Trudeau’s nirvana fades away
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) poses for a selfie with students during the First Ministers' meeting in Ottawa, Canada November 23, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Other than some laughably adoring portraits of “sexy” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the media, less than three months after the federal election, things are returning to normal in Canada.
Starry-eyed declarations by Liberals that the 2015 election -- which Trudeau won with a lower percentage of the vote (39.47%) than Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2011 (39.62%) -- marked a watershed moment in Canadian history, can now be dismissed for the nonsense they were.
Since then, reality has asserted itself.
The Trudeau Liberals have now admitted there aren’t enough rich people to pay for their tax break for the ill-defined “middle class”.
That means giving the middle class, whoever they are, a tax break, will blow another deficit hole in the federal budget, which all Canadians will pay for in higher taxes (hello, carbon pricing!) down the road.
As for Trudeau’s election talk of enhancing the CPP, Canadians, who would pay for it, can’t afford it right now.
Trudeau, who in opposition condemned Harper’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, has now adopted them.
He will fail to meet them as Harper did, just as Jean Chretien failed to meet his targets before Harper.
Trudeau’s election promise to airlift 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015 has been exposed as impractical. As it turns out, most Syrian refugees don’t want to come to Canada. They want to go home.
On that front, Canadian bombers are still flying sorties against ISIS in Syria and Iraq while Trudeau searches for a foreign policy that will reflect what most Canadians want, which is for Canada to participate meaningfully in the fight, not cut and run.
The $15 billion Saudi arms deal will go ahead under Trudeau as it would have under Harper, no matter how many people the Saudis behead.
On legalizing marijuana, turns out that’s much harder to do once the idea gets beyond the pipe dream stage, because of international treaties.
On political democracy Trudeau, who won 54.4% of the seats with 39.47% of the vote under our first past the post system, now argues, apparently without irony, that this is a sufficient mandate for him to impose historic changes on how we vote, without a referendum.
All of this illustrates the child-like rhyme that best describes our federal politics: Liberal, Tory? Same old story. (Sorry, NDP).
Going forward, Trudeau will nudge Canada to the centre-left, as Harper nudged it to the centre-right, because the centre is where most of the votes are.
Just as Trudeau will prove to be not quite the disaster the Conservatives made him out to be, so Harper will prove to have been not quite the ogre the Liberals painted him as.
Indeed, Trudeau’s late father experienced, in order, the love, hate and deification of the public, the latter after he had left politics, while his son is still in the honeymoon stage.
But it won’t last. In time, Liberal patronage and political corruption will consume this government as it consumed the Conservative government before it, the Liberal government before that and the Conservative government before that.
The reason is always the same and has nothing to do with political ideology.
It’s that in opposition, politicians vow to change the government, until they become the government, at which point, they begin to turn into the government they vowed to change.
Until the public grows tired of them and looks for something new. And history repeats itself.