PM’S town hall a pointless gesture adding to political cynicism
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to Regina Thursday night to talk about jobs and the economy.There was no planned announcement. There was no scheduled meeting with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to sort out differences on the carbon tax and other issues crucial to this province. (For this, Moe is far more at fault than Trudeau. That Moe chose not to rearrange his personal schedule to at least facilitate a chance meeting with the prime minister of Canada is rather telling.)If Trudeau was truly about engaging those in Western Canada directly affected by the slowdown in the oil economy, he was actually two days too late. There was a rally in front of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building on Tuesday, with real people who are hurting. Really, Trudeau came here just so he could say he did. It was a pointless gesture.Notwithstanding the fact that any prime minister in even the most hostile environment can find a friendly or at least civil audience, as Trudeau was hoping to find at the University of Regina on Thursday, Trudeau’s name is little more than a punchline in most of the West. Admittedly, some of the hatred toward Trudeau is visceral nonsense— a situation all too common in modern-day politics, where the leader becomes a scapegoat for all woes. Harper obviously experienced the same phenomenon from some on the left.But a lot of it is because today’s politics is less about finding solutions than appearing to do so. Trudeau has mastered such theatrics, but all politicians are players.And the solutions are clearly not to be found in either these carefully stage-managed town halls or sincere protest rallies that politicians always seem to hijack for their own purpose. Right now, all they are accomplishing is piling on to the cynicism. That needs to change.Admittedly, one gets why Trudeau and his strategists would have no interest in wading into Tuesday’s pipeline protests. We are long past the days when a prime minister is going to wade through a crowd and get away with grabbing a protester by the throat, a la Jean Chretien.And notwithstanding organizer Cody Battershill’s success in sending a message that the pro-pipeline rally was to be based on “positivity, respect and inclusivity” by asking yellow vest protesters to keep their vests and alternative views on issues like immigration at home, Trudeau’s presence at the event would have been a no-win situation in such a politically charged environment.Sure, union voices joined the Regina Chamber of Commerce, Regina Mayor Michael Fougere and NDP MLAS. But lifetime Senate appointee Denise Batters hammering away on the evils of Bill C-69 pretty much ensured everyone would leave with a political taint.The same could be said of Moe’s speech (in a wind chill that made it feel like -30 C) that noted how “we feel like we’ve been left out in the cold” and that “it feels like no one is listening to us”. Gee, imagine how the Justice for Our Stolen Children teepee protesters must have felt when Moe wouldn’t meet with them this past summer when the weather was great.Sir, you are not a protester. You are a leader. And leadership has to be about slightly more than selectively meeting with whom you assume to be a friendly audience and telling them pretty much what they want to hear in a way that seems positive to them.Sadly, that is today’s discourse — politicians opting to stage-manage their own stage-managed events, or hijack someone else’s, rather than talking to each other about compromise and solutions.Sure, Trudeau is at least holding non-partisan public events in Western Canada that Harper wouldn’t dare hold.But can anyone in good conscience call that a productive dialogue? Are such stage-managed events now the substitute for substantive dialogue between politicians that could produce solutions? Or do our politicians now feel they are under no obligation to talk to anyone other than those who share their views?
© PressReader. All rights reserved.