Why is so much Canadian mainstream media (and its hangers-on) so eager to gang up on PM Justin Trudeau?

Oct 3rd, 2021 | By | Category: In Brief
“Looking for Clues #3 Sept. 30, 2021” by Michael Seward.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK — RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO. OCTOBER 3, 2021. We are almost certainly too foolishly proud of the extent to which we in Canada have (so far) avoided the absolute worst of the current crazed politics that are increasingly immobilizing the American giant next door.

As opposed to Donald Trump, for example, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Erin O’Toole, has just run an election campaign on an at least faux-progressive platform. And no Big Lie has emerged about the results of the 2021 Canadian federal election. (Again, so far.)

As in the USA and similar democracies elsewhere (UK, France, India, Australia, and so forth) many smaller lies are nonetheless haunting the contemporary Canadian political air. There are still more, as it were, half-truths. The anglophone Canadian mainstream media — tilted quite strongly right in our time — have a tedious taste for scandal or some suitable facsimile. Half-truths are fair ball. Clever lies that work are to be admired, etc.

Canadian conservatives also like nothing better than capturing Canadian progressives with their ideological pants down, so to speak. Old photos of Justin Trudeau in blackface were a goldmine (whatever else). And the latest assault of this sort on the long-suffering prime minister appears in such headlines as : “‘Complete letdown’: Cindy Blackstock on Trudeau’s Tofino trip” ; and “Residential school survivor criticizes Trudeau for travelling on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation … ‘His words don’t match his actions,’ Evelyn Korkmaz says.”

Washington Monthly on “the World’s Most Successful Progressive Leader”

On the other hand, I’ve also lately been reading Daniel Block’s “Justin Trudeau May Be the World’s Most Successful Progressive Leader … You don’t have to like him. But hear out his accomplishments,” in the Washington Monthly, September 29, 2021.

I have something of a reading-history with the Washington Monthly. I subscribed to this esteemed publication started by Charles Peters (who mortgaged his house to provide capital), late 1970s–early 1980s. I have much more recently been receiving weekly updates from the post-Charles-Peters digital Washington Monthly, which still strives to uphold his high standards.

(For a taste of these standards, see the current account on the magazine website : “‘˜Charlie Peters rewrote the rules for political coverage, and his influence is felt throughout American magazines,’ said Cyndi Stivers,” editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journalism Review. “Peters has epitomized the crusading, public-spirited editor envisioned by the nation’s founders as a bulwark of democracy. Working on a shoestring budget and minuscule salaries for himself and his skeletal staff, Peters created a small but extraordinarily influential political magazine that has changed the policy debate in Washington.”)

Daniel Block is the current “executive editor of the Washington Monthly.” His September 29, 2021 case for Justin Trudeau can be suggested in a few quotations : “Trudeau’s time in office has resulted in a long list of policy accomplishments. The prime minister expanded Canada’s version of Social Security — called the Canada Pension Plan — by boosting the amount of income the system replaces from one-quarter to one-third, a shift that delighted unions. He increased by 10 percent the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which the government provides to seniors who are especially poor. His parliament created the tax-free Child Care Benefit for impoverished kids. He launched and then hiked the country’s first-ever carbon tax.”

Mr. Block’s list continues : PM Trudeau’s government (along with especially its NDP parliamentary supporters after 2019) “passed a large infrastructure package, one that’s bigger as a percentage of GDP than the bipartisan infrastructure bill the US Congress is now considering. (It is also greener.)”

Justin Trudeau similarly “legalized weed … banned 1,500 different kinds of guns. He is planning to increase Canada’s intake of immigrants to levels not seen since 1911. Last May, his government began budgeting tens of billions of federal dollars to reduce child care costs to under $10 a day.˜ ‘This might be the most left wing government in Canada’s history,’ wrote the Canadian journalist Stephen Maher last week.”

Block carries on : “Trudeau’s policies appear to have had strong results. Poverty — which was increasing before he took office in 2015 — has fallen during his administration, from 14.5 percent to 10.1 percent in 2019 … Deep poverty, meanwhile, fell from 7.4 percent to 5.0 percent. The share of Canadians making less than half the median income was rising before Trudeau … Since his first victory, it has decreased by 15 percent. The share of after-tax income going to the bottom 40 percent of earners … went up. It remains to be seen how COVID-19 will shape his economic legacy, but Trudeau’s government has mounted an aggressive fiscal response … Of all the refugees who resettled around the world in 2020, nearly half went to Canada. It is the third consecutive year that the country has led the world in resettlements.”

On the 21st anniversary of the death of Pierre Trudeau

In such other recent local articles as “‘Complete letdown’: Cindy Blackstock on Trudeau’s Tofino trip” the prime minister has been criticized for taking a holiday with his family in Tofino on Vancouver Island, on the September 30, 2021 First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

As explained by CBC News : “Evelyn Korkmaz, who survived the St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., criticized the prime minister for instead taking part in a Parliament Hill ceremony on the eve of the new federal statutory holiday meant to honour the children who died in residential schools and the survivors and communities affected by the system … ‘˜It’s like celebrating Remembrance Day, or reflecting on Remembrance Day on November the 10th rather than November the 11th.'”

In protest, some on Twitter have noted the particular family significance this time of year has for Justin Trudeau. As explained on Wikipedia his father Pierre …Trudeau died on September 28, 2000. His casket lay in state on Parliament Hill from September 30 to October 1 and the following day at Montrêal City Hall. On October 3, a state funeral was held at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal … eulogies were delivered by Trudeau’s friends … and then, memorably, by Trudeau’s eldest son Justin, whose moving tribute to his father reduced many listeners to tears.”

October 2, 1975 was also the birthday of Justin Trudeau’s youngest brother, Michel Charles-Émile, whose death on November 13, 1998, in an avalanche while skiing in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in BC, was a widely reported ingredient in the death of Pierre Trudeau less than two years later.

Justin Trudeau’s most severe critics have dismissed all this as an explanation of his 2021 September 30 family trip to Tofino in BC, on the grounds that he has not always taken such a family holiday at this time of year. The thought that first officially remembering the tragedy of the Indigenous residential schools in 2021 may have brought the tragedy of his own brother’s and father’s deaths to mind, and that like all other Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians, the prime minister has his own grief to work through, apparently eludes the mainstream media, and the prime minister’s conservative and other critics.

Personally, I am wondering just how many of the (Non-Indigenous and Indigenous) Canadians who voted for Trudeau Liberals on September 20, 2021 are actually seriously disturbed by the prime minister’s family trip to Tofino on September 30? And I note that along with the 32.6% of Canada-wide voters who chose Liberals this time, 15.5% did so in Alberta, 27.0% in BC, 33.6% in Quebec, 39.3% in Ontario, 42.3% in Nova Scotia, and 47.7% in Newfoundland and Labrador. At another geographic grain again, 12.2% voted Liberal in Regina, 16.5% in Edmonton, 19.2% in Calgary, 30.5% in Winnipeg, 36.5% in Vancouver, 38.2% in Hamilton, 41.1% in Montreal, 43.4% in Ottawa, 44.6% in Halifax, and 48.9% in Toronto. On October 3, 2021 — the 21st anniversary of the funeral of (the closet Canadian Métis?) Pierre Trudeau — I’m guessing that most of these people at least would still agree with the main thrust of Daniel Block’s September 29 article, “Justin Trudeau May Be the World’s Most Successful Progressive Leader … You don’t have to like him. But hear out his accomplishments.” (And now it is at least arguable that these accomplishments include the federal statutory holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, however it may be commemorated by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians alike.)

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