cused on im­age, ide­ol­ogy and theatrics.

Scheer re­jected the flash, and acted like a diplo­mat.

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