By world standards, the Parliamentary melee that happened this past week is pretty tame, but what has now become known as Elbowgate brings down our insanely high expectations of Justin Trudeau, fuelled by the media. The melee was nothing, Trudeau apologized, and sensible people are moving on.
But in essensce it is a shock that it happened to anyone at all. This is the first time I have ever heard about it happening in a Canadian parliamentary session. The first thing that crossed my mind was: was Trudeau trying to out-Trump Donald Trump? In America, high-ranking politicians get goons to beat down undesirables. In Canada, the Prime Minister does the dirty work. Remember that creepy incident between Jean Chretien and that protester over a decade ago?
I think that this means that in Canada, the Prime Minister doesn’t order the army to bring order to the state. The person a rabble rouser would really need to fear is the Prime Minister. I mean, no one wants The Shawinigan Handshake done on them. There is a “goon” shortage in Canada. People here are too nice. The Prime Minister is the only nasty one among us.
Things cross my mind about Elbowgates, and Shawinigan Handshakes. Political theatre is done with a message in mind. I just can’t see a clear message. The Shawinigan Handshake was clearly political theatre. I don’t think that the PM was in any danger, otherwise, Chretien would never be allowed to be that close to a protestor. Both incidents defy logic in a similar way.
I am a little worried about the fawning admiration the press is giving to our new Fearless leader, Justin Trudeau. It has crossed the border of “good news” reporting to the land of hero worship. Indeed, there is a lot to feel good about: his balance of cabinet among men and women, the bringing back of the long-form census, increasing funding for the arts, and many other things seem to bring back the warm fuzzies.
But not all things give me those feelings. First of all he lost big in the prarie provinces, but won a landslide in the Greater Toronto Area. One can almost feel the days coming back of Western alienation, the days his father presided over. I think that this is preventing him from speaking his mind on Keystone/XL.
Another problem is his choice of cabinet ministers. Yes, it is 50% XY and 50% XX. Trouble is, most of those cabinet ministers come from Quebec and Ontario. 5 of them are from the city of Toronto. There are two more from Markham, which is just north of the Toronto border. That’s more than one in five cabinet ministers. But it is expected since Trudeau did so poorly in the praries, and so very successful in the GTA, where there are about 56 seats extending from Whitby to Hamilton in a sea of red. Two exceptions are the Markham-Unionville and Thornhill ridings, which went blue. Other than that, I notice that ridings have fallen back to their traditional pattern where rural Canada seems to vote Conservative, and urban Canada tends to vote Liberal. The GTA was Trudeau’s trump card, being very densely populated with about one in six Canadian residents.