To crib a thought from Justin Trudeau’s late father, the universe did unfold, but not quite in the way it was designed for his son over the weekend.
Donald Trump is the wild card – the joker, if you like – in Canadian politics this season.
In Ontario, heading to the polls on June 7, Trump is a prominent feature in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s struggle for survival. Her success or failure will rest in part on her ability to persuade Ontarians that Doug Ford, the new Progressive Conservative leader, is another Trump – ill-informed, unprincipled, ignorant in the ways of the province and harbouring a social conservative agenda that would appall moderate voters, if only they knew.
"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" – Robert Browning.
That may be a viable proposition in poetry, Mr. Browning, but it does not work in politics, where a reach that exceeds one’s grasp means expectations have been created but left unfulfilled.
Just ask Justin Trudeau. Unfulfilled expectations are his Achilles’ heel as he struggles to raise the Liberal government out of its midterm slump.
There’s an air of unreality about Ontario politics these days.
At Queen’s Park, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals are pretending it is business as usual. A new session of the Legislature begins at noon on Monday with the reading of the Speech from Throne, and Finance Minister Charles Sousa will follow with his 2018 budget on March 28.
In a demonstration of organizational incompetence seldom seen in Canadian politics, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives found a way on Saturday to deny their leadership to candidate Christine Elliott, who both won the popular vote and carried a majority of the province’s 124 ridings.
Instead, Doug Ford, older brother of Toronto’s late mayor Rob Ford, was declared the winner under the party’s absurdly complicated and error-riven system of “electoral points,” which was heavily loaded in favour of ridings where the party has few members.
“Trade wars are good, and easy to win” – President Donald Trump, by tweet, 5:50 a.m. ET, March 2, 2018.
Excuse me, but Donald Trump is a fool – a blithering, dangerous fool.
This is the 21st century. Trade wars are never good. In today’s interdependent world, they may be impossible for any nation to win, even the United States, which is no longer the economic colossus that Trump, stuck in an isolationist time warp, believes it is.
See this recent story on research by LISPOP associates Jason Roy and Christopher Alcantara on negative ads, star candidates, and endorsements. Are they effective? Should campaigners in the Ontario eleciton pay attention to them?
Check it out!
Social media is a faithless lover, as Justin Trudeau learned to his pain in India last week.
From the moment he was elected in October 2015, the prime minister was the darling of the web. With a few churlish (and generally right-wing) exceptions, social media loved him. He was so handsome, so virile, so articulate, so caring and compassionate – so unlike Donald Trump. He was stylish, and cool. Did you see his tattoo? Just look at his darling socks! What colour will he wear tomorrow?
“Words fail me,” a long-time Ontario Tory insider.
This veteran of many campaigns is not alone. Many of his fellows – organizers, workers, candidates and rank-and-file members – are aghast at what is going on in the party they have supported through good times and not-so-good times.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”– Will Rogers (1879-1935), actor, humorist and social commentator.
The three candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party know whereof Rogers spoke. They are scheduled to face off this Thursday night in a debate to be broadcast province-wide on TVOntario. The party says a second debate will be held later, but the date has not been determined.