Listen ! Another government check is in the mail | Comment
Listen this week! is a guest article by Sally Barnes
Only in Canada, you say. Pity.
Our leader is not working. He struts. Hands in his pants pockets with all the bravado of General George Patton declaring that nothing can or will stop him.
Out of my way, guys, I have another election to win.
He has known from his drama teaching days that timing is everything.
Overnight, he ditched his sack-and-ashes character of pandemic days and bursts out a young, rugged, and alluring image of his old self.
Here in the real world, light years from Parliament Hill, we ordinary Canadians have grown old and tired during the pandemic, but our fearless leader has somehow discovered the fountain of youth.
There is a new spring in his approach.
The hunched shoulders after months of pandemic press conferences, the ragged beard and disheveled hair are suddenly gone, along with the gray that reminded us that our political superstar who once caught the world’s attention is almost 50 years old – the oldest statesman of all political party leaders in Ottawa today.
Young Justin, who led the Liberal Party of Canada to two electoral victories and served as Prime Minister for six years, is back, just in time to renew his promise that Canada is back.
(I was never sure where Canada was before it arrived, but that’s another issue for another day.)
It’s Justin Trudeau’s decision whether or not to withdraw the proverbial hold of an election, but you can bet your firstborn that Canadians will go to the polls, like it or not.
The vibe in Ottawa these days, as rumors of upcoming elections grow stronger with each passing day of lavish promises and photo ops, reminds me of that old song, “Another opening of another show.” “. Or maybe the sporting equivalent: “Gentlemen, start your engines”.
All parties with members of the House of Commons are preparing, except the Greens who are mired in a game of political hara-kiri and sabotage their new highly qualified leader.
The putrid smell of anti-Semitism within the Green Party has cast a veil over their reputation for hard-earned virtue.
For many who see the Greens as a comfortable place to park a vote knowing full well that they will not form government, this internal mess could cause them to look elsewhere.
Lights. Camera. Action.
On the sidelines, ladies and gentlemen, Justin has another campaign to run.
He is at his best when he is campaigning. He’s a born showman. He loves the spotlight and the camera and they love him.
Cue the slot machine. (The Bank of Canada is on high alert and the printing presses in the basement are running 24 hours a day.)
Cue the props. The very attractive and poised Sophie Gregorie Trudeau is back on stage in cameo roles after what struck us as humble servants as a noticeably long and unexplained absence from the public eye.
In fact, Justin has made his support for women (and them of him) a big part of his political brand and they play a big role on the political scene in Canada these days with a likely impact on the election outcome.
Finally, we have a new Governor General, the first Aboriginal person to occupy this prestigious and important position. Mary Simon is an excellent choice and congratulations to our Prime Minister for choosing her and to our Queen for approving the appointment of her representative in this country.
Simon replaces another accomplished woman who seemed like a good idea at the time but didn’t quite work out. But the past is the past. Our Prime Minister obviously learned from this mistake.
Meanwhile, the Association of First Nations, which represents the 634 First Nations of Canada, has also chosen its first female leader and this inspires hope in the future success of reconciliation. Hooray. Congratulations to RoseAnne Archibald. His will be a difficult job to walk a tightrope between the defender of his people and the negotiator with the federal government.
But wait. Just as Team Trudeau was about to open the champagne and start pounding, another woman throws a grenade into the party fires.
Jody Wilson-Raybould (JWR), our First Minister of Indigenous Justice with a credit list as long as your arm, calls on politics to stop for now and, true to form, is not going quietly. After being thrown under the proverbial bus by Prime Minister Trudeau and his team for refusing to take what she considered illegal and unethical action, the SNC scandal erupted, JWR resigned, was kicked out from the Liberal caucus and then was re-elected as an independent member.
(In the process, she took her colleague Jane Philpott who resigned in sympathy with JWR and left another gaping hole in the Trudeau cabinet and its gender equality agenda.)
Now JWR is stepping away from the House of Commons and blaming an increasingly toxic and ineffective political practice on the Hill. His revealing book will be released this fall and will certainly be on the bestseller list and certainly on the bedside table of every political junkie in the country.
Hopefully we haven’t seen the end of JWR and its important contribution to public discourse and ethical governance.
And so on, the news of a turbulent and mad world.
At the start of the rumors that we could face a federal election later this summer or fall, I objected to it.
In the midst of a pandemic, shouldn’t we focus on this crisis and develop a solid plan to rebuild our shattered lives and our shattered economy?
Well, I’ve gotten used to the idea of an election and maybe it isn’t so bad to offer pandemic-weary Canadians a diversion and an opportunity to decide how this country should be run – maybe -being to welcome new people who can help us get things right.
Politics is dirty work, but someone has to do it.
Mary Simon and RoseAnne Archibald symbolize a good start. Hopefully many more selfless, committed and skilled people from all walks of life and interests follow their good example and accept the challenge.
As I have done for all of my adult life, I will watch the game unfold, consider all the players and their promises, rate my ballot, and hope for the best.
Justin Trudeau says he supports me. Due to my senior status, during the third week of August he even sends me $ 500, which he says should help cover the extra costs of living during the pandemic.
This follows the $ 300 our age group received last fall.
A few friends say they’ve already decided what to do with their next $ 500 taxpayer giveaway.
One is eyeing a new pair of sweatpants at Giant Tiger to wear for her Friday night bingo and another will add an excursion to her long-awaited cruise that she has booked for next year.
Neither will tell me if the $ 500 will influence their vote. But the timing for the Trudeau government is certainly right.
And in politics, timing is everything.
No one knows this better than Justin Trudeau.
Exit Barnes has enjoyed a distinguished career as a writer, journalist and author. His work has been recognized in a number of ways, including receiving a Southam Fellowship in Journalism at Massey College, University of Toronto. An avowed political follower, she has worked behind the scenes of several Ontario premiers. In addition to a number of other community contributions, Exit Barnes served as chair of the Ontario Council on the Status of Women for a term. She is a former business colleague of Hugh Mackenzie of Doppler and lives in Kingston, Ontario. You can find it online at sallybarnesauthor.com
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