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Donald Trump may be a lot of things, but he’s not ineffectual

Quote of the week — by former Conservative government Finance Minister Joe Oliver, in the National Post this morning. He’s writing of how the current Liberal government is blowing our relationship with America, at a crucial time, by stupidly grandstanding largely to satisfy their own Liberal Party base.

…Still, we [Canada] should do our share to protect ourselves. That is what the current president demanded, as did his two predecessors who were much gentler, far more diplomatic and utterly ineffectual.

It’s the last part of that quote that struck me as unusually bold (for a Canuck), but I’ll hedge a little on it being “utterly” true: Obama was certainly ineffectual. Utterly. No argument there. But that same characterization being assigned to W is a little incongruous to me. President Bush was nothing if not strong on the defence file, insisting on not just American defence (and offence in the case of Iraq and terrorism generally), but North American defence — and dragged Canada — sometimes kicking and screaming — closer to his way of thinking on defence and security policy, and even on the war on terror. Granted, Bush proved ineffectual in convincing Canadians (the general population as opposed to its Conservative leadership at that time) to take greater responsibility for Canada, particularly against the looming Islamist threat, but he tried, and it was inarguably not his job to do so. Canadians are still utterly ineffectual on this global terrorism file, and nobody in Canada is even trying to change that.

Oliver wasn’t done with the bold. I love what he wrote about the ridiculous Paris climate accord:

Withdrawal from the Paris climate accord is viewed as the latest and to some, including the minister, the most egregious instance of America renouncing its leadership responsibilities. It is not. In a triumph of feel-good faith and ideology over the facts and common sense, extravagant emotion is devoted to the agreement.

Unfortunately, rather than humanity’s last hope it is basically a meaningless conceit. The accord is founded on voluntary promises that are not binding and have no penalties for non-compliance. At best it will have a minuscule impact on global temperatures (0.2 per cent of a degree Celsius) by the end of the century, assuming every country does what it promised, which we know will never happen. Yet the cost will be in the trillions, which will undermine growth, reduce employment, divert funding from critical social programs and disproportionately hurt the poor.

Proclaiming the emperor has no clothes is not the abandonment of leadership. To the contrary, confronting consensus with truth is the assertion of leadership. If Paris leads to more robust military spending, it would be the first positive thing to have emerged from its pretentious hypocrisy.

And his conclusion about the pose the ineffectual Liberals are striking:

Hopefully, the president will take the win and let Canada worry that it weakened its bargaining position with intemperate posturing.

Perfectly said.


Contact the Editor: Joel Johannesen
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