Political year was marked by capricious elections and persistent big differences with the USA
The year 2021 began in federal politics with fierce speculation about an early election.
The ruling liberals whispered to everyone within earshot of their plans for a so-called revitalization of politics in the spring of 2021 – the ideal pretext for a blitzkrieg election less than a year and a half after the last.
Justin Trudeau’s liberals believed they could win a majority.
The official opposition Conservatives were struggling under a little-known new leader, and the Liberals planned to say of the New Democrats that they also played their own COVID-19 initiatives with me. Such a presentation would be imprecise and unfair – after all, many liberal initiatives began life as NDP proposals – but since when should politics be fair?
In early 2021, liberal activists drooled at their election opportunities. People outside of Ottawa’s political circles, however, were incredulous. It made no sense to the people Preston Manning referred to as ordinary citizens that the government should be so careless as triggering an entirely unnecessary election. Their typical reaction has been that journalists are just looking for something to write about.
But the rumors were actually true. Only one emergency kept the Trudeau people – as has so often been the case since the beginning of 2020 – from the unexpected and persistent virulence of the pandemic.
In the end, the Liberals forced their unnecessary choices on all of us – but had to wait six months to do so. If you slept last year, the election didn’t go as planned.
Political activists and most of the commentators believed that the election date issue would be (too early) a 24-hour controversy and would have no bearing on the outcome.
It didn’t work out that way. The Liberals lost the referendum for the second year in a row and returned to a minority position.
Despite the smug comments from the experts and insiders, voters were really upset that they had to vote earlier while we were all dealing with the pandemic. Prime Minister Trudeau’s inability to properly answer questions about the early election did not help.
The differences between Canada and the US are still strong
The year also began, to say the least, with some extravagant events south of the border that Canadians watched with horror.
Six days into the new year, Canadians watched an inflamed mob break into windows and doors and climb walls to overpower the well-armed police station and forcibly raid the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC
The insurgents wreaked havoc as they proclaimed their intentions to assassinate Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – and perhaps many more.
The intruders’ alleged purpose was to prevent Congress from confirming the election of Democrat Joe Biden, which is usually a formality. President Trump and his allies had convinced the mob that the election was a scam and a theft.
The rioters shouted “stop the steal” as they smashed windows and outnumbered local and Capitol Hill police.
The president who instigated the mob refused to ask them to stop at first, then finally told them he loved them and gently suggested that they might want to go home.
Even some Congressmen who had loyally supported Donald Trump were appalled, including Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy. But it didn’t take long for these Republicans to retract and return to Trump’s fold on their knees.
Now, much of the Republican Party and its media allies at Fox News and elsewhere are playing the game of distraction, distraction, and the big lie.
Fox’s favorite on-air personality Tucker Carlson has used the airwaves to spread a series of conspiracy theories about the events of January 62021, in which government agents or far-left activists are held responsible for the violence.
Some Fox employees stop in protest over the dangerous nonsense Carlson spits, but tens of millions of Americans believe him and other demagogues who spread the same venomous lies.
With the money and the help of these millions, Trump and his confreres are now leading a campaign to recapture power by all means from the mid-term elections in 2022.
Republican legislatures across the United States are busy redrawing voting cards to effectively disenfranchise blacks and other minorities.
At the same time, Republican politicians are changing electoral rules – already overshadowed by an unacceptable level of political influence compared to most other democracies – to replace professional, impartial officials with political activists who agree with Trump’s claims of fraud and theft.
Canada and the US also have radical differences of opinion regarding COVID measures
What is happening in the US will pose major challenges for Canada’s political leadership.
There have been few times in history when the gulf between our two countries has widened.
Even now with Joe Biden in power, we see a huge difference between our two countries in how we approach the Omicron threat.
While most Canadian governments instruct their citizens to limit the size of holiday gatherings to a maximum of 10, the US president is de facto saying to party. As the year drew to a close, Trudeau and his senior ministers grappled with questions about this huge gap between the US and Canada.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland apparently said that “Canada is not the United States” and that “we have taken very different approaches to the fight against COVID-19”.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, who has proven to be a role model for openness and clarity in his new role, went much further.
The US death rate from COVID, Duclos said bluntly, “is three times that of Canada. If we had the same death rate as the United States, 60,000 more people in Canada would have died from COVID-19. “
This is how the Canadian government talks about our southern neighbor when a supposedly friendly regime is in power.
Wait until Trump is back in the White House and Trump-loyal Republicans are in control of both Congress houses.
And we haven’t even mentioned trade and refugee policy here. These will continue to be more than minor irritations in Canada-US relations.
The political year had many other highs and lows, many of which will continue to occupy us in 2022.
- the never-ending scandal surrounding the WE charity;
- the long-term care disaster for the elderly, which exposed the high death toll from COVID-19;
- the government’s belated response to the investigation into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the unrelated Indigenous Child Welfare Trial;
- the return of the two Michaels from China;
- and Canada’s opposition to removing patent barriers so developing countries can manufacture vaccines.
And that’s just a short list.
We could also add renewed interest in Quebec’s Law 21, which provides discrimination against people who wear (fictitious) religious symbols or clothing, and the continued failure of all Canadian governments to provide guarantees of financial and legal support for workers in precarious circumstances and gigs to be observed.
We have to wait until January to see all of this and its implications for the future.
For now, best wishes to everyone for the Christmas season. Please stay healthy and level-headed during your celebrations!
Leave a Comment