Join me as we discuss political tidbits and odds and ends from the past week.
Elbow-gate seems to be dissolving into the ash-heap of history with no harm done to Justin Trudeau’s reputation. He apologized — profusely — and most seem to accept it. In fact, an Ipsos poll commissioned by Global News found that 63 per cent believe the whole thing was “no big deal”.
It’s also interesting that most of the blowback on this seems to have hit the NDP, as many have accused them of blowing the entire incident out of proportion. And indeed, leader Tom Mulcair’s insistence that Trudeau’s flying elbow into the chest of MP Ruth-Ellen Brosseau, which most agree seems inadvertent, is akin to abuse, is not playing well. The claim didn’t fly well with groups who assist victims of domestic violence — let me tell you about abuse and what it looks like was their message. It also didn’t play well with most Canadians, who gave Mulcair a resounding “Oh puhleeeze!”
So Trudeau’s honeymoon with Canadian voters appears to continue. I’m sure some are asking, what will it take? If a physical melee in the House of Commons doesn’t dent his approval rating, what will it take?
Surely, one Stephen Harper must be thinking that. In fact, maybe that’s what pushed him to announce his retirement this week. He announced on Wednesday that he will resign this fall to pursue “other business interests”. It was an announcement that many had been anticipating given that the results of the last election were seen as a referendum on Harper’s years as Prime Minister and the crushing defeat seen as “Harper fatigue”. In fact the one burning question with many, as Harper conceded to Trudeau last fall was, why didn’t he resign right then?
So now it’s out with a whimper not a bang. But in the immortal words of Neil Young, “It’s better to burn out than it is to rust”.
Given that Harper had been accused of more than a few robotic qualities, he may have begun to rust earlier than some.
South of the border, Donald Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, something every presidential candidate has done in the past. Some speculate he won’t release them because they would show he’s not as rich as he claims to be; others speculate that they will show he managed to avoid paying any income taxes. Trump himself says he can’t release his returns because he is undergoing an audit by the IRS. However, the IRS says that doesn’t preclude him from releasing the tax returns. Round and round we go with the Donald show.
Trump is pulling off quite a remarkable feat at the moment. You think Trudeau is teflon? That nothing seems to hurt him?
How about Donald Trump? No matter how often he flip flops his positions, no matter how often he outright lies, nobody seems to care. The media doesn’t push him. He lies blatantly and rather than push, it’s just accepted.
Many Trump supporters like to say he “tells it like it is”. Apparently that’s something to be admired. If you tell it like it is, it doesn’t matter that the message is racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and downright scary. Because he’s telling it like it is.
It’s all part and parcel of a particularly American notion that you can’t trust politicians. And if you can’t trust them, you don’t want to elect them. You want to elect anyone but a politician. It’s counter-intuitive to the point of absurdity.
Do you go to a job interview for a position as a lawyer and proudly proclaim that you did not study law and have no intention of doing so? For a position as a surgeon while screaming at the top of your lungs that you’d rather die than go to medical school?
Yet America is poised to elect a man who knows nothing about the workings of government, who has no policy except vague promises, who doesn’t even seem to understand the electoral system. But he’s gaining supporters because he’s not a politician.
I guess my question is, when does he become a politician? He’s through the primary process, which involves a lot of politics. He is now embarking on the general election campaign, a political show watched worldwide. How long can he continue to proclaim he’s not a politician?
Considering the blind loyalty of his supporters, he will probably still proclaim he’s not a politician while he’s running for re-election. And they will believe him.
Talk about the Teflon Don.
Carolyn Grant is Editor
of the Kimberley Bulletin