Tuesday, April 18, 2017

There Once Was a Difference Between Liberal and Liberal

For years I would instinctively point out that there was a huge difference between British Columbia's Liberal Party, our perpetual provincial government, and the federal Liberal Party. To me there was a real difference.  The federal Liberals embraced a measure of liberalism. The provincial Liberals were staunch conservatives flying a false flag.

What a relief. That distinction is gone. Thanks to Ignatieff and now Trudeau, "small l" liberalism has been scrubbed out of the federal party also. They're both conservative now.

Stephen Harper can be proud of himself as he looks on today's federal Liberals. Justin Trudeau is in lockstep, faithfully carrying out Sideshow Steve's sacred mission to permanently shift Canada's political centre far to the right, safely quarantined from any progressive contagion.

On the great challenges of the day - climate change, inequality, neoliberalism, and more - the Liberal legacy is nowhere to be found. Take climate change. Trudeau and his enviromin, Dame Cathy McKenna, stage a grandiose performance at the Paris climate summit only to return home to ramp up bitumen extraction and export.  A shameless, wanton betrayal of their boastful promise.

Then there was the Saudi death wagon deal. We knew what the Saudis were. We knew what they were doing. We knew what purposes those armoured vehicles, once heavily armed, would be put to. The deal wasn't even done. The requirements hadn't been met. No matter. It was a 15 billion dollar order and the Saudis could have used those things to drive over little babies, it wouldn't have stopped Trudeau from cementing the deal.

Canada as a surveillance state? Trudeau promised to reform Harper's bill C-51. Voters thought he would rein it in. Fat chance.

Israel and the persecution of an enslaved people? Alison at Creekside has kept a meticulous record of Canada's voting record on motions in the UN General Assembly dealing with Israel or Palestine or both. These are things much too mundane to show up in Canada's news media. We knew Harper was an utter Likudnik. It appealed to his Christian fundamentalism. But Trudeau? He's in lockstep with Harper. Every time a resolution comes up at all critical of Israel the usual suspects - the United States, Canada and a gaggle of South Pacific island states bought and paid for - dutifully vote in opposition. Trudeau has Canada stand against the rest of the world - South America, Africa, all of Asia, and most importantly, the entire European Union. He has made us complicit.

Now the world has Trump and Trudeau is quick to morph into his dutiful lapdog fearful perhaps that the Cheeto Benito might give us a thrashing over NAFTA. It rarely turns out well when your instincts are to show cowardice to a bully.

For these and so many other reasons it's no longer possible to contend that liberalism exists within this Liberal government. It is to liberal as Christy Clark is and that is not remotely.

In the next election I will work to drive every Liberal MP from this province. When the usual pandering starts about how that only ensures a Conservative return to power I'll respond that doesn't make much difference. The Trudeau Liberals have failed Canada. They could have honoured their solemn promises. They could have made Canada better. They didn't even try.


As you may recall, Justin was given an Easter weekend kick in the balls yesterday at both Slate.com and in The Guardian. In the first he was depicted as a spineless, "bargain basement Obama." In the other he was outed as a "stunning hypocrite" on climate change. Both assessments were fair and accurate.

Today, our erstwhile prime minister, is getting a thumping from Huffington Post where Elijah Dan questions whether Trudeau doesn't show fascist-grade tendencies of dishonesty.

A couple weeks ago, Bill Maher had Timothy Snyder on as a guest. Yale professor of history, Snyder's recent book is titled, On Tyranny. Given the Trump presidency, Snyder's book sounds as timely as you can get.

In it, Snyder details the many lessons we can learn from the history of tyranny. One in particular caught my attention. It's the frangible relationship between truth and politics, and how abandoning truth is a frontal attack on democracy:

"Without truth we don't have trust. Without trust, we don't have the rule of law. Without the rule of law, we don't have democracy."

"People who are going for post-fact; people who are against the truth are taking the direct line to killing democracy... when we think about post-fact ... what we should be thinking about is fascism."

Then came the part that really grabbed my attention:

"It's the fascists who said everyday life doesn't matter; details don't matter; facts don't matter; all that matters is the message, the leader, the myth, the totality."

What surprised me, listening to Snyder's description of the earmarks of fascism, was that Donald Trump didn't come to mind.

Popping up instead was the image of our own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, complete with sleeves rolled up on his crisp, white dress shirt.

Dann cautions that we make the mistake of measuring Trudeau against Trump rather than weighing the prime minister on his own dishonesty.

Justin doesn't have the kind of temperament as Trump, and Trudeau lacks the overt, brute power of the post-fact machinations of an American sized, propaganda machine.

But be careful here. It's exactly that sort of reasoning that makes fascism so dangerous.

Mesmerized by the most extreme perpetrators, we can then unconsciously ignore egregious abuses of democracy by more "normal," even cuddly-appearing leaders.

The bottom line: Our Prime Minister shouldn't be held to less a standard because there are more notorious examples in public office. A lie is a lie, is a lie.

The comparison then, isn't with Trump. It's with the standard of truth, and Trudeau's own stabs at Canadian democracy, including the declaration that electoral reform is no longer necessary, or wearing big-boy pants and saying too quickly that Trump's military strike in a foreign country is justified.

Justin's duplicitous dance with climate change.

With our large per/capita, carbon footprint, as PM, he has a political and moral obligation to to treat it with the utmost seriousness. No post-fact mooseshit; no alt-fact weaseling.

So we have Justin at the United Nations in New York City, signing the Paris climate treaty, looking all diligent and serious for the cameras (not without a few indulgent photos), saying that we -- especially he, with his newly minted Minister of the Environment and Climate Change -- do take it seriously.

Then, only to return to Canada and say that he has a duty to get our "natural resources" to market, which means the worst of the worst: Further exploiting the tarsands, and building pipelines out to BC to ship bitumen to Asia.

Most certainly drawing upon his skills learned as a former drama substitute teacher, Justin dug deep, first with Post-Truth whopper #1:

"We know we can get our resources to market more safely and responsibly while meeting our climate change goals"

Quickly followed by Post-Truth Whopper #2:

"This is a decision based on rigorous debate, on science and on evidence."

These two statements, simply and categorically, are a contradiction in terms.

They are no different from the utterances, "the circle is a square." "Some bachelors are married males." "The pregnant virgin." "He's a gentle torturer." "She's a towering midget." "All pigs are equal, but some are more equal than others." Or, in Trudeau's case, "Wrong is right, and right is wrong."

All are Post-Fact blatherings. All are an overt shout in the face that, "details don't matter; facts don't matter; all that matters is the message, the leader, the myth, the totality."

The scale of Trudeau's lying is troubling enough, and the consequences could last a generation. Cynicism can act as a contagion on young people who look for leaders with vision. And when that trust is violated, it's a harshness that's grossly unfair to perpetrate on young voters.

I don't care if you're a Liberal or a New Democrat, a Green or "none of the above," you know this prime minister is a liar, as wanton a dissembler as the guy we so loathed whom he replaced. Whenever Trudeau's partisan political fortunes clash with the interests of the country and betterment of our countryman, Trudeau can be counted on to place the Liberal Party first.


Kyle H. said...

Lmao QQ bro

Anonymous said...

I'd go back further than Iggy, Mound. As far back as I can remember, the federal Libs' M.O. has been to outflank the NDP at election time, then govern using the Tory platform minus the bible-thumping. Is Trudeau's implementation of Harper's economic plan that much different from Chretien and Martin's implementation of the PC austerity program?


The Mound of Sound said...

I cut Chretien/Martin a little slack on the austerity years, Cap. Anyone who has a clear recollection of Canada's debt crisis accumulated over the Trudeau and Mulroney years knows the trouble we were in. It was a mess. For me, it wasn't so much the austerity but what they did with the money. They balanced the budget and then, instead of the usual political ploy of squandering the surplus to partisan political advantage, they instead paid down the national debt.

What they did was in many ways similar to what Saskatchewan's legendary NDP premier, Roy Romanow, did to pull his province from the brink of bankruptcy following the Grant Devine debacle.

In the intervening decades there has been no end of whinging about this and even more mischaracterization, especially from the far left. It was unconvincing at the time. It's unconvincing now.

As for Martin's progressive credentials, it's easy to forget what he tried to do - the Kelowna Accord, R2P - Responsibility to Protect, same sex marriage, a consensus health care accord, all while wearing the millstone of Chretien's sponsorship scandal in which Gomery found Martin blameless. He also steered Canada clear of America's National Missile Defence Programme. Like him or not, he did or attempted a lot of things that were progressive. Jack Layton put an end to the future of progressivism in the House of Commons when he helped usher Harper into power.

Ben Burd said...

Just how many times do we have sing the chant - Liberal Tory; same old story.

Schadenfreud is a wonderful thing to have when confronting the suckers who got sucked in in the last election.

The Mound of Sound said...

Not that I take any satisfaction in it, but I wasn't among their ranks, Ben. Do you really believe Mulcair would have been much better? I don't.

Unknown said...

I, like you Mound, in the next election will work to drive every liberal MP out of this province. I have never voted NDP, but if Charlie Angus becomes leader, I may consider it.

I was always wary about Trudeau especially when it came to foreign affairs, but I have to admit that I never anticipated the magnitude of deceit across the board that he is engaging in.

He and his liberal cronies need to be sent packing. What a disaster to this country he has turned out to be!

Dana said...

"Jack Layton put an end to the future of progressivism in the House of Commons when he helped usher Harper into power."

Yet somehow Saint Jack is still the god of their adoration. Ideologically blind and deaf ought to include dumb, yet on they prate all church basement righteous and everything.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Pamela. I put a lot of the blame on the sheeple who make up the Liberal rank and file. They're the group that puts up with Trudeau's horse shit. They're his enablers. Every party has them, including the New Dems. Look at how the NDP membership were ready to ditch the left when they saw a centrist/centre-right avenue by which they might take power. Me, I'll stick with the Greens although I have reservations about May.

The Mound of Sound said...

Dana, agreed.

Anonymous said...

The old adage, "How to spot a lying politician? His lips are moving" still applies.
Applies only because voting idiots still will vote them in.
Case in point? Mcguilty...

Anonymous said...

Anyong...add to the the piece in the Globe and Mail regarding the Precariat. It is the first time except for your blog, that I have read anything written about this dreaded disease. What is Trudeau doing about that one? Nothing!

The Mound of Sound said...

You're quite right, Anyong. It's not an issue with the Trudeau government. Morneau in a very callous remark told Canadians they would have to accept a future of "job churn." To me that's an admission that the government has failed the public and surrendered them to predatory market forces.

Toby said...

Question: Will disappointment with Trudeau and the federal Liberals cost Christy Clark and the BC Libs at the polls?

The Mound of Sound said...

Toby, I don't think the BC Lib rank and file have any illusions that their party is a branch office of Trudeau Inc.

Anonymous said...

"I cut Chretien/Martin a little slack on the austerity years, Cap. Anyone who has a clear recollection of Canada's debt crisis accumulated over the Trudeau and Mulroney years knows the trouble we were in. It was a mess. For me, it wasn't so much the austerity but what they did with the money. They balanced the budget and then, instead of the usual political ploy of squandering the surplus to partisan political advantage, they instead paid down the national debt."

Trudeau Sr. faced big deficits during the early 1980s because of the war-on-inflation Volcker Shock that triggered a massive recession. Interest rates reached 20% (they have below 1% since 2009.)

Mulroney was handed a big debt and what did he do to tackle it? He brought in big income tax cuts for the rich: i.e., Reaganomics.

The Chretien Liberals inherited a whopping deficit and debt because of another round of war-on-inflation where interest rates reached 16% which manufactured another massive recession in the early 1990s.

How did they handle it? They slashed spending, slashed transfers, slashed UI benefits and used this money to pay down government debt. I.e., they are neoliberals. I.e., "New Liberal", "Third Way Labor", "New Democrat", however you want to slice it. Disaster-manufacturing Friedmanian free-market ideology with a smile.

When was a liberal a liberal? You'd have to go back to the 1960s. Back during the New Deal era: i.e., Grand Generation liberals who built modern civilization.

Baby Boomer neoliberals liquidated the New Deal and modern civilization and brought us right back to the dirty 30s: an economy on life support with fascist revolutions on the verge in Europe.

Trudeau Sr. was a fake-ass liberal as well. Just like Junior: all social liberalism with conservative economics. The only difference is that Junior will not be reduced to a minority for betraying his vision of hope and change. O'Leary is going to destroy him.