Trump Card

Posted: 08/02/2017 9:17:35 AM

Liberal Prime Ministers always prefer it when a Democrat is President. Just look at the very special relationship that existed between Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau. Well actually, those guys were a little over the top. I mean Justin was barely elected for five minutes before he was having sleepovers at the White House. They’re like people who met on Tinder and decide to get married inside of a week. So when Donald Trump was elected a lot of the experts said yes, this could be bad for Canada but this is very, very bad for Justin Trudeau.

Look, we all accept it; living next to United States is like sleeping with an elephant. But suddenly the elephant has rabies and he’s acting like someone is stabbing him in the eye with a fork. But for Trudeau this could be a blessing. Thanks to Donald Trump, the Prime Minister can now get away with anything. He’s totally off the radar. Just last week Justin Trudeau broke a major campaign promise on electoral reform. Inside the bubble of Ottawa they lost it. The NDP called him a liar. Elizabeth May started sobbing. An entire generation of young first time voters who voted Liberal because of that promise, were gutted. And the rest of the country, they said, “Holy heck Harold, look what Donald Trump is doing.”

Our Government is supposed to release a budget any day now. There’s a rumour out there that our deficit has ballooned to three times the original estimate. That kind of thing could morally prove fatal for a government. But if on that day Donald Trump wakes up and opens his mouth or God forbid updates his Twitter feed, the chances of anyone paying any attention to anything to do with numbers are very slim. Donald Trump is like a natural disaster except one that reoccurs every day. That is good luck for Justin Trudeau as long as it lasts. And if the last 18 days are any indication he’s got about four years of good luck left.


The Facts Are Out

Posted: 01/02/2017 9:41:40 AM

For the past decade not a day has gone by where I have not reflected on how truly amazing the internet actually is. Multiple times a day I’ve wondered how did we ever survive before smart phones? And I remember the old days, if people had money they had access to information. They had the Encyclopedia Britannica; they had subscriptions to Maclean’s and Time.  The rest of us, we were on our own.

Now imagine if someone from the old days, say the seventies or the eighties, time travelled to 2017. Their minds would be blown at the amount of knowledge that we all carry around in our cell phones. Now what would they think when we told them, oh, half the information is false. And not just false, it’s intentionally false, designed to confuse us. Fake news. Cancer is a conspiracy, oil of oregano will cure meningitis, the climate is not changing, Meryl Streep is overrated as an actress. All headlines, all fake.

It was not that long ago, if you were in business or politics and you were caught intentionally spreading lies about an opponent it would be game over. You would be out. You would be considered a dishonourable human being. Now it’s everywhere.

Here in Canada we have the very successful Dr. Kellie Leitch leadership campaign. Running for leadership of the Conservative party. Her campaign manager brags that he spreads false news on her behalf. The consequences? Nothing. I would love to see Dr. Leitch and her manager in a town hall, except with children and watch the good doctor explain to the kids why lying is okay.

Now of course it’s not lying any more, is it? It’s just spreading alternative facts. I have searched the internet high and low. There is one question for which I cannot find the answer. Why is it that now, when we have access to more information than ever before, are we becoming increasingly dumb?


Canada-US Relations: TBD

Posted: 25/01/2017 9:34:01 AM

Recently when I was poking around on Wikipedia, I found myself reading about a series of bizarre medical conditions. Anything to avoid reading about Kevin O’Leary. Anyway, there I am reading about this very rare psychiatric condition called Capgras Syndrome. Now with Capgras, a person wakes up one morning and they are suddenly  convinced that people they are very familiar with—people they love—have been replaced by identical, unpredictable replicants. And there I was thinking gosh, what a terrible thing. But then I thought hey, that’s exactly how I feel about the United States since Election Day. It’s like the entire country has been replaced by aliens. Or at least 47 percent of them. It’s the only plausible explanation.

So what does a Trump presidency mean? I have no idea but I know that as of now the phrase ‘stranger things have happened’ has now been upgraded from expression to absolute truth.  If tomorrow morning I am shaving and I sneeze and a little bird pops out of my nose and chirps ‘O Canada’ I will think that’s strange. Not as strange as what’s happening south of the border but it’s up there.

And what does President Trump mean for Canada? From a diplomatic point of view we must proceed with caution. I call it the 3 a.m. protocol. It’s 3 a.m., the bars have closed and you’re walking down the street. Suddenly some big guy is coming right at you. All you can do is keep your head up, avoid eye contact, walk with purpose and get ready to run like hell. Because that glassy eyed giant mumbling incoherently is capable of anything. He could just be coming for a great big hug, maybe he wants directions to a pizza place or maybe he’s gonna stick you with a shiv.

Welcome to a new chapter in Canada-US relations. Here’s hoping it will be a mutually beneficial relationship. Stranger things have happened.


The Price of Being Prime Minister

Posted: 18/01/2017 9:30:35 AM

Fourteen months ago Canadians were up to our necks in a Federal election. Now we can debate what happened; did the Liberals get elected or were the Tories thrown out? But one thing is certain, the Trudeau campaign was a machine to behold. When it came to public opinion they knew exactly what would pass and what would fail the smell test. Now they’re in power, they’ve lost their sense of smell and they’re losing their sense of balance. The Liberals are about to go head first into a snow bank.

Hey Justin, what’s the definition of amazing? Amazing is being Prime Minister of Canada. Best job ever and let’s face it, some great perks. But like all public servants, there are sacrifices. For example if an old family friend, say, I don’t know, the Aga Khan, calls up and says, “Hey Justin! What say you, the wife and your family come on down to my private island for the holidays?” You’ve gotta say no. “No, I’m sorry Aga.  I would love to come down and put on a gold hat and lie by the pool with you and Tattoo but I can’t. I can’t because my Government gives your foundation millions of dollars a year so I’ve gotta take a rain cheque.”

I know Justin, this is unfair. After all, my father worked with a fellow named Jerry. Jerry’s got a cabin on the Gander River, he’s thrown me the keys a few times. There’s no helicopter but there’s a lovely view and a cupboard that is filled with free coffee whitener. I hope to go back some day. I probably will. Canadians have always bummed cabins and cottages. In fact it’s part of our heritage. I’m sorry Justin, you can’t do the same but that’s just the cost of doing business. And your business is being Prime Minister of Canada. First, foremost and only. Focus on that. If you don’t, it won’t matter, you’ll be back on Fantasy Island in no time.


Hashtags and the Damage Done

Posted: 07/12/2016 10:00:32 AM

Well here we are – the first week of December – and dare I say, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Not because of the sights or sounds of the season but because my Facebook feed is beginning to fill up with pictures of people’s Christmas trees. And boy there are some nice trees out there. I swear some people do a Google image search of “best tree ever” then they post it as their own. It’s times like this I’m convinced that Facebook and Instagram were invented to make people feel like they’re failing at their own lives or, at the very least, failing at the holidays.

I have a friend who takes Christmas very seriously. She works 24/7, weeks and months in advance. The entire extended family shows up but it’s worth it. On Facebook she looks like Martha Stewart. Every picture is stunningly beautiful. Hashtag Christmas! Hashtag family! Hashtag Peace! Meanwhile, in real life, she’s like, “oh see that picture of all of us smiling around the tree? Thirty minutes later the yelling started. Then the baby threw the green peas – scattered from one end of the house to the other.” By the time the holiday’s are over Mom is this close to being institutionalized. But she’s one of the lucky ones; she’s still surrounded by people. She actually loves three quarters of those in attendance.

Christmas is very hard on a lot of people. There’s a lot to live up to and people fall through the cracks. It’s lonely out there plus it gets dark now at 5:00 pm. This year, let’s not aim for perfect, let’s aim for lovely. Let’s count our blessings, take a moment, and make it easier for someone else.