International politics and domestic elections

di Joe Volpe del 2 July 2019

TORONTO - Hang on to your hats (and your wallets). Check your credibility thermometers. We are already in election mode.

In an era of hyper partisanship and the vacuum created by intellectual laziness or apathy, every event serves the purposes of a partisan political objective: victory at the polls on October 22.

It is unlikely that the House of Commons will reconvene before then. Therefore,
every statement, promise, event that is not already staged to produce a desired outcome will generate a “rebuttal” of sorts to rest the playing field or to “pile on” the negatives for the other Party.

Just to be clear, there are only two
Parties in the running to form the
Government: Liberals and Conservatives. The others, NDP, Green and Bloc are in the race to hold the balance of power in the event of a minority government scenario.

Because the nature of electoral politics is at this early stage focused on the personality of the Leader, every misstep will be magnified.

Take for example the G-20 meeting of the last weekend in June. This G-20 group started as a meeting of the 20 Ministers of Finance from the 20 largest economies in the world, in part, to bring emerging nations into the fold of “the big boys” in the G-7.

Their “agreements”, until the emergence of China, set the stage for world development. On the face of first impressions, it did not go well for Canada.

Less so for its Prime Minister. In a pre-arranged alphabetical seating order, Trudeau found himself between Brasil’s and China’s Presidents. The latter seemed to ignore him, disdainfully so. We were left with the impression that Canada has issues with China that only the USA can

Brasil’s Bolsonaro appeared to
deliberately disrespect and rebuff
Trudeau’s overtures of cordiality.

Maybe we should engage the Tim Horton’s coffee franchise, it’s Canadian icon, wholly owned by Brazilian investors.

The Conservative War Room jumped on these perceptions, heightening them and offering, in their minds, a “credible alternative”: Stephen Harper as a negotiator for a Brexit Deal on the team of Jeremy Hunt, one of the remaining two candidates to replace the hapless and retired British Conservative PM.

The spin for the Media is that Harper is an experienced hand who dealt with the USA for ten years “improving our trade relations”, signed several trade deals with other countries and for five years set in motion and perfected the CETA trade deal with Europe. Moreover, he was a sound fiscal Conservative, so any association with his persona, cannot be negative, as Liberal political ads now claim.

A word of caution for Sheer: be wary where you are being led. Harper took a $13 billion surplus and turned it into deficit and debt nightmare our economy will not soon reverse.

Harper’s ill-advised populist gambit on cutting government revenues by lowering the GST to 5% has so far cost government revenues a total of $192.6 billion. Do you really want to go there?

Harper’s negotiating skills resulted in the cancellation of the Canadian Wheat Board - much to the delight of the American agri-producers. He worked diligently to give increased access to American Oil and Gas interests, American meat packing conglomerates and US lumber consortia.

Some Americans will speak well of him. Western Canadians may well be skeptical about politics of diverification.

The CETA was on the verge of collapse until Chrystia Freeland saved it from an ignominious death, but Italy, a major Canadian trading partner still refuses to ratify the deal.

Only an uninformed optimist will expect Europeans to jump at the potential chance to deal with Harper when their relationship with a pliant May went nowhere.

Happily, the Canadian election will be about issues other than trying to reburnish the reputation of another politician put out to pasture.

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