WASHINGTON – How refreshing it would be if our president and those campaigning to succeed him in 13 months would show some of the gentility and footwork of Canada’s new prime minister, Liberal Justin Trudeau.
Only a few days ago, Trudeau visited Buckingham Palace in London to pay his respects to Queen Elizabeth II, offer her a bow from the shoulders and sit for a confidential audience with the woman who is constitutionally head of state in Canada.
Trudeau’s Conservative Party predecessor, Stephen Harper, took a year and a half to pay his respects to the queen.
Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, made a show of his disdain for the monarchy, and the queen. While visiting Montreal for the 1976 Olympics, I watched him bury his face in his hands, as though asleep, while the queen welcomed Commonwealth participants to the games. A year later, he was caught in a photograph doing a burlesque dance behind her back at an economic conference.
The mainstream media in Canada have, for the most part, made the younger Trudeau’s resounding defeat of Harper a matter of style, or boredom with the Conservative Party. Both trends were evident, but Canada’s economy has also been under a severe strain.
In the Niagara Region of Ontario, across the river from Buffalo-Niagara, Canadian welfare caseloads have grown 53 percent since the end of the Great Recession. At the same time, the unemployment rate in Buffalo-Niagara has dropped below 5 percent.
The Canadian Financial Post reports the province of Ontario government will report its eighth straight deficit since the recession ended, imposing a $21,000 debt for every provincial citizen, or over 40 percent of the province’s economy.
The province of Alberta shed 63,500 jobs this year – the largest since 2009, when 72,500 jobs were lost, according to the Globe and Mail.
These losses are linked to the drop in world oil prices, but under Harper and the Conservatives, Canada’s overall economy has become ever more closely tied to China’s, which is in a funk.
In March, according to EconoTimes.com, Canada’s negative trade deficit with the rest of the world hit a record.
Trudeau’s new government was sworn in Nov. 4, and nine days later France – and the Western world – were stunned by the Islamist attacks that killed 130 and injured hundreds more.
The new prime minister was caught in mid-swing by the brutality in Paris. Although he had pledged to admit 25,000 immigrants fleeing the violence in Syria by year’s end, that position is temporarily modified. A “hold” has been placed on the program, and no single military age Syrians are coming to Canada.
Ever the agitator, President Obama meanwhile doubled down on his drive to admit thousands – military age men, included – comparing this horde with the 102 Pilgrims on the Mayflower.
Trudeau’s liberals had also pledged to terminate Canada’s planned purchase of the obscenely expensive F-35 joint strike fighter, but that objective is now reportedly under review.
Canada promised to gradually end its small combat campaign against ISIS. However, that, too, is being restudied because of radical Islam’s new threats against Western Europe, according to many published reports.
Canada didn’t gain much from Harper’s eight years: a prolonged recession, deeper dependence on foreign economies and a chimerical chase of the Keystone pipeline in the sky. That was Harper’s top goal in making Canada an energy superpower.
Nor did Buffalo gain much: Harper closed the Canadian consul’s office in Buffalo, and Peace Bridge traffic, the subject of so many broken Canadian promises, is still jammed with idling trucks.