Opinion | Under Trudeau, Canada is becoming the 51st State of the US
By Philip Yeung, A university teacher
Canada is in the thick of another election. This time, more than the choice of leaders is at stake; it is a decision over what kind of country Canada wants to be. This election is about the soul of Canada.
A leader can change a nation's fate or shape its national character. But re-electing Trudeau is choosing a master of disaster.
He is guilty of a sin far-reaching in its fallout. Under Trudeau, Canada has lost its hard-won independence in foreign policy and its national identity.
Never in its history has Canada been embroiled in a dispute with a foreign country, so bitter, so prolonged, so destructive and so needless. I refer to the case of Huawei's CFO.
In this messy fight, Trudeau is taking down the country with him. Can Canada survive another five years under a clueless leader who can't see the forest for the tree?
He is no hero standing up to Chinese "bullying". He is a coward kowtowing first to Trump, then to Biden.
He has lost all sense of proportion, putting all his chips on a single reckless roll of the dice.
There are no winners in this gamble, except the United States which has successfully colonized Canada's foreign policy.
No Canadian prime minister had ever lived in American pockets, not Trudeau's father, not Lester Pearson, not Diefenbaker. Justin Trudeau stands alone in Canada's history, bowing abjectly to Washington's wishes.
The democratic system has a fatal flaw: it likes candidates who can hog the limelight, whatever their other attributes or shortcomings. Looks trumps substance.
Justin's father Pierre dared to defy US presidents. Richard Nixon was angry enough to call him "an asshole". When reporters asked him to respond to this presidential insult, he parried: "I have been called worse things by better men."
Justin, too had been openly insulted by Trump who called him "weak, stupid and dishonest". But instead of answering back, he meekly called the US moron to thank him for his support against China. This is akin to thanking the arsonist for setting your house on fire. Pierre Trudeau, in his grave, must be wishing that his son had never been born.
Trudeau has lost his bearings.
This is what happens when simpletons lead the country. He completely misreads the situation. In this stare-down, the real face-off is between China and America—not between China and Canada. China has no interest in an asymmetrical contest.
China's fight with the US, however, is existential. It is battling American encirclement everywhere, from the South China Sea to Canada. If China backs down in Canada, the US wins. Plain and simple. Canadian interests are not at stake, and neither is Canadian pride.
If Canada drops the case, the US strategy collapses.
But instead of dropping or defusing it, Trudeau is compounding the crisis by doubling-down.
This is an uncharacteristic conflict for Canada. It is unCanadian to make enemies as it has always been the good guy, never a complicit surrogate.
The quarrel with China is claiming other victims: Canada's national character and the safety of Chinese Canadians. Getting uglier by the day, the demonization of China has spilled over into the streets, spilling innocent Chinese-Canadian blood and calling into question the essence of being Canadian.
In the latest spurt of hate crime, four of them were shot, two of them fatally. This is not Canada. This is gun-violent, racist America at its worst. Overnight, Canadian civility and multicultural tolerance are down the drain.
A leader is valued for his judgment and crisis management. In this department, Trudeau is a dismal failure. He is a one-trick pony, stuck in a prolonged stare-down with China, choosing to see it childishly as a case of "who blinks first".
Trudeau accuses China of practicing "hostage" diplomacy, for detaining Canadian citizens as bargaining chips. His ignorance of Chinese history has resulted in misreading China's intentions. China sees itself as the wronged party, with national humiliation hanging in the balance. A century ago, China was dismembered and humiliated by foreign powers. It is determined never to be humbled again. China can't understand why Canada is doing America's dirty work when other US allies won't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
Trudeau has a thin CV. Dangerously unprepared to govern, he is seen loitering in guru land like a grown-up kid, lurching from crisis to crisis, and stumbling from scandal to scandal, unable and unwilling to grow and learn on the job. He refuses to outgrow his youthful fads, even in the highest office. Unlike his father, who built bridges to China, the son has shown not the slightest interest in the country his father loved. His soul is still lingering among Indian gurus in never-never land, while his cabinet ministers of Indian descent have hatred of China in their bloodstream. Unbelievably, in his inner circle, there is not a ghost of a China expert.
This ethnic imbalance is dangerous. Trudeau needs a countervailing voice for cooler heads to prevail. Instead, he lacks an adult in the room. Canada is paying a price for his apprenticeship.
Canada looks like a country run by hovering Indian gurus. This is too expensive an experiment.
Any way you slice and dice it, geopolitics has overshadowed this case from day one. Why put Canada in the crossfire between two superpowers and risk becoming collateral damage?
Never in Canada's history has it paid such a huge price for a case that is none of its business. This colossal misjudgment underlines Trudeau's unfitness for office.
Being pig-headed is not leadership, and anger is not a policy. Without a change of leadership, I don't see a way out of this festering crisis.
For a leader singularly without achievement, Justin, however, does have one feather in his cap. He managed to get Trump's wife swooning over him publicly and unashamedly, in a snapshot shared around the world. He managed to salvage a bit of Canadian pride by subtly "cuckolding" America's first husband. Justin owes Melania a Canada Day Award.
That gives me an idea. The perfect role for Justin is Governor General, a titular post, where he can do the least harm and is free to deploy his Hollywood good looks to have foreign leaders' wives drooling over him. He is Canada's secret weapon in foreign 'affairs'.
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