Publishing Twice a Week

The Macdonald Notebook is your source for exclusive Business & Inside Politics publishing every Saturday and Sunday.

Latest Issue

Ron MacDonald’s Cape Breton Letter: Trudeau Doesn’t Play Politics

Sep 23, 2023 | Opinion

By Ron MacDonald

Well hardly ever. Take the case of the murdered Hardeep Singh Nijiar, the Canadian Sikh who was high on India’s unfriendly list for alleged crimes against that state. He was shot to death outside his place of worship last spring by two gunmen in a car. Our top secret forces have been investigating and even the beleaguered RCMP.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a trip to India last week delivered to Indian Prime Minister Modi the Canadian findings that the government of India had been behind the assassination. Modi was not impressed. Trudeau sent one of India’s high diplomats packing and Modi reciprocated. Now we have a standoff likely to affect trade and diplomacy.

The fallout could be huge. Nonetheless, this assassination took place in Surrey, B.C. So the prime minister was right in taking this up with Indian officials and if there is proof and Canadians will support him if the facts are correct as the prime minister outlined in the House of Commons when it reconvened on Monday after its summer recess.

The prime minister spoke of the immediacy of his announcement to the Canadian people. Alright. But why was this immediacy not delivered previously, say, after the Indian officials rejected the charges, even cold-shoulded him? Trudeau came back to Canada and spoke to his caucus last Friday and had the weekend to let Canadians in on his actions. But no, he waited till after Question Period in the Commons Monday, in which his government’s sorry record had been plummeted by the Opposition parties. Then Trudeau’s announcement won the day’s headlines. But, surely, that’s not playing politics. Really, it’s the type of deceptive representation that Trudeau masters, an old-time rescue mission. After all, he and his minister took up press space with their cancellation of the GST on affordable housing. But that was just a tease to get the press and public mollified prior to the big news.

The local news is that Hurricane Lee missed Cape Breton, except for another day of heavy rain, but there were no reports that homeowners set their fishing lines in their basements. In the fall season of storms, we stand or sit, ready aye ready. Even the rain has not kept walkers in, especially those walking dogs. I’ve noticed that when a couple is walking a dog, it’s the woman who carries the plastic pickup bag. Is this a carryover from diaper change? American author Dorothy Parker loved dogs and named her poodle Cliche. She liked all animals and once said, “After three highballs I think I’m St. Francis of Assisi.”

I was in a discussion with my sister recently and she mentioned roadside stands near Kelowna, B.C., where they sell only garlic. I remember they had recently a Garlic Fest in Halifax but unfortunately, it had never appeared in the kitchen of our barracks. My association with garlic came long after I’d left home 70 years ago and I’ve indulged whenever I can, though not yet to garlic ice cream. Nor did I attend, or even seek to attend, St. James Garlic Khyte Anglican Church in the heart of London on the South Bank of the Thames. It’s been there in various phases since 1096 and was built next to a jetty where garlic was unloaded and was in demand as a preservative and medicine.

I’ve read that a tribe of African cannibals told an interviewer that they preferred eating French persons rather than English, most probably they were spicier and I believe garlic played a role there. But not here, till you get to the tony restaurants.

But back to politics for a bit. For those who glory in self-affliction, there is Question Period in which the Liberal and Conservative leaders return to constant belittling of each other, with phony grins for the TV cameras that adorns their bullshit. It is not appealing. Trudeau and his gang are now trumpeting their new housing policies for the lower classes, and students, while the Tories stick to the extreme cost of living, groceries and rent, that they too will deliver and not take eight years to do it.

The Liberals seem to be awakening from a slumber to find that the train is pulling out of the station and they must sprint to catch it. Deputy leader Chrystia Freeland nods and nods and nods her approval whatever the PM says, and of course, claps her hands and leaps to her feet in support. She is representative of the Liberal caucus, including her manner of sticking to the glories of her party whenever asked a question and could open a branch of Canadian Borenomore, a British association. It’s like ‘incentivize’ being the new ‘in’ word that politicians mouth read from scripts of speech writers, new speech writers.

Meanwhile, Our Justin doesn’t seem affected by his lack of regal housing to replace the old rat-infested digs on Sussex. I offer: “In Ottawa did Trudeau Too, A stately pleasure place pursue; Charmed magic quarters on Rideau, Fit for Kings, but not Trudeau.”

Poilievre must detach his lip-cracking grin as he threatens to be funny. He’s OK on most things, very good on basics of cost-of-living and high oil and food prices, but when he is questioned on climate change, he’s like an old dog that has buried a bone and can’t remember where. He is the best in the House when he sticks to the housing and cost-of-living failures of the Liberals. As for his speech writers, I say: “Avoid the modern cliche which is not rocket science or brain surgery. That’s a no-brainer, a dropkick and a slam dunk. Go to the mat against the grain and you will get more bang for your buck if you can level the playing field.”

I was taken with the beauteous Heather Hiscock who took over the evening news (?) show for a few weeks. She came to the screen prepared and dressed and made up perhaps by Vogue, especially when she interviewed Alberta premier Danielle Smith, who came on looking like she had been dressed from the pages of the old Eaton’s catalogue.

I don’t miss the gerontology of United States’ politics even as ours slides down the Richter Scale. I think of the upcoming election there and the saying coined by the Duke of Wellington after Waterloo: “Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.”

And there’s the story from up in Inverness County of an American addressing a senior citizen when he was sitting outside the local store. “I come from Dallas, five thousand miles away and it has nearly three million people.” The old chap thought on that for a while and finally said, “I trust can’t imagine all those people so far from everything.”

Till next week

Ron MacDonald, Columnist. Ron MacDonald graduated from Mount Allison University in arts and education and was a scholarship student at Dalhousie in the master’s program in 1960. He joined The Halifax Herald in 1962 and did general reporting and then politics, along with extensive freelance work. He taught a year in Oxford in 1961 and Dal after that. He travelled extensively with the Herald and was treated well by them but left to join Robert Stanfield in 1968 as press secretary. Back in Halifax in 1971, he linked up with the Canadian Bankers Association as an education director for Eastern Canada and switched to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union in the late ’70s as an executive assistant. Back to freelancing in the early ’90s but returned to Cape Breton to be with his mother in North Sydney. In recent years, he sat on the board of the Gaelic College and chaired an Employment Appeals Board. He has maintained freelance writing, as well and still resides on Cape Breton Island.

Return Home

Contact The Editor

error: Alert: All content is protected. Copying or Printing this material is not allowed at this time.