National Post (Latest Edition)
National interest not the same as Trudeau’s
Iwould like to start this weekend’s tap dance with a deep expression of sympathy to Green-leader-for-the-moment Annamie Paul. Why Ms. Paul remains in that torment of a post, the head of this weirdly self-destructive sham of a political party, is a real puzzle. The Green Party is, with some sort of strange delight, putting on a dazzling performance of self-annihilation.
The only certain thing that emerges from the unwholesome mess is that, for some Green party zealots, saving the planet doesn’t work as a priority if it means being moderate on Israel.
The Greens have no policy on, for example, China, North Korea or the implosion of South Africa. They are intensely fixated on and hostile to Israel. Paul is not. There, and only there, is where she offends. The things said in the alleyways and backwaters of Twitter about the Green leader and her “Zionist” leanings are mean and disgusting.
And Green matriarch Elizabeth May stands aside mute and unsupportive — the persecution of Annamie Paul perhaps the only issue in decades on which silence is her friend.
What Paul needs, and will surely not get, is something of the loyalty which Justin Trudeau enjoys — nay, in one case at least, something of the adoration he receives — from cabinet and caucus. There will be no revolts in Liberal land.
Mr. Trudeau may trip up in so many directions. He may dress madly in foreign lands, do serial minstrel blackface, let First Nations languish under boil-water advisories, play the classic sexist in Kokanee, dance with the WE evangelists and vacation with the Aga Khan; but aside from the redoubtable Jodie Wilson-raybould and the saintly Jane Philpott, his cabinet and caucus stay loyal as puppies, mute as cloistered monks, docile as Margaret Atwood’s repressed handmaids.
Annamie Paul needs someone like Seamus O’regan (“O captain, My Captain”) who, following the political bribe … er investment ... this week in the Muskrat Falls money pit in Newfoundland and Labrador, posted the most endearing and submissive salute a political big shot has ever paid to a leader — outside regimes, say like Cuba, where worship of the leader is a liturgico-political necessity.
The Newfoundland MP’S words are a poem, fulsome, gushing and diabetically sweet:
“Whenever we’ve asked you to be there for us, you have been.”
“Whenever we’ve asked you to step up, you have.”
“Thank you, Prime Minister.” The photo completes the valentine. One thing is certain, when the Liberals go into this now allbut-certain election, Mr. Trudeau, unlike poor Ms. Paul, will not have to worry about executive revolt.
And speaking of federal elections during a still unresolved pandemic: Does anyone know why we’re going to have one, why the country needs or even wants to have one? Especially why now?
Trudeau is butterflying around the country dropping millions here and billions there, as are his worshipful ministers, nattering on about “just transitions” and “building back better” (when not tossing verbal hand grenades at the Montreal Canadiens for their careless sexism), but is anyone raising the question of why Canada, at this moment — when many people just got their first haircut in 18 months and are still suffocating under face masks — has to have an election?
Was there a sudden national outcry — Let Canada Vote Now! We haven’t even settled the increasingly confusing vaccine protocols, we might see a balanced budget in half a century, and somehow we must have an election now?
The only reason we will have an election, and everyone knows this, is that it suits the governing Liberals to have one.
Really, is that enough? Do the interior counsels of the Liberal Party and its spin-doctor mechanics constitute a new definition of the national interest?
Is COVID-19 really, absolutely over? Is Trudeau sure it is? Certainly no responsible government would contemplate an electioneering fiesta if COVID still had a serious call on the nation’s public.
Parents are not even now sure if schools will reopen. Yet we are to have a full national election campaign, with planes stuffed with reporters, robotic campaign rallies, squads of campaign workers pestering people door to door — all this, which is in total defiance of the warnings and cautions that have been ceaselessly preached for a year and a half by the government.
Are not Canadians even now being furiously warned about Delta variants and fourth waves and possible, even likely, returns to lockdown? Surely the gallants of our national press, and particularly the formidable quizmasters of the Ottawa press gallery, can unite as one to ask the only question that counts on this matter: Why, PM, do we need an election now? You own Parliament. The national treasury is and has been yours to disburse with a freewheeling latitude no other national leader in our history has ever known.
It all reduces to just one question, which has not been asked, and almost certainly never will be: Does the convenience of the Liberal Party, the whim of its leader and the cunning advice of the PMO advisers, amount to, constitute the Canadian national public interest?
Where’s the backlash at this naked manipulation? In case I have not been clear, a premature election call has no worthy justification.