Canada and the U.S. have long been great friends, allies and trading partners. At the same time, they both think independently and often follow different paths. When it comes to “woke culture,” for instance, only one of these countries has woken up out of its left-wing slumber… and it’s exactly the one you probably guessed it was.
America’s unexpected love affair with progressive politics appears to be a fait accompli.
Virginians elected Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin as its new governor over former Democratic chairman (and governor) Terry McAuliffe. New Jersey Democratic Governor Phil Murphy was nearly toppled by Republican businessman Jack Ciattarelli, while longtime New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney was upset by neophyte Republican Edward Durr, a truck driver who ran his campaign on a shoestring budget of $2,300.
It’s great to see the U.S. rediscovering its political sensibilities. Canada remains deep in the heart of wokeness, however.
What on earth is wrong in the Great White North?
Canada has always historically been more left-leaning than the U.S.. This, in turn, means it’s been more open to embracing progressive ideas like wokeness in spite of interludes from right-leaning governments.
Canada’s King of Wokeness (or Court Jester, if you prefer) is undoubtedly Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. If there’s a progressive cause, he’ll find it. If there’s a new left-wing toy to play with, he’ll be the first in line to get it. If there’s an issue that requires heaps of compassion, emotion and fluffy rhetoric, he’s the politician to do it.
Trudeau took a knee for Black Lives Matter with cameras watching his every move. He talks breathlessly about women’s rights and LGBT rights. He demands that Liberal MPs and candidates must be pro-choice on abortion. He’s wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on environmental pet projects like a crippling national carbon tax that even U.S. President Joe Biden wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
The PM has failed on just about every front. The litany of Trudeaupian foolishness ranges from three instances of blackface, spats with (mostly) female MPs and cabinet ministers, foolish jokes and/or praise of totalitarian countries and Communist leaders, and the preposterous use of lines like “peoplekind,” “the budget will balance itself” and his critics “experience things differently.”
It’s definitely hurt him at the polls. Trudeau has only had the support of roughly one-third of Canadian voters in the past two federal elections. Enough for his government to survive, but a clear sign that faith in his leadership has declined.
Yet, many Canadians, both young and old, seemingly want to be part of Trudeau’s politically woke culture – even if he’s at the helm of this voyage.
Why? Canadians tend to be a remarkably forgiving lot, which is why the thrice-blackface PM is still in power. Millennials and first-time voters see Trudeau as being young, hip and more “with it” when it comes to their beliefs and values. Plus, his personal brand of wokeness is probably viewed as being silly, softer and less threatening than the violent mobs and political radicals that destroyed statues and burned buildings in the U.S. and elsewhere.
This largely explains Trudeau’s recent flag flap.
He ordered Canadian flags at most government buildings to be lowered to half-mast after the horrific discovery of more than 1,300 unmarked graves at the abandoned sites of former Native residential schools. The gesture on its own was commendable. Few would have batted an eye had the flags stayed lowered for a week or two to honour their memories. Instead, he kept the flags at half-mast from late May until early November – and refused to return them to full mast until, as he said in September, “it is clear that Indigenous peoples are happy to raise them again.”
Trudeau clearly did this to curry favour with the Indigenous peoples. Much like other matters, he’s been all talk and no action. Improving relations with the Indigenous community, a high priority when he was first elected in 2015, has been a large-scale failure. He even had the audacity to take a surfing trip to Tofino, B.C. on the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which led to a series of apologies for this national embarrassment. If he believed keeping the flag at half-mast would make up for his past indiscretions, he’s got another thing coming.
Other left-leaning parties enjoy competing with our woke PM, too.
The New Democrats decided its first big issue before the return of Parliament on Nov. 22 would be to focus on scrapping the House of Commons’ “archaic” gender-based dress code. That’s right. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wants to do away with more than 150 years of parliamentary decorum, including male MPs wearing (oh, the horror!) suits and ties to make transgender, non-binary and two-spirit members feel more included.
In a time when politicians of all stripes should be laser focused on COVID-19 and preventing further economic decline, Singh, like Trudeau, prefers to deal with the frilly and silly.
When it comes to shedding wokeness, it’s abundantly clear that Canada needs to follow America’s lead and wake up – now.
Michael Taube, a long-time newspaper columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.