Saturday, July 22, 2017

Desperate Times for Canada's Conservatives?

I have not been a fan of how the Conservative Party has played the Khadr stuff the past couple of weeks. I get it--this is unpopular, so let's bash the Liberals.  But that is all that it is: unpopular.  Paying off Khadr is, alas, not wrong given how the courts have ruled in this case and in similar cases.  Pursuing the case further is dumb bordering on crazy--why spend more and more money on lawyers just to prolong the inevitable?  Reminds me of the classic tale of resentful soon-to-be-ex-spouses (not mine) delaying on finalizing a divorce because they are resentful and petty.  It might feel good, but it does no good.

My colleague Stephanie Carvin has done a heroic job writing about this and replying to the hordes on twitter who hate that the government is doing this.  To argue that Trudeau wants to pay Khahr off is silly.  It is abundantly clear that the Trudeau government is pretty much constrained by the rule of law and by the requirement to do stuff that fosters "peace, order and good government."

My problem today is not that this decision is unlikable--which it is.  No, my problem is that the Conservatives are so desperate to take shots at Trudeau that they are undermining the Canadian national interest.  How so?  Michelle Rempell went on Fox to rile up the Americans as Trudeau is paying off a guy who "killed" Americans.  Why?  How many Canadians watch Fox?  Not many. How many American Presidents watch Fox religiously?  How many American Presidents are easily triggered by what he sees on Fox?  Yeah, it is hard not to think that the Conservatives are trying to sabotage the rather successful effort of the Trudeau government to manage the Trump problem.

Why?  What good is it to cause Trump to become outraged at Canada?  To undermine the sustained, organized, intelligent, determined effort by this government to not break relations with the US?  At a time where the US is already pushing hard on NAFTA and other issues of concern to Canadians?

Trudeau is right to argue that it is one thing to disagree with stuff within Canada, but another to try to bring the debate into the White House via Fox.  Andrew Scheer, the new leader of the CPC, has thus far not distinguished himself.  This is not a good look, sir. How about thinking about Canada's interest for a second rather than the short-sighted interest of the CPC to take PMJT down a few percentage points in the polls? Oh, sorry, too much to ask.

I am too old to think that politics stops at the water's edge (that would be the Great Lakes in this case).  But playing with explosives is not too bright.  But desperate parties call for desperate measures.

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