The dining room revolution

Bad enough for the Conservative Party to run an ad showing Justin Trudeau wearing a singlet at a fund-raiser and pass him off as some sort of pervert. My grandchildren certainly took a scunner to him as a result and are forever asking me what I see in a man who would act so foolishly. These days, I must admit, I see more faults. Trudeau’s a good retail politician but he can’t tap-dance. By that I mean he comes poorly prepared for major speeches and media scrums. I put it down to bad staff work.

But no one in public life deserves the kind of scuzzy treatment given Trudeau in the latest negative ad from the Conservatives. The ad shows ISIS atrocities while playing the marauders’ national anthem followed by some carefully edited comments by Trudeau from a lengthy interview with CBC news. For a prime minister like Stephen Harper, who presents himself as a hockey Dad kind of guy, such portrayals are not in keeping with his principles.

Harper’s people defend their action with arrogance. In an interview with Global’s Tom Clark, Harper spokesman Tory Teneycke said the ad was germane to the debate about how Canada should act in foreign matters. “We’re better than the news, because we’re truthful,” Teneycke blithely told Clark. You can see the interview and the ad here.

I for one don’t like the idea of CF-18s bombing another sovereign country; it may even be against international law. And it certainly didn’t work when Canada joined other NATO nations in bombing Libya. The result has been tribalism and chaos. Such action manages to be both morally and strategically wrong at the same time.

What we should be doing in the case of Syria is accepting more refugees. Canada is not a warrior nation; we receive all comers. In recent years we have welcomed Hungarian freedom fighters, Vietnamese boat people, Ugandan Asians fleeing Idi Amin as well as Tamils escaping civil war. On a per capita basis Canada allows more legal immigrants than any other nation. But the Conservatives aren’t following that tradition. We seem to have a closed-door policy on Syria. Despite the many millions displaced by war, the total number of immigrants from Syria to Canada is about 1,500 so far. We’re too busy bombing to be embracing.

There are various polls saying Harper might do poorly in the October election. Given the recent track record of such predictions, I take all of this with a grain of salt. But here’s a survey that might mean something. I visited a friend recently who lives in a retirement home just outside Fergus, Ont. If ever there were rock-ribbed Convservative country, this is it. In the 2011 election, the local Conservative swept in with 64 per cent of the vote. My friend tells me that the talk in the dining room at the home is that it’s time for Harper to go. If the Prime Minister has lost the seniors’ vote in Wellington County, he’s not long for the job.


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