Same old, same old

Canada has been a whipping boy forever. The references to our incapacities are legion. In Sean Connery’s last James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever, Bond’s enemy in that 1971 movie was Blofeld who had taken up a position on an oil rig where he operated a laser satellite that had already blown up nuclear weapons in China and North Korea. As Blofeld sought other targets, the dot on his world map indicating a possible strike point crossed over Canada. He said something like, “If we hit Canada, it would be a long time before anyone knew.”
These days, The Economist ranks us number two (after Hong Kong) among the countries with the best business environment. What a joke! To me, all that seems to be happening is that U.S. firms are acquiring our best and brightest companies. As for the government of Justin Trudeau, daily they announce more money to build Canada’s business environment, but little help actually gets to the firms in need.
That’s just one among the many issues that makes Canadians angry these days. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre rode that anger until his party is seven points ahead in the national polls. Recently, he has wisely begun to expand his talking points so he can convince other Canadians that he is more than just a leader for the cantankerous.
In Winnipeg, for example, he met with a journalist whose opening line was, “You’ve been highly criticized for limiting the amount of questions you take from the media.” Yet, said Poilievre, “I’m taking all your questions.” She admitted she had been given no time constraints and didn’t have to submit questions in advance. Poilievre went on to say that the only journalists he wouldn’t meet were in the Parliamentary Press Gallery because they just “regurgitate Justin Trudeau’s talking points.”
That sounds all too familiar to me. I was press secretary to Opposition Leader Robert Stanfield through two elections, 1972 and 1974, both won by Justin’s father Pierre. After Stanfield was replaced as leader in 1976 by Joe Clark, Clark asked for a memo about the media. My main recommendation was for Clark to stay away from the Parliamentary Press Gallery, they were all cowed by Pierre Trudeau. Instead, Clark should get out into the country where journalists would be more likely to report his message without any filter. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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