This is an excellent piece. On the night JT was first elected I was thrilled to hear that that was going to be the last FTP election. He didn't just promise it he said it like it they had worked it through and we're going to get it done so going back on it was worse than breaking the usual political promises. That's when I realized the rhetoric doesn't fit the reality. Squaring the circle of taking serious action on climate change and buying a pipeline is another head-scratcher. I guess he thought it would buy him some love in Alberta but that didn't work at all.

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I think you hit the nail on the head. The PM really wants to be loved as a good socialist. However, he is the head of a big tent party that only leans a little left and who's primary policy is do what is necessary to stay in power. Being a good left wing socialist requires taking stands and making decision which will be unpopular with other wings of the party, and risk them loosing support.

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(Banned)Dec 17, 2021·edited Dec 17, 2021

Oh, man, rant time. (I'm sorry. Buttons have been pushed.)

First, I do dislike the media (not the people, this is just news media) obsession with good news not being news. CERB was an astonishing miracle, I've never seen the like. I watched bureaucracies take years to do days of computer programming ... my whole career. I wrote my own, while awaiting IT to call the first meeting. The ObamaCare website was *typical* for a big bureaucracy. Then somehow the Feds put out CERB in a matter of days, people marvel that 90% are on and off the site in literal minutes, Thanks Guys!!! ...but then that story is over, never mentioned again, what have you done for us lately?

The media somehow never discuss the simple, numerical, obvious fact that Canada has yet to reach 800 dead/million, as Germany hits 1300, France 1850, UK 2150, America 2470.


Canada has done two or three times as well on the final anvil of testing: "Can your society combat the challenges presented by life on Earth, and make your people safe from them?" If Canada had two or three times the economic growth rate of western Europe and the USA, it would considered absolute proof of whatever economic choices we'd made at the time, were genius.

I haven't seen a single news story on the topic of "Why has Canada's pandemic been so much better than its comparable peers?" It's just not "a thing". It's merely a fact, not a story.

But we on the Left can never give whomever is in power a break, the conditions of our causes are that "power never concedes anything without a demand" - and it generally takes decades. I spent 40 years afraid that my comfortable professional life would be ruined if cannabis were smelled at the wrong moment by the wrong person. The simple fact that the stuff was almost non-toxic, the Prohibition of it madness, was well-known in scientific circles for most of that time, but we just had to keep patiently pushing and awaiting the Old Guard simply dying off. During that time, "mindshare" can be sought with little gestures that don't cause real change - except in minds.

And, yes, I'm not the biggest fan of Mr. Image, but there was genuine substance in his straight-up legalization call, when he was a political lightweight, and it leapfrogged past the NDP weak-tea "decrim" call of many years, hit them from the left. At the time, Stephen Harper still thought it was the Reagan era, and actually broke out the your-brain-a-frying-egg crap one last time, to find that Trudeau had 'read the room' much more astutely, leaving Harper looking old, out-of-touch, even delusional.

It's easier to placate the Right than the Left, if you ask this leftie. The Left takes your 80% complete clean-water on FN, and demands when the harder 20% will be done. We aren't satisfied by *talking* about minimum wages and wealth taxes, we want to see results.

The Right, on the other hand, does not demand the end to minimum wage and lower taxes on upper incomes, because that particular *part* of the Right, that wants tangible Righty results, is just that 1% of the population. Or less. Their demands are made quietly, in back rooms, and journalists are never invited.

The 99%, the rank-and-file, of the Right, never filled a street to demand those major changes. "Less Financial Regulation", said no sign ever. The rank-and-file of the Right, are terrifyingly, willing to vote for you if you promise them performative symbolic crap like War Rooms against the Foreign Green Conspiracy, or anti-tax stickers for their gas pumps. I say "terrifyingly" because we now know from the USA that there's no bottom to how much you can get right-wing votes by deploying conspiracy theories out of "The Paranoid Style of American Politics", 1964 - and promising to fight them.

Even when proven dead-wrong, even when centre-right journalism like TheLine busts the War Room, Jason Kenney is ***NOT*** called on that bullshit by the right-wing activists, like Trudeau is on his own - Team Conservative just wants that War Room thing to be true.

It's not "bullshit" to take a long time to do something that needs "mindshare", that needs the old to die off, mostly, but also needs younger minds to be gently pressured to not adopt the sins of their fathers. My parents were hotly indignant, when I raised in the early 1980s, the notion that it had been wrong to imprison Japanese Canadians in their youth. They lectured me for a few minutes about how nobody could be sure they were safe to let loose. I'm certain they would have given the same defense of Residential Schools (if any of us had been aware of them).

The Nisei never got more than apologies, "empty gestures", and it was a long journey through even more minor acknowledgements. The First Nations are getting $40B, at last, but there were a lot of empty gestures for decades, while mindshare was gained. The $40B would have been utterly impossible when my parents were alive. And voting.

Gay people had to wait a long time, too, though, again, knowledgeable people, doctors, understood it was no mental illness or perversion. I got "Alberta Report" at work through the 90s, and every week had a whole page devoted to how sick gay people were, how unsafe around children, insane to let them adopt or be teachers. One "performative bullshit" gesture after another was made, one minor victory at a time, it was all necessary baby-steps that helped Gen-

X and Millenials NOT grow up hearing only the homophobia that we Boomers grew up on.

The interesting question, not for me, really, but for journalists who follow all the drama of the rich and powerful, is the extent to which the "bullshit" is understood as such by the bullshitter. We "Call Trudeau on His Bullshit", because we of course want results, not gestures. But is it just a call-and-response? FDR told his supporters that he wanted to do vast Real Results like the New Deal, but told them they had to go out, demonstrate, scare the squares, "Make me do it". Paul Krugman repeats that story incessantly, that Democrats can't give them health care and better wages without angry, demanding people on the streets, scaring the Right of their own party.

You have to stay in power to do anything, so you compromise and provide half-a-loaf; everybody on both sides gets that. The only challenge, is to separate the FDR, who wants to do what you want done, but needs support - from the Bill Clintons of the "left" who want to deregulate finance, get rich, and fly private, while buying off support with a few Culture War gestures of their own.

Trudeau's genuine political courage on the cannabis file suggests he has some honesty in him, and the $40B for FN the other day (again, I didn't notice a single thank-you quote from anybody), suggest there's a real core there. But, of course, the Party will try to beat that out of him.

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What can I say but ..... well done Matt. Smacked that nail right on the head.

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I can sort of imagine Trudeau going into some Twilight Zone episode where he is presented with two buttons about his legacy. Press "A" and everything he had hoped to accomplish from a center left perspective will get enacted in the coming years in a meaningful lasting policy kind of way. But, the catch is EVERYONE left and right will hate him as the worst PM ever. Press "B" and nothing gets done, but people on the left will fawn over him as some great combo Pearson/Layton/Tommy Douglas like character. Looking at the buttons, he thinks to himself, well, A is the obvious, ?!?! WAIT, How the hell did "B" get pressed ?!?!?!"

I think the guy just cant help himself too often. He knows what to do, but he just cant help himself. and surrounded by sycophants, his worst instincts rule :(

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There is still a vocal left in Canada that wants these kind of things despite the evidence pointing to the fact that they will not work or are not good for Canadians. That is a major problem here too, no one seems willing to stand up to people on the left and say what you are asking for is simply out of the question. So we play this pretend game of back and forth.

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I’m pleased to see the robust yet mostly civil comments/discussion section developing at The Line!

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May I inquire: why do you have three handguns? What are they for?

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I'm conflicted by the premise. By the most important metric, finances, the Trudeau government has taken the country far to the left. The big question is what measurable, favorable outcomes has runaway spending delivered? Maybe that is the true measure of "progressive", spending money without delivering results.

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Looking forward to this week's dispatches!

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Trudeau is a centrist? Really? Here's a PM who, like his father before him, is determined to destroy English and French Canada and relegate their respective peoples to the status of a minority - a sine qua non for creating a multicultural Canada. Given that no Canadian government has ever had a mandate for such a policy, this act of creative destruction represents a revolution orchestrated by elites.

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'Or maybe it’s even more basic than that: perhaps he wishes he was something he’s not willing to actually be'. I think this is a perfect description.

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Matt, I'm curious about your thoughts on how the disconnect between announcement and performance of the political elite connects to the wider disconnect you wrote about between Canadians outdated expectations and the drift of normal in the post-WWII world. (Maybe something for a future dispatch?) Justin is at the sharp, pointy end of this, insofar as he had the fortune/misfortune of being elected and becoming the face and embodiment of this disconnect.

If pols appeal to the public's expectations in order to get elected, given the drift of reality and normality, are events not likely to comprise those expectations and those political announcements? In other words, the distorted image pols present, is just the distorted image our distorted mirror of reality produces as a product of continuing to want what was in fact an ephemeral historical moment of prosperity, security and comfort in the post-WWII world.


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I"m not sure you are telling us anything we don't already know except the fact you own three handguns. ( "because you like shooting them") I'm pretty sure a hockey stick a tennis ball and a net would give more satisfaction than you can get at a firing range and be a better example to our children of a healthy activity. Two thirds Canadians would be perfectly happy with an outright handgun ban and the number would be higher if we weren't so apathetic. It's an eventuality in this country so I'm surprised that no leader has tried to define himself by proposing a ban. Trudeau hasn't because he has no originality nor leadership and seems to only be interested in re- election.

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Not sure what the point is here. The tone seems critical of Trudeau for not being a genuine progressive (as the lefties complain) yet a good chunk of the article focusses on firearms and handguns, where his refusal to much with our already effective laws for the sake of Safety Theatre is the right thing to do. Some of the other examples (beach vacation on the day of reconciliation) showcase Trudeau's obliviousness more than his positioning on a left / right scale. So, the conclusion is that Trudeau's really a centrist, and that's a good thing? Or that governing in the real world is harder than making grand pronouncements from the sidelines?

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