Through the curiosities of circumstance, Nigel Clarke finds himself marooned in Ottawa, the capital of the socialist haven of Canada. Thanks to The Progressive Army and co-conspirators who must remain nameless, Nigel is able to smuggle his thoughts on life behind the curtain to the outside world each week.
To read last week’s correspondence click here
There is a particular man I see constantly in this area. Perhaps it is not constantly, but when I do come across him, he is hard to miss. A mountainous individual, he calls to mind the genetically engineered athletes of the old Soviet Union.
What is curious is that each time I see him, he seems to be in the middle of a full-throated defense of Donald Trump.
I overheard him telling a gas-station attendant that Trump was “draining the swamp as we speak!” and the gym receptionist that Trump had a “right to fight back against fake news!”
The other day I walked past him on the street. He had his phone to his ear and was speaking into it loudly.
“Exactly! Which is why he is going to make Canada great again!”
I was confused. Make Canada great again? What was this Trump-loving socialist talking about?
In a mild haze of confusion, I walked into a convenience store, where everything became clear. The headline of that day’s newspaper staring back at me from the rack read:
‘Canada’s Trump Enters the Race’
Recently, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Joe” Trudeau. The masses in Canada were none too impressed by this perceived slight to their Revered Leader. I suppose it could have been a Freudian slip in which Spicer’s mind referenced another socialist demagogue – ‘Uncle Joe’ Stalin.
Politically, I perceive Trudeau to be less of a Joseph Stalin, and more of a Barack Obama.
He won election to succeed an unpopular Conservative government by running on the Hope and Change platform. There is a Canadian anecdote which describes a young Justin Trudeau volunteering to work the clean-up at Obama’s inauguration, where he carefully picks up the crumpled pages of speech paper, to be reused on his own campaign years later. In Trudeau’s defense, his campaign slogan was not word-for-word the same as Obama’s Hope and Change. Trudeau put his own spin on it, running on “Hope and Real Change.”
But, like Obama, it was more than optimism, good looks, and great speeches that endeared Trudeau to the people. It was also his exceptionally progressive platform.
Both Trudeau and Obama ran as the peace candidates – anti-war and anti-surveillance, the green candidates – Trudeau famously proclaimed the need to “phase out the fossil fuel industry” – and, most importantly, purported defenders of the “proletariat.”
The result is Trudeau, like Obama, is widely beloved by political moderates and those whose engagement ends on election night.
There are those, however, who are beginning to notice that the discrepancy between Trudeau’s progressive words and his tangible actions has been, well, Obama-like.
Trudeau has already approved multiple pipeline projects, and reportedly is anxiously awaiting Trump’s approval of Keystone XL. He has upped Canadian military involvement in the Middle East and has declined to restrict or reform the Canadian surveillance state. Despite introducing notably modest tax cuts on the middle class, and increases on the richest individuals, Trudeau has vigorously defended the corporate tax rate – at 15% a full 20 percentage points lower than the United States – and has already been embroiled in a pay-for-play fundraising scandal. And this, in a painful metaphor here in frozen Canada, is only the tip of the iceberg.
Ominously, it is not just disheartened progressives who are dissatisfied with Trudeau. So too is the other end of the political spectrum, and they are scheming…
Canada’s Trump Enters the Race
I am told Kevin O’Leary is not a politician, but a businessman worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and, most recently, a reality television star famous for being brash, braggadocios, and occasionally belligerent. He is now running for leadership of Canada’s Conservative party.
Despite being mocked and treated as something of a joke by political opponents, and relishing in his own ignorance on the issues almost to the point of advertisement, O’Leary is, apparently, gaining momentum. Conservative party sources suggest nearly 1,000 new people per day have joined the party since O’Leary’s announcement, and his business friends and allies have already begun to pour large sums of money towards his campaign.
President Obama did not get to, or have to maybe, run against Trump. I can only imagine the debauchery if the Canadian Obama runs against the Canadian Trump.
It is difficult in this situation not to let the mind wander to the rest of the western world. In the upcoming election in France, “The French Trump” Marine Le Pen and “avowed socialist” Benoit Hamon are the prohibitive frontrunners. In Britain, Brexit was a stunning blow to the establishment, and it coincided with the rise in popularity of “The British Trump” Boris Johnson, and “avowed socialist” Jeremy Corbyn and his army of “Corbyn Bros” (That’s a Bernie Sanders joke for my friends back in the struggle).
The point is; as inequality, government corruption, and corporate control have increased (perhaps not coincidentally) across the western world, people across the political spectrum are asking the same questions and they are demanding solutions for the same grievances.
It appears the answers and solutions the stirring masses are most taking to, in capitalist countries and “socialist” alike, are those provided by populism and democratic socialism.
Perhaps the key takeaway though is the stirring masses…
Having just emerged from a case study of this phenomenon with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, I will now immerse myself in a similar situation here in socialist Canada.
That is, provided the secret police don’t take me away in the night due to the number of criticisms of the Revered Leader in this correspondence.