What a week and a bit this has been a roller coaster of mind-boggling proportions.
First, at midnight this morning, well after I had written the rest of this piece, I received an email announcing the positive Final Investment Decision by LNG Canada. No dramatic revelation by the time you read this, but wow, Kitimat is in for an exciting ride over the next few years.
Second, a tentative agreement on NAFTA, now the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or (USMCA) and at first blush an agreement that looks reasonably good.
It seeks to raise wages, make it easier to form a union and to improve working conditions in Mexico.
While it made concessions on Canadian dairy, that was probably inevitable given recent history.
In all honesty, the Americans would have been better off to have adopted supply management instead of their existing and criminally wasteful system of agricultural subsidies, but they are the big kid on the block, so we will see a continuation of a largely wasteful policy.
We have security in the auto market and maybe Trump will love us again. Regardless, kudos to Minister Freeland and her talented crew – maybe time for a woman Prime Minister of Canada again?
Third, the U.S. governance nightmare. We have seen another week of bizarre statements by the president and a complete circus surrounding the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. While this latter concern shouldn’t have a dramatic effect on us, we can’t be too sanguine as we are not completely immune to the decisions of the American Supreme Court.
Without a doubt politics has crashed into an arena of American jurisprudence that should be as apolitical as humanly possible and somehow a criminal investigation has been conflated with a job interview.
I don’t know if Kavanaugh is guilty of anything, but quite honestly I wouldn’t hire the guy to tend my grandkids’ lemonade stand let alone haunt the halls of the Supreme Court of any country for a lifetime.
Fourth, and related to the Kavanaugh debacle, it is amazing to me that when a man makes a 30+ year old accusation of abuse about a priest, a coach or other figure of authority, he is afforded the compassion he is due, but when a woman does the same in regard to a privileged, white judge she is pilloried by the forces of conservatism.
Just the same old, same old and I hope women are getting sick and tired of the nonsense.
Fifth, Canada just endorsed a recent U.S. document (Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem) advocating a ‘war-on-drugs’ approach to the international narcotics trade.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like illicit drugs and I am sick and tired of witnessing impending marijuana legalization being treated as if it was the most significant event ever to impact this country.
In fact, I don’t find the idea of intoxication by any substance to be either fun or funny (call me an old fart if you will).
However, society’s asinine, long-standing wars on any drug prove the battle to be fruitless, massively expensive to society and equally profitable to the coffers of crime – in short, a waste of time.
It is more logical to assume a medical model for drug addiction of all types. It will save lives, allow many addicts to be functioning members of society, reduce policing costs, actually reduce medical costs and make us all a lot more comfortable.
Sixth, a caution, watch your back. Sneaky stuff can be done while you are distracted and that point clearly can be illustrated by the U.S. Congressional Republicans who under cover of Trump lunacy and Kavanaugh craziness slipped in a bill that would enshrine tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans permanently – they were to expire in 10 years.
A goodly number of them must have read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” or at least watched the 1959 Cary Grant movie, Operation Petticoat for the parallel, “in confusion there is profit”. So, when things are crazy, watch carefully.
Finally, we had an all-candidates forum for our upcoming municipal election and what a broad and wonderful collection of men and women willing to represent our interests for the coming four years.
Of course we each have our favourites, but I won’t sully this pleasant closing paragraph with partisan rhetoric.
Suffice it to say that nothing is more important than each of us informing ourselves on the issues and the platforms of the candidates.
We have a vital liberal democracy, but it is only as strong as our interest and involvement. There is nothing more dangerous to our freedom than cynicism and ignorance.
So, above all pay attention, inform yourselves and please, please VOTE!