Canadians need to pay attention

nikki-haleyFollowing on from my previous post, I suspect that former Governor (South Carolina) and US Ambassador (to the United Nations) Nikki Haley might be President-elect of the United States five years from now. She is, right now, I think, the wholly unofficial but very clear voice of the post-Trump Republicans. She shares many of the Trumpian aims but she will campaign with a much different mixture of grit and grace, as the title of her recent book (campaign manifesto?) suggests.

Screen Shot 2019-08-17 at 20.56.50It also seems pretty obvious to me, and to some other observers, that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada have decided that they can win a majority in (probably) 2021 by appealing even more strongly to the Laurentian Elites and thereby securing a half dozen more seats in each of Greater Vancouver and in urban Quebec and another dozen in (mainly) South-Western Ontario.

A big part of the appeal to the Laurentian Consensus includes:

  • Being overtly anti-Donald Trump and, by extension, anti-American. The latter is almost always a winning tactic in Canada, and being anti-Trump is even more so. Prime Minister Trudeau suffered nothing from his public gaffe at a Buckingham Palace reception, if anything it enhanced his reputation in most of Canada. Even I was not upset; and
  • Being pro-Palestinian at the United Nations and campaigning actively for that worthless, second-class, temporary seat on the UN Security Council which many Canadians think actually matters, for some inexplicable reason.

But there’s a downside: being anti-Trump and pro-Palestinian makes Prime Minister Trudeau an enemy of Ambassador Haley and her (large and growing) cadre of loyalists.

In a widely republished National Post article, Ambassador Haley is quoted as saying that “Canada’s decision to change diplomatic course and support the resolution at the United Nations in a bid to secure a seat on the Security Council was an example of “cultural corruption” … [and] … “It’s just easier not to rock the boat when the crowd is all going one way … [she added, but] … It’s hard to be the only one going the other direction. But standing alone on behalf of American interests and values is not something to be embarrassed by … [and] … “Standing alone for freedom and human dignity is something to be proud of. In America, we don’t celebrate the mob. We celebrate the person who has the courage and conviction to stand up to the mob. Now we’re seeing an example of this cultural corruption playing out in real time.”My guess is that Nikki Haley’s remarks reflect a real consensus in America, not just in and around the White House. Her remarks, made at a dinner for UN Watch, an accredited (by the UN) non-governmental organization which is considered, by many, to be overtly pro-Israel, were especially scathing about Canada ~ they literally dripped with contempt.

I think that Team Trudeau is putting all of its eggs into one basket in the hope of winning a majority in the next (2021?) election. In so doing I believe that Prime Minister Trudeau is:

  • Putting himself on the wrong side of history, as his father did in the 1940s; and
  • Putting Canada on the wrong side of our most important ally (the absolute guarantor of our sovereignty) and trading partner.’

I think that Ambassador Haley’s comments are a shot across Canada’s bows made on behalf of the American establishment, not just Donald Trump. I suspect her remarks were very carefully crafted and even blessed by influential leaders in government, Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 06.12.33academe and in the huge array of think tanks in which America’s ‘government in waiting‘ resides. She is not speaking for Donald Trump; he can (likely will) speak for himself in his own, inimitable, bullying style. She is speaking for a larger, more permanent establishment, the “deep” administrative state that guards America’s permanent, vital interests.

Canadians need to pay attention. Nikki Haley matters; she (or someone very like her) is the future and she (or that similar someone) is the future to which we must accommodate ourselves for the 2020s and into the 2030s. We must remain a steadfast, trusted member of the US-led West. We, under Mackenzie-King and Louis St Laurent and John Diefenbaker, helped to build the US-led West, we even helped to lead it. Pierre Trudeau wanted to change Canada; he did, but not as much as he wished. His own Liberal ministers would not follow him all the way. Justin Trudeau is following in his father’s deeply flawed strategic footsteps which aim to make Canada irrelevant. He has a much tamer (weaker) cabinet allowing him and Chrystia Freeland to push Canada towards a strategic place where our country will be politically isolated, largely friendless and poor.

Liberals, by which, in the 2020s, I mean Conservatives, must speak out and offer Canadians a better, principled strategic vision which aims to secure our sovereignty, our prosperity and a respectable, responsible, leadership role ~ what Paul Martin called a role of pride and influence  ~ in the world. Otherwise, Canada’s very sovereignty is in peril. If, as I expect, Donald Trump is re-elected next year and is then followed in 2024 by another, albeit “kinder, gentler” Trumpian, (which I believe is very likely because I think the Democratic Party in the USA will shatter after the 2020 election and will not be a real force again for a decade or more) then Canada must adapt. The importance of our bilateral relationship with America is to all other things as ten is to one.

We can afford to stand up to China, it may hurt a bit, but we can do it if we want. We can afford to disregard our promises to NATO. We can afford to annoy Australia and Japan and even India. The so-called Trudeau doctrine has been an abysmal failure, in most of the world and we can survive all of that, too. What we cannot afford is to get on the wrong side of America. I acknowledge that it is very hard to figure out, day-by-day, what the right side of Donald J Trump might be, but we, our officials and our business executives and our people, do understand America, writ large.

We understand why Americans voted for Trump ~ we may not like it, I don’t, but we understand it. We know what America, beyond the White House, wants. America doesn’t want Canada to be a spineless, supine colony; it wants Canada to be a reliable, trusted friend and partner. Canada should want the same. But it’s not clear that Justin Trudeau understands; if he does it’s not clear that he shares that aim.

Nikki Haley has made America’s case. Canada needs to pay attention.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Canadians need to pay attention

  1. “Liberals, by which, in the 2020s, I mean Conservatives,”

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

    Rev Dodgson presaged George Orwell in 1865.

    Samuel Johnson felt he had to write a dictionary to systematize words in 1755

    Shakespeare made his living and his legacy out of the ambiguity of words in 1600

    It becomes really difficult to maintain a consistent philosophical argument when the terms are mutable. Debate becomes akin to a constantly wheeling rugby scrum. All in the service of “which is to be master”.

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