Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Are The Changes Only Cosmetic?

Despite unpromising predictions, Justin Trudeau led his party to overwhelming victory close to a year ago. And like political prisoners held captive by a foul and reactionary regime, Canadians began immediately basking in the freedom they were so long denied. According to a Toronto Star article, that basking continues to this day.
“People are welcoming this more active, bolder form of federal government,” said Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates.

Graves said that the Liberals have been consistently polling above 40 per cent in popular support. His firm’s most recent survey had the Liberals at 46 per cent, the Conservatives at 26 per cent and the NDP at 15 per cent.
While I continue to feel much better than the years I chafed under the Harper cabal, it would be imprudent for any of us to simply turn our eyes away and merely trust Justin and his team to do the right thing. As many others have pointed out, there are some very troubling indicators that in many ways we are witnessing only a change in styles, not substance, from the previous regime. A cosmetic makevoer, if you will.

Thanks to Kev, who tweeted a link to this story, it would seem we have ample reason to worry, given the adamant refusal of Trudeau to reconsider the Saudi arms deal. Apparently his answer is to simply change the rules.
The Canadian government has quietly watered down its own mandate for screening the export of military goods, rewriting parts of the only substantive public statement available on Ottawa’s responsibilities for policing foreign sales.

The Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada, published by the department of Global Affairs, offers the best insight into Ottawa’s export-control policy when it comes to screening deals to sell defence products to foreign customers.

Both the 2014 and 2015 versions of the Report on Exports of Military Goods were released recently by the Trudeau government. Like previous reports, they include several pages of prefatory statements that articulate the rationale and guiding principles for screening weapons sales.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and something akin to the diabolical is to be noted here:
It has removed a phrase about how export controls are intended to “regulate and impose certain restrictions on exports” in response to clear policy objectives.

Instead, it substitutes more anodyne language saying the goal of Canada’s export controls on military goods is, in fact, to “balance the economic and commercial interests of Canadian business” with this country’s “national interest.”

This edit removes the only reference in the entire document to restricting and regulating the export of military goods.
In 1987, Ronald Reagan made famous an old Russian adage while negotiating an arms control treat with Mikhail Gorbechev: "Trust, but verify." Clearly, with this latest development, that advice is as applicable today as it was then.


  1. We'll see no grand vision out of this bunch, Lorne. Trudeau has been quite open that he considers his primary role the advancement of Canadian trade which is entirely consistent with his support for the Saudi death wagon deal. As Willie Nelson sings, "If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time."

    My guess is that he's going to be a poll-driven prime minister. With his current numbers he's under no pressure to honour his clear promises. C-51? Done deal. Tanker moratorium? "Did I say that?" On and on and on. If you expected Trudeau to be a man of his word, he's pretty disappointing. For most Canadians, however, he seems just fine. However putting "commercial interests" on par with "national interests" is about as neoliberal as it gets.

    1. I couldn't agree more with your analysis, Mound; yet I am reminded of the terrible embargo on truth, honesty and openness that permeated the Harper reign as I read Kevin Page's book, Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill. All of the old anger and contempt I felt during that foul time resurfaced, and while I know in my head that Trudeau's is likely a government of style over substantive change, my heart stills feels lighter with Trudeau in charge rather than Harper.

      Is this what one might call the triumph of hope over experience?

  2. It's deeply unsettling to see Harper's big aberrations left unchanged, Lorne.

    1. We have to maintain vigilance and call them on it, Owen, just as we did with the Harper cabal.

    2. I think "the terrible embargo on truth honesty and openness" Lorne will still be there with Trudeau. He can march on gay pride parades and support gender equality, which are good things, but he threatens the democratic and constitutional foundation these rights rest on. He has shown this with his support of the BDS motion and with his military deal with Saudi Arabia to name a few of his decisions. The response he gives to violating Canadians rights in these decisions is complete indifference.

      His ignoring of amending or better still repealing Bill C-51 is very worrisome. The security and privacy risks it poses has already been enacted on some Canadians by CSIS. He may remain silent about it until he can find a way to keep it intact.

      His foreign policies follow almost completely Harpers Neoliberal and American Imperial agenda. The US expanding NATO troops, including Canada in Eastern Europe along the Russian border is very dangerous.

      Trudeau goes along and accepts the propaganda narrative that the US is spewing about Russia. More then ever this is when we need a strong independent PM who at the very least questions US foreign policy or better still says no to it's request to go along with the deception.

      The policies he creates in energy, climate change, trade and defence are not in Canadians interest, but are in fact supporting special interests, especially the American Governments interests.

      He is no different than Harper including having his MPs towing The party line. Where Harper was a miserable petty peronality, Trudeau is very likeable. That is primarily where they differ. In developing policy however they are Neoliberal Imperial twins.This does not make him less an authoritarian then Harper.

      Because of his strong positive personality though it's going to take Canadians a long time to come to that conclusion.

      When Canadians gave Trudeau his majority, we were ready to once again become a progressive, sophisticated country that respected the rights of all Canadian citizens including the rights of citizens of the world. Instead Trudeau has embarked on a journey of making Canada a sychophant of the US and is quite prepared to destroy our sovereignty in becoming that sychophant.

      Where Harper was aware of what he was doing Trudeau may be oblivious to the political and cultural consequences of his policy decisions. This doesn't make him any less dangerous.

      Canadians are going to have a serious fight on our hands when we realize we're going to have to once again reclaim our democracy.

    3. As always, Pamela, your analyses are welcome. You have clearly given a lot of thought to the problems posed by Trudeau, so, as always, with your permission, I would like to feature this as tomorrow's guest blog.

  3. Once again, thank you. You're right I have been giving alot of thought to what trudeau is doing. In fact I am shocked at how much he is betraying the Canadian people. Enjoy the rest of your evening.