Wednesday, June 01, 2016
I Don't Hate Justin Trudeau
There are some who say that I hate Justin Trudeau. One even claimed that I had suggested that JT be tossed in prison and ass raped. I can only assume that individual, who can be erratic in his vitriol, was either off his meds or onto some other product.
I don't hate Justin Trudeau. I frequently criticize his behaviour and his policies. And, yes, I do hold him to a higher standard than I did Stephen Harper. That's because Harper was a neoconservative, a Movement Conservative thug. I didn't expect anything better of him.
More was legitimately expected of Trudeau. The bar was set much higher. There was a good bit of hope in that calibration but still the expectation was reasonable for a leader of a majority government who proclaimed himself a progressive.
At the outset there were many fine things this new prime minister achieved. He restored the census; introduced a new communications policy that, among other things, removed the gags from federal government scientists; re-opened shuttered Coast Guard stations (at least those in the public eye); appointed non-partisan senators; restored funding for scientific environmental research - all good stuff. Those were commendable initiatives for which he was duly applauded.
Then came the difficulties. The mandate letter to Garneau to reinstate the oil tanker exclusion zone on our pristine north coast. Easiest thing in the world. Now either rescinded or ignored. No explanation but, judging by the saccharine TV ads Enbridge has recently been running, the Northern Gateway pipeline initiative is anything but dead. So much for Trudeau's promises.
The mandate letter to McKenna to prepare a climate change policy that the prime minister had promised to unveil within six months of taking office. That deadline has long since come and gone and it appears to be another promise that has died a premature death in some backroom deal.
There was the government's decision to support the Tories' motion to censure the Boycott/Divest/Sanction movement to compel the now far rightwing government of Israel to free the Palestinian people and restore their now thoroughly plundered homeland. BDS, a movement a leading Israeli columnist at the newspaper Haaretz has called not the best way to break Netanyahu's persecution but the only measure that could possibly work. I felt a little less proud of my country when Trudeau did that.
What's next? There are several unfortunate situations but I'll just stick with the most egregious. I won't get into things such as the Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP, because we're not there yet and it might be killed off in Washington before the government of the day has to deal with it.
Fossil fuels - coal, natural gas, bitumen, fracking. This government has shown zero leadership in this area. In fact it has picked up the Harper pledge to get a hazmat pipeline to "tidewater" so that we can export hazmat bitumen in hazmat tankers to Asia. He intends to complete Harper's work.
This is the leader who said a Liberal government would formulate policy on facts, evidence, science. It would not be the faith-based administration of the past. When it comes to bitumen what more evidence, what more science could he need to realize that, if we - mankind - are to have even a remote chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, almost all of that bitumen is going to have to be left in the ground, untouched, unburned. That promise? Another false flag.
Then there's the assisted dying legislation. The way that has been handled/manipulated speaks volumes about the integrity of this government and its leader.
In a constitutional democracy, legislatures enact laws. It is the judiciary that interprets those laws. In a better time under a better Trudeau, Parliament enacted our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is probably the finest, most important enactment in the history of Canada - right back to Confederation. It alone operated to restrain Harper's worst excesses and instincts. Had it not been for the Charter, Harper probably would have fulfilled his vow that you wouldn't recognize Canada today.
The Supreme Court of Canada, the final arbiter of statutory interpretation, was called upon to consider the federal criminal law against assisted dying in the Carter case. The Court ruled that Canadians do have a Charter right to die humanely in the event of terminal illness or certain chronic conditions that make life unbearable and that, in some circumstances, this right might extend to minors. The Court granted the federal government's request for a one-year extension before striking down the existing law in order for Parliament to enact a new assisted dying law.
With that it became the constitutional responsibility of the federal government and Parliament to introduce legislation that comported with the Court's ruling. That, and that alone, was what was required.
Trudeau has instead chosen to defy the Supreme Court and, in the process, flout the Rule of Law, by introducing legislation that falls far short of the Court's ruling. This, we're told, is because the public isn't prepared for the sort of law the Court has prescribed. The government will ignore the law and offer up its own interpretation of the Charter, one that accords with the vox populi, even as it whittles down the constitutional rights of the dying or those with chronic conditions that make life unbearable. This government, not some court, will decide who has the Charter right to die humanely.
This isn't about the mob, public opinion and partisan fortunes. It's about denying people their Charter rights for partisan political purposes. It's a crass and craven thing to do and there's nothing remotely hateful in exposing that and ensuring that the principal, this prime minister, wears it.
You see, Trudeau's problem isn't really with the Carter decision or the assisted dying law. His problem is with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Like Harper before him, he wants to ignore it, sneak around it. It was despicable when Harper tried it. It is at least as despicable when a Liberal prime minister tries it on - for partisan political considerations. Your Charter rights are subject to his partisan political interests and the temper of the mob.
Trudeau doesn't have the sand, the integrity, to stand up and admit that he doesn't like the Charter, that he wants it changed so that a prime minister can determine/ adjust/rescind fundamental rights and freedoms based on a litmus test of political advantage.
If he likes he can always seek to amend or replace the Charter. With the consent of the provinces he could probably simply tear it up. Only he won't do that, nor would any premier support him, because he and they know what would await them should they even try.
This has, at this prime minister's instance, become an issue that goes beyond the Carter decision, that transcends the deliberately flawed assisted dying bill. This is an issue of whether we will tolerate a prime minister who defies the Charter, our Charter. Once that starts, where does it end?
So if fiercely opposing the Liberal government on this and its several other failures is to be treated as "hating Justin" I couldn't care less. Rights undefended are rights lost. I'll speak out against it so long as I draw breath. Don't like that? Tough.