Whole Lotta Frettin’ Goin’ On
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s thick dark locks must have stood up on end when the results of the U.S. Presidential election were finally in. As Canada’s 23rd prime minister, and second youngest in the country’s history, the 45 year-old Montrealer is only one year into his first term. But during this first year, he’s toured the globe and attended numerous meetings with heads of state. And along the way he made pals with the leader of the free world: President Barack Obama. The two became bosom buddies, as did their spouses, Sofie Gregoire-Trudeau and Michelle Obama.
Unfortunately, becoming pals with the U.S. president can be a fleeting experience, worsened if that individual is at the end of a two-year term and if a national election changes the political party in power. What happened on November 8th is a game-changer for Canada. The big question is whether, on net, the election of Donald J. Trump will be good for Canada.
In the days following the election it was clear that, to borrow from rock ’n roller Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s a whole lotta frettin’ goin’ on in the Trudeau cabinet, notably with ministers holding such portfolios as immigration, trade, energy, foreign affairs, and environment.
Like the vast majority of media pundits, pollsters, analysts, strategists and a long list of pseudo experts from the intelligentsia, it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would win the election and that she would carry on with the general thrust of President Obama’s agenda. One particular issue stands out: climate change and the attached-at-the-hip direction that the President and Prime Minister Trudeau have had on reducing carbon emissions. Just days before the election, Trudeau announced unexpectedly his plan to introduce a carbon tax that would increase over time. For provinces that haven’t initiated their own carbon taxes, the federal government will do it for them.
Trudeau’s announcement has been met mostly with positive reviews, though Saskatchewan’s Conservative premier (Brad Wall) went mildly apoplectic, as did Alberta’s NDP premier (Rachel Notley). All was good in the Great White North since, again, it was expected that Hillary Clinton would win. That scenario will never materialize, and in its place is a president-elect who has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in climate change, and indeed wants to allow oil and gas drilling on public lands, including national parks.
While addressing the effects of climate change on the environment is of vital strategic importance to the Trudeau government, this is but one of myriad challenges it’s facing. As one CBC journalist put it on November 11th in a CBC Ottawa Radio interview, the Trudeau govern