Australia asylum seekers face a refugee policy to condemn, not replicate, despite what PM says

Posted: September 24th, 2016 | No Comments »

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. REPORT FROM GREG BARNS AND ANNA TALBOT. This past Tuesday Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, stood in front of world leaders and claimed his government’s refugee policy was the best in the world. But many people in Australia will tell you that Mr Turnbull’s boasting was misplaced.

Australian Government poster, displayed at migrant reception centres 1949–1951. (Image courtesy of the National Archives of Australia.)

Australia’s policy is based on deterrence, building on 15 straight years of fear mongering and demonization of the world’s most vulnerable by Australia’s political elite. In 2001, the ‘children overboard’ affair ushered in a new era of lies, which would come to characterise policy around asylum seekers and refugees. The then-Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, accused asylum seekers of throwing their children off the boat they were on in an effort to manipulate Australian authorities into offering assistance. The asylum seekers were trying to ensure that their children were safe. The boat was sinking beneath them.  A few months prior to this disgraceful episode Mr Howard had refused entry into Australian waters of a cargo vessel, the Tampa, which had rescued asylum seekers whose boat was sinking.

We have spent $A9.6 billion over the past three years on our refugee policy. It consists of an immigration detention system that includes two offshore detention centres on the impoverished Pacific Island nation of Nauru and on Manus Island, off the coast of Papua New Guinea, mandatory onshore immigration detention, and turning back asylum seeker boats (usually to countries where the occupants face persecution, torture and even death). UNICEF estimates that Australia spends at least $A400,000 detaining each individual asylum seeker in offshore detention each year. It costs less than half that to detain a single prisoner. Then there is the disastrous deal with Cambodia, where the Australian government handed over $A40 million in aid to that nation in exchange for four, yes four, asylum seekers being resettled there.

Refugee Action protest in Melbourne, 2014.

What do Australians get for their money?  A cache of more than 2000 incident reports known as the Nauru Files was recently released by the Guardian newspaper. It details terrifying levels of despair. Threats of self-harm are reported on a near weekly basis. Actual self-harm, including suicide attempts, are reported nearly as regularly. Sexual assault of children is rife, with numerous reports of guards and others touching young girls. One child described how someone had ‘cut me from under’, pointing to the vagina area of a cut out doll to further clarify what had happened to her. Another child reported being handed a sexually-explicit note by a local guard. The note is reproduced in the incident report. In child-like lettering, it invites the recipient to ‘come and kiss my pins’; ‘come and gigey xxx’; ‘come and kiss my botm’.

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Hieronymus Bosch back in land of free .. Commonwealth down .. Canada as US backdoor to Europe

Posted: September 22nd, 2016 | No Comments »

Back in the middle of this past March 2016 my esteemed colleague Citizen X was telling us :

“The wisest thing I’ve come across on the American presidential primaries lately urges that 2016 so far is ‘democracy as depicted by Hieronymus Bosch’” (from the Huffington Post’s “Top 12 Reasons This Is The Most Depressing Election Ever,” March 14, 6:53 AM ET).

To me it is no accident that this theme has much more recently (and discreetly) been revived, by “A Thousand Erotic Games … Raoul Vaneigem writes about Hieronymus Bosch,” in the 8 September 2016 issue of the London Review of Books.

In any case as we officially enter the autumn wonderland in this fateful US election year, I think I have returned to “democracy as depicted by Hieronymus Bosch” as the key to what is making  America crazy again in 2016.

First World War recruiting poster. India was one of the young lions even then. Now it has about half the people in the modern Commonwealth of Nations.

The Democrats have been showing some big shivers lately at the increasingly possible prospect that Donald Trump will be elected president of Making America Great Again on November 8. They are starting to hit back harder and throw more dirt.

This hurts Mr. Trump’s  feelings. And he almost seems to be trying to behave even more badly so he won’t win. But will the current not-so-good-for-Hillary polls change?  Who knows?

It is at this point, however, that my mind starts to wander in a big way …

And I start reading such more exotic postings as Sadakat Kadri’s ironically headlined “Up the Commonwealth” on the LRB Blog. And from here I’m pointed to “CANZUK: after Brexit, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain can unite as a pillar of Western civilisation,” by Andrew Roberts (“a credulous cheerleader for powerful people for years” in Mr. Kadri’s view).

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Is the old British dominion in Canada still half-alive (sort of) .. as well as historically interesting?

Posted: September 15th, 2016 | No Comments »

For those who may be interested, Prince William and Kate and their children from the UK will begin a visit to British Columbia and the Yukon a week this Saturday.

As if in anticipation, the National Post — Conrad Black’s old last gasp of the colonized mind in Canada — has published some remarks by the self-confessed “romantic constitutional monarchist” John Fraser. In a nutshell Mr. Fraser urges that the British monarchy is a key to resolving the place of First Nations in the 21st century Canadian future.

This is an argument advanced by many romantic monarchists in Canada nowadays. And, like Mr. Fraser, they typically claim that the bewilderment it frequently raises elsewhere is just “evidence of many Canadians’ ignorance of their own history.”

. MP s celebrate approval of new independent Canadian flag by a 163 to 78 vote in the Canadian House of Commons, December 15, 1964.

Yet Canadian history in this sense remains a kind of abstract Tory invention, remote from the plain facts of the past. To take just one of so many cases in point, it forgets what the Grit Richard Cartwright told the Canadian House of Commons as long ago as 1889 : “Men [and today we  explicitly add women] are beginning to ask themselves on all hands whether this Confederation is to be a political cul de sac, or … a stepping stone to a higher form of political existence.”

On First Nations the romantic monarchist view of the Canadian past most awkwardly forgets the compelling sentence in the conclusion to Harold Innis’s 1930 classic on The Fur Trade in Canada : An Introduction to Canadian Economic History : “We have not yet realized that the Indian and his culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions.”

“Canada” itself is an aboriginal or indigenous word. And it is when what John Fraser calls “the non-aboriginal Canadian people” finally start to appreciate how the indigenous experience is a crucial part of being Canadian today, for everyone, that Fraser’s “healing” of  “First Nation and Inuit communities,” now “broken in body and soul,” will begin in earnest at last.

Canot de maître shooting the Rapids, Frances Anne Hopkins,1879. It was the multiracial and multicultural fur trade, not the British monarchy, that first took Canada from coast to coast to coast.

This is a challenging assignment, no doubt. But we the Canadian people of 2016 — aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike — must face up to it openly, if First Nations are ever going to secure their just and proper place in the real-world Canadian future.

To suggest we can continue to evade the all-too-human difficulties by simply asserting the British monarchy is “the only actual instrument of governance in Canada” that can unite aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians is a romantic cruel illusion at best.

Just to start with, the British monarchy is no longer an “actual instrument of governance in Canada” today — as anyone who has read George VI’s 1947 Letters Patent for the Governor General of Canada will appreciate. (The digital version of the Canadian Encyclopedia has minor quibbles here, but nothing that changes the essential modern facts of life. As the Encyclopedia also notes, two recent governor generals have even understood that “the Letters Patent, 1947 devolved the position of Head of State from the sovereign to the governor general” — although the Harper government rejected this interpretation in 2009.)

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, 1999–2005.

In any case, what Mr. Fraser’s argument finally reminds us is that it is high time for another installment  of Randall White’s work-in-progress, tentatively entitled Children of the Global Village — Canada in the 21st Century : Tales about the history that matters.

If you go to our Long Journey to a Canadian Republic page, on the bar above (or just CLICK HERE), you will find a short introduction to the project, along with the “Prologue : too much geography.” This is followed by links to the currently completed six chapters in Part I, and four  chapters in Part II. To begin Part III on the old Dominion of Canada, you will now find as well a link to Part III, Chapter 1 : “First self-governing dominion of the British empire : Further founding moments, 1867–1873.”

Once again, we caught up with Dr. White and his irresistible business manager at the Tim Horton’s across from Kew Gardens in Toronto (another aboriginal or indigenous word). And he explained :

“Some say the old British dominion of Canada ended during Pierre Trudeau’s government in 1971, when the Dominion Bureau of Statistics was renamed Statistics Canada. I believe the end began with Lester Pearson’s government in 1963. But writing about the growth of Canadian democracy from the 1867 confederation to the early 1960s has proved somewhat different than I first conceived.”

Louis Riel (centre) and his spring and summer 1870 provisional government of the future Canadian province of Manitoba.

He went on : “I  thought I would do it in four chapters, but now I see it will take six : 1867–1873, 1873–1896, 1896–1911, 1911–1921, 1921–1948, and 1948–1963. In the first of these chapters I was also more drawn into the story of the Métis leader Louis Riel as founder of Manitoba than first planned. I hope the chapter is not too long as a result — or is at least a little more interesting to readers, to compensate for the extra length.”

(And then Dr. White and his business manager wandered off to buy more fresh corn  — traditional crop of the ancient Wendat/Huron nation due north —  on the last unseasonably warm day of summer 2016.)

Northern lights on US election II : What if Conrad Black is right and Donald Trump actually wins ????

Posted: September 7th, 2016 | No Comments »

Freddy Gray in The Spectator from the UK reports that “Donald Trump is Making America Crazy Again,” Jul 23, 2016.

CTV News anchor Marcia MacMillan, in an especially compelling dress yesterday morning, brought us the vaguely alarming news that “New poll shows Trump taking slight lead over Hillary Clinton.”  (This is now well hidden in the CTV September 6 archive.  Try “Poll: Nine weeks out, a near even race” for key numbers.)

Among the experts the lovely Ms. MacMillan subsequently consulted was the redoubtable Don Martin. He indicated that to discuss the current prospects of Mr. Trump further he would be talking on his TV show later that day with the former UK media baron, US convicted felon, and unabashed Canadian friend of Donald Trump, Conrad Black (aka — I think it’s still correct — “Lord Black of Crossharbour”).

I haven’t subsequently had time to watch Don Martin’s talk with Conrad Black. But I have discovered that his lordship (as he says himself “why not … [t]here is not a prohibition on a convicted criminal sitting in that House”) has been saying good things about Donald Trump for some time now.

Marcia MacMillan covers it all with Taylor Swift, Sep 26, 2014.

(See the Appendix below with eight examples, from 19 Dec 2015 to 2 Aug 2016. And Mr. Black has freely confessed : “I will say this, that in the problems I had, he was absolutely loyal, he volunteered to come and give evidence for me, he sent me encouraging letters at every stage … We all go through difficult times and we remember the people who were helpful.”)

Generally I feel the less I hear about or from either Donald Trump or Conrad Black, the better. But flipping through the Appendix below, I have been struck by some words from Mr. Black during an earlier appearance on Don Martin’s CTV show “Power Play” — very early this past March, when the Republican and Democratic primaries were still undecided.

At that time Mr. Black advised Mr. Martin that :”You can’t stop him in the Republican Party, and he will mop the floor with” Hillary Clinton (whom Black wisely enough predicted would be the eventual Democratic nominee). The trouble with Hillary is that “she’s got too much hanging … They are going to kill her … She’s never run a serious election.” (See “Conrad Black predicts Trump presidency: ‘You can’t stop him’.”)

Back in the day: Black was once such a revered figure in British Tory circles that Margaret Thatcher, right, introduced him to the Upper House. Note wife Barbara Amiel apparently listening to Mrs Thatcher.

At this moment six months later in early September, with various polls tightening, this advice can almost seem all too prescient. I know that I am starting to wonder about just how Hillary will do in the debates that start this coming Monday, September 26 — now less than three weeks away. (Even if, as another expert was advising Marcia MacMillan this morning, debates are never as important for the final result as many seem to think at the time.)

Put another way, Hillary’s strategy up to this point has largely seemed to be to let Donald Trump self-destruct, and then walk in and pick up the pieces. The latest tightening in more than one poll suggests this really may not be at all enough to make her the first female president of the USA, USA. And there are signs that the Clinton campaign is starting to move in at least a few fresh directions — helped along by her old rival Bernie Sanders, and others.

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How important was Rob Ford’s brother in latest Ontario byelection?

Posted: September 4th, 2016 | No Comments »

Left to right : Doug Ford, Raymond Cho, Patrick Brown.

GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. The return to realism after Labour day is almost here. And it suddenly becomes clear that this past Thursday’s Scarborough-Rouge River byelection was a welcome splash of cold water for we rare but resolute fans of Ontario provincial politics.

(See, eg : “Ontario Tories win hotly-contested Toronto-area byelection” by Allison Jones at The Canadian Press ; and “Tory Raymond Cho wins Scarborough-Rouge River byelection … Stunning victory seen as political blow to  Wynne’s Liberals,” by Robert Benzie, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief at the Toronto Star.)

Here as elsewhere, Ontario politics is something that general voters lose interest in from time to time. It is part of the Ontario political tradition that nothing all that interesting happens very often in any case.

That’s the way Ontario political leaders have at least traditionally liked it. Or as a modern master  has explained : “The people of Ontario have never been spoiled by too much perfection in government.” (W.G. Davis, premier 1971–1985.)

Patrick Brown, Raymond Cho, and Doug Ford, on the campaign trail in Scarborough-Rouge River.

Then something for some reason suddenly casts an almost startling bright light on certain cogs in the machine.

You realize all over again that Ontario politics is actually fascinating.

Especially in the early 21st century, when the Canadian region north of the Great Lakes often seems a stark illustration of the English historian J.H. Plumb’s wise words :

“Traditions are quickly bred and quickly destroyed and they snap suddenly in a world of rapid social change.”

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Ave atque vale Stephen Harper MP : his Conservative government of Canada could have been a lot worse

Posted: August 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

Outgoing prime minister Stephen Harper arrives at his Langevin Block office in Ottawa, Wednesday, October 21, 2015, just after his government’s defeat in the October 19 Canadian federal election. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.

Those of us who regularly have breakfast while watching cp24 in Canada’s most disliked city region will already have seen the reassuring video of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, resigning today as Member of Parliament for Calgary Heritage.

I never voted for Mr. Harper’s party, and I remain opposed to most of its declared  policies. As he takes the final finishing step in his partisan political career, however, I have a little more respect for him than when his government first took office on February 6, 2006.

Judging from this morning’s video, he seems content and even happy with his time as a democratically elected political leader.  And I think he has enough of a right to feel this way.

In the end he was a more typical Canadian politician than he seemed at first. (Or maybe any at all long-lasting prime minister of Canada soon comes to see  that there is limited room for real manouevre in Canadian public policy, for a host of tedious good reasons?)

Gérard Deltell (right) takes 51% of the vote for the Harper Conservatives on October 19, 2015 — in the Quebec City riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent, named after former Liberal prime minister Louis St. Laurent, and largely a reconfigured version of his old riding of Quebec East. At least one thing PM Harper could smile about on that occasion. (CBC.)

Stephen Harper recited, for example, a litany of conservative achievements in this morning’s video clip. But like others I think that in broad economic policy he finally had a lot in common with his Liberal predecessor Paul Martin. (And to me that also had a lot to do with the growing support in the province of his birth that finally gave him a majority government in 2011.)

Similarly, as founder of the modern Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper stressed the continuing importance of the French language in Canadian public life, to his everlasting credit. And it was no accident that even through the tears of the 2015 election he was rewarded with such headlines as “Conservatives more than double seat count in Quebec.”

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Does Donald Trump really have enough money to pay for even one Canadian city’s school repair backlog?

Posted: August 23rd, 2016 | No Comments »

It may be that I’m just getting too old  …

But my patience with so much of the political rhetoric that has engulfed us since the middle of the 1970s — and contributed to so many of our continuing key current “complex problems of society” — has grown razor thin.

I woke up this morning to two main news reports that, put together, can only make any sane and reasonable person yearn to explode into some other more rational plane of being …

The first was from what the TV station did have the good manners to identify as the “right-wing” Fraser Institute. It proclaimed that the average Canadian family is now paying more in taxes (including various “hidden” taxes) than they spend on housing, food, and clothing.

The second was from our local school board. It explained that “School repair backlog hits $3.4B [yes Virginia that B is for Billion] … But student safety not compromised, board insists.” The reporter on TV showed several examples of the bad repair in many local schools. I was personally appalled.

When I was younger the tax-supported schools I went to were always well maintained and in good repair. They were examples of how we future citizens of the free and democratic society should look after ourselves.

Over the past four decades now organizations like the Fraser Institute have preached their anti-taxation/anti-government gospel all too well.

A host of public infrastructure — schools, roads, transit, bridges, and on and on — has deteriorated before our eyes.  And our society has grown more and more unequal …

It is also true that another TV clip from this morning showed Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne in Barrie, Ontario — “at the city’s transit garage to announce $3B to improve public transit across the province.”

And it does seem that the successor to Jack Layton’s New Democratic Party finally lost last year’s Canadian federal election partly because it took the Too Many Taxes message too seriously.

But I’m still hearing reports about the Fraser Institute’s latest shrill anti-government rhetoric, that serves the interests of the people who fund it and virtually no one else.

It was refreshing to be in Helsinki, Finland briefly earlier this year. According to the recordings on the tour buses, people there appreciate that if you want civilized public services — to ensure your health, education, private sector job training, transportation and piped service needs, public libraries, parks and swimming pools, peace of mind in retirement, etc, etc, etc — you have to be willing to pay the kinds of taxes that support them.

How much more refreshing it would be to hear something like that when I turn the TV on in the morning …

here in “the Great Lakes region of North America” (with apologies to the late great George Grant, who tried to explain    Technology and Empire )

… in the long hot summer of 2016 …

… in the latest year of living dangerously, in the shadow of Donald Trump

who may or may not really have enough money to meet the current school repair backlog in Toronto … on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario up here.

August in Ganatsekwyagon : “On the dangerous flood / Of history that … / … Held one moment, burns the hand”

Posted: August 19th, 2016 | No Comments »

Ivanka Trump (r) and Wendi Deng Murdoch (l) on vacation in in Dubrovnik, Croatia this summer. Who knows what this means? If anything?

As crucial drugstore evidence that we are indeed on the dangerous flood of history this long hot summer of 2016, we quickly submit the following key current headline without further comment — “National Enquirer : Hillary Gains 103 Pounds …

(Is it surprising that Donald Trump and National Enquirer chief executive David Pecker are “very close … friends for years,” and that “David Pecker flies to Florida from New York on Trump’s private jet”?)

Meanwhile, we’ve asked everyone crazy enough to show up at the office in this continuing hot summer weather to submit quick and dirty items on their key current news issues.

We’ve finally come up with six items, followed by a postscript on the lovely 26-year-old London (England) blogger, Elvira Vedelago :

(1) BREXIT & RIO : Richard Florida offers some interesting calculations in “How well is Canada really doing in the Rio Games?” (Toronto Star).  But to us the most remarkable side of the current Olympics in Brazil so far is the performance of “Great Britain” (pop 64 million). As we write, it is third in medal rankings after the first-place USA (pop 325 million), and China (pop 1.4 billion) in second place

Elvira Vedelago in London, summer 2015.

Note that among Great Britain’s European neighbours, Germany is in sixth place, France in seventh, Italy in ninth, and the Netherlands in twelfth place. And we at least find it hard not to wonder a little if Britain’s comparatively stronger performance has anything at all to do with the recent Brexit referendum on leaving the European Union?

On where Brexit itself was as of the start of this week, see the Guardian’s excellent “Brexit weekly briefing: Westminster’s lack of a plan leads to turf war … The exit looks farther away as the government offices set up to handle Brexit lack staff and bicker over their powers.”

(2) ONTARIO HEALTH CARE : Apparently we aren’t the only ones perplexed by the so-called 63% of doctors who voted to reject the latest deal between the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ontario Medical Association.  (And note only 55% of those eligible actually voted.)

Elvira Vedelago on vacation in Ibiza, summer 2016.

We agree with the Toronto Star editorial that urged :“Those who cheer on the Ontario’s doctors’ vote as a defeat for the Wynne government and the OMA’s much-criticized leadership must say how much they [are] willing to pay to satisfy the doctors.”

Similarly, we don’t always or even often agree with Konrad Yakabuski at the Globe and Mail. But we do like his Thursday, August 18 opinion piece :

Ontario’s doctors don’t get it: Health care is a team game … in 2015, Ontario spent more of its health budget on doctors – 16.4 per cent – than any other province … Astonishingly, the very commentators who have complained the most about the Liberals’ horrendous fiscal management are siding with the doctors … Younger doctors … favoured the Ontario government’s offer …  acknowledging that there are bigger health-care priorities than doctor compensation.”

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Do Hillary’s current poll numbers mean she’ll win ? Remember : NDP leading in Canada on August 27, 2015!

Posted: August 14th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Steve Kornacki explains election statistics on MSNBC!

This past Friday night the excellent Steve Kornacki at MSNBC TV (sitting in for Rachel Maddow) presented some intriguing 2016 US election statistics. They showed that in the more recent past presidential candidates with as good polling numbers as Hillary Clinton has now, two weeks after the last national convention, have gone on to win the election.

One problem with this calculation in 2016 is that you have to go back to 1960 to find a last convention held as early as this year. (I think : see the two Wikipedia articles, “List of Democratic National Conventions” and “List of Republican National Conventions” — which I have just looked at very quickly!) In 2016 even two weeks after the second convention we are still 12 weeks and change away from election day.

For what this could mean just think back to our own Canadian election last October 19, 2015. On August 27, 2015 the Toronto Star was telling us that : “NDP in reach of majority, new poll suggests … A new poll puts the NDP with 40 per cent support, with the Liberals ahead of the Conservatives in second place with 30 per cent. The Tories have 23 per cent support.”

In the end, when it counted on October 19 Justin Trudeau’s Liberals took 39.5% of the cross-Canada popular vote. The Harper Conservatives took 31.9% , and the Mulcair New Democrats 19.7%! There would be a cautionary tale here for US Democrats today, if Canadian evidence were not so seldom taken seriously in the USA, for a host of tedious good reasons.

There are also current signs that Donald Trump himself is at least briefly starting to wonder just how well he might actually do on election day. See, eg, the Associated Press report :“’We’re having a problem’: Trump acknowledges he could lose to Clinton.”

At the same time, Mr. Trump has also now told one of his adoring crowds in rural Pennsylvania that the only way he can lose the 2016 election is if the Clinton Democrats cheat — by instructing their supporters, eg, to literally “vote early and often” (as the old joke has it).

Steve Kornacki and some fellow MSNBC and NBC political reporters — all progressively cuter and hotter than on Fox News!

My own 100% opinion right now is that those of us clearly in the Hillary camp shouldn’t get too cocky. There are still 12 weeks and change to go. The wisest prophecy at this juncture in my mind is still what a palpably progressive lady from Chicago on a cruise ship of my acquaintance recently predicted : “Anything can happen.”

(Meanwhile, two articles from the August 18, 2015 issue of the New York Review of Books show how even if Hillary does win handily on November 8 some very big and intractable problems will of course remain.)

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Mel Hurtig and (very) early second thoughts about where the new Trudeau government is taking Canada ??

Posted: August 8th, 2016 | No Comments »

“Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau magnifique en blanc pour rencontrer la reine.” Compliments Johanne Masson.

The recent Radio Canada report “Noted nationalist and author Mel Hurtig dead at 84” has coincided with several bursts of fresh interest in old Justin Trudeau articles on this site. See, eg :

* “The quiet evolution of ‘La femme de Justin Trudeau’ carries on” ( 5 Mar 2012) ;
* “The unbearable lightness of being Justin Trudeau” (28 Sep 2012) ;
* “Is Jean Chretien right — ‘today marks the beginning of the end of this Conservative government’?” (15 Apr 2013) ;
* “A new moment of truth for Justin Trudeau” (17 Apr 2015) ;
* “Are the Mulcair New Democrats doomed already??” (29 Sep 2015) ;
* “Justin Trudeau is a rock star .. and that’s the simplest truth?” (18 Oct 2015) ;
* “Back to the real Canadian future with Justin Trudeau .. maybe?” (20 Oct 2015) ;
* “On the new era in Canada .. Alexandre Trudeau, Mélanie Joly, Harjit Sajjan, and Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould” (7 Nov 2015).

What does it all mean? Until now we’ve shared the general sense (among all but diehard Conservatives, hard-core New Democrats, and old-style Quebec separatists?) that Justin Trudeau has been doing quite well as Canada’s 23rd prime minister : Not perfect, of course, but …

However, a CBC report last week reminded us that the Trudeau II regime has also already shown what strike us as signs of a potential tragic flaw.  And this could place strict limits on what the son of Pierre Trudeau from Montreal and Margaret Sinclair from Vancouver will finally prove capable of doing for the long-term future of Canada.

The headline on the CBC report was “PM Trudeau to join royals on Yukon visit next month … Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire will be in Whitehorse with William and Kate …”

“Sightings of a shirtless Justin Trudeau” — see far left rear of photo here — “are causing a stir internationally this summer.” Marnie Recker Photography. CTV News Vancouver.

This is, certain Canadian citizens with whom we sympathize will urge, just one more nail in the coffin of the theory that Justin Trudeau’s early 21st century Liberal Party of Canada will ultimately usher in the free and democratic Canadian parliamentary republic that the confederation of 1867 has been logically evolving towards for the past 150 years.

And this is the free and democratic republic that today’s Canada has actually been in practice for the past half century or more. Note, eg, the allusion to “a free and democratic society” at the start of the Constitution Act, 1982.

And read the political scientist Frederick Vaughan, a retired professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario who now lives in Nova Scotia. In a book published in 2003 he argues that the Charter of Rights in the Constitution Act, 1982 is “based upon republican principles … the closest Canadians have ever come to a document that affirms the rights of the people.”

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