No ifs, ands or Butts

Un­like PM’S In­dia trip, Scheer’s lacked sheer mad­ness

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - MARK BONOKOSKI mark­bonokoski@gmail.com @Mark­bonokoski

Ger­ald M. Butts, our prime min­is­ter’s prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary and pup­pet mas­ter, loves to go on so­cial me­dia to mock con­ser­va­tive politi­cians who op­pose the Trudeau Lib­er­als’ plan to force a car­bon tax on prov­inces if they don’t fall in line with their high-and-mighty think­ing.

He’s a bit of a gas bag, of course, who pol­lutes the at­mos­phere with a green­house gas with ev­ery breath he ex­hales. But don’t we all? In a re­cent tweet, for ex­am­ple, Butts put it out there that “you can now choose be­tween a No­bel Prize win­ning econ­o­mist and Ken­ney/ford/scheer when de­cid­ing who is right about the eco­nomics of pol­lu­tion pric­ing.”

The three­some he mocked, and pur­posely so, were fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive leader An­drew Scheer, On­tario Premier Doug Ford, and Ja­son Ken­ney, likely the next premier of Al­berta — none of whom want any­thing to do with fur­ther bur­den­ing their con­stituents with a need­less tax on car­bon.

And then Butts linked his as­sess­ment to a post on Twit­ter by the No­bel Prize folk that “lau­re­ate Wil­liam Nord­haus’ re­search shows that the most ef­fi­cient rem­edy for prob­lems caused by green­house gas emis­sions is a global scheme of car­bon taxes uni­formly im­posed on all coun­tries.”

Cli­mate change is real and must be ad­dressed ra­tio­nally.

How­ever, the wit­less link­ing of broad eco­nomic and cli­mate the­ory to spe­cific poli­cies and tax mea­sures, in this case the Trudeau gov­ern­ment’s re­gres­sive, job-killing car­bon plan, is stan­dard tac­tics for the ide­o­log­i­cal left.

Mean­while, be­ing awarded a No­bel prize doesn’t make the re­cip­i­ent in­fal­li­ble, par­tic­u­larly in the im­pre­cise field of eco­nomics, any more than a tarted up PM dressed as a Bol­ly­wood bride­groom and danc­ing the Bhangra makes him an in­ter­na­tional au­thor­ity on diplo­matic re­la­tions with the coun­try whose fes­tive garb and dance he was what ... im­i­tat­ing?

Quite the op­po­site, in fact.

Com­pare Justin Trudeau’s dis­as­trous trip to In­dia, where Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi avoided him un­til the very end over cri­tiques that Trudeau was wishy-washy on Sikh ex­trem­ism — by the way, isn’t that un­in­vited Sikh crash­ing the din­ner party, and get­ting his pic­ture taken right now with So­phie Gre­goire Trudeau, a con­victed at­tempted mur­derer back in Canada? — to Scheer’s much sub­tler trip to the same coun­try, and the dif­fer­ence is akin to the Bhangra vs. the Boot Scootin’ Boo­gie.

Trudeau was an em­bar­rass­ment; Scheer an adult.

In­stead of play­ing silly bug­ger and Mr. Dress-up, Scheer sat down with Modi to dis­cuss trade and re­new­ing the En­ergy East oil pipeline if his party gains power be­cause Saint John, N.B., rep­re­sents a shorter ship­ping route to In­dia than Bri­tish Columbia.

That’s what PMS are sup­posed to do, is it not?

Per­haps Trudeau never got Butts’ memo, not that the PMO’S top ad­viser and former head of the World Wildlife Fund would con­done any­thing that had to do with fos­sil fu­els, even if it means leav­ing bil­lions upon bil­lions of dol­lars in po­ten­tial rev­enues sit­ting un­tapped in the oil­sands of Al­berta.

On an­other front, Cana­di­ans who feel re­lieved to­day that the NAFTA deal — now known as the United States Mex­ico Canada Agree­ment (USMCA) — was (some­what) suc­cess­fully rene­go­ti­ated should not be thank­ing Trudeau nor Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs Chrys­tia Free­land, but send­ing grat­i­tude cards to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s chief trade en­voy, Robert Lighthizer.

No doubt Lighthizer had some very heated dis­cus­sions with Trump try­ing to keep the talks from derail­ing, con­sid­er­ing how both Trudeau and Free­land showed no con­straint in rat­tling Trump’s cage.

“Canada will not be pushed around,” trum­peted Trudeau at the G7, all while Free­land slides back to Canada dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion’s 11th hour to take part in a panel pur­posely aimed at in­sult­ing Trump while sit­ting un­der the huge mar­quee ban­ner of “Tak­ing on the Tyrant.”

Whose bright idea was that? Butts’?

If so, the 2019 elec­tion can’t come soon enough.

The chal­lenge will be to limit dam­age un­til it does.

NARINDER NANU/GETTY IM­AGES

Con­ser­va­tive leader An­drew Scheer and wife Jill pay their re­spects at the Sikh Golden Tem­ple in Am­rit­sar last week. Their out­fits were dra­mat­i­cally more sub­dued than the Trudeaus’ when they vis­ited in Fe­bru­ary.

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BUTTS Gas bag

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