Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Neither Stephen Nor Pierre


                                          http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Carol Goar has an interesting column this morning on Justin Trudeau's leadership style -- which is nothing like his father's:

A pattern is developing in Canadian politics.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet a group expected to be unfriendly or censorious. He will listen carefully to its position but make no firm commitment. To the surprise of his critics, he will emerge unscathed.

Consider where's he's been and what he's done in his first one hundred days:


  • It happened last week in Calgary when he met oil company executives. He couldn’t promise relief from plummeting crude prices or guarantee that a pipeline to either coast would be built on his watch. What he undertook to do was build a national consensus that getting Alberta’s landlocked oil to a sea port is in the interest of all Canadians.




  • It happened the week before in Montreal, where he met the city’s combative mayor. Denis Coderre had publicly declared his opposition to the Energy East pipeline. The pundits were primed for an embarrassing clash between the two Liberals. But after his audience with Trudeau, Coderre indicated that he could change his mind.




  • It happened in November when he attended his first G20 summit meeting in Turkey. Critics of the fledgling prime minister warned he was in for a dressing down by world leaders over his decision to withdraw Canada’s fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition combat mission in Iraq and Syria. The timing could scarcely have been worse for Trudeau. The night he left for the summit, terrorists attacked Paris and killed 129 people. ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) claimed responsibility. Stemming a tide of retaliatory rhetoric, Trudeau stood his ground, saying Canada would bring home its CF-18s in March but contribute to the mission in other ways. If he faced reproach or pressure to reverse his stand, there was no report of it. 

  • He's still on his honeymoon and the really tough stuff lies ahead:

    The most likely explanation is that Trudeau hasn’t yet given his foes a substantive target. His government hasn’t enacted any legislation, tabled its first budget, produced its climate change strategy, approved any pipelines or pulled a single warplane out of the Middle East (although it soon will). 

    But one thing is certain. When it comes to dealing with people, Trudeau is neither Stephen Harper nor his father.


    14 comments:

    Pamela Mac Neil said...

    How Trudeau deals with people Owen, is his strength.

    Lorne said...

    I have to admit that this refreshing change keeps me from being too cynical about the prospects of substantive change under the new government, Owen. However, I think we should all know over the next few months whether Trudeau's leadership amounts to anything more than his welcome style.

    Anonymous said...

    At the least, this is a good first sign of what the Prime Minister's leadership might become. However, the curtain has barely risen, and a meaningful first act has yet to begin. Admittedly, the Prime Minister is a past master of theatrics, but I'm waiting to see what happens when his novelty and theatrical glamour wear off, as I'm sure you are.

    Josh Billings, an American frontier humorist, once quipped:"They say the time will come when the lion and the lamb will lie down together. I'll be as glad as any man to see it, but I'm still putting my money on the lion."

    Mr. Trudeau looks too good to be true.

    Owen Gray said...

    I'm familiar with that quotation, Anon. Generally speaking, the lion wins the day. On the other hand, John A. Macdonald liked the Biblical verse and said he hoped that's what Canada would become -- A Peacable Kingdom.

    Owen Gray said...

    The rubber will hit the road in the near future, Lorne. We'll know before long whether Trudeau's style matches his accomplishments.

    Owen Gray said...

    It could be a strength -- a welcome strength in a democracy, Pam. But, as Lorne and Anon indicate, it will have to matched with good judgment.

    James A. Latimer said...

    I think that Justin Trudeau is a fallable humad being, like the rest of us. He will not always be right. He will not always use good judgement. Anyone can on ly try to do their best. But, so far, with good judgment and his accomplishemnts he has matched his style.

    ron wilton said...

    If nothing else he is driving the harpercons crazier and "I'm lovin' it".

    The Mound of Sound said...


    I think Goar is being a little generous in her treatment of JT, Owen. To facilitate the arms sale to Saudi Arabia speaks volumes of what Trudeau is made of. Then to promise to build a consensus for the transmission of dilbit to some seaport when we know that the survival of the planet demands that high-carbon fossil fuels be left in the ground erases, for me at least, any lingering, hopeful doubt. It's nice that he's conciliatory in confronting adversaries. That's awfully sweet. What difference does it make if he's still going to sell our grandkids' future down the river that he does it with a pleasing smile?

    Owen Gray said...

    There's a difference between consulting and giving in, Mound. Time will tell what Justin is made of.

    Owen Gray said...

    Let's hope there's substance behind the man, ron.

    Owen Gray said...

    So far he seems to have avoided the traps which have been laid for him, James. We'll soon see if he is more than an Artful Dodger.

    Anonymous said...

    A main difference between Conservative governments and Liberal governments is that Conservatives destroy their countries and provinces with pushy and arrogant zeal, while Liberals pretend to not have a choice. They have no choice but to sign treasonous trade deals; they have no choice but to keep taxes low for corporations and rich individuals; they have no choice but to vote for freedom-crushing legislation such as Bill C-51; they have no choice but to cater to certain industries and companies; the have no choice but to privatize public assets; they have no choice but to allow corruption and waste in the senate to fester ...

    Owen Gray said...

    Both arguments are cop-outs, Anon.