It is the best of times (for France), it is the worst of times (for the United Kingdom), it is the age of wisdom (for Emmanuel Macron), it is the age of foolishness (for Theresa May), it is the spring of hope (for the French), it is the winter of despair (for the British). It doesn't require a great deal of imagination to see how France and Great Britain would be juxtaposed on these contrasts, some 160 years after Charles Dickens first penned this most famous literary introduction.
“Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best” –
German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)
Today’s politicians might be forgiven for amending the Iron Chancellor’s observation to something like this: Politics is the art of learning to live with the impossible.
There are plenty of examples in Canada and the United States.
As Donald Trump's bizarre administration continues to lurch from one crisis to another, the "impeachment" word is increasingly being speculated about.
The challenge facing Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government this summer has come like a bolt of lightning. It has come out of nowhere – or out of nowhere foreseeable when Trudeau was elected in October 2015, from a direction that was barely foreseeable as recently as 12 months ago.
The challenge can be stated in two words. No, those two words are not “deficit spending” or “electoral reform” or “Syrian refugees” or “gender parity” – words that now seem so 2015. The two words are simply “Donald Trump.”
Donald Trump claims he is making America Great Again.
He is doing no such thing. What he is doing is just the opposite. He is surrendering American leadership abroad, frightening allies with erratic pronouncements and encouraging his enemies with a lack of consistent resolve.
In the early months following their 2015 election defeat, there was a sense among Conservatives that they were facing two terms in opposition. They knew the patient Canadian electorate generally grants new governments a second term, unless they screw up royally in their first one.
The Conservatives will get a new national leader this coming weekend. Assuming the party’s computer system can handle the complicated preferential ballots with 14 names (Kevin O’Leary being on the ballot still), the Canadian electorate should know on Saturday who will be on offer if they choose to rid themselves of Justin Trudeau and don’t warm to whomever the NDP chooses.
The party that Stephen Harper built will choose a new leader in just 12 days’ time, and it has a big problem.
Normally, leadership campaigns serve to do two things – to excite the party faithful and to attract at least the interest of the electorate at large. There is no sign, however, that this Conservative campaign has done either.