By Henry McRandall
In bygone years, an indigenous leader confronted with rampant treaty violations by the federal government would have accused the prime minister of the day of “speaking with a forked tongue.”
But on issue after issue, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems intent on subtly playing both sides of the street, glibly pretending to be everyone’s best friend. After two years of hyperbolic rhetoric at his now almost daily photo ops, it’s clear that while the pretty words might gush nonstop, the actions backing the pretty words are minimal at best.
Trudeau and his Liberal regime are long on cheery rhetoric, but extremely short and timid when it comes to action. It’s not vacant and vacuous words that will steer Canada forward. It’s hard-nosed legislative action that might discomfort some of the comfortable that will do so. And thus far what little real action there has been in support of the joyful rhetoric and the pretty words must be viewed as being reluctant at best.
When the cameras are rolling, Photo-Op Trudeau waxes poetic about how progressive his regime supposedly is and what its lofty intentions are. But as former U.S. secretary of state and failed presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was unknowingly taped admitting to HER wealthy benefactors, neoliberal politicians – like her & Photo-Op Trudeau – make one set of promises in public and a very different set to their wealthy REAL constituency behind closed doors. Guess which promises they really intend to keep?
Consider Photo-Op’s performance to date on just a few major issues:
1) On taxes & tax evasion: Photo-Op repeatedly pats himself on the back for increasing taxes on the Top1%. But those tax hikes were, in reality, extremely minimal. On tax evasion, he touts the $1 billion increase in Canada Revenue Agency funding to pursue tax cheats. But his refusal to close the tax loopholes deliberately created to aid & abet tax evasion indicates that it’s really just petty middle-class tax evasion that he’s cracking down on while the massive tax evasion of the extremely wealthy & the corporations they control continues unabated.
2) On pipelines and global warming: Photo-Op promised massive reduction in Canada’s carbon dioxide emissions BUT he also vows to allow more oil & natural gas pipelines. He can’t have it both ways – unless he’s planning a massive program – such as fast, frequent, FREE & comprehensive 24-hour-a-day public transit right across Canada – to compensate for his recklessness in allowing more pipelines to be built.
3) On job creation: Photo-Op promised in his 2015 election campaign to run deficits as high as $30 billion a year to finance the creation of high-wage middle-class jobs. Well, his deficits have indeed been enormous but just about all of the job creation in Canada since his government came to power has been at the level where workers are not even paid a livable wage.
4) On interest rates & record-high consumer debt: 40 years of the neoliberal/neoconservative “trickle-down” economics scam – highlighted by continuing high unemployment and soaring consumer debt needed to maintain middle-class living standards in the face of intransigent REAL WAGE stagnation – the Bank of Canada’s lame and immoral response has been to start jacking up interest as soon as unemployment started to drop marginally in order to prevent workers from gaining the leverage to begin demanding livable wage.
5) On national defence. Photo-Op promised to transition Canada’s military deployment back toward our proud historic record as peacekeepers. And while there HAS been a very tiny increase in deployment of Canadian peacekeepers, Canada’s primarily role as part of the NATO axis of global aggression has been to step up its share of the heavy lifting in Uncle Sam’s immoral efforts to achieve total, worldwide coorporate-capitalist global hegemony.
6) On international trade: Photo-Op Trudeau seems obsessed with the bizarre goal of negotiating even more job-killing, corporate-style, so-called “free trade” deals and converting the high wages of the middle-class jobs being offshored into even more illicit windfalls for the Ownership Class or Top1%. Fortunately for Canadian workers, Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland – the shrill bigot overseeing the NAFTA renegotiations – seems to be in way over her head and will likely fail to achieve a just re-negotiation yet another job-killing free-trade pact.
7) On safe drinking water: Photo-Op promised massive funding to address the fact that hundreds of mostly-indigenous communities across Canada are burdened with drinking water that’s fit for human consumption. But almost none of this money has flowed.
8) On sexual harassment & abuse in the workplace: Photo-Op – when the cameras were running – has repeatedly urged victims of workplace harassment and abuse to come forward. But behind the scenes he is actually attempting to block lawsuits by such victims within Canada’s military.
9) On pot legalization: Photo-Op promised in his 2015 campaign to deliver a generous and rapid legalization agenda. But behind the scenes he seems to be attempting to convert what has always been – and which should continue to be – a Mom-&-Pop industry into another cash cow for well-connected corporations, failed politicians and retired cops. He’s also continuing to persecute pot-legalization activists who’ve done all the heavy lifting – such as Marc & Jodie Emery – rather than allowing them to share in the benefits of their noble struggles.
10) On indigenous education, health & child welfare: Once again, Photo-Op’s election campaign rhetoric was replete with lavish promises. But more than two years after coming to power, almost nothing has changed. Trudeau’s federal government – which is responsible for the education, health and child welfare of the indigenous population – continues to finance these vital programs as a per-capita level that is far, far below the per-capita level of funding all of the provinces provide for these services for the non-indigenous population.
To sum up, Photo-Op Trudeau’s two+ years in power have been little more than a smoke-and-mirrors charade. Every Photo-Op seems to be just another opportunity to misinform Canadians about his corrupt regime’s real agenda.
This should not be too surprising, however. Justin Trudeau is a multi-millionaire – a member of the Top1% – whose own inherited wealth seems to guarantee that his real intention it to protect the Establishment – or Top1% – of which he is very much a part and a status quo that no longer serves the best interests of the Other99%.
One must wonder whether Photo-Op’s “contagious smile” is anything more than a cynical smirk.
(You can also follow Henry on Twitter – @HenryMcRandall1 )
By Henry McRandall