The Morning Brief – 10.07.21

By Bruce Carson


Prime Minister Trudeau 3.0—has anything changed?

On last Sunday’s Question Period, host Evan Solomon referred a number of times to the present version of Prime Minister Trudeau as Trudeau 3.0 and that moniker might just stick. A question that arises, is whether Trudeau 3.0 is any different from Trudeau 2.0 and Trudeau 1.0 or will Trudeau and his administration just bring forward the same foibles that Canadians have had to put up with in the previous versions?

Last week was a perfect example of the issues that Trudeau has presented almost since day one-making promises to do great things for Canadians, followed by an incredible lack of judgement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, with the week ending with an apology to Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups First Nation for ignoring two invitations to visit the former Kamloops Residential School site and actually flying over or close to it on the National Day put in place by the Trudeau government.

Yesterday at his media availability Trudeau was asked why he did it. Unfortunately there was no answer. An honest, straightforward answer could have unlocked much of the mystery that guides the prime minister’s thinking and decision making process.

Has nothing been learned either by Trudeau or his office since the ill-fated Christmas vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island which resulted in the first of three reports over the years from the Commissioner of Conflict of Interest and Ethics?

The Morning Brief suggested at that time that there has to be someone in the PMO whose job it is to weigh the pros and cons of particular actions and simply say “no Prime Minister , that is not a good idea, don’t do it.”

The conclusion at the time was that there was no one who was given that task, but that it was necessary and had to be put in place.

So here we are six years later, three reports from the Commissioner later and Blackface and the problem persists. This time, of course Trudeau didn’t contravene any of the strictures of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commission just as those rules didn’t touch the Trudeau Blackface revelations.

Could the reason this lack of judgement keeps recurring really isn’t a lack of judgement –it involves a calculation by Trudeau and perhaps his staff that there are no consequences to these actions which normally would be classified as unacceptable behavior.

Rupa Subramanya of the National Post in an article “Yes, Tofino Trudeau is entitled, but he is not clueless” offers the theory that the “Canadian reality at present is that of a charismatic leader who has built a cult of personality and a fragmented and ineffective set of opposition parties.” Nothing that took place on Thursday or on the days following in Tofino will make any difference to how Trudeau will act in the future.

Subramanya suggests the lesson to take away from last week is “not that what Trudeau does is okay, but rather that both his critics and opposition parties need to change their tone from a constant refrain of Trudeau bashing otherwise the public will just tune them out, as they have demonstrated over and over again.”

In other words, Trudeau will not change so it is up to the opposition to offer change and that change has to move beyond “Trudeau bad-we’re good.” This advice is more applicable to the Conservative Party, which seems, initially at least, interested in a full scale review of what went right and wrong in the 44th general election.

Without change from the opposition, Canada is in for a string of Liberal governments as it experienced for many years in the last century.

The impression created by the NDP, even though it has announced a review, is that it seems more content to settle on the results it received.

The Conservative Party has to make up its mind as to whether it wants to grab the levers of government and steer the country or is the party content to be in perpetual opposition to the Liberal party. It has examples that can be used for guidance. There is the Progressive Conservative government led by Prime Minister Mulroney from 1984-1993 and the Conservative government headed by Prime Minister Harper from 2006 -2015.

There are vitally important lessons to be learned from the wilderness years that stretched from 1993 to 2006. O’Toole and the members of his caucus have the lesson right in front of them as to what happens when the party is divided.

If the Conservative Party wants to form and maintain government after the next election it should consider settling on broadly accepted social policies, appeal to new Canadians and combine those initiatives with responsible economic policies that will lead Canada towards a much needed economic recovery and spur on productivity and competitiveness. This is not a move to Liberal Lite.

On Tuesday, the Conservative Party started down the road that may lead to success by initiating a thorough review of what went right and wrong in all aspects of the last election. It is to be carried out by former Alberta MP James Cumming. Unfortunately the person who is to carry out the review of what happened in the Quebec campaign wasn’t named at the same time.

The review in addition to focussing on the leader should turn to problematic areas from the last election such as gun control, climate change, health care funding and vaccines.

This review if done properly should set out a roadmap which could lead to victory in the next election, whenever that may occur.

And the results of the review should be shared with caucus.

To Come

  • The Governor of the Bank of Canada delivers a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations
October 8
  • Job numbers for September to be released
October 20
  • CPI numbers for September to be released
October 23
  • Cut-off date for COVID programs supporting Canadians and businesses
October 27
  • Bank of Canada deals with interest rates and releases its Monetary Policy Report

The Morning Brief will return after the Thanksgiving break when hopefully the new cabinet will have been sworn in and we have a better idea of government priorities.

– BC