Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Canada’s New PM: Looks Shallow but May Have Depth

 

08_23_cal_trudeau_robsonfletcherPrime Minister Justin Trudeau swore in his new cabinet today, striking for its number of political rookies. In our Parliamentary system, the Cabinet is usually picked from a small set of politicians (imagine if America’s cabinet had to be made up only of congressmen, and you get the idea).

Usually, seniority is a primary consideration, but Trudeau picked a collection of political rookies. He seemed to match his MPs based on strangely superficial grounds: Hey, an astronaut, let’s put him in Transport; look, a Paralympian, let’s put her in charge of sport and the disability departments; the quadriplegic should get Veterans’ Affairs! Trudeau’s remarks and ceremony consciously echoed Obama’s.

I have to admit, though, he has attracted some pretty impressive resumes — people who committed to a run back when the Liberal Party had fewer than 10 percent of the seats in the House of Commons and was fighting for its life. That indicates Trudeau has developed some powers of persuasion (he sure didn’t have them when I met him in 2005).

Of note for the American conservative:

  1. Finance Minister Bill Morneau is, unusually, a rookie but with an impressive résumé building one of Canada’s largest HR firms. Most people have never heard of him but he’s getting good reviews in the financial press. Market is ambivalent so far. He will spend on infrastructure (per election promises) but is a reassuring pick to conservatives.
  2. Foreign affairs is Stephane Dion, a disastrous former Liberal leader who may be well suited. In the 1990s he was intergovernmental affairs, which means corralling unruly provinces (an important job in Canada). Americans will be shocked by his shaky English. He’s single-minded and stubborn, and faceplants about as often as he shines. English Canadians like him because he outmaneuvered the separatists in 1997 with what has turned out to be a permanent wound. He’s also a hard-left environmentalist, which may shine through in this post.
  3. Our new Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan, is a hero of the Afghan war. Again, a turban-wearing Canadian may look surprising to Americans, but Indo-Canadians have a strong history in law enforcement and the Canadian forces, and by all accounts he’s a pretty good guy. Another political rookie, though — it’s not clear that he has the sophistication required to deal with America on its military priorities. My bet: Americans can look for cooperation from him on North American issues, but Canada will refrain from most international military deployments. He was born in India but was raised in Canada.
  4. You normally wouldn’t care about the Environment Minister, but with upcoming climate change conferences, it matters. A human rights and “social justice” lawyer, I have no doubt Catherine McKenna is a leftie, but she’s also a political rookie. The appointment is notable in that she is not an accomplished environmentalist, like some of those who were passed over. Look for Canada to take a green turn, but more in platitudes than policies that matter. The Federal government will stop pushing so hard for Keystone, but the company is likely to still cautiously pursue it.

There are 49 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Tenacious D Inactive

    I take the new finance minister’s CD Howe involvement as a reassuring sign. New defence minister was a Lt. Col., which is also good in my opinion.
    Stephane Dion: his appointment looks like a signal that climate change will be a keystone of Canadian foreign policy over the next 4+ years (he named his dog Kyoto). I also wonder how long it will be before we’ve got unarmed blue helmets stuck in some no-win situation?

    • #1
    • November 4, 2015, at 11:23 AM PST
    • Like
  2. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    screenshot.5

    • #2
    • November 4, 2015, at 11:27 AM PST
    • Like
  3. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Also, re Stephane Dion: The tradition of getting the preceding party leader out of the country continues.

    Foreign minister under Mulroney: Joe Clark

    Foreign minister under Harper: Peter McKay

    Out of the country = Best place for a possible leadership rival

    • #3
    • November 4, 2015, at 11:30 AM PST
    • Like
  4. Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian) Inactive

    Tenacious D:I take the new finance minister’s CD Howe involvement as a reassuring sign. New defence minister was a Lt. Col., which is also good in my opinion. Stephane Dion: his appointment looks like a signal that climate change will be a keystone of Canadian foreign policy over the next 4+ years (he named his dog Kyoto). I also wonder how long it will be before we’ve got unarmed blue helmets stuck in some no-win situation?

    I saw the Dion appointment as a way to keep him away from green issues. There are only so many opportunities for that kind of agenda in foreign affairs (with the possible exception of the climate conference – we’ll see who the government gives that file to).

    • #4
    • November 4, 2015, at 11:30 AM PST
    • Like
  5. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian):

    Tenacious D:I take the new finance minister’s CD Howe involvement as a reassuring sign. New defence minister was a Lt. Col., which is also good in my opinion. Stephane Dion: his appointment looks like a signal that climate change will be a keystone of Canadian foreign policy over the next 4+ years (he named his dog Kyoto). I also wonder how long it will be before we’ve got unarmed blue helmets stuck in some no-win situation?

    I saw the Dion appointment as a way to keep him away from green issues. There are only so many opportunities for that kind of agenda in foreign affairs (with the possible exception of the climate conference – we’ll see who the government gives that file to).

    Note that Trudeau plans on attending these international summits personally, thereby cutting his new minister off at the knees right from the get-go.

    • #5
    • November 4, 2015, at 11:34 AM PST
    • Like
  6. Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian) Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian):

    Tenacious D:I take the new finance minister’s CD Howe involvement as a reassuring sign. New defence minister was a Lt. Col., which is also good in my opinion. Stephane Dion: his appointment looks like a signal that climate change will be a keystone of Canadian foreign policy over the next 4+ years (he named his dog Kyoto). I also wonder how long it will be before we’ve got unarmed blue helmets stuck in some no-win situation?

    I saw the Dion appointment as a way to keep him away from green issues. There are only so many opportunities for that kind of agenda in foreign affairs (with the possible exception of the climate conference – we’ll see who the government gives that file to).

    Note that Trudeau plans on attending these international summits personally, thereby cutting his new minister off at the knees right from the get-go.

    The rookie will learn: if he goes personally, people can ask him questions directly. If he sends a minister, people know they’re not talking to a decision-maker, and he can avoid being cornered. Climate conferences are the worst; most countries send representatives of representatives of representatives, which is why nothing binding ever comes out of them (by design).

    • #6
    • November 4, 2015, at 11:58 AM PST
    • Like
  7. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian):

    The rookie will learn: if he goes personally, people can ask him questions directly. If he sends a minister, people know they’re not talking to a decision-maker, and he can avoid being cornered. Climate conferences are the worst; most countries send representatives of representatives of representatives, which is why nothing binding ever comes out of them (by design).

    a) What people? The Canadian media? Pfft. They’re his own personal PR team.

    b) He doesn’t have to worry about being cornered if he’s a true believer.

    c) He can make all the commitments he wants at these summits, because he can count on the media to blame the next Conservative government for any failures.

    • #7
    • November 4, 2015, at 12:47 PM PST
    • Like
  8. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I for one am prepared to withhold judgement on Prime Minister Bieber.

    • #8
    • November 4, 2015, at 12:49 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian) Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian):

    The rookie will learn: if he goes personally, people can ask him questions directly. If he sends a minister, people know they’re not talking to a decision-maker, and he can avoid being cornered. Climate conferences are the worst; most countries send representatives of representatives of representatives, which is why nothing binding ever comes out of them (by design).

    a) What people? The Canadian media? Pfft. They’re his own personal PR team.

    b) He doesn’t have to worry about being cornered if he’s a true believer.

    c) He can make all the commitments he wants at these summits, because he can count on the media to blame the next Conservative government for any failures.

    Misthi, you are a cynic!

    I have no love for this guy, but the road to his PMO is littered with the bodies of people who have underestimated him. I don’t think he’s a true-believing environmentalist.

    He may get into problems from his naivite, but it won’t be from his principles – I haven’t seen evidence that he has many.

    • #9
    • November 4, 2015, at 12:56 PM PST
    • Like
  10. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian): Misthi, you are a cynic!

    a) Thank you. The ancient cynics vowed to see the world as it is, not how they wished it to be.

    b) How is it cynical to assume a politician isn’t lying? Seems downright idealistic to me.

    • #10
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:04 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Trudeau’s base: People who have nothing better to do on a workday but stand around in the street:

    The large and diverse crowd that gathered on the grounds of Rideau Hall to witness the arrival of the new Liberal government found themselves framed by a dazzling blue sky and a sun-streaked canvas of autumn foliage.

    They watched on large video screens dotted around the grounds as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his new cabinet took their oaths. As the names were called, they applauded and cheered like the crowd at a sporting event greeting the starting line-up on the day of a big game.

    The watchword for the next four years: Spectacle.

    • #11
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:05 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tenacious D:I also wonder how long it will be before we’ve got unarmed blue helmets stuck in some no-win situation?

    I don’t think that’s likely. The Chretien liberals did that back when the public clamoured for “action” whenever there was news of some international crisis. Nowadays, post-Afghanistan and post-Iraq, the popular sentiment is to just keep the troops at home. There is very little appetite for overseas deployment of ANY kind. The Dauphin made zero promises about using Canadian troops abroad for anything other than natural disaster relief.

    • #12
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:09 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian) Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    Tenacious D:I also wonder how long it will be before we’ve got unarmed blue helmets stuck in some no-win situation?

    I don’t think that’s likely. The Chretien liberals did that back when the public clamoured for “action” whenever there was news of some international crisis. Nowadays, post-Afghanistan and post-Iraq, the popular sentiment is to just keep the troops at home. There is very little appetite for overseas deployment of ANY kind. The Dauphin made zero promises about using Canadian troops abroad for anything other than natural disaster relief.

    It used to be that if some bully was beating the tar out of nearby people (Serbia, Iraq I, Afghanistan, Zaire) we’d consider going over to help those seeking refuge.

    Now, we “solve” it by bringing (a tiny few of) them here!

    Canada may again wish to deploy peacekeepers if a) everyone else is doing it too; b) some of the Syrian “refugees” start causing problems; and c) it doesn’t seem too risky.

    Not exactly a stirring principle, but also not impossible to foresee.

    • #13
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:17 PM PST
    • Like
  14. Lockdowns are Precious Inactive
    Lockdowns are PreciousJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I have a large cadre of Syrian “refugees” being “relocated” not far from where I live.

    I will be packing heat.

    • #14
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:21 PM PST
    • Like
  15. Lockdowns are Precious Inactive
    Lockdowns are PreciousJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy:Trudeau’s base: People who have nothing better to do on a workday but stand around in the street:

    The large and diverse crowd that gathered on the grounds of Rideau Hall to witness the arrival of the new Liberal government found themselves framed by a dazzling blue sky and a sun-streaked canvas of autumn foliage.

    They watched on large video screens dotted around the grounds as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his new cabinet took their oaths. As the names were called, they applauded and cheered like the crowd at a sporting event greeting the starting line-up on the day of a big game.

    The watchword for the next four years: Spectacle.

    Watchword: Marijuana, and lots of it.

    • #15
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:26 PM PST
    • Like
  16. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Shiny Pony.

    • #16
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:33 PM PST
    • Like
  17. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Sacré bleu!

    • #17
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:37 PM PST
    • Like
  18. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Pseudodionysius:

    Misthiocracy:Trudeau’s base: People who have nothing better to do on a workday but stand around in the street:

    The large and diverse crowd that gathered on the grounds of Rideau Hall to witness the arrival of the new Liberal government found themselves framed by a dazzling blue sky and a sun-streaked canvas of autumn foliage.

    They watched on large video screens dotted around the grounds as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his new cabinet took their oaths. As the names were called, they applauded and cheered like the crowd at a sporting event greeting the starting line-up on the day of a big game.

    The watchword for the next four years: Spectacle.

    Watchword: Marijuana, and lots of it.

    Medical marijuana is already legal in Canada, thanks to the Conservatives. I predict he’ll merely tweak the law on that front, but he’ll spin that it’s a revolutionary reform. The press will lap it up, too.

    The biggest effect of the coming Trudeau years will be the relationship between the elected government and the unelected bureaucracy. i.e. The elected government will let the unelected bureaucracy do whatever it bloody well wants with next-to-no accountability.

    This will be spun as “evidence-based governance”, with the bureaucracy providing whatever evidence is required.

    • #18
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:50 PM PST
    • Like
  19. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Trudeau talked about how his government was made up exclusively of extraordinary Canadians.

    Isn’t that a disheartening message to send to ordinary Canadians?

    “You aren’t good enough to be part of my government.”

    • #19
    • November 4, 2015, at 1:58 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Trudeau’s being lauded for his 50% gender-parity cabinet, but he only appointed three more women than Stephen Harper did. Trudeau has 15 female ministers, while Harper had 12.

    In order to achieve his vaunted 50% gender parity cabinet, Trudeau had to reduce the cabinet from 39 seats to 30.

    He managed this feat by combining several portfolios into one. For example, he took on the Intergovernmental Affairs porfolio and the Youth portfolio himself, removing two cabinet positions from the equation.

    Now, I’m not necessarily complaining about a smaller cabinet. There is ZERO need for a Ministry of Youth. But then, of course, the ministry itself still exists. It’s just that the minister is also the Prime Minister.

    The point, rather, is that his cabinet is just the first example of how he’s gonna “keep his promises” via smoke and mirrors.

    Source: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/tasha-kheiriddin-spare-us-the-fawning-trudeau-appointed-just-three-more-women-to-cabinet-than-harper-did

    • #20
    • November 4, 2015, at 2:07 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian) Inactive

    Well spotted, Misthi.

    (we have a Ministry of Youth???)

    • #21
    • November 4, 2015, at 2:15 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Lockdowns are Precious Inactive
    Lockdowns are PreciousJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #22
    • November 4, 2015, at 2:40 PM PST
    • Like
  23. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Macleans.ca has an article about Stephane Dion being named foreign minister is his “redemption”.

    Since when was a demotion considered a redemption?

    • #23
    • November 4, 2015, at 3:06 PM PST
    • Like
  24. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vorpal_Pedant (the Canadian):Well spotted, Misthi.

    (we have a Ministry of Youth???)

    Well, to be fair, it was a Secretary of State position, not a full ministry…

    • #24
    • November 4, 2015, at 3:07 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Dan Hanson Thatcher
    Dan HansonJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Wow, I’m not very heartened by these picks at all.

    I’ll give you Bill Morneau, simply because I don’t know much about him. But as for the others…

    Foreign Affairs: Nothing says you’re serious about foreign affairs than appointing a ‘disastrous former Liberal who face-plants as often as he shines’. Foreign affairs is a serious cabinet post, at a time when the world is coming apart at the seams. I remember Dion as being completely hapless.

    I’ll reserve opinion on the defence pick until I see what he says and does. This is another person I simply don’t know.

    Catharine McKenna is a social justice warrior and little good can come of that. Her last big project was to stop a memorial for the victims of communism. I guess we can’t risk offending the surviving followers of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Che Guevera or any of the other illustrious figures of the communist movement. I’m sure if they had a victims of Capitalism memorial, she would have been all for it.

    But you didn’t mention the big change. She is not the minister of the environment – she’s the minister of the environment and climate change. Climate Change is now a cabinet-level department.

    These Liberals are firmly in the center of the modern progressive movement, which means they are way to the left of the average Canadian. They buy into the entire progressive package: Growing an economy through printing money and spending it willy-nilly, ‘green jobs’ that will make radical carbon reductions free, corporatism and capitalism as the root of all evil in the world, yada yada.

    The question is how far they will take their goofball ideas when the evidence starts to trickle in that they don’t work. Of course, they have lots of evidence of that already: this is essentially the Obama playbook. Man, those green jobs sure transformed the American workforce, didn’t they?