Guest Notes

North American notes

9 November 2019

9:00 AM

9 November 2019

9:00 AM

Al Jolson vs the vulgarian pugilist

First to Canada. The election produced a minority government win for the incumbent Al Jolson. Sorry, make that Justin Trudeau.  His left-leaning Liberal party received a percent and a half less of the popular vote than the right-leaning (in the most enervated, more-left-than-right sense of ‘right’) Conservative party.  But Trudeau’s team won handily more of the seats. The final tally in the 338 member House of Commons – the only House that counts in Canada as the Upper House is wholly appointed and lacking virtually all legitimacy, blocks next to nothing – was 157 for the Libs to 121 for the Tories. A nationalist party that runs only in Quebec scored 32 seats; a hard left party 24; the Greens 3; and the woman who was justice minister and who stood up to Trudeau last year won as an independent.

Basically it’s a mess. Only two-thirds of Canadians voted, which was down three per cent from the last election. All of those lefty Canadians who have spent the last three years complaining about Trump winning without winning the popular vote are strangely silent as their boy Trudeau just did the same. Well, sort of. The fact is that Canada is a very left-wing place in most parts of the country and if you add up votes for all the lefty parties it amounts to well over half (the Quebec nationalists being impossible to categorise on the usual left-to-right spectrum).

Here’s the most amazing thing about the Canadian election result.For the first time ever, the lefty Liberals did not win a single, solitary seat in the Western provinces of oil-producing Alberta and of potash- producing Saskatchewan. Two biggish provinces (so not like a small Tasmania) and not a single Lib was elected.  Move over one more province to the east in Manitoba, and the Libs won only four seats in inner-city Winnipeg. And what of British Columbia? They only won seats in Vancouver. The West is a wasteland for them. Meantime the Liberals cleaned up in and around Toronto and in Ontario. To be clear, this minority government is wholly a creature of Quebec and the urban parts of Ontario. It is fair to say that western Canada has never been more disaffected, not even under Trudeau Snr back in the 1980s. The luvvy Greeny element of the Liberals has spent the Trudeau Jnr years making pipeline production virtually impossible. It is so hard to get Alberta oil to the market that it sells at about $30 a barrel cheaper, the difference being needed to get trains to take it somewhere. Alberta has been devastated. And after this election, one that will see it with zero representation in government, talk of seceding or at least of holding a referendum to leave Canada is rife.

A further problem is one with which Australians can easily identify, the equalisation payments between provinces.  Under the bizarre formula used (not as bizarre, opaque or insanely equalising as Australia’s, I might add) Alberta is and for half a century has been a net contributor. Quebec, which at the moment has the best-performing economy, is the biggest net receiver. Go figure! And Quebec won’t let a pipeline from the West run through its territory.

Take it from me. Things are bad in Canada at the moment on the national unity front. It turns out that a virtue-signaling, blackface-loving (one the press stopped challenging on that score almost immediately because, well, Justin’s a lefty like them), trust fund baby is doing more to unravel Canadian unity than even his dad. It’s a tribute to genetics.

Meanwhile, down south in the US things continue on an eerily similar course. The Democrats in the House of Representatives, where they have a majority, seem dead-set on impeaching the president. Now ‘impeachment’ means ‘charging with’ or ‘charging a public office holder with an offence’. In the case of the president the charged offence is then heard in the senate and to succeed the prosecution needs two-thirds of the senators to vote to convict. Given that a majority of the US Senate is in the hands of the Republican party, and that President Trump’s popularity with card-carrying Republicans is well over 90 per cent (an all-time high for anyone I believe), everyone knows that Trump will not be removed from office by this ploy. Everything the Democrats do, and I mean everything, has to be seen through the prism of trying to win the 2020 presidential election. As things stand, even with wall-to-wall negative mainstream press coverage bar Fox, Trump is favoured to win by bookies and by many Trump-averse observers.

Why? Well, first off Trump has set out to deliver on every single campaign promise he made, which by the way included getting out of Syria. Like it or hate it you can’t complain he’s not doing what he said (the only exceptions being when Republicans in Congress vote against him and with the Democrats, such as with building the wall).  This is jarring to those of us who’ve grown cynical watching useless right- of-centre political parties and leaders get into office and then equivocate, recalibrate, attempt to placate implacable foes on the left, appoint lefties to everything going and basically do the post-election ‘move to the left polka’.Not Trump. In a way it’s exhilarating.

Plus, he’s a fighter. In fact, the man can’t let anything go at all. Fight, fight, fight. At present the vast preponderance of the chattering classes, the media, the lawyerly caste, the university professoriate, the big end of town (remember, Hillary won all 100 of the richest counties in the US – rich people now as a rule vote Left; they can afford to), the bureaucracy including the national security parts of it, all of them and more loathe Trump. And yet their overwhelming fear is that Trump will win next year.

I think they’re right. I hope they’re right. Sure, I’d much prefer a Reagan-like person. But if the only game in town is a vulgarian, self-obsessed, ex-Democrat pugilist who is doing more for the conservative side of politics than anyone in a long, long time (ask yourself, for example, if Mr Morrison or any other Western conservative leader would have stood by Justice Kavanagh), then Trump’s my guy. Here’s my call. He’ll win in 2020 and he’ll win more easily than the first time.

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