Liberals' 'Sunny Ways' Eclipsed by Cynical Old-Style Politics

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Liberals' 'Sunny Ways' Eclipsed by Cynical Old-Style Politics

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with pandas. (Photo: Justin Trudeau/ Facebook)

"Sunny ways" had me going, too. I'll admit it. All the right moves seemed to be getting made. The Dark Lord was beaten into silence, and has just now left the building.

For just one example of a break in the clouds, take organized labour. Justin promised to repeal several appalling pieces of anti-labour legislation:C-4,C-59C-377 and C-525. The previous government (with Liberal support) effectively abolished pay equity in the Public Service: Trudeau struck a committee on pay equity, whose first recommendation was that this unconstitutional legislation be binned.

There has been more, much more. Our new PM quickly assembled a gender-equal Cabinet. Stalinoid monstrosities -- the Mother Canada monument in Cape Breton and the "Monument to the Victims of Communism" to be plopped on the Supreme Court lawn -- were axed. The risible "Office of Religious Freedom" disappeared. A gender-neutral national anthem was approved. Proposals for electoral reform would be drafted by a Parliamentary committee, one without a Liberal majority on it.

Foolishly, even at my age, and in spite of my politics screaming at me to wake the hell up, I dared to dream. Justin was wearing a lovely new multi-coloured cloak. I might even have sought a selfie with him, claiming later that it was meant to be ironic.

But I have rightfully earned my cynicism over many decades, and it recently began to kick me like a horse. A decision not to build a couple of monuments, words in an anthem, closing a pointless office that wasted revenues, none of this ran very deep. Whatever comes out of the committee studying electoral reform will still need a Liberal imprimatur before being put into effect. And what good is a gender-balanced Cabinet if the same bad policies of the previous government continue to be implemented by it?

The Liberals are uncommonly good at lathering cosmetics over an ugly agenda just as extreme as Stephen Harper's -- one, in fact, virtually indistinguishable from it.

Take those anti-labour Bills that still has us union types all jiggy. They were classic Harper overreach. They violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms every indefensible which way, and after the January 2015 "Labour Trilogy"of Supreme Court cases, they became even more constitutionally untenable. They were doomed, in a word, once they reached the Supreme Court. Better to repeal this garbage legislation now rather than spend considerable taxpayers' coin fighting impossible court battles.

What happened to the changes in the secret-police Bill C-51 that we were promised? Canadians have been having their Charter rights breached ever since the passage of this Harper-era legislation (supported by the Liberals). Judges in secret courtrooms are still approving violations of the Charter without ever hearing from the other side. Not a move from the Liberals, though, other than some toothless Parliamentary "oversight" that kicks in long after the bad decisions have already been made by low-level operatives.

Trudeau quickly proceeded to rubber-stamp two Harper trade deals: the TPP, which will throw countless workers out of their jobs, and CETA, which will enrich Big Pharma to the cost of ordinary Canadians struggling to cover the grossly inflated costs of drugs.

He approved a $15 billion deal with one of the most evil regimes in the world -- Saudi Arabia -- to supply that government with military vehicles to be used against the Saudi people and very likely against Yemeni civilians as well. And now we're warmongering with Russia by sending troops to its borders. Remember how we raised our eyebrows when Harper got shirty about Canadian airspace? Sabre-rattling! Chest-puffing! Harper must be smiling ruefully to himself in his Calgary redoubt.

Despite a promise to re-open service offices, Trudeau has resumed Harper's scorched-earth attack on wounded Canadian veterans, even putting one of the former Prime Minister's key hatchetmen in charge of the assault.He recently ordered that the "mincome" experiment, which has been a proven success in reducing poverty, not even be permitted to be studied by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

For reasons known best to the Liberal inner circle, a right-to-die bill was watered down to the point that a number of Canadians have been condemned to lives of unremitting physical agony. A prominent Liberal who has spent time and effort researching this issue was mocked at the recent Liberal Convention by the snotty Carolyn Bennett, who called her "the professor from Fredericton." (Does that anti-intellectual smell seem familiar?) A proposal to set up a national organ registry to make things easier for transplant recipients was nixed without debate by the Liberals.

And remember the Afghan detainee issue -- where Canadians were allegedly handing over Afghan prisoners to be tortured? The Liberals nearly brought down the Harper government over that, clamouring with moral indignation. Now they are in power, however, the cover-up continues. There will be no third-party inquiry.

The targeting of progressive charities by the Canada Revenue Agency, begun by Harper, is continuing, at tremendous cost to the victims, and the Liberals have rubbed salt in the wounds by awarding a promotion to the witchfinder-in-chief. The Unitarian Church, for one, has already had to spend tens of thousands of dollars, with no end in sight, to defend itself against aggressive CRA auditors who demand that references to "social justice" be removed from the church's charter.

Even Harper took more than a mere few months to implement much of his Maximum Program. Trudeau, on the other hand, has been racing at warp speed to commit countless indecencies upon vulnerable Canadians and ordinary people in other lands. The difference? He smiles and takes selfies while he's doing it.

And, judging from the polls, folks are still being taken in. Or, perhaps some Conservatives -- the smart ones -- are part of these approval stats, as they notice that so many of the policies they like are continuing to be implemented, even more quickly than before. The now-neutered NDP raises barely a whisper about any of this, but still sends regular begging letters, which these days don't mention any issues at all. The Conservative Opposition scrambles to find a political foothold anywhere, watching their own program progress non-stop, complete with their trademark cruelty, but now wearing a handsome, hip young disguise.

It’s not that the new Emperor isn't wearing clothes. The very opposite is true: he is utterly resplendent. And that's the problem.

John Baglow

John Baglow is a former VP of PSAC, currently a writer and researcher, public policy consultant, occasional academic and poet. He blogs at drdawgsblawg.ca and tweets far too much as @drdawg.

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