The Trump effect: Canada’s politicians wearing invisible cloaks

Remember that old maxim: Silence in the face of injustice – and hate and cruelty – is complicity

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trudeau aga khanABOARD WESTJET 2766 Jan. 31, 2017/ Troy Media/ – Dear Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair and a Conservative player to be named later:

Up here in the clouds above Canuckistan and Trumpland, jetting south, we can’t help but think of you.

Last week, you see, my wife Lisa and daughter Emma travelled to Washington, D.C., with several hundred other Canadian women to protest the day-old Trump regime. More than a million people showed up, mainly women. Their principal focus was women’s rights but other issues came up, too.

In Toronto, where I marched with more than 60,000 people, it was much the same. There was a truly joyous, family-friendly atmosphere to it all and it felt wonderful to be there. The NDP and various union leaders tried to seize control of the day’s events at the start but we didn’t let them.

In both cities – and at Women’s March events that took place around the world, involving millions of people – one question could be heard, over and over:

Where are our leaders?

In Canada, the strategy of the Liberal and Conservative parties seems to be identical. That is, be very, very small. Be almost invisible. And, in that way, Donald Trump – the un-president – will not notice us and he will hopefully leave us alone.

Now, sure, a couple Conservative Party leadership candidates are aping Trump, and saying awful things about refugees and immigrants and people who do not look/sound/pray like them. But, overwhelmingly, most decent Liberal and Conservative politicians are appalled by Trump. They are disgusted and shocked. In private, they will certainly tell you that.

But in public? They say, and have said, precisely nothing. They are invisible.

People are starting to notice. At a sold-out Mosaic Institute forum in Toronto I moderated last week – called Canada In A Trump World – that was the very first question, in fact.

An elegant, well-dressed older gentleman stood up and said: “Where is our prime minister? Condemning Kellie Leitch is easy. Why isn’t he condemning the terrible things Trump says and does?”

Many heads nodded. Mine did.

The political answer to that question, of course, is: Trade, security, blah blah blah. We’re a mouse, he’s an elephant, etc. etc. Diplomacy, yadda yadda. That sort of thing.

The moral answer, however, is this: “You’re right. He’s going to do exactly what he’s promised to do – eviscerate trade deals, put up walls, gut NATO, implement a Muslim registry – and we will strongly object. We think he’s wrong. And we intend to say so, in a united front, to his face. If there’s one thing strong men understand, it’s strength.”

That hasn’t been said, however. Not even close.

What’s happened, instead, is the government’s most senior advisers have hurried down to D.C., and then leaked to the Globe and Mail what a swell guy chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon is. You know, Steve Bannon, the white supremacist who doesn’t want his kids to go to school with Jews.

What’s happened, instead, are leaks of chatty, convivial phone calls between our feminist prime minister and the un-president. About how chummy they are. With Trump, who brags about sexually assaulting women and is facing multiple legal actions for sexual assault.

The Conservatives are no better. I don’t know of a single smart Conservative – and yes, Virginia, they exist – who isn’t thoroughly disgusted by the racist, sexist, fascistic groper-in-chief. But will any of them speak up and call him what he is – a menace to global stability? A creep? A pig?

Not a chance. Not on your life.

The NDP, naturally, can be expected to claim the moral high ground. They have zero prospect of attaining power anytime soon, so they will denounce the un-president at every opportunity.

Fine. Good.

But if the NDP do what they did in Toronto at the outset of the sister Women’s March – to treat opposition to Trump like it’s an exclusive socialist club, and to refuse to build alliances with similarly-horrified Grits and Tories – then Trump will win. Because the only way to defeat this piece of human garbage is with the aforementioned united front. Divided, we will never succeed. If the Democratic Party’s Bernie Sanders experiment taught us anything, it’s that.

From six km up, as we squint down at Canada and the formerly United States of America, what strikes us is this: the all-encompassing political silence.

The people are mobilizing like never before and the people are motivated.

But our political classes? They’re pretending to be ostriches.

Remember that old maxim, politicos, because it is so, so true in 2017: Silence in the face of injustice – and hate and cruelty – is complicity.

Sincerely,

Us.

Troy Media columnist Warren Kinsella is a Canadian journalist, political adviser and commentator. Warren is included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.

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