When Parliament returns to work today following its week-long Remembrance Day break, one thing is certain: “Skippy” will be back at it again – holding Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s feet to the fire.
Justin Trudeau is discovering a truth that reveals itself to every new prime minister by the time they have been in office for a couple of years.
Ottawa is a grand place to live and raise kids (which Trudeau can appreciate more than most, having been born there), but it is an even grander place to escape from – to abandon the petty partisanship of Parliament Hill and fly off to meet other world leaders somewhere, anywhere far from the Ottawa bubble.
Say what you will about Justin Trudeau, but you must concede he is a man who is not afraid to surround himself with strong women. We have seen this in the past week in incidents involving Catherine McKenna, his environment minister, and Julie Payette, the astronaut/scientist whom he chose as Canada’s governor general.
On the face of it, the two prosecutions – of two Ontario Liberal party operatives in the Sudbury by-election affair and of former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy in the Senate expenses scandal – have nothing in common beyond the fact that both involved political figures and allegations of bribery.
There are, however, other similarities.
Both involved charges that should never have been laid, because there was no evidence in either case that offences had actually been committed.
Back in the mists of time, a half-century ago, there was a majority Liberal government that went though the same sort of mid-term pain that Justin Trudeau’s government is experiencing today, as its poll numbers slide, ministers stumble, key policies unravel and the opposition, smelling blood, circles impatiently.
There are times when a poor befuddled layman wonders whether the left hand knows what the right hand is doing (or vice versa) in government and big business.
With two years still to go, the battle lines are already forming for the federal election scheduled for Oct. 21, 2019.
The battle will be led by three men who are the youngest collection of major party leaders in Canadian history. It comes as a bit of a shock to realize that Justin Trudeau, who was the bright young hope of the Liberals when they chose him in 2013 – and who was derided by the Conservatives as being too young to be prime minister – is now the oldest of the three leaders. He’s 45.
A few thoughts today about Bombardier and Boeing.
First, Boeing’s complaint to the U.S. Commerce Department about Bombardier and the subsidies it receives from governments in Canada really has nothing to do with the sale of those 75 Bombardier 100-passenger C Series jetliners to Delta Airlines. It has everything to do with Boeing’s determination to defend its turf from foreign competition.
Words matter. They are powerful.
Used carelessly or thoughtlessly, words can be hurtful and counter-productive. Used with malign intent, they can be downright dangerous.
The power of words has been on display in recent days, from Ottawa to Toronto to the United Nations to Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea.
Justin Trudeau and his band of “sunny ways” Liberals have approached the political equivalent of the continental divide – two years in and two years to go before the next election on Oct. 21, 2019. They have had two years to enjoy the fruits of victory and to keep – or not – their campaign promises. Now they face two years of heavier slogging as they try to build momentum for re-election.