One more weekend and it’ll all be over.
- Barack the vote
Generally, when we talk about foreign influence into domestic elections, we imagine a computer lab full of Russians inventing agitprop about the incumbent party’s secret plan to cross-breed humans with earthworms. Being covert is essential to the concept; being utterly deranged is a plus. We do not typically imagine an ex-U.S. president sending out a very public tweet praising the Canadian Prime Minister he plainly liked better – and nothing else. And yet.
But non-nefarious intent is not the only reason it is unfair to accuse Barack Obama of wielding excessive foreign influence. The main reason is because most voters who would let Obama’s word sway their decision already support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Those who don’t, like many harder-left Democrats, have changed their allegiance to someone of greater ideological purity. Nobody still on the fence at this point is thinking about what Obama thinks, and nobody off the fence needs to know.
- You meh me! You really, really meh me!
This week in the Vancouver Sun, columnist Daphne Bramham asks why, for all of Trudeau’s misdeeds and hypocrisies, voters have not moved his likability points to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s column. “He seems like a good-natured, dimpled and smiling Every Man who might be good fun at a Saskatchewan Roughriders football game,” she writes, then throws out a series of reasons this isn’t mattering: social conservative coziness, problems giving straight answers or taking clear positions, a lack of historical popularity on his own bench.
All of these have merit. For me, though, it comes down to his undercurrent of discomfort and contempt for anyone who is not a Riders game-going every person – as far as he knows. Remember his introductory ad, in which he positioned “grocery store” Canadians like himself against “cocktail circuit” Canadians like Trudeau? The electorate is not as simple as Yorkville vs. Mississauga. Those who live in one may move to the other as their circumstances change. There is little gain in writing them off until they do.
- It’s this or eight splinter parties
With no majority government evidently forthcoming, we may find ourselves governed by that most perfectly legitimate and indeed routine of all types of parliamentary governments: the coalition. As of now, the only likely coalition would be a Liberal-NDP matchup, as leader Jagmeet Singh believes there is at least a chance of swaying Trudeau in the matter of the Trans Mountain pipeline. His other conditions relate to standard-issue NDP socioeconomic policy – but not, notably, government ethics. This should at least be as high a priority as our cell phone bills.
- How are we still putting up with this?
In the absence of any decent Green Party news this week, let us at last turn to Yves-François Blanchet and his Bloc Québécois. Like Quebec Premier François Legault, Blanchet has decided that if Quebec cannot actually be a country unto itself, it must at least be treated like one, with as much veto power as possible over affairs within its borders. To that end, he has not only aligned himself as closely as possible to the provincial zeitgeist – pardon me, the esprit des temps– but made Quebeckers believe he means it, which other leaders, despite their best efforts, have not.
You know what I would like to see? Give Quebec one year as a provisional sovereign state. One year to mint their own currency, establish their own military, build their own trade network, oversee their own immigration regime, hang on to their own corporate headquarters if possible, and make their own treaties. Then they’ll either put a sock in it about getting a rawer deal from Ottawa than any other province – or they’ll make plans to leave for good. In any case, the rest of Canada wins.
- Almost a prerequisite in this party
In the Financial Post, columnist William Watson describes People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier as wanting to be a “Conservative in a hurry.” His candidates, however, are less so. Most aspiring MPs post their most embarrassing social media messages between 2005 to 2012 or so. Nova Scotia candidate Sybil Hogg waited until this very year. But she will not face consequences for her inefficiency, just a polite reminder to use the word “radical” next time. Innocent mistake.
Photo Credit: CBC News
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