Like me, the Globe and Mail‘s John Ibbitson seems amazed by the entrenched sense of entitlement amongst the Trudeau Liberals. He said, just a day or two ago, that “It’s a safe bet that Justin Trudeau feels no shame over revelations that family members raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from WE Charity, which his government then selected to administer a $912-million student volunteer program. Quite the opposite: I’d wager he’s filled with indignation.” How, Prime Minister Trudeau is likely asking himself, can these little people make such a fuss just because I’m trying to be public-spirited? That’s why they elected me, isn’t it?
“This entrenched, decades-old Liberal sense of entitlement,” Mr Ibbitson says, “may one day be Mr. Trudeau’s undoing … [but he adds, given the state of politics in Canada] … probably not today.“
In any rational country, the people would be storming parliament, demanding the resignation of any so-called leader who tossed nearly a billion dollars towards his friends and cronies just because they, like he and his family, are charter members of the national elite. But not in Canada. Here, thanks, in some part to a bought-and-paid-for media and thanks in another part to entrenched progressivism, nearly half of us cannot even imagine voting for a party that might manage our affairs ethically, honestly and in accord with principles. As John Ibbitson says, “The Trudeau family in particular, and the Liberal elites in general, have inhabited a certain world for a very long time. Within that world – the neighbourhoods they live in, the schools they send their children to, the docks they have drinks on – certain assumptions apply, the most important being that Canada is better off because they are in charge.” Sadly, almost ⅓ of all Canadians ~ which is to say a slight majority of the Canadians (half of all Canadians) who live in urban centres in the tiny strip of land that stretches across the shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario and then along St Lawrence River ~ will reliably vote Liberal despite that fact that the prime minister has been proven, time and again, to have used his office for his own personal benefit. In Quebec, as has been pointed out, Justin Trudeau benefits from being a “favourite son.” In Ontario’s cities he benefits from a certain view of Canada:
- First, Canada ~ their real Canada ~ is just that little strip of land. Embedded in that geography and history and attitude is the notion of “deux nations:” the idea that Canada is, almost equally, a French nation and a dominant English one. But, the people in that tiny strip really do believe that “My Canada Includes Québec” and there is room, in the 21st century, for the notion and the “deux nations” need to accommodate a “third order” of government in which First Nations have special rights, too; but
- Second, the rest of Canada is an almost empty hinterland which exists to serve the needs of the people in the core. Oh, yes, there are “quaint” little places, full of history and funny people, like St John’s and Halifax and beautiful cities like Vancouver and politically inexplicable ones like Calgary, too, but they are all secondary, even tertiary to the vital interests of the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal axis. These two ideas give rise to a peculiar sense of what is “right.” Québec must be accommodated, but, for Canadians from Windsor to Cornwall, it must also be kept in its place which is in Canada but secondary, in every way, to Ontario.
That little strip of land is not irredeemably Liberal. Brian Mulroney proved, twice (and Jack Layton confirmed), that when even Québec grows tired of the Liberals and when there is a viable “native-son” representing another party then that core will shift. An English Canadian, even an English Canadian Conservative can win in Québec and can carry enough of Ontario’s cities, too if (s)he can be a favourite-son or favourite–daughter of Québec. As Jack Layton proved you can live in Toronto and still be Québecois.
John Ibbitson suggests that Justin Trudeau will survive this latest scandal, as he has all the others. It’s the summer doldrums, he says, and Prime Minister Trudeau will cooperate with the Ethics Commissioner‘s investigations and my guess is that he’ll apologize for not having understood all of the nuances of all those pesky rules, but he will make it a learning experience for all of us. The media will go along because it cannot see any alternative. None of these people …
… are, in the minds of most Canadian opinion shapers, ready or able to lead Canada. The commentariat can see no realistic alternative to Justin Trudeau, however ethically flawed he may be. I cannot begin to say how sad that notion makes me.