Did your mother ever tell you, “What happens in this house stays in this house?” It usually wasn’t about terribly serious things but if Uncle Barney cursed out the TV repair guy or Grandpa Joe drank too much at a family wedding we were expected to keep it on the down low. Airing one’s dirty laundry in public was just something you did not do. And if it was more serious, it had really better stay in-house.
Apparently, certain Conservatives never got that memo as evidenced by the despicable cross-border campaign to criticize the Liberal government in general and Prime Minister Trudeau in particular in relation to the $10.5 million settlement to Omar Khadr.
What I really dislike about a certain brand of Conservative is the cold lack of empathy about the pain of others. Trying to live on minimum wage? It sucks to be you but you better not wipe out business as we know it by asking for an increase! Tortured and abandoned as a child soldier? Don’t whine about a little sleep deprivation and you sure as hell better not accept a settlement and apology from the government that failed to protect you.
And for the reams of people saying some iteration of “My kid knew right and wrong at 14/15”, here’s a bit of science for you: “These days, a consensus of neuroscientists agree that brain development likely persists until at least the mid-20s – possibly until the 30s.” (According to a study done at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg’s Research Institute on Public Health.) But hey, keep checking in with Fox News for your research.
Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel was interviewed on the highly regarded (joking) Fox Network by Tucker Carlson, who commiserated with her by saying, “A lot of people in Canada, including those who have been ‘legitimately’ mistreated by the Canadian government could use 10 million dollars.” What does that even mean? Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant did a Facebook video on CNN attacking the Canadian press and accusing it of colluding with the government using the term ‘fake news’ to attack the press.
I have my own biases and one of them involves cutting other women – especially those who choose to serve our country – some slack. But these women set women’s rights and human rights back a big step with this Trump-lite garbage.
It makes me wonder if they think it sounds ‘strong’ to be tough on …everything. My friend and colleague Hugh Mackenzie fell into this trap in his last Opinion column. He suggested that the payment to Khadr made Canada look ‘weak’. Since when did common decency and following the rule of law become weak? It’s an insult often thrown like a giant dart at Prime Minister Trudeau: I consider it a badge of honour.
A small, but I believe significant, event happened on Stephen Colbert’s trip to Russia a few weeks ago. Colbert was showing a young Russian man Trump’s odd-ball hand-shaking style, assuming that he might not be aware of it. The young guy asked whether he would play Trump or Colbert. Once that was established, Colbert grabbed the man’s hand and pumped it vigorously while drawing him closer. The Russian man easily pulled Colbert (Trump) off-balance with a smile and this telling remark, “I am Justin Trudeau!” Colbert looked amused and amazed! The world knows what Justin Trudeau stands for even if some Conservatives choose to believe otherwise.
The Conservative males weren’t blameless either. Peter Kent wrote a south-of-the-border article called: “A Terrorist’s Big Payday, Courtesy of Justin Trudeau.” It read – albeit more grammatically correct – like something Donald Trump would say. Another Conservative MP told a right-wing cable show that it proved that Trudeau was in bed with al-Qaeda based on the decision to compensate Khadr. This is a tinfoil hat level of paranoia.
The Conservative attack is a sleazy misinformation campaign designed for political gain in order to inflame their base. John Ibbitson wrote, “The Omar Khadr affair is for the Trudeau government what the census scandal was for the Harper government: a midsummer meltdown that permanently taints the reputation of the prime minister.”
There is one significant difference between the Khadr settlement and the cancelling of the long-form census: Mr. Harper was entirely in the wrong. He committed an act of “political vandalism,” according to Mr. Ibbitson. Mr. Trudeau paid what the court ordered…. and he offered an apology. People have a right to have an opinion on the apology issue but they don’t have a right to dispute a point of law.
As if the airing of dirty laundry for political gain wasn’t offensive enough, this cheap shot example of partisanship could affect the NAFTA negotiations. Trump ‘likes’ Trudeau, who has played a masterful game of managing Canada’s relationship with the U.S. in spite of how different our free-trading, feminist, environmentalist Prime Minister is from the right-wing, protectionist, polluting nightmare of a U.S. President. But that could change if Trump is re-directed – he has the attention span of a four-year old – by the right-wing cable news channels of which he is so fond. If trade were to slow even slightly, it could have a significantly negative effect on our economy.
Conservatives – of all people – should not want that. The only strategy that has a chance of working in Trump’s art-of-the-deal shtick is to speak as one country and with one voice. But instead of slinking away in shame over the lack of collaboration, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is sticking to his guns, which is why he doesn’t have a hope in hell of ever becoming Prime Minister.
A Canadian journalist reminded us: “The Conservatives would be well advised to follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, who said he made it a rule not to criticize the government while overseas.” He famously added, “I make up for lost time when I get home.”
I have no problem with Canadians criticizing their government or leaders. But do it at home. Doing it in the U.S. media is in nobody’s best interests…not even the Conservatives’.
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Following a career in the hospitality sector and the acquisition of a law and justice degree in her 50s, Dale embarked on a writing career armed with the fanciful idea that a living could be made as a freelancer. To her own great surprise she was right. The proof lies in hundreds of published works on almost any topic but favourites include travel, humour & satire, feature writing, environment, politics and entrepreneurship. Having re-invented herself half a dozen times, Dale doesn’t rule anything out. Her time is divided equally between Muskoka and Tampa Bay with Jim, her husband of 8 years and partner of 32 years. Two grown ‘kids’ and their spouses receive double doses of love and attention when she’s at home.