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Why Justin misses Stephen

The days when Stephen Harper gave Justin Trudeau opportunities to say no are over


 
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a moment of silence, to remember the victims of Friday's Paris attacks, at the start of a plenary session at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

(Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

In Turkey, Justin Trudeau’s spokesman told reporters, the Prime Minister opened his remarks at a dinner of G-20 leaders by “saluting once again the courage and resilience of the people of Paris, and particularly their colleague François Hollande, who continues to show strength and resolve, and an unwillingness to succumb to terror.”

The next day, France’s president addressed the National Assembly and Senate in a rare joint session at the Palace of Versailles. He showed his strength, resolve and unwillingness to succumb by announcing a series of measures.

To Canadian ears, these two stood out: He has ordered the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to move to the Middle East, in order to triple French firepower in the region and to augment a sustained air campaign against so-called-Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq. Hollande will also seek to strip French citizens who are found guilty of terrorism-related offences of their citizenship—as long as they’re dual citizens, so they have some other national connection to fall back on.

Air strikes and stripped citizenship were Stephen Harper’s policies. Trudeau campaigned against both of them. Having won, he still intends to reverse both policies.

He’s amply within his rights. Canada’s Prime Minister is no more obliged to emulate France’s president than he is to implement his own predecessor’s plans. But it’s a different proposition, isn’t it? The geometry of the situation has changed, now that Harper is no longer an unpopular prime minister against whom Trudeau can play the foil. And whatever happens in the wretched aftermath of the savage terrorist attacks in Paris, that new geometry will haunt Trudeau for some time to come.

Here’s the shift. When Harper was the prime minister of Canada and Trudeau was trying to rally the anti-Harper vote to the Liberal flag in a competitive race, “Stephen Harper” was almost always an excellent reason not to do something. This was most obvious in Trudeau’s speech to the Canada 2020 conference in Ottawa on Oct. 2, 2014, when he announced he wouldn’t support air strikes against ISIS.

If you took out all the references to Harper, Trudeau’s speech would become incomprehensible and shrink to haiku length. Trudeau asked: What should Canada do against ISIS? “The prime minister [that is, Harper] has said he would agree to Canada playing a larger role in the current mission,” he said, in reply to his own question. “He has said that the United States has requested additional support, and that he was considering the request. But he has shared no information with Parliament, and he has shared no information with Canadians.”

The rest of that speech continued in a similar vein. Harper, Trudeau said, “dissembled. Instead of being open and transparent, Mr. Harper gave his own version of events.” He remained “secretive, and with a purpose.” He had “made no effort to build a non-partisan case for war.” And on and on and on.

When Harper had MPs vote on extending the air strikes and expanding them into Syria, Trudeau’s reaction was similar. “How can we trust a government that so deliberately misleads Canadians?” he asked. The adversary most consistently mentioned in both speeches, in fact, was not ISIS, but Harper.

And now Harper is out of the picture. There will be days when Trudeau misses him. It turns out that saying no to Harper was a lot easier, for a Canadian Liberal, than saying no to François Hollande, a socialist who displayed no particular tendency toward sabre-rattling before he was elected. Or to Philippe Couillard, the Liberal premier of Quebec, who said on the weekend: “The democratic world is at war . . . When you face a mortal enemy, you must fight it with arms that match.”

Historically, there are different ways for a Liberal prime minister to adjust to such circumstances. Jean Chrétien was against military adventures when Brian Mulroney was prime minister, or when the missions were advocated by any U.S. president named Bush. He was altogether more enthusiastic when the prime minister’s name was Chrétien and the proponent was Bill Clinton. Pierre Trudeau, on the other hand, moved early in his first mandate to remove nuclear-tipped Bomarc missiles from Canada, a clear departure from the policy of his predecessor, Lester Pearson—who had campaigned on putting nukes into the Bomarcs to distinguish himself from his own predecessor, John Diefenbaker. Canada’s allies have long experience with our successive leaders’ ability to mimic weathervanes.

What Trudeau does now is up to him. The very long pauses between moments when reporters were able to put the question to him in Turkey suggested that he, his staff and ministers were giving it all a good long think. Probably he will continue with the withdrawal of the CF-18s, and probably his government will not be stripping any Canadians of their citizenship for any reason. But the new geometry will persist. The days when Stephen Harper gave him opportunities to say no are over. Now he has only friends seeking a yes. That’s harder.


 

Why Justin misses Stephen

  1. Well, giving the government the ability to strip dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship should they be convicted of a crime is totally unreasonable for at least the reason that it means that 2 Canadians (both born and raised in Canada, for the sake of argument) convicted of the exact same crime could be treated in very different ways.

    The dual citizen would serve his time, be stripped of citizenship, and then deported to a country he may never have even visited and may not even speak the language of. OTOH, the mono citizen would serve his time and the be reintegrated back into society.

    Two totally different outcomes for the same exact circumstances with the exception that one citizen had a particular attribute that had no relevance whatsoever to the crime. An attribute that the citizen may not even have wanted in the first place, or realized he had.

    There is no logical basis for a law that creates 2nd class Canadians.

    • I agree. And I’ve wondered, could this law not work both ways, should other countries decide to adopt a similar policy – what if a dual French – Canadian citizen is convicted of a crime and is stripped of their French citizenship? I’m not sure that Canada would happily have them come back here.

      • So what. Ppl who commit treason against Canada, and that is exactly what carrying out terrorist activities on behalf of our enemies is, SHOULD be stripped of their citizenship. Dual citizen or not. They should then be declared persona non grata, and given a one way trip to the destination of their choice. Or a firing squad. We owe traitors and terrorists nothing. We owe those who aid them nothing. We owe those who cheer them on, like the ppl in Turkey who cheered and jeered when their soccer team held a moment of silence for Paris, NOTHING. We owe a culture and religion that has been an unremitting enemy of the West since it’s inception. Nothing.

    • The United States has “solved” this problem! -).

      They execute them, often…preferably without trial. And sometimes with a drone missile.

    • There certainly is. There is no place to send the mono citizens-Canada is their only country and we’re stuck with them (unfortunate!!). The dual citizens have an alternate place to export them to. For acts of treason we should go way back to the way it was and truly treat them exactly the same-execution by firing squad.

      • Nothing an authoritarian hates more than disloyalty to the state. Unless they’ve got kids, then talking back to Daddy might be worse.

  2. The article notes:
    “The very long pauses between moments when reporters were able to put the question to him in Turkey suggested that he, his staff and ministers were giving it all a good long think”

    Let’s be honest……Mr. Trudeau does not give ANYTHING a good long think, other than what product he will use in his hair, or which side of his face is best for selfies. Mr. trudeau doesn’t make his decisions. If you want to know what direction the country will be heading, you need to talk to the brains of the operation. His name is Gerald Butts.

    as for stripping Canadian “citizens” of their citizenship…….who cares? You may care if you sympathize when their cause, but the majority of Canadians (real Canadians who love the country and would defend it – as opposed to hate the country but love the freebies) would gladly see the back end of these followers of Muhammed who use violence to get their way.

    Frankly, I prefer a simpler solution. If you catch a guy involved in terrorism, you fly him half way across the ocean on the way back to where he came from…..and drop him into the sea from 10,000 ft and tell him to swim the rest of the way. If he doesn’t make it…..even better.

    Terrorists give up ALL of their rights. They need to be killed. period.

    • Apparently, “Let’s be honest” is jameshalifax’s cue that he’s going to share his creative writing homework with us.
      Thanks for sharing!

      • We strip other Canadians who are not born in the country of their citizenship. We sent a gang leader from Vietnam home from Calgary after multiple crimes. I know it is not really the Canadian way to expect someone to treat living in this country as a privilege but it is fairly common in other countries.

        • You kind of missed the part that followed, “Let’s be honest…”.
          Thanks for trying, though.

    • I”d rather they did give it a good long think … instead of the old Harper CON’s knee-jerk bellicose bellying up to the gunfight at the OK Corral methods. At least we have a defence minister who’s actually been in a war … unlike McKay and Kenney who just brought out their toy soldiers in caucus playtime.

    • Ha ha. James your impression of a racist by saying that a certain group of people all behave and think the same way. That is a very funny impression.And the part about people who don’t agree with you hate Canada! I was laughing so hard. You know your comedy Sir
      I

      • Barrrry…

        What part of “terrorists” don’t you get? Pretty sure they all hate Canada, but if you know of any that love Canada, please inform the RCMP so they don’t waste their time investigating them.

        As for people hating Canaada if they don’t agree with me…??? hmm…

        methinks you are reading things I didnt’ write. You should get that checked out.

        Lastly, based on the quality of your writing, I will assume that English is not your first language.

  3. We don’t need Harper to figure out that 14 years of bombing in the Middle East has done nothing but get us deeper into a war we can’t win. Harper doesn’t need to be present for him to decide to try something else. Our 6 ancient F-18s that are mostly older than the men that are flying them are a drop in the bucket compared to the air forces presently arrayed against ISIS, and are easily replaced. That’s not to say that Canada won’t contribute in a different, and potentially more valuable way.
    During Harjit Sanjay’s 3 tours in Afghanistan, he virtually re-invented the way Canadian troops operated on the ground. By treating the citizens fairly and equally, and engaging them in conversation, he was able to turn the locals from Taliban supporters into Canada supporters. At that point, Canadian troops were able to operate on an equal footing with the Taliban, and took the fight to them in a meaningful way. If Canadian troops can pass this on to Syrian and Iraqi troops, and increase their effectiveness against ISIL, then Canada’s contribution will far outweigh the few extra bombs our ancient fighters might drop.

    • George Norman – precisely. Conservatives – Brute force with poor results. Liberals – intelligent well thought out strategic positions with credible results. Paul Wells is a conservative apologist who should know better. We all miss Stephen Harper – like we miss the plague.

      • Gawd, it must be tough to be Paul Wells. Depending on the article, he’s either a CPC lickspittle or a LPC bootlicker. It would make things so much easier for him if he just picked a side and threw any attempt at objectivity out the window.

      • Conservatives – Brute force with poor results. Liberals – intelligent well thought out strategic positions with credible results. Paul Wells is a conservative apologist….

        ==================

        I didn’t know Chretien was a Con when he sent the CF-18s to bomb the crap out of Yugoslavia. If that wasn’t force, I don’t know what is…..or Barrack Obombem droning the crap out of everyone despite the fact his starry-eyed supporters think he’s some kind of benevolent peace maker.

        BTW, what’s the difference between a Conservative apologist and a Liberal apologist…?? Oh right, nothing….

      • man-O-Man…

        Nice attempt at re-writing history. The Liberals got us into Afghanistan. In fact, they sent our troops over their in jungle fatiques instead of Desert camo. Further, the new Defence Minister was sent over there under a CONSERVATIVE Government, so it was the Conservative policy that worked, and the Liberal policy that failed. In fact, everything we are doing now is under the former policy of the former Government. even the Refugee file has reverted to what Harper was orginally planning.

        Nice try manoman…….but not everyone who can read your posts is as ill-informed as those who will believe you.

    • Oh for the love of God, if nothing else will you people quit calling the CF-18 “ancient”. No one except Trudeau thinks that. The US flies hundreds of F-18s, and aircraft even older than that.

      Not to mention that ISIL doesn’t have so much as a biplane to compete with them.

    • Trudeau might be pulling the 6 f-18 fighter jets but he is sending more troops to do training on the front line. Think about it….one of those jobs is more dangerous for Canadian soldiers….2 have died already and they were not pilots. As for our f-18 fighter jets, they are to be retired within a couple of years but Trudeau wants to spend the money on building up a navy. So, I would say that our hard working air force support (those guys that keep the planes working) will keep those F-18 jets working a lot longer than a couple of years.

  4. What would Harper do now, except use his normal megaphone diplomacy?

    Our planes have been doing 2-2.5% of the sorties at half a billion a year or more. Now that France and Russia are both bombing, our share will come down to less than 1%. That’s an inefficient and ineffective use of our resources.

    BTW Trudeau said yes to C 51 and everybody thought it was wrong. I guess for some people, a minority, Trudeau is always wrong.

    I am happy Harper is gone and I certainly won’t miss our last 10 years’ foreign policy.

    • Once he renames the LIberal party to the Ostrich Party, it will be easier to accept him

      • I believe that might breach a CPC trademark.

    • Russia was busy bombing the enemies of Assad, not ISIL. The real important thing for Russia is that due to its deal with Assad, it has a base in Syria, close to Saudi Arabia, the big OPEC member that is at war with Yemen and Syria. Russia needs Saudi to turn down the oil taps and so the price of oil will rise. Russia has positioned itself in a way to help the Saudi Arabians with any enemies in the area that might cause problems should the price of oil rise. Russia may be too busy to do too may soires into ISIL territory.

      • ” Russia may be too busy to do too may soires into ISIL territory.”

        Who can blame them.
        How much fun can you have at a soiree without alcohol, music or dancing. The canapes probably aren’t so hot either.

        • Hahaha……yes sorties but soires would be much more fun. I bet Vlad is a good time soire….

          • Gosh I miss the editing button…i type to fast …my brain is ahead of my fingers. I meant to say I bet Vlad is a good time at a soire….

  5. I really wonder about that headline. The media blamed everything on Harper, and created the “statesman Justin Trudeau”. Me thinks that it is the media that is missing Harper, so they can continue to blame him for everything, including the Paris attacks. Of course they cannot blame JT, so they are in a quandary….

    • The elites and the media wanted Trudeau so bad in the big chair (in Canada), that they forgot what he was promising would mean all of our allies would put him at the children’s table (internationally).

      And so the Liberals and the elites and the media are trying to walk back all of Trudeau’s promises.

      • What colour is the sky in your world?

      • That’s odd, considering the promises that you;re talking about are the same things that CPC supporters are complaining about, namely bringing back the CF-18s and letting in 25k refugees. They’re the ones that are demanding that Trudeau rethink the promises.

  6. No issue can be defined in black and white. While treasonous behaviour needs be dealt with, it may not be possible to deal on equal footing with two different individuals committing the same treasonous crime. This isn’t an extra ordinary situation in the administration of justice in this country. Another mitigating factor is that these are not ordinary crimes. The problems is that we do not have a press that can analyze and present the various options so that all can be on the table. It is not Justin, but even the press has always undermined. While secrecy is an important requirement to serve in the Cabinet of Her Majesty’s Government, Justin Trudeau was able to get away with ridiculing Stephen Harper on this account. But didn’t we hear every minister emphasizing this vow to protect the secrecy of government’s affairs when they took the oath the other day. The fact of the matter is the Justin was given a free pass by every journalist, Paul Welles included. Remember the first debate when Paul opens the debate by asking Mr. Harper to apologize for the crimes of two erstwhile journalists even though he knew jolly well Harper himself was impeccable. But that’s not the issue here. The more serious questions he forgot to ask the other two. One had flouted the Law of the Land by inhaling a prohibited substance. Repealing a law when in authority is not the same as breaking the law and not getting prosecuted. The other one had illegally obtained and used Parliamentary funds totalling more than a million dollars and used them or the purposes of his party. He just postponed his fate by appealing the Committee’s ruling. Justin could be seen interrupting while Harper talked in every one of the five debates and yet got away with it only because the moderators were unwilling to control this behaviour. The present blunders in the refugee crisis and the war against ISIS are just the beginning. The eagerly anticipated budget and the equally eagerly anticipated reaction of the financial markets will no doubt leave a very foul taste in our mouth. But, then it is too late now to wail over spilt milk; and Harper is not coming back to fix things for us

    • That’s not how you spell my name, and that’s not how the debate began.

      • Sorry, Paul, for misspelling your name. This being my first ever commentary on a write-up, I was a bit nervous and missed out not only a few letters but some whole words as well, here and there. But my line of argument was totally correct regardless of whether you did it the beginning or at the end.

  7. I thought Trudeau was articulating a view that our contribution was pretty insignificant up against the more numerous jets operated by our allies, and that we have some pretty sophisticated army commandos with a lot of expertise very much needed by those who are fighting the terrorists on the ground.
    Doesn’t need Harper anymore to make that case. Self evident I would say.
    Pretty weak thesis Paul.

    • Trudeau should continue bombing and, as a sign of strength and support, add the commandos as well.
      His actions emulate those of his father-a very far left socialist of the worst kind.

  8. It’s true that the Liberals seem to be struggling for comprehensibility with Harper out of the picture. Years of blaming Harper for everything from indigestion to ring around the collar have caused them to be “opposers” rather than mature policy strategists. Despite the Harper hyperbole, the reality is that many Conservative positions (TPP, security, balanced budgets) were very much in sync with governments in the rest of the world. As a result Trudeau is now left trying to implement his collection of alterative oddball ideas (withdrawing from ISIS, removing Mexican visas, legalizing marijuana) that are inconsistent and have Canadians scratching their heads.

    • Say Kry Hird, you seem like a proper reasonable person.

      Can you tell me why none of the principals, including a Minister of the Crown, and a mainstream media entity, could mount a fallacious and misleading electronic piece, have it ‘streamed’ by the same entity, although that entity NEVER received CRTC-RECOGNIZED mandaTORY coverage? Similar such events by the same media group eventually resulted in CLOSURE … as its principal P K Péladeau could not find a willing buyer.

      Subsequent to the widespread declaration of MEDIA FOUL, neither the affected Minister Kenney nor the former mainstream media was ever called before Parliament to provide justification for their actions. At the very least, both actions SHOULD HAVE BEEN VIEWED as Contempt of Parliament.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JpFAhLfdjI

      Similarly, the NDP claimed at a champagne rally, complete with photos, courtesy of Maclean’s, that they, the NDP had been successful in having the Clean Air Act passed by Parliament. In fact, NO CLEAN AIR ACT WAS EVER passed by Parliament. It was only AFTER we began publishing photo references to the name Champagne Jack REPEATEDLY, that the photos and accompanying piece was PULLED by Maclean’s.

      NDP declares victory for clean air—Layton and Cullen proud of accomplishments on C-30—Thursday, March 29, 2007

      Sun Media—Greg Weston—Sunday, October 14, 2007

      Clean Air Act up in smoke—Tories look for new solutions to pollution

      Champagne Jack [Premature Ejubulation]

      Would you be so kind as to SET UP a CARE2 Petition to invite public criticism of those events?

      I would be ever-so-grateful for your kind consideration.

  9. The ENTIRE PREMISE for this piece is to invoke a CIRCULAR argument.

    Try this one! If WEALTHY CANADIANS are finding FAVOURABLE TAX TREATMENT in an offshore jurisdiction, why did the Harper government “negotiate” an arrangement with KPMG, and then Lower The Opaque Canopy over the entire matter?

    • Totally off topic, but points for bringing up an issue that has not been given the coverage it deserves. Hopefully, the new government will do better.

  10. Paulie, get over it, your boy lost. It’s a barbaric cultural practice to criticize someone for saying no to
    immoral, dumb ideas. When Trudeau said no to Stevie’s stupidity, he was saying yes to reason and compassion.

  11. Trudeau is not going to miss Harper at all. He has been chomping at the bit to hit the ground running. There are things he wants to do and to undo.

    I have been surprised though at the extent of the press enthusiasm for bombing and also fanning the flames of xenophobia. The Post featured articles by Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant, the Globe by Bernard Henri Levy, Islamophobes, to comment on bringing refugees into Canada.

    In fact the press on the whole are far more in line with Harpers policies than most Canadians. I can see now why John Ibbiston thinks there is a shift to the right, there has been a major shift to the right among the media. Perhaps it is because, as we saw in the last election, the ownership of the major media chains support the Reform/Conservative’s no matter what and they hired people who reflect their views, and get rid of those who dont, see yesterdays firing of the editors at the Citizen.

    Jen Ditchburn on Power and Politics actually brought up the press’ fanning of the flames of intolerance by continually harping on the supposed dangers of bringing in Syrian refugees. I was impressed and amazed that it was even mentioned as usually the press dont seem to be particularly self critical.

    Anyway it was been a revelation to see the reporters including the CBC attack the PM so relentlessly for halting the the bombing and pressuring him to slow down or suspend the movement of refugees into Canada..

    By the way none of the attackers were Syrian, maybe we should close our borders to those who actually carried out the attacks, the French, Belgians.Moroccans and Algerians.

  12. Please sign this petition – it’s the closest thing to a referendum we have to stop this mockery of our wellbeing and safety. Google: Care2 petition STOP RESETTLING 25,000 SYRIAN REFUGEES IN CANADA . It’s now at 40,000 signatures – at 50,000 it’s double the number of “refugees” and the government has to stop.

  13. Arguing that you can’t trust the rationale from the PM because the PM has proven to be secretive, dedicated to a viewpoint inimical to most Canadians, and untrustworthy doesn’t really make any particular policy difficult without him. If someone puts needles in the Halloween apples, arguing that you shouldn’t let your kids take apples from him ever again doesn’t make it ‘hard to sustain an argument apples’ once he’s finally gone. There was no argument against apples, only caution about accepting anything he gave you.

  14. Let me see if I understand. You’re saying that it was easy for Trudeau to criticize PM Harper’s policies, but now that Trudeau is PM things will be harder? Because if correct, your point makes banality look like a Pink Floyd concert.

  15. Say Kry Hird, you seem like a proper reasonable person.

    Can you tell me why none of the principals, including a Minister of the Crown, and a mainstream media entity, could mount a fallacious and misleading electronic piece, have it ‘streamed’ by the same entity, although that entity NEVER received CRTC-RECOGNIZED mandaTORY coverage? Similar such events by the same media group eventually resulted in CLOSURE … as its principal P K Péladeau could not find a willing buyer.

    Subsequent to the widespread declaration of MEDIA FOUL, neither the affected Minister Kenney nor the former mainstream media was ever called before Parliament to provide justification for their actions. At the very least, both actions SHOULD HAVE BEEN VIEWED as Contempt of Parliament.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JpFAhLfdjI

    Similarly, the NDP claimed at a champagne rally, complete with photos, courtesy of Maclean’s, that they, the NDP had been successful in having the Clean Air Act passed by Parliament. In fact, NO CLEAN AIR ACT WAS EVER passed by Parliament. It was only AFTER we began publishing photo references to the name Champagne Jack REPEATEDLY, that the photos and accompanying piece was PULLED by Maclean’s.

    NDP declares victory for clean air—Layton and Cullen proud of accomplishments on C-30—Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Sun Media—Greg Weston—Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Clean Air Act up in smoke—Tories look for new solutions to pollution

    Champagne Jack [Premature Ejubulation]

    Would you be so kind as to SET UP a CARE2 Petition to invite public criticism of those events?

    I would be ever-so-grateful for your kind consideration.

  16. pssssst!

    PAUL WELLS AND Maclean’s have a SECRET.

    Any opinion PAUL WELLS and associates find ‘too close’ to endangering their EDITORIAL POLICY or citing previous failings … They accept, initially, as written, NEVER TO APPEAR AGAIN, in their files, as an OPINION. Last TWO SUBMISSIONS 258 WORDS ( submitted twice )

    Message for Paul Wells:

    Keep your Maclean’s … Just like I told the Toronto Sun … Turn it into a soft 4-ply … I’ll pass it along for someone who needs CRAP paper.

  17. The inauguration over. Le Dauphin has a lot of learning to do.
    His favourability rating will take a hit before Christmas 2015:
    1) When his government bails out Bombardier
    2) When he is forced to tell us that circumstances have changed (he could not foresee terrorist activities)
    3) When his first cabinet ministers start to go off-piste.

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