trudeau mask
© Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Rough times are a-coming, what with the cascading consequences of energy shortages, supply chain disruptions, war in Ukraine and severe and looming food and fertilizer shortages.

I have had the great privilege of travelling to 40 American cities in just about as many states and to 15 European countries in the last four months, in the waning days of the great COVID panic, and I have learned many things about our great and self-conscious nation.

First: I have not travelled anywhere else where the citizens and the government are more neurotically "concerned" about the pandemic. It may have escaped Canadians' notice, but virtually nowhere else in the developed world is it now required to wear a mask, as is still mandatory in many of Canada's airports and on flights out of our benighted country. There is absolutely no excuse for this, except the punitive self-righteousness of the Trudeau Liberals. What else might you expect, however, from a government that also includes Chrystia Freeland, a deputy prime minister who has bragged about her colleagues' appalling economic performance, claiming that it is actually good for Canadians to empty their wallets at the gas pumps, because of its implications in fighting the "climate emergency." I simply cannot believe that this absolute failure of economic policy is now being trumpeted as a positive accomplishment. Here's a hint for you saintly progressives: if you cared about the poor (the real poor, not the hypothetical poor you are hypothetically saving in the future), you would seek to drive down the cost of energy — energy that is precisely equivalent to work and, therefore, to the wealth that ameliorates poverty.

Second: it is almost impossible to overstate the degree to which Canada's international reputation has been damaged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Americans I have talked to (including people very well-placed politically on the Democratic and Republican fronts alike) listen in disbelief when I recount the claim brought forth by the Trudeau Liberals: that the trucker Freedom Convoy was financed by Americans hell-bent on bringing about a Jan. 6-style insurrection in Ottawa. Who would benefit from that, even in principle? Even if the Americans (Republican MAGA-types, say) cared about us — which they don't — why in the world would they want to destabilize Canadian democracy? What's the motive, to justify the crime? There is none. Even the American Democrats think that idea is insane.

And a non-trivial proportion of Canadians seemed willing to buy the story, despite its demonstrable falseness and preposterousness, because the alternative was the truly painful realization that governmental institutions (and some specific members of the media, especially the CBC) have now become fundamentally incompetent. It's easier for too many smug and blind northerners to swallow the line instead that madmen MAGA Trumpists want to destabilize what is after all their biggest trading partner and most stable and reliable ally; to believe that Confederate-admiring truckers (and is there more than a single one of those?) are working in concert with the evil orange-haired demon who once ruled the United States.

And, even worse: is Prime Minister Trudeau so deluded that he failed to notice that these same "MAGA terrorists" are going to utterly shellack the hapless Democrats this coming fall and take the presidency in 2024 and that we will then have to talk, trade and otherwise consort with them, as they are the perennial elephant on our doorstep, and that burning all bridges in that direction with casual derogation might not be particularly politic? The unfortunate answer to that question is, "Clearly, yes! Trudeau is that pretentious, presumptuous, careless and uninformed. But, after all, he doesn't bother himself with such trivialities as monetary policy."

Third: on the international front, I have had extensive discussions with political and cultural figures in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Albania, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland and Serbia, and I know firsthand that Canada has hurt itself very badly on the reputational front with the derisive dismissal of the trucker convoy (which has spawned similar movements in other countries — most notably the U.S. and the Netherlands), with the imposition of the Emergencies Act and, most signally, with the freezing of private bank accounts without due process (or any pesky process at all). Perhaps Canadians are trying to downplay the significance of all of this, because we are in some state of shock after all the COVID over-reach, which we have not yet sloughed off. (And on that note: I have not seen people anywhere in all my travels more terrified by their government than Torontonians, except perhaps in Vancouver. And this includes the denizens of the almost equally-woke-as-Canada states of New York and California.) Everyone outside is asking: just what in hell is going on in the Great White North? And not without true sorrow. Our country was for many years a beacon of both possibility and stability, a remarkable example of what a tolerant modern democracy might be, a place where people from multiple cultures could thrive, and a staid, sober but also sporadically interesting and creative place.

And because three catastrophes are not enough, here's an additional selection, peppered with some questions: How have Canadians failed to realize that our government holds them in contempt? That Trudeau believes that his God-given mission is to elevate the consciousness of his citizens, instead of serving their interests, economically and practically? That the Trudeau Liberals are perfectly willing to make us all poor, miserable and demoralized just to utterly fail in their efforts to save the planet? That the agents of that party and government are, as previously noted, perfectly willing and eager to trumpet that aim, which can be easily attained through the wretched combination of incompetence and moral Machiavellianism that characterizes the Trudeauites, as a moral accomplishment? That we could be the freest, richest, cleanest country in the world but that we are trying hard to be none of those three? That we are dividing ourselves among racial lines that are more germane to the U.S., just to mimic the very progressive radicals whose policies are dooming the Democrats to what appears to be their worst electoral defeat in at least 50 years? That all the data on the environmental front indicates that the fastest way to improve the ecosystems on which we all depend is to make people richer, not poorer (and to do that with good old capitalism) so they have the luxury to think about the long run and the habitat of their children?

And I have said nothing about additional issues such as Bill C-11, which is perhaps the most appalling piece of legislation currently on the books (and that's a tough competition), which renders virtually every internet content provider in the world subject to the rules that should not even still govern the CBC and CTV (despite their use of scarce public airwaves), and which will make the rules regulating the net in Canada some of the most absurd and restrictive in the free world (and beyond). Or that we are pursuing an energy policy generated by ideologues that will not only impoverish our populace by making energy unreasonably expensive (have you noticed, Canadians, when you fill up your unnecessary vehicles at the pumps?) but that will only increase the probability that countries such as China will have to rely on coal to produce electricity instead of accessing, say, our plentiful natural gas. And that will therefore make the CO2 burden borne by the atmosphere greater instead of lesser. And, just last week (and in the aftermath of the Dutch farmer protests), that we are trying to reduce the absolute levels of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide produced by those who grow our food regardless of the amount of those crops produced in consequence. And that we're doing that by threat and force — shades of COVID policy — instead of working with the farmers to find mutually acceptable and truly sustainable economic and environmental solutions.

Or the incomprehensible insistence of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, sworn enemy of the real working person, that the proper role of the "socialist" NDP is to indefinitely prop up Trudeau's government, despite the fact that there seems to be nothing in it for Singh's party at all — not even the cabinet position that a competent negotiator could have at least obtained as compensation for the sacrifice of his soul.

Or the fact that our judiciary must now be staffed by people who swear fealty to the diversity, inclusion and equity (DIE) ideology that has devastated universities and is now working its way through many careless corporations. That we are producing a generation of activist judges who are usurping what should be legislative action so that they can "improve" the world more efficiently than mere Parliament, with its lack of Chinese-Communist-Party efficiency, might manage. Or the fact that the OECD has predicted that Canada will have the worst growth prospects of the major industrial societies for the next FOUR DECADES (please excuse the annoyed capital letters but good God — the worst? And for four decades?).

I believe that the federal Liberals have run the most incompetent administration in Canadian history; that they have not yet done all the terrible damage that they are going to do; that Canadians will not wake to the reality of the situation because an awakening at that level requires a level of conceptual restructuring and consequent emotional trauma that we have never been called on before to manifest; and that Trudeau's idiosyncratic combination of wilfully blind ignorance, moral pretension and narcissistic self-aggrandizement is toxic. Singh might, if anything, be worse.

Trudeau's government has been wracked by scandals, each one severe enough to justify the dissolution of Parliament under normal conditions, so numerous that it is almost impossible to recover from the shock of one revealed misbehaviour quick enough to process the next. And we could have four more years of this, particularly if Singh continues to ambulate miraculously without a spine, something physiologically impossible but apparently simultaneously possible on the political and conceptual front.

This is not good, Canadians. We not only look like fools to our great American allies and internationally (and the particularly self-righteous fools that only Canadians can be), we are actually being fools, led by the king of fools, and we're going to pay for it. And so are our children and grandchildren. This government has to go, and the sooner the better. And hopefully — God willing — we'll be fortunate enough to find some competent adults to lead us. Conservatives: do you have it in you? Pierre Poilievre, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber, Scott Aitchison: can you shake off the mob-generated guilt and consequent moral timidity that has so effectively hamstrung opponents of the leftist radicals for the last 15 (or 40) years and stand forthrightly for traditional values of family, economy, culture and, indeed, environment? Can you serve as genuine guardians of the working and middle class (and rich and successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople, for that matter) and put forward a positive and attractive vision that's more than mere reaction to the over-reach of the utopian left? Can you withstand the temptation to destroy your party with internal squabbles or to settle in September for a candidate that displeases no one but fails to truly satisfy anyone as you have done much too often in the past?

Rough times are a-coming, what with the cascading consequences of energy shortages, supply chain disruptions, war in Ukraine and (last but by no means least) severe and looming food and fertilizer shortages. The Liberals and NDP are gone, gone, gone into the utopian clouds. I pray we have in Canada something in reserve that is better — although it is truly hard to see how anything different from what we have now could be worse.