Much more exciting than Trudeau in costume

Trudeau-Morneau don’t need school shooting tragedies to help them shoot themselves in the foot

By Allan Hewitson

Roaming the news for the week – I have one or two items that fit under my ‘miscellaneous’ title.

Item 1 – Netflix, the streaming service, has big plans to spend upwards of US$8-billion in 2018, to produce about 700 original TV shows, movies, and specials – scheduled (also) to debut this year, according to Variety, the Bible of the entertainment world.

Is that good news? That obviously depends on your personal level of satisfaction with Netflix. I like Netflix in general – but I don’t like its presentation, particularly on my smart TV which has a remote control that has difficulty scanning the entertainment groups and information.

I spend an inordinate length of time scrolling through the available range of entertainment trying to find something to select. Others may find it easier – and I’m prepared to admit the style of successful (i.e. money-making) movies is hardly what I look forward to.

I’ve passed the age of fantastic imaginary superheroes, especially small elite groups defending the world from aliens or from ingeniously evil people who tend to look like Jesse Eisenberger, the walking image of Facebook’s Harvard geek, Mark Zuckerberg.

I’ve pretty well passed on from horror shows featuring slithering Japanese characters – and when I heard Hollywood is reduced to remaking Charles Bronson’s 1974 Death Wish movie with Bruce Willis in the avenger’s role (bound to be a series), I began to wonder how good Netflix’s list will be by just next March.

Netflix clearly believes in packing its selection board with an extensive variety of entertainment and is prepared to spend big money and work hard to build membership. Netflix subscribers numbered 117.6 million worldwide at the turn of the year and they obviously covet millions more.

With Optik TV after only a few months seemingly aiming to raise my bill, I’m glad to have access to Netflix – the buyer chooses what to watch. By the way, tip for me only, I still like intelligent, very entertaining westerns like Unforgiven, Rio Bravo and Appaloosa. Surely there’s still room for a section?

Item 2 – While it’s clear the U.S. wins in a trot for peculiar and completely unpredictable leadership in Donald Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tries to appear as if he is sufficiently sure of his re-electability that he can continually say he is acting as Canadians expect him to.

He states it daily, as he skates from crisis to crisis – his latest being his stubborn support for his national security advisor who reported that the Indian government was responsible for ‘sabotaging’ the PM’s Hallowe’en-like trip to India after convicted attempted-murderer and Sikh separatist, Jaspal Atwal, was invited to dinner and posed with Mrs. Trudeau.

On top of the shambles of the well-publicized trip, the opening left the opposition Conservatives and NDP with unprecedented attack opportunities along with the 2019 election-oriented spring budget.

The Trudeau-Morneau duo don’t need school shooting tragedies to help them shoot themselves in the foot.

Not to mention the three West Coast energy issues, the Kinder-Morgan Pipeline, Site C and LNG in the northwest.

Item 3 – I’d love to comment from the point of view of a resident of the Aluminum City on the startling announcement by President Donald Trump that he plans to sign in new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the U.S. Much more exciting than Netflix or even Trudeau in costume!

It’s my deadline however, and by the time this appears everybody in town, in Canada and around the world will know a heck of a lot more about this than I do now.

But it is fascinating to just watch the initial reactions – the stock market plunged – as the bold, unexpected announcement “eliminated about US$300-billion from the index’s total market capitalization, underscoring economic concerns about the impact of trade protectionism,” according to the Globe and Mail.

The Star added that “Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland promised ‘responsive measures’ if Canada is not exempted”. She called the tariff “absolutely unacceptable,” and she said Trump’s national security justification is “entirely inappropriate” with regard to a close ally that is a longtime supplier to the U.S. defence industry.

Since we’ll know a lot more about this by the weekend, I’ll just let my deadline stand and watch with the rest the consequences. Sounds like a brand new NAFTA crisis – or a trade war…

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