Is China offering a swap? What will Justin do?

Aadil Brar, a Canadian freelance journalist, speculates in an article in The Diplomat, that “Experts believe that letting Meng return to China will ease domestic tensions within Canada, and it could result in the release of detained Canadians. Chinese state media has repeated the line that the ball is in Canada’s court, which is also considered China’s official position.” In other words, Mr Brar says, China is willing to do a prisoner swap: the Two Michaels …

… Michael Kovrig, left, and Michael Spavor, who have been held on trumped-up charges, essentially as hostages in a Chinese prison for more than 500 days, so far.

There is, many experts say, a strong pro-China lobby in Canada which has very close ties to the Trudeau Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 13.14.18Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 13.13.37regime. It is led, some insiders suggest, by Liberal heavyweights ⇐ Jean Chrétien and Eddie Goldenberg ⇒ and some others. In fact, less than a year ago, former Prime Minister Chrétien has, publicly, endorsed the idea of just such a swap. There is, of course, nothing to suggest that either is anything other than a patriotic Canadian who just wants to find a practical way to get Canada-China relations back on some sort of ‘correct,’ if not quite ‘friendly’ basis, even if that means complicating our relations with the always tempestuous Trump administration in the USA.

My guess is that the Trudeau regime is looking hard at this. That may be one of the reasons why Aadil Brar’s idea was published right now … to test public reaction.

It seems to me that:

Screen Shot 2020-04-02 at 08.33.24Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is riding the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic better than many other leaders. He has an almost unquestioning press-corps that seems to want nothing more than just to see and hear him each day. His public popularity is higher than it has been in a long while, the crisis seems to have erased worries about his ethics. But how long can that last? Maybe he is thinking about going to polls soon ~ this fall ~ when his chances of securing a majority are better than they were a year ago.

The gun ban is sure to strengthen his hold on urban seats in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Halifax, and it may help in many suburban rising, too, where worries about public safety are always present; and

A deal to bring the Two Michaels home ~ say in the late summer of 2020 ~ would be a Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 13.56.35major foreign policy coup. Such a prisoner swap would, certainly, upset President Trump because Canada would be, explicitly, saying that the very foundations of the US case against Meng Wanzhou, are, as the Chinese media says, nothing more than “a political persecution launched by the U.S., with the intention to contain China’s high-tech development.” That’s always been the Chinese party line and Canada would be agreeing with it. President Trump will react. But, in some circumstances, having an angry President Trump for an enemy could be a political advantage …

In. what universe, you might ask, is it advantageous for Canada to have Donald Trump’s USA as an enemy?

The answer is: in the short-term, temporary, make-believe universe of a Canadian federal general election campaign.

Just consider this scenario:

  • By Autumn of this year, the coronavirus pandemic is “managed,” the crisis eased in the warm summer months and the economy is lurching back towards normal. Although experts are worried about a rise in infections when winter come, we aren’t there, yet. Prime Minister Trudeau will still be basking in the glow of a job well barely adequately done;
  • 102845371-20150720-0211-1465The bills ~ which will be HUGE ~ for the various federal (never mind provincial) programmes haven’t been tallied up, yet. There’s already a lot of worry in the specialized financial press, but not, yet much in the mainstream media, especially not on TV. It is now, and will be, in the fall, too soon to start blaming Justin Trudeau for throwing too much money in too many directions;
  • The “military-style” or “assault-style” weapon ban will still be popular; and

A prisoner swap, Ms Meng for the Two Michaels, which makes Donald Trump, who Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 14.42.23most Canadians detest, anyway, explode in rage, will be a bonus for Justin Trudeau because running against Donald Trump is perfect for him. That’s why I am persuaded that on the Friday just before Labour Day (4 September), while Parliament is still in a looooong summer recess) the prime minister will visit Rideau Hall and call a general election for Monday, 19 October 2020, just weeks after the CPC has elected a new leader.

The more I think about it, the more I am persuaded that:

  • First, the Liberals can see all the advantages even better than I, and this is a golden opportunity to secure another majority; and
  • Second, a late summer prisoner swap is the icing on the cake; and
  • Third, the Conservatives are not ready because they took too long to select a new leader.

At the risk of repeating myself, the Conservative Party must get ready for an early fall election by scrapping its currently planned leadership elections and, instead, electing the new leader from the ranks of the currently sitting (elected) caucus members ~ Dr Leslyn Lewis and Peter MacKay will have to put their ambitions aside, for now, for the good of the party and the country.

7 thoughts on “Is China offering a swap? What will Justin do?

  1. Another weekday morning, another press briefing from the Prime Minuster. The perfect setting, the camera only on him and not a single opposition member in site. No person to ask the hard questions, back him into a corner, or throw him off his script. The perfect hair, the ‘sad puppy eyes’ telling the nation that he feels their pain. But not to worry ‘his’ Goverment is here to help. He has a bottomless bag of Federal cash to dole out to Canadians in need. No time to present a budget, financial update, or any accounting of where the money is coming from or how it will be paid back.

    These are extraordinary times. There is no doubt that many Canadians and Canadian businesses require financial assistance to get through these next few months. Only time will tell how much financial assistance was the correct amount and how much was not really necessary. One thing that is certain is that all Canadians will have to cover the national debt at some point in the future. Increased taxes, curtail spending on the military, runaway inflation, all of the above & more. The statement that the economy will ‘come roaring back stronger than ever’ is presumptive at best. The oil industry in the West and the auto industry in Central Canada are in serious decline. It is next to impossible to build a mine, a pipeline, a hydroelectric dam, etc in Canada. Are there any other non-government funded alternatives to create that many good paying jobs?

    Will the current pandemic situation reward Trudeau with the majority Government he so desperately covets? With Parliament all but suspended 95% plus of all media focus is on the Prime Minister or a few members of his inner circle. The Conservative Party, which accounted for the majority of the popular vote, is rarely seen. As soon as the pandemic is controlled enough to open the polls will Canadians be called for a snap Federal election? Will the Liberals look to cash in on all the media exposure and financial assistance before the real cost becomes clear? With a new majority Government, and nothing to loose, will Trudeau suddenly reveal a hidden agenda to guide Canada towards his vision of a fair and just society?

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