Monday, October 24, 2016

Keeping His Word

Justin Trudeau came to office, claiming he would put an end to the cynicism of the Harper years. Michael Harris writes:

When Justin Trudeau was running to become prime minister, he said that cynicism — about the future, the fate of our kids, and most especially the political establishment — was a serious problem. Somehow, someone just had to win back the public’s faith in the system. Otherwise, we would become a society of malcontents, nay-sayers, and self-seekers divorced from any meaningful sense of community. The national myth for those people would be that the whole shooting match was rigged against them for the benefit of the few.

On two critical files -- electoral reform  and the environment -- Trudeau has been backing away from his promises:

The prime minister found himself in a firestorm of criticism when he suggested in an interview with Le Devoir that he was backing away from his commitment to ending Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system. The implication of his words was that his election had somehow fixed the problem, or made it far less urgent at very least. That sparked one commentator on social media to ask for a retraction of Trudeau’s words or his recall.

Trudeau was supposed to be the antidote to years of Conservative mismanagement on the environment. At best, his record has been spotty, at worst, a betrayal of environmentalists who saw him as their champion.

While it is true Trudeau has finally put a price on carbon emissions, it is also true that he supported the Site C dam project in British Columbia, despite the opposition of environmentalists, First Nations leaders, Amnesty International, and the Royal Society of Canada.

The Trudeau government has also failed to legislate its own moratorium on oil-tanker traffic on the North Coast of the province. Instead, it has given conditional approval to Pacific NorthWest LNG’s massive $39-billion project that will also create five million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually should it ever be built. Not exactly what the summiteers in Paris had in mind — nor a lot of voters in British Columbia who went Liberal. 

South of the border, we are presently witnessing a lesson about the wages of cynicism:

Part of what everyone is witnessing in the U.S. Presidential election is the extent to which “every day Americans” hate the political establishment with a passion once reserved for the country’s foreign enemies. So desperate have these people become, so overwhelming has been the avalanche of lies and betrayals visited on them by politicians of all stripes, that 50 million Americans are about to vote for a man whose preferred form of greeting women is a hearty grope.  

If Justin is wise, he'll keep his word.


Steve said...

Cynicism these days is like GBS observed, the understanding. Every institution has failed, everybody at the top seems to be severving number one. The worst thing about wikileaks is nobody seems to care.

Anonymous said...

we are getting harper conservatism by default
it appears
that if it of more consequence than a gay parade
then the harper established vector is maintained

The Mound of Sound said...

I think you would have to be a pretty devout Liberal at this point to have much faith in Justin keeping his word. Part of the blame rests with the Canadian public who still give him solid support. How can that do anything but encourage him to believe he can get away with broken promises? The worst part is that he dresses up his perfidy with grand proclamations of high principle.

Dame Cathy is a poster girl for what's wrong with Trudeau. She gave it away when she said she was "as much an economic minister as an environment minister." In other words, she's a part-time environment minister with an often conflicting portfolio. Her job title is "environment and climate change" minister with no dual portfolio in parenthesis. Then again, even the justice minister, as we saw on her breathtaking reversal on the Site-C dam, is now an economic minister. They're all economic ministers. The prime minister has declared himself primarily focused on trade. How can we ever rely on them to stand up for what is right instead of whatever is most expedient? We can't.

Toby said...

Keeping His Word to whom? Not us, of course.

The Mound of Sound said...

And what if he doesn't keep his word, Owen, what then? The Canadian public seems to like him well enough. If they don't mind, I suppose it don't matter, eh?

Ron Hart said...

Justin Trudeau like Stephen Harper is a neoliberal. The economy will always take precedence over the environment. This is reflected in his 'absolute betrayal' of First Nations by issuing permits for the construction of the Sit C dam; his actions around the Trans Mountain pipeline;his $15 billion sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. Notice his equivocation regarding policy on tanker traffic off Haida Guaii inspite of the ongoing environmental tragedy there; notice his approval of the tar sands ecocide and his determination to get resources to tidewater. Then there is his acceptance of Harper's emission targets--targets he had clearly and repeatedly said were inadequate before the election. Trudeau is a smiling Harper and just as determined to push the neoliberal agenda, human rights be damned; the climate be damned.

Owen Gray said...

I'm late getting to these comments. My computer has passed on and I've been busy setting up the new one. I hope to be back tomorrow.