Tag Archives: Justin Trudeau

Canada’s Trudeau Avoids Poking U.S. “Grizzly Bear”

A boy standing on a man's shoulders outside the Trump Tower, Vancouver, Canada, leads a chant at the Vancouver Women's March on January 21, 2017, to protest Donald Trump's inauguration. Photo Deborah Jones © 2017

A boy standing on a man’s shoulders outside the Trump Tower, Vancouver, Canada, leads a chant at the Vancouver Women’s March on January 21, 2017, to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. Photo Deborah Jones © 2017

By David Ljunggren and Rod Nickel 
February, 2017

OTTAWA/WINNIPEG (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking a low key approach to dealing with U.S. President Donald Trump, seeking to avoid clashes while indirectly signalling the two leaders’ differences to a domestic audience.

Insiders acknowledge the cautious strategy could anger progressives whose support helped bring Trudeau to power in 2015 but say for now, he has no choice but to hold fire: Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States and could suffer if it is targeted by Trump.

“Why poke a grizzly bear while it’s having lunch? Trump has just got into office and he is formulating his economic plans,” said one senior political source.

While Trudeau’s close friendship with former President Barack Obama was often referred to as a “bromance” and “dude-plomacy,” Canadian prime ministers have not always had close ties with U.S. presidents.

Still, few in Ottawa have experienced anything like Trump, insiders said.

People hold signs outside the United States consulate during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

People hold signs outside the United States consulate during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

“He is totally unpredictable,” said another government source.

Although Canada regards the United States as its closest ally, Trudeau has yet to visit Washington to see Trump.

A visit tentatively scheduled this week was cancelled after a shooter killed six Muslims in a Quebec mosque and no new date has been set, said two people familiar with the matter.

Michael Kergin, a former Canadian ambassador to Washington, said Trudeau’s caution was wise.

“He’s been playing it pretty well by restraining the temptation to be publicly critical of the president. At the same time, it’s a delicate balance,” said Kergin, now a senior adviser at law firm Bennett Jones.

Trudeau was also right not to follow British Prime Minister Theresa May in rushing to Washington to “gin up a special relationship,” only to watch Trump make an unpopular move on immigration after she left, Kergin said.

Trump labelled a refugee swap deal with Australia “dumb” on Thursday after a telephone call with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that the Washington Post reported was acrimonious. Turnbull kept any sparring behind closed doors.

Trudeau, however, has taken indirect shots. When Trump signed orders banning people from seven Muslim-majority states, Trudeau tweeted that Canada was open to those fleeing war.

His chief spokeswoman blasted U.S. network Fox News on Tuesday for a tweet falsely claiming the Quebec gunman was of Moroccan origin. But she said nothing publicly when Trump’s spokesman said the attack on Muslims showed why it was important to suspend immigration from Muslim nations.

This approach infuriates the opposition New Democrats, who have called on Trudeau to denounce Trump’s “racist” immigration policy.

Trudeau team members acknowledge that over time, Liberals could lose support before a 2019 election if the prime minister is deemed not to be standing up for Canadian values such as inclusiveness.

“That is a risk, but we’ll address it closer to the time,” said the first Ottawa insider.

Surveys show the Liberals have a healthy, but narrowing, advantage over their nearest rivals.

Pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research said it was too early for Trudeau to be aggressive.

“He has to avoid making any kind of criticism. Trump has a very thin skin and he’s quick to lash out,” he said.

Copyright Reuters 2017

(Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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Canada’s dark time might be closer than you think

TOM REGAN: SUMMONING ORENDA
November 19, 2016

After the election of 2015, Canadians probably thought they were safe from the kind of racism and bigotry that has gripped the United States after the election of Donald Trump.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau waves during a campaign rally in North Vancouver, British Columbia, October 18, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau waves during a campaign rally in North Vancouver, British Columbia, October 18, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

After all, the Stephen Harper-led Conservatives party made racism one of the key components of its re-election strategy, especially the idea of the registry where you could call and report on your neighbors if you thought they were engaged in “suspicious activities.” The election of the Liberals led by Justin Trudeau, his appointment of a cabinet composed of 50% women and visible minorities, his welcoming stance to Syrian refugees, reinforced Canadians’ smug notion that “we are above all that American stuff.”

Well, I’m sorry to break your little “we’re so great” bubble, but that’s not true. Over the past week Trump-inspired xenophobia has found a willing audience among Canadians.

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A CBC story on Facebook, that Mexicans would not need a tourist visa to visit Canada after Dec. 1, included a headine suggesting government officials are worried about an “overflow” of Mexicans into Canada. Perhaps that gave the piece a twist that opened the door to a flood of comments, few of which could be termed open-minded towards Mexicans.

In Ottawa, a teenager was charged after an Islamic mosque, a Jewish synagogue, and a Christian church with a black pastor were hit with racist graffiti. I first heard from a friend that the word “kike,” with a very large swastika, was sprayed on a synagogue in Ottawa’s Glebe area, near where I lived in the 60s when my dad was working the federal government.

Trudeau suggested he hoped to to triple Canada’s population, from about 35 million to some 100 million. That led to predictions Canada would boost, to 450,000, the number of admitted immigrants. Instead, 300,000 are now expected because, a well-connected Canadian friend told me, the government fears “a backlash.”

Canadian media are reporting an increase in incidents of racism following the US election — officials dance around Trump as the cause, but I am convinced his rise is the catalyst.

Encouraged by the victory of racially tinged politics in the United States, the tactic has been seized as a path to victory by some candidates in Canada’s upcoming Conservative leadership convention. Emboldened by evidence some Canadians think that the government is moving too fast with its Syrian refugee program,energized by the growing public profile of white supremacist and nativist groups in the United States, Canada’s own voices of racism and bigotry are growing louder.

My son, who is studying media and politics and their effects on the broader culture, has the best description I’ve heard of what is powering racial outbursts in Canada and the US: ‘white inadequacy culture,’ the fear that white culture will disappear.

“At its root,” he told me, “I think what all these white folks fear is that they are going to be forgotten about, that their ‘culture’ will be forgotten about, when it’s really just their own fear of death and the ‘alien’ finding root. It’s a complete fiction that whites are in any way vulnerable of cultural extinction.”

But in a post-truth world, fiction can have as much, or more, force than the truth. And if the problem is, as my son put it, a fear of white inadequacy, how do we as a society deal with that? How do we find a way to calm the fears of whites who feel this way, while at the same time continuing to denounce this fear’s most virulent, dangerous forms? This is our challenge.

Canadians ignore this at their own peril. It wasn’t enough to renounce this kind of open hatred in the 2015 election.

It must be done every day, every week, every month, every year. Those of us who care cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into thinking “Well, we have gay marriage, we have no abortion law, we welcome Syrian refugees into our country, we defeated the bad guys in 2015. We can just relax.”

The 2016 election in the United States showed that this is not true. The reality is, things we care deeply about can be taken away. The truth is, the struggle never ends, the battle against those who would have us go back 50 years to a different time and a different country, for whatever reason, never ends. Yes, it is tiring to think that. But it is the reality of the world that we live in.

I can assure you the other side will never give up trying to pull us backwards. We must never give up trying to prevent them from doing that

Copyright Tom Regan 2016

Contact Tom Regan:  motnager@gmail.com

LINKS:

Teen charged after spate of racist graffiti in Ottawa, CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/arrest-racist-graffiti-ottawa-1.3858947

Is Donald Trump’s victory emboldening hate-mongers in Canada? The Globe and Mail:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/is-donald-trumps-victory-emboldening-hate-mongers-in-canada/article32941905/

Liberty moves north, the Economist:
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21709305-it-uniquely-fortunate-many-waysbut-canada-still-holds-lessons-other-western

Prest: In the age of Trump, Canada might be the last defender of small-l liberal values. Ottawa Citizen: http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/prest-in-the-age-of-trump-canada-might-be-the-last-defender-of-small-l-liberal-values

Meet the surgeon who hopes to be Canada’s Donald Trump. Washington Post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/11/09/meet-the-surgeon-who-hopes-to-be-canadas-donald-trump/

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Tom Regan Tom Regan has worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and with the National Film Board in Canada, and in the United States for the Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and National Public Radio. A former executive director of the Online News Association in the U.S., he was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 1991-92. He is based near Washington, D.C.

Return to Tom Regan’s page 

 

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Democracy as Laboratory

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his remarks during the signing ceremony on climate change held at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 22, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his remarks during the signing ceremony on climate change held at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

JIM MCNIVEN: THOUGHTLINES
August, 2016

“It is one of the happy accidents of the federal system that a single, courageous State may, if the citizens choose, serve as a laboratory…” noted  United States Justice Louis Brandeis in a dissenting opinion from a 1932 Supreme Court decision. His statement is as applicable in any other federation, and the experiments going on in Canada with carbon emissions reduction serve to underscore the value of Brandeis’ observation.

The issue of global warming has been a contentious one in Canada for the past 20 years. In part, the Canadian economy is a petro-economy; one only has to note how the C$ sank as the world price of oil sank over the past couple of years to see the truth in this statement. Unlike countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, however, it is not a complete petro-state. While the price of oil dropped from $100 US to $40, the Canadian dollar dropped from par with the US$ to $0.75. Even though the Canadian economy is diversified, the importance of oil exports has made for a political wrangle over carbon emissions over these past two decades, with the governing Conservatives (until late 2015) reluctant to do much in terms of controlling them. The same can be said for coal use.

Meanwhile, Provincial governments had changed their political stripes and Brandeis’ laboratory effect kicked in. The new Liberal federal government has been trying to be environmentally correct in most all things, including doing its part to slow climate change. It wants to develop some kind of national policy in this regard, but it finds that the Provinces occupy all kinds of spots on the carbon emission control map. In large part, this is due to their experimenting while Ottawa ‘slept’.

Instead of a national policy, there are at least 5 different Provincial policies dealing with controlling carbon emissions. Much time, money and effort has been invested in these approaches and the Provinces are loath to give them up. Federal/Provincial meetings since last winter have produced little in the way of coming up with a common approach, something that is so beloved of national politicians and bureaucrats. For one, after a decade of Conservative rule, the Liberals are still finding their way amongst the levers of power; for another, the senior bureaucrats have lost the knack of negotiating with the Provinces after a decade of Tory asymmetric federalism and an attitude of ‘You do your thing and we’ll do ours’ in terms of jurisdiction. And the environment is a shared jurisdictional area.

Let’s review what the ‘lab rats’ have been up to while the cat has been tending to other things, starting in the west and going eastward. In 2008, British Columbia instituted a revenue-neutral carbon tax applied to emitters of greenhouse gases. Revenue-neutral means that the proceeds have been largely remitted to citizens and businesses or used for research and product development.

Recently, Alberta has started to follow the same path as BC, with some additions made in terms of tar sands emissions.

Neighboring Saskatchewan has not gone after emitters so much as having supported technology to capture carbon gases and then store them permanently underground. It has dreams of technological leadership in this regard.

Saskatchewan’s neighbor, Manitoba, looks to its production and export of hydro electricity as being a contributor to greenhouse gas reduction. It may have some attraction to a variant on the policies of the next two easterly Provinces, Ontario and Quebec.

Ontario is following the lead of Quebec, which has pioneered the use of a cap-and-trade system (CT). The CT mechanism consists of setting an emissions limit for the Province’s businesses, then allocating or selling permits to these businesses for the right to emit. If a business can find itself with surplus rights, it can sell them to others; if it over-emits, then it can be fined for doing so. Further, the rights can be traded across borders in a kind of emissions market. Quebec has joined the US ‘Western Alliance’, made up of the States of California, Oregon and Washington, all of whom use the CT system. Ontario has expressed its intention to join in with these partners.

Farther east, the Atlantic Provinces have, with the exception of Nova Scotia, been less interested in these different measures, being small emitters of carbon gases. Nova Scotia’s electricity traditionally has been produced by local or imported coal along with some oil. Over the past half-dozen years, the Province has been aggressive in promoting a COMFIT policy, where communities and other local groups have been allowed to construct wind generators and feed-in the power to the Provincial grid. As well, the private power company serving the Province has been constructing a major underwater hook-up to the Island of Newfoundland where the line will tap into hydro power from Labrador. One should note that this same source will also replace much of Newfoundland’s oil power generation.

With all this experimentation going on, the new interest in carbon pricing by the federal government has been met in the Provinces with a certain wariness. A national program implies a one-size-fit-all program and implies that some or maybe all of the Provinces might lose the investments and experience they have made in their chosen ‘experiments’. It might not work out that way, but, then again, this issue might become the first big constitutional/jurisdictional fight since 1995.

In truth, the key point that could be lost in any negotiation over carbon emission control is whether Approach A is more effective than Approach B, C, D, or E. The real issue is about effectiveness, not the desire for neatness in policymaking. The best thing for a national government in any federation to do is to rigorously measure performance before choosing a carbon tax solution over a technology solution over a cap-and-trade solution, to mention only three possibilities.

Keep the laboratories of democracy open until one of them comes up with the best solution.

 Copyright Jim McNiven 2016

*I must note the contributions made to this piece by my online MPA mature students in their summer 2016 Intergovernmental Affairs course given by Dalhousie University. Their federal/ provincial meeting simulations on this issue really clarified things.

Jim McNiven’s latest book is The Yankee Road: Tracing the Journey of the New England Tribe that Created Modern America. www.theyankeeroad.com

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Jim McNiven

James McNiven has a PhD from the University of Michigan. He has written widely on public policy and economic development issues and is the co-author of three books. His most recent research has been about the relationship of demographic changes to Canadian regional economic development. He also has an interest in American business history and continues to teach at Dalhousie on a part-time basis.

 

 

 

 

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Real journalism has value. Thank you for your support. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Justin Trudeau inherits an international freeloader

JONATHAN MANTHORPE: International Affairs 
October, 2015

It was easy for prime minister designate Justin Trudeau to tell the world that Canada “is back” as an eager and reliable partner, but it will take a large and consistent investment in time, effort and money to make that come true.

During his nine years in power Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his gang — defeated in the Oct. 19 election — undoubtedly shovelled in the dirt and danced on the grave of Canada’s international standing and involvement. However, the procession to the gallows was choreographed as much by the Liberals as the Conservatives.

Canada’s recent decline into insignificance on the international stage began with the election of Jean Chretien’s Liberal government in 1993. The Harper regime has merely continued and accelerated an already well-established trend.

But, as always, chaos presents opportunity.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada’s federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

In many ways, Trudeau and the new Liberal government are fortunate coming to office at this time when the whole associated field of Canada’s foreign, defence, trade and development aid policy is a wasteland. It will make it easier for the government to push aside the inevitable calls for Canada to rediscover the era of its blue-helmeted military forever at the beck and call of the United Nations, re-establish Canadian diplomats as the world’s favourite marriage guidance counsellors, and restore Canadian aid agencies as the pre-eminent missionaries to the grass huts.

Canada has been able to indulge in middle power kitten-cuddling because it has been a freeloader protected by what can be called the North Atlantic Ascendancy. Canada and Canadian foreign policy have benefited, at least since the Second World War and arguable the country’s entire life, from being a younger brother in a club of the major European and North American powers. But that era is coming to an end. The culture of the Enlightenment, which has flowed out of Europe and the United States for two centuries, is and will be increasingly challenged by the cultures of Asia, Africa, Latin America and, perhaps in the future, the Middle East.

China, India, South Africa, Brazil and others don’t and won’t run international institutions with the same cultural morality that has dominated under U.S. and European leadership. We are already getting a glimpse of the future with China’s Asia Infrastructure Bank, whose rules and regulations don’t follow the same ideals of probity common to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Canada can no longer count on the unstinting support of Europe and the U.S. or that that support, when offered, will be definitive. That’s especially true in defence, except during the two world wars, where since the founding of Canada nearly 150 years ago we have expected first Britain and then the U.S. to defend our sovereignty and nationhood while we indulged our interests elsewhere.

Pierre E. Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chretien, and Pearson. Photo: Library and Archives of Canada via Wikipedia

Pierre E. Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chretien, and Lester Pearson. Photo: Library and Archives of Canada via Wikipedia

Historian Jack Granatstein has written several withering analyses of the destruction of the Canadian military by successive governments of both major parties, starting with Prime Minister Lester Pearson’s pursuit of “the unwarranted primacy of peacekeeping.”

Granatstein argues that both Liberal and Conservative governments have taken advantage of Canada’s position in the heart of the North Atlantic alliance to avoid any serious consideration of the country’s national interests and how to sustain them.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are coming to power at a time when the dwindling prominence of Canada’s traditional allies and protectors means that debate of these issues of national interest and purpose cannot long be avoided without dire consequences.

A report published this week is a useful reminder of just how much standing Canada has lost in the last 25 years as a player on the international stage.

The report by Robert Greenhill and Megan McQuillan, published by the Canadian International Council, looks at the history of the two most easily assessed aspects of foreign policy commitment – spending on defence and development aid – and finds a deplorable record. When compared with our own historic record in these two areas, with the commitments of our partners in the G7 group of industralized countries and with the efforts of similar middle power nations, Canada is an appalling laggard. Indeed, the report labels Canada a “free rider:” a leech on its friends and allies without making any significant contribution to the joint endeavours.

Bracketing defence and development aid spending together as a measure of Canada’s “global engagement,” the analysis found that our spending on those two areas is barely 1.2 per cent of gross domestic product, less than half the 2.4 per cent of GDP in 1990.

“Canada’s global engagement today is the lowest in the G7, the lowest among medium-sized open economies and the lowest in modern Canadian history,” says the report. “We have been laggards for years: today we rank last. We are the least committed to global engagement of our international peer group.”

What heightens the impact of this unsavoury picture is that we have also been lying to ourselves and to the international community about our commitment. “For the last quarter century,” says the report, “we talked in one direction and walked in the other. We talked global engagement while walking away from the already modest commitments we had made in the past.”

The report’s authors compared the history of Canada’s development aid spending with similar middle powers Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Historically, our development aid spending has ranked in the middle of that group. But since the early years of the Chretien government in 1995 our performance has declined and since 2011 we have been dead last among this peer group.

It’s the same story in defence spending. Among the peer group only Switzerland has a lower defence budget as a proportion of GDP. And landlocked Switzerland has no navy – Canada has the world’s longest coastline – and its army is composed primarily of militia units.

The picture is equally grim when Canada’s global engagement is compared with partners in the G7 group of industrialized nations; the U.S., France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan.

Our defence spending has always been below the G7 average and for the last 20 years we have been second last to Japan, which has constitutional restrictions on its military. But since Harper came to office Canada has been on a rush to the bottom and last year we overtook Japan to grab last place in G7 defence spending as a proportion of GDP.

On development aid, for decades Canada scored well above the G7 average and we ranked number one or two among the seven nations for all but two of the 20 years prior to 1995. Since then, however, the commitment of successive Liberal and Conservative governments has slipped and we are now well below the G7 average.

Report authors Greenhill and McQuillan calculate that for Canada to meet the average spending among the G7 countries, peer middle powers and its own historic record, budgets for defence and development aid need to be boosted by about $14 billion, 50 per cent more than current spending. And for Canada to be able to justifiably call itself a leader in global engagement, development aid and defence budgets need to be doubled with an additional $30 billion year.

It is unlikely that this spending will be a priority for the new Trudeau government. But a re-evaluation of Canada’s national interests and how the country will operate in the emerging world of multiple centres of economic, diplomatic and military power should be high on the agenda.

Copyright Jonathan Manthorpe 2015

Contact: jonathan.manthorpe@gmail.com

Welcome to Facts and Opinions. Try one story at no charge and, if you value our work, please chip in at least .27 per story or $1 for a day site pass, using the “donate” button below. Click here for details. 
Manthorpe B&WJonathan Manthorpe is a founding columnist with Facts and Opinions and is the author of the journal’s International Affairs column. Manthorpe has been a foreign correspondent and international affairs columnist for nearly 40 years. Manthorpe’s  nomadic career began in the late 1970s as European Bureau Chief for The Toronto Star, the job that took Ernest Hemingway to Europe in the 1920s. In the mid-1980s Manthorpe became European Correspondent for Southam News. In the following years Manthorpe was sent by Southam News, the internal news agency for Canada’s largest group of metropolitan daily newspapers, to be the correspondent in Africa and then Asia. Between postings Manthorpe spent a few years based in Ottawa focusing on intelligence and military affairs, and the United Nations. Since 1998 Manthorpe has been based in Vancouver, but has travelled frequently on assignment to Asia, Europe and Latin America.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Real journalism has value. Thank you for your support. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Justin Trudeau’s speech to his kids

Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau greets his sons Justin (L), Sacha (R) and Michel after returning home from a foreign trip in Ottawa, in a 1983 file photo. Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is moving back to the house where he grew up. The Liberal leader, son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, led his party to victory in a federal election on Monday, defeating Stephen Harper's Conservatives by a wide margin. REUTERS/Andy Clark

Canada’s Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau greets his sons Justin (L), Sacha (R) and Michel after returning home from a foreign trip in Ottawa, in a 1983 file photo. Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is moving back to the house where he grew up. The Liberal leader, son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, led his party to victory in a federal election Oct. 19, defeating Stephen Harper’s Conservatives by a wide margin. REUTERS/Andy Clark 

PENNEY KOME: OVER EASY
October, 2015

“Dear kids, we are starting on a new adventure together,” newly-elected Justin Trudeau said from the giant overhead TV screen. I was standing in Liberal candidate Matt Grant’s post-election party when Trudeau’s acceptance speech appeared on overhead TVs in the Red and White Club in Calgary, Alberta’s, McMahon Stadium. I’d been a poll-watcher, overseeing the ballot count, and I was dropping off the poll sheets. And there was Justin Trudeau, taking up national air time by talking to his kids.

Justin Trudeau is embraced by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Justin Trudeau is embraced by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Of course, every candidate starts by thanking family and friends. Trudeau started by talking about positive politics and Wilfrid Laurier’s promise that “sunny ways” win more voters than fearmongering. I was pleased that he thanked his wife, television host Sophie Gregoire, by her full name, and gave her a separate turn in the spotlight. He paused when the crowd picked up her name and chanted, “So-phie! So-phie!” Then he went on to talk to his kids and I thought, by golly, George Lakoff was right!

In 2002, linguist George Lakoff divided conservatives from liberals by their parenting models. The author of “Don’t Think of an Elephant” explained Republican successes by the metaphors the GOP developed to mobilize conservative voters.

Chief among these were the “strict father” hooks Republicans used to practice us-and-them politics. “The conservative worldview, the strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong,” usually by applying painful discipline, a 2003 Berkeley student magazine quotes Lakoff.

By contrast, Lakoff said that “the progressive worldview is modeled on a nurturant parent family. Briefly, it assumes that the world is basically good and can be made better and that one must work toward that. Children are born good; parents can make them better. Nurturing involves empathy, and the responsibility to take care of oneself and others for whom we are responsible ….”

Conservatives were winning, said Lakoff in 2003, but only because they’d spent 30 years perfecting their marketing techniques, code words and dogwhistles. Also, of course, much of the Conservative base comes from Christian congregations where pastors re-inforce political messages. Liberals had been stuck herding cats while they scrambled to develop language that motivated a much wider group. In 2008 and again 20012, Barack Obama used nurturing parent metaphors (and a beautiful family) to bring new voters into the electoral fold.

Now here was a victorious Justin Trudeau glorying in the nurturing parent metaphor. His beautiful young family is part of his identity and will be part of his public life too. This is a dad who hugs his kids, not one who offers handshakes, who declares that “positive, optimistic, hopeful vision of public life isn’t a naive dream. It can be a powerful force for change.” Sunny ways, my friends. Canada has gone from a Prime Minister who evoked fear and loathing, to one to one who isn’t afraid to appear vulnerable and caring.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is accompanied by his mother Margaret Trudeau (L) and his wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien (foreground) and Xavier (R) as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is accompanied by his mother Margaret Trudeau (L) and his wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien (foreground) and Xavier (R) as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Copyright Penney Kome 2015

Penney KomePenney Kome is co-editor of Peace: A Dream Unfolding (Sierra Club Books 1986), with a foreward by the Nobel-winning presidents of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War.

Read her bio on Facts and Opinions here.

Contact:  komeca AT yahoo.com

 


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References:

“Don’t Think of an Elephant, George Layoff:  http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

Berkeley student magazine: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

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Trudeau topples Harper in stunning Canadian election

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada’s federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

By Randall Palmer and Rod Nickel
October 19, 2015

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he gives his victory speech after Canada’s federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

MONTREAL/CALGARY (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau rode a late campaign surge to a stunning election victory on Monday, toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives with a promise of change and returning a touch of glamour, youth and charisma to Ottawa.

The Liberals seized a Parliamentary majority, an unprecedented turn in political fortunes that smashed the record for the number of seats gained from one election to the next. The Liberals had been a distant third place party in Parliament before this election.

Harper conceded defeat, ending his government’s nine-year run in power and the 56-year-old’s brand of fiscal and cultural conservatism.

Trudeau, 43, the photogenic son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, pledged to run a C$10 billion annual budget deficit for three years to invest in infrastructure and help stimulate Canada’s anaemic economic growth.

This rattled financial markets ahead of the vote and the Canadian dollar weakened on news of his victory.

Trudeau has said he will repair Canada’s cool relations with the Obama administration, withdraw Canada from the combat mission against Islamic State militants in favour of humanitarian aid and training, and tackle climate change.

Trudeau vaulted from third place to lead the polls in the final days of the campaign, overcoming Conservative attacks that he is too inexperienced to govern to return to the Prime Minister’s residence in Ottawa where he grew up as a child.

“When the time for change strikes, it’s lethal,” former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said in a television interview. “I ran and was successful because I wasn’t Pierre Trudeau. Justin is successful because he isn’t Stephen Harper.”

The Conservatives were projected to become the official opposition in Parliament, with the left-leaning New Democratic Party in third.

Liberal supporters at the party’s campaign headquarters broke into cheers and whistles when television projected that Trudeau would be the next prime minister.

Top Trudeau advisor Gerald Butts tweeted “Amazing work #TeamTrudeau. Breathtaking really”.

The Conservatives weren’t the only party that appeared headed for a crushing defeat. The third place left-leaning New Democratic Party’s fall was highlighted in Quebec, where it had the majority of its seats.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks off the stage after giving his concession speech following Canada's federal election in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks off the stage after giving his concession speech following Canada’s federal election in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Radio Canada projected it would end up with just seven seats, down from 54 in the last Parliament.

The Liberals’ win marks a swing toward a more multilateral approach in global politics by the Canadian government, which has distanced itself from the United Nations in recent years.

The former teacher took charge of the party just two years ago and guided it out of the political wilderness with a pledge of economic stimulus and stirring appeals for a return to social liberalism.

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TRUDEAUMANIA AGAIN?

Justin Trudeau poses before he spars at the Paul Brown Boxfit boxing gym in Toronto, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Justin Trudeau poses before he spars at the Paul Brown Boxfit boxing gym in Toronto, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Born to a sitting prime minister who came to power in 1968 on a wave of popular support dubbed “Trudeaumania,” Trudeau will become the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history and brings an appeal more common in movie stars than statesmen.

Pierre once jumped from a trampoline into the crowd. With boyish good looks, Justin thrusts himself into throngs and puts his hand to his heart when listening to someone.

Selfie requests are so common he happily takes the camera and snaps the photo himself, often cheek to cheek. He is the married father of three young children.

Criticized for being more style than substance, Trudeau has used attacks on his good looks and privileged upbringing to win over voters, who recalled his father’s rock-star presence and an era when Canada had some sizzle on the world stage.

Pierre Trudeau, who died in 2000, was in power for 15 years – with a brief interruption – and remains one of the few Canadian leaders to be known abroad.

Single when he took power, the elder Trudeau dated movie stars and models before marrying. He had three boys while prime minister, the eldest of whom now succeeds him in the nation’s top office.

Financial market players had praised the Conservative government for its steady hand in economic management, which had spared Canada the worst of the global financial malaise. Trudeau has also promised to raise taxes on high-income Canadians and reduce them for the middle class.

Political pundits have already began to speculate on the makeup of a Trudeau government while pondering what caused the downfall of Harper, 56, who has been criticized for his aloof personality but won credit for economic management in a decade of global fiscal uncertainty.

 Copyright Reuters 2015

(Writing by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Amran Abocar and Alan Crosby)

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is accompanied by his mother, wife and children as he watches results at his election night headquarters in MontrealCanada's New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair sits with family members as he watches election results at a hotel in MontrealLiberal Party supporters kiss as they celebrate while watching results during Canada's federal election in MontrealConservative Party supporters react as they watch results of Canada's federal election in CalgaryFile photo of Justin Trudeau, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, rests his head on his father's casket during a state funeral in MontrealFile photo of Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau greeting his sons Justin, Sacha and Michel after returning home from a foreign trip in OttawaLeader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Trudeau poses before he spars at the Paul Brown Boxfit boxing gym in TorontoLiberal leader Justin Trudeau is embraced by his Wife Sophie Gregoire as he watches results at his election night headquarters in MontrealLiberal leader Trudeau attends a rally with former Prime Minister Chretien in HamiltonLiberal leader Trudeau carries his son Hadrien as he enters the polling station to cast his vote in MontrealLiberal leader Trudeau waves during a campaign rally in North VancouverCanada's PM and Conservative leader Harper casts his ballot at a polling station in CalgaryLiberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in MontrealLiberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in MontrealCanada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks off the stage after giving his concession speech following Canada's federal election in CalgaryLiberal Party leader Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in MontrealA Conservative Party supporter reacts as she watches results of Canada's federal election in CalgaryConservative Party supporters react as they watch results of Canada's federal election in Calgary

Underestimating Trudeau fatal for Conservatives

By Randall Palmer

Canada's Prime Minister and Conservative leader Stephen Harper casts his ballot at a polling station in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 2015. Canadians go to the polls for a federal election on Monday. REUTERS/Jonathan Hayward/Pool

Canada’s Prime Minister and Conservative leader Stephen Harper casts his ballot at a polling station in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 2015. Canadians go to the polls for a federal election on Monday. REUTERS/Jonathan Hayward/Pool

MONTREAL (Reuters) – The long Canadian election campaign was supposed to highlight just how inexperienced Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was and give the ruling Conservatives an ample supply of gaffes to use in attack ads.

The gambit underestimated Trudeau, the 43-year-old son of charismatic former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and, by setting expectations so low, may have helped him instead.

Trudeau’s Liberals will form Canada’s next government after defeating Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.

“I think the Conservative advertising ultimately has backfired,” said Liberal candidate Kevin Lamoureux. “He’s more than met the expectations that people had of him.”

The seeds of the Liberal victory were sown in July, when the party ran third in polls behind the left-leaning New Democratic Party and the Conservatives.

Before the campaign began on Aug. 2, Liberal strategists said Trudeau was being advised to go negative to counter the bruising Conservative ads that he was “just not ready.”

But his inner circle, including campaign co-chairs Katie Telford and Dan Gagnier, principal adviser Gerald Butts, and chief of staff Cyrus Reporter, backed Trudeau’s position that they should focus on the positive, as they see it.

“We were not surprised by the negative ads. It wasn’t a new thing. But Justin Trudeau’s optimistic high-road approach struck a chord,” said Chrystia Freeland, a Liberal member of parliament.

The strategy was to portray a sunny personality through ads, speeches and personal contact with ordinary people.

Trudeau, who considers himself “a learned extrovert,” spent half his time at campaign stops milling through crowds and posing for selfies. Most of those pictures made their way onto Facebook, Instagram and other social media where they were reposted or retweeted for a multiplier effect.

By August, the Liberals were largely indistinguishable from the NDP in their appeal to centre-left voters and the three main parties were running neck-and-neck.

A dearth of major economic policies had helped NDP leader Thomas Mulcair eat into Liberal support as he laid out policies on cheap daycare and a C$15 ($11.60) minimum wage for federally regulated workers.

At a meeting in June, the party realized its plan to balance the budget and spend on infrastructure, while enriching the overall tax package for the middle class, was no longer viable as the fiscal picture worsened on weaker oil prices, two senior Liberals familiar with the discussion said.

They would probably have to go into deficit or scale back their promises. A final decision was not made until August, the two Liberal sources said.

Some had advocated running big deficits – as much as C$40 billion or C$50 billion, similar to the levels the Conservative government ran in response to the 2007-09 financial crisis – but they settled for a deficit of up to C$10 billion a year for three years, a third senior Liberal said.

They nervously eyed the NDP, lest they pip the Liberals to the post.

It was a risk, the Liberal insiders said, but in the end it gave the party a clear distinctive policy and positioned them left of the NDP, which had pledged a balanced budget.

“As of that moment, I think it became clear that we were the party of real change and that Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair were two peas in a pod on the economy,” said veteran Liberal legislator John McCallum, a former bank chief economist.

NIQAB EFFECT

The Liberals also got a lift from a controversial government attempt to ban the veil worn by Muslim women, the niqab, during citizenship ceremonies. Both Mulcair and Trudeau opposed the ban, but anti-niqab sentiment was heavy in the francophone regions of Quebec, where the NDP is strongest.

NDP support in Quebec began to plummet, dragging down its national numbers, and then NDP voters elsewhere started to migrate to the Liberals.

“We had the same position (as the NDP). The difference was that when it came up, we had something else to talk about,” another Liberal insider said, referring to the party platform.

The NDP, on the other hand, were offering cheap daycare, which Quebec already had, and balanced budgets, which were unpopular in a province tired of austerity.

And while the Conservatives gained in Quebec, Harper’s niqab stance and other positions seen as anti-immigrant did not go down well in other parts of Canada.

Good fortune also played a part.

The famed wall of ads the Conservatives were expected to mount at the end of the campaign fizzled. While the Tories bought front page newspaper ads in the campaign’s final Saturday and had their share of broadcast ads, there was no evidence of a tsunami that swamped the Liberals.

Instead, the Liberals benefited in the final week after taking a punt in August to buy ad time for October’s baseball playoffs.

The price then was C$12,000 for a thirty-second spot in Canada. When the Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs, drawing massive Canadian television audiences, the cost zoomed up to C$140,000 apiece. By then, the Liberals had their exposure locked in at the end of an expensive, 11-week campaign.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney once warned rivals not to underestimate the younger Trudeau: “(His father) was a very tough, able guy and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

On Monday, some Conservatives grudgingly conceded just that.

“You have to hand it to the Liberals: they’ve run a really good campaign,” said a Conservative member of Parliament.

Copyright Reuters 2015

(Additional reporting by Josephine Mason in Toronto and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Amran Abocar, Lisa Shumaker and Alan Crosby)

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and we do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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