There are probably a dozen places Justin Trudeau would rather be than in Washington today for his first meeting with President Donald Trump – mercurial, unpredictable, egotistical, short-tempered and at times downright nasty, even to his nation’s close friends.
No amount of official briefing or gratuitous advice from editorial boards and columnists can adequately prepare the prime minister for the encounter. Like anxious parents prepping their five-year-old for his first day at school, these savants have filled Trudeau’s head with lists of things to do and don’t do.
Since Justin Trudeau's formal confirmation that his pledge of a reformed electoral system will not occur, he has been on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism, most of it characterizing him as a liar and a cynic. This is all fair game in politics, but it should be noted that his opponents are just as guilty of promoting their self interest.
Election promises are fraught with danger for politicians.
Both Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau are learning about the perils of promises, although their enlightenment is coming from opposite directions. Trudeau is being savaged in Parliament, on the internet and in some quarters of the mainstream media for breaking a promise – to wit, that a Liberal government would replace Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system and to do it before the next election in 2019.
The House of Commons returns to work today after its refreshing, one trusts, 46-day Christmas recess.
MPs will be anxious to tear into the great issues of the day in the Ottawa bubble, starting with the Prime Minister’s vacation in the Bahamas and continuing, no doubt, to the irksome question of how much, or little, the government is actually prepared to do about cash-for-access political fundraising.
But these matters, which loomed so large a couple of weeks ago, now seem trivial. The big stuff, the serious stuff, is happening south of the border, in Washington.
Arlene Dickinson, star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den, wasted little time putting her former co-star in his place when she was asked what she thought of Kevin O’Leary’s entry into the Conservative leadership race last week.
“For seven years, I sat shoulder to shoulder with Kevin,” she said. “We'd spend long hours together, listening to hardworking Canadian entrepreneurs pitch their businesses, which, all too often, led to real-life stories of enormous struggle.
For all the wailing, gnashing of teeth, and hand-wringing displayed by Democrats since the upheaval of Nov. 8, and the surprising election of Donald Trump, one should note that their political situation isn't quite as disastrous as first reported.
It is certainly true that Republicans now organize the White House and both branches of Congress, and will be able to repeal Barack Obama's "executive orders," but Democrats have sufficient strength in the Senate to use the filibuster just as promiscuously as did the Republicans in blocking Obama's agenda over the past six years.
In addressing the recent Netanyahu-Kerry spat over Israeli settlement policy, let me clarify that I oppose settlements in the West Bank, support a two-state solution, and have little sympathy for Benjamin Netanyahu within the context of Israeli politics.
Opposition MPs are cheerfully beating up the Prime Minister over his family’s post-Christmas vacation.
They contend he violated conflict-of-interest rules by, first, accepting the invitation of the Aga Khan to be his guests on his private island in the Bahamas, and, second, by travelling on their host’s private helicopter between Nassau and Bell Island, 120 kilometres away, without obtaining approval in advance from the Commons conflict of interest and ethics commissioner.
As academics, we spend long hours coming up with research questions, developing theoretical frameworks, collecting and analyzing data, and then publishing our results in academic journals or books. The process can take a long time, depending on the project and choice of publication. Once our results are published, however, it seems like they rarely have an effect. Very few people can access the journal articles unless they are a student or faculty member at university. There is so much research being pumped out these days that's it's hard to be noticed.