Canada Returns to Globalism
Today marked the changing of the guard in Ottawa, as newly minted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn in along with his new cabinet, finally ending our long national night of reactionary rule — a kind of mini-Dark Age. Canada is back on track, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
There is a lot of excitement about Trudeau’s selection for cabinet positions, which is also attracting attention from around the world after our long absence. It reflects Canada’s renewed commitment to globalism. The Minister of National Defence is a Sikh, as is also the Minister of Innovation, Science, and the Economy. The Minister of Justice is aboriginal, as is the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The Minister of Democratic Reforms is Afghanistan-born. Trudeau not only tried to make his cabinet a true reflection of the diversity of Canadian society, but also, as a self-avowed “feminist” himself, has achieved gender balance with half the ministerial appointments going to women.
It’s not only a “changing of the guard” in terms of politics, but a generational change as well. The so-called “Boomers” have had their day, and we aren’t likely again in future to see a return to the kind of autocratic and reactionary rule represented by Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party. The last ten years could, in fact, be interpreted as the last gasp of the “Old Stock” Canadians — as Mr. Harper liked to think of as the Conservative “base” — the desperate attempt of a dying breed to preserve themselves against their own passing and irrelevance. That was reflected in the fact that the Conservative Party’s policies had no appeal outside their traditional “base”. Appealing to “Old Stock” inevitably finds fewer and fewer living ears to actually hear it. That’s the practical side of the “denial of death”.
The excitement is palpable, as this CTV interview with some national observers attests. I’m mildly optimistic, at this point, that Canada will resume its traditional role as a good and responsible (and that means, responsive) global citizen. I’m also pleased to see the repudiation of the Conservative’s austerity fraud, and that the new government has made addressing socioeconomic inequality and renewing the commonwealth a national priority as a first step in fixing the “democratic deficit”. That will also become the main task of the young Afghan-born Maryam Monef (who is also the youngest cabinet member ever). It’s also a very positive move for Trudeau to invite the leaders of the opposition parties to join the government at the Paris Climate Talks after the stinginess of the Harper regime in sharing power or taking a consensual approach to politics.
Mr. Harper and his Conservative Party seem to have neglected the facts of human mortality, and that the mortality of the generations and of the “Old Stock” eventually reduces the appeal of Conservative policies. Mr. Harper should have spent more time reading Aristotle, perhaps, and less time reading up on Stalin.
Canada today may be one of the first nations in which a new generation is coming into its inheritance and into its own, along with a different sensibility. That’s something to watch for.