Monday, July 24, 2017

Whose Sovereignty Is It, Anyway?

He’s loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes.

-Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 3

For a long time I have found little to fault in Justin Trudeau's tactful dance around the Trump administration. Rather than denigrate a particular benighted American initiative like the Muslim travel ban, for example, the Prime Minister promotes Canada's openness to the world and impressive acceptance of Syrian refugees. Why provoke the Orange Ogre for no good reason?

However, scratching beneath the surface, one must wonder if there might be more at work in this dynamic.

Take, for example, the opaqueness that has enveloped Canada's priorities on the upcoming NAFTA renegotiation, about which I posted the other day.
The Liberal-dominated House of Commons trade committee has quashed a move to invite the prime minister and other high-ranking cabinet members to answer questions about Canada’s NAFTA renegotiation priorities, as calls continue for more transparency about how the government plans to handle upcoming talks on the deal.
Couple that with the worrying assertion made the other day by Canada's ambassador to the U.S.
Canada needs to allow U.S. President Donald Trump to “declare victory” on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton said Thursday.

“This was such a big part of the president’s campaign last year, and I think for any of us to think that we can sort of just ignore that would be crazy. We have to find ways where he can declare victory without it being seen in either Mexico or Canada as being a loss,” MacNaughton said.
Appeasement, by any other name, is still appeasement.

Then there is the recent announcement by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland that, on the one hand, seems to suggest that Canada is forging an independent foreign policy direction because the U.S. can no longer be relied upon:
Canada's new foreign policy will involve spending billions on "hard power" military capability because the country can't rely on an American ally that has turned inward, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Sounds impressive, doesn't it (although one can only imagine vividly the howls of outrage that would have ensued had this decision been made by the Harper government)? And this apparent independence of policy initiative certainly appears to be at odds with the theme of this post.

However, seen through the lens of critical thinking provided by Linda McQuaig, this new commitment to massively increased military spending is not what it seems.
... the Trudeau government’s announcement last month that it would dramatically increase Canada’s military spending — as Donald Trump has loudly demanded — was risky, given the distaste Canadians have for big military budgets and for prime ministers who cave in to U.S. presidents.

But the Trudeau government’s pledge to hike military spending by a whopping 70 per cent over 10 years succeeded in winning praise from Trump while going largely unnoticed by Canadians. Sweet.
Much of the media seemed swept up in Ms. Freeland's words, ignoring the fact that Canada is doing exactly what Trump wants, massively increasing its military spending:
It sounded feisty and bold, with a touch of swagger, a willingness to defy The Man.

Meanwhile, all was quiet on the Canadian front where the media, still high on Freeland’s soaring oratory, was awash in stories about the Trudeau government’s determination to “set its own course” and “step up to lead on the world stage.” Its keenness to please Trump mostly got lost in the hoopla.
And lest we forget,
The military spending hike, although introduced without much controversy, is in fact a major development with devastating consequences, imposing a massive new $30 billion burden on Canadian taxpayers over the next decade and relegating pressing social needs to the back burner.

It’s also a significant departure for Trudeau, who made no campaign promise to increase Canada’s military spending, which, at $19 billion a year, is already the 16th largest in the world.
Doubtless, that money could be used for something better:
My guess is that, given a choice between spending that money on fighter jets or on social programs, most Canadians would favour social programs.

But then, they’re not holding the leash.
In the play Hamlet, the title character is described as being loved by the masses, despite the fact that he has killed the King's counselor and threatened the life of the King. That mindless adulation, says the King, affords Hamlet considerable latitude.

Are we seeing the same phenomenon unfolding here at home?


  1. "Canada's new foreign policy, will involve billions on "hard power" military capability because the country can't rely on an American ally that has turned inward, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland." Really? All of the countries that we are now militarily involved in, is because we have been asked to do so by the U.S. and we will continue to go into the countries that the U.S. tells us to!

    It is not bad enough that we are a complete vassal of the U.S. in our foreign policy, but to try to pretend that we are expanding our military because Canada is now "forging an independent foreign policy direction" is the height of intellectual insult, if not an out and out right lie.

    Freeland like Trudeau has mastered the deceptive process of doing one thing, while telling Canadians she is doing the opposite. McQuaig wrote an excellent article and captured the deception behind Freelands words.

    The U.S. is a world dominating inept Empire. Regardless of its ineptness Canada will go where it's told to by the U.S.

    This bluster that Freeland always uses when she talks to Canadians is getting tiring, particularly since the reality is that Canada is more of a sychophantic appeaser toward the U.S. under Trudeau then we have ever been under any other prime minister.

    Trudeau, Freeland and their liberal cronies are the most corrupt government we have ever had and they deliver their corruption with a smile and extended hand.

    1. I am very wary of people like Freeland, Pamela. I know that it is probably not nice to say, but I do regard her as Trudeau's poodle.

  2. Of course, the really BIG question is: Do any of these people own a MAGA tee-shirt? Right, Lorne?

    1. A good one, Justin. Perhaps they wear their extolment of Mr. Trump beneath their shirts and blouses?