Wednesday, November 4, 2015

UPDATED: A Special Day

Today is one of those days where all things seem possible, a day suffused with an optimism that many likely haven't felt for a long time, given the dark times endured under the previous regime. I spent the morning watching the swearing-in of the Trudeau government, and from start to finish the entire ceremony, which I doubt that I have ever watched before, was a reminder of all the things that are good and possible about Canada.

First came, not the usual surfeit of black limos, but rather the entire team walking the grounds of Rideau Hall upon their arrival:




Most striking about the above was the leisurely pace with which the Trudeau entourage walked, waving and greeting well-wishers, many of whom, to my delight, were young. Could this be the start of a youth engagement? The symbolism of the stroll can hardly be lost: an accessible government of and for the people, something that stands in sharp contrast to the aloof isolation of the Harper regime.

The other thing that struck me was the amazing depth and range of talent to be found within the new cabinet; clearly, as he has stated, Trudeau expects much from the people that he has said will be decision-makers. You can see the full list here.

In its diversity. the cabinet is a real representation of Canada today, with immigrants, aboriginals and the physically challenged all being given important portfolios.

At the moment, a real feeling of pride is being experienced across Canada, as evidenced by social media:
Charlotte Engerer and Jason Waterman were among the hundreds of “proud” Canadians pleased that the country elected Trudeau.

“Congratulations to our new Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau – so proud of my fellow Canadians to have made decisive choice for positive change,” Engerer said.

“Proud day to be a #canadian - best wishes today to our 23rd Prime Minister, @JustinTrudeau and our new cabinet & MPs! #cdnpoli #RealChange,” said Waterman, CTO of Chrome extension Momentum Dash.

Charlotte Engerer and Jason Waterman were among the hundreds of “proud” Canadians pleased that the country elected Trudeau.

“Congratulations to our new Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau – so proud of my fellow Canadians to have made decisive choice for positive change,” Engerer said.

“Proud day to be a #canadian - best wishes today to our 23rd Prime Minister, @JustinTrudeau and our new cabinet & MPs! #cdnpoli #RealChange,” said Waterman, CTO of Chrome extension Momentum Dash.
While such positive feelings will be of uncertain duration, I, for one, intend to enjoy them while they last.

UPDATE: Mark, in his comments below, offers some very interesting observations about today's cabinet choices:
Something else that struck me about these cabinet choices: it's like Trudeau wanted to send a signal; that this government will do things differently.

First off, with this much talent in his cabinet, it would be awful hard to run the government as a one-man show; they way Harper did.

Secondly, a number of the picks were interesting in their own right.

As much as I am glad that after a decade of a government that made yes-mean as Cabinet Minsters, we now have a Minister of Science that actually has a degree in science, and a Minister of Health that actually is a former doctor; these are things that we should have been able to expect all along, from any decent government.

Far more interesting is a few other picks I that caught my attention.

After a government that shamelessly used the military for photo-ops, yet treated the veterans, particularly disabled veterans, like crap, we now have a Minister of Veteran's Affairs that is himself a disabled person.

Then there is the pick of Minister of Defence. After a government that stirred up racism to justify foreign military adventurism, we now have a Minister of Defence who is a person of colour. Admittedly, the Conservatives never directed racism towards Sikhs the way the did towards Muslims, but many Conservative supporters have shown that they don't make that distinction.

Minister of Status of Women - a Cabinet role Harper filled only because he had to, in order to maintain that "moderate" image. We now have a veteran social activist.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Notice the change of the title for this role? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

While I would have liked to have someone with more direct experience with environmental issues, (e.g. Joyce Murray,) - and apologies to Mz. McKenna if I am insufficiently familiar with her curriculum vitae - I love the fact that Trudeau's pick for this role is a former human rights and social justice lawyer. Hopefully a sign of how Mr. Trudeau truly sees this issue.

A couple of other observations about this cabinet:

It's becoming clear that those looking to smear Trudeau with the "Harper-lite" label are going to have a tougher time getting that label to stick.

Among the long-time Liberal MPs, we have a few from the left-leaning wing of the party, most notably Bennett and Dion, and one former NDP Cabinet Minister.

Among the newcomers, at least a few sound like they could just as easily have run for the NDP; including a few experienced social justice warriors.

Lastly, when Trudeau announced that he was aiming for gender parity and ethnic diversity, there were predictable complaints from certain elements in the MSM, that appointments were not being made on the basis of merit. Yet, when I look at the experience these appointees have, I would challenge any of the complainers to name names, as to who the "Affirmative Action" cases were.

I do still have some reservations, regarding where Trudeau wants to lead the country. But looking at this cabinet, it does fill me with hope that we have done more than merely replace one monster with another. A couple of the big issues that this new government will have do deal with soon, (the TPP and climate change,) may once again fill me with cynicism; but for now, I'm starting to feel more hope than I've dared to feel in a long, long time.

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful day in Ottawa too. Unseasonably warm, and bright sunshine. As if even the heavens are welcoming the change and bidding goodbye to the past dark decade.

    And best news of all, Steve has resigned .... hopefully, someone has counted the silverware at 24 Sussex, eh? A previous Cons PM apparently tried to sell off some furniture. And shifty though he was, he still was not even half as shifty as Steve. :)

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    1. In my teaching days, Anon, when nature mirrored what was happening in human affairs, we called it pathetic fallacy. I wonder if it was a dark and stormy day when the Harper majority was sworn in?

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    2. Anon brings back memories. Anyone else remember when Mila asked the National Capital Commission for reimbursement for the cost of wallpaper she chose for 24 Sussex Drive? Recall Mulroney's middle of the night fleet of moving trucks? I'm surprised they didn't make off with the doors and chandeliers.

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    3. Ah yes, the venerable past tradition of public service transmuted (degraded?) into private entitlement. I hope those days are banished with the new government.

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  2. Whilst I did not watch the proceedings as they unfolded the increased openness of both the ceremony and the broader choice of cabinet members show the direction that this government wishes to go. As you say let us hope it lasts, but in the meanwhile let us support this positive change in every way we can.

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    1. I completely concur, Rural. For a country to fully recover its soul, much will be required both of its government and its citizens. Let's all do our best here.

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  3. It was a grand day indeed, Lorne. Pray it lasts.

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    1. I am with you there completely, Mound.

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  4. I watched the swearing in ceremonies also Lorne. What a really great start!

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    1. It is good to feel good about our country again, isn't it, Pamela?

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  5. Something else that struck me about these cabinet choices: it's like Trudeau wanted to send a signal; that this government will do things differently.

    First off, with this much talent in his cabinet, it would be awful hard to run the government as a one-man show; they way Harper did.

    Secondly, a number of the picks were interesting in their own right.

    As much as I am glad that after a decade of a government that made yes-mean as Cabinet Minsters, we now have a Minister of Science that actually has a degree in science, and a Minister of Health that actually is a former doctor; these are things that we should have been able to expect all along, from any decent government.

    Far more interesting is a few other picks I that caught my attention.

    After a government that shamelessly used the military for photo-ops, yet treated the veterans, particularly disabled veterans, like crap, we now have a Minister of Veteran's Affairs that is himself a disabled person.

    Then there is the pick of Minister of Defence. After a government that stirred up racism to justify foreign military adventurism, we now have a Minister of Defence who is a person of colour. Admittedly, the Conservatives never directed racism towards Sikhs the way the did towards Muslims, but many Conservative supporters have shown that they don't make that distinction.

    Minister of Status of Women - a Cabinet role Harper filled only because he had to, in order to maintain that "moderate" image. We now have a veteran social activist.

    Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Notice the change of the title for this role? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

    While I would have liked to have someone with more direct experience with environmental issues, (e.g. Joyce Murray,) - and apologies to Mz. McKenna if I am insufficiently familiar with her curriculum vitae - I love the fact that Trudeau's pick for this role is a former human rights and social justice lawyer. Hopefully a sign of how Mr. Trudeau truly sees this issue.

    A couple of other observations about this cabinet:

    It's becoming clear that those looking to smear Trudeau with the "Harper-lite" label are going to have a tougher time getting that label to stick.

    Among the long-time Liberal MPs, we have a few from the left-leaning wing of the party, most notably Bennett and Dion, and one former NDP Cabinet Minister.

    Among the newcomers, at least a few sound like they could just as easily have run for the NDP; including a few experienced social justice warriors.

    Lastly, when Trudeau announced that he was aiming for gender parity and ethnic diversity, there were predictable complaints from certain elements in the MSM, that appointments were not being made on the basis of merit. Yet, when I look at the experience these appointees have, I would challenge any of the complainers to name names, as to who the "Affirmative Action" cases were.

    I do still have some reservations, regarding where Trudeau wants to lead the country. But looking at this cabinet, it does fill me with hope that we have done more than merely replace one monster with another. A couple of the big issues that this new government will have do deal with soon, (the TPP and climate change,) may once again fill me with cynicism; but for now, I'm starting to feel more hope than I've dared to feel in a long, long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your insights, Mark. I enjoyed reading them and would like to feature them in an update, so that more people can see them.

      Like you, I have reservations, but also like you, I'm starting to feel more hope than I've dared to feel in a long, long time.

      Delete