Americans generally don’t pay a lot of attention to Canada – except maybe when it comes to secreting hostages from Iranian revolutionary fanatics or signing trade deals.
The two countries have long been described as sharing the longest undefended border so don’t look for President-elect Donald Trump to start building any walls on the northern border. Bilateral trade relations remain strong despite all the talk about tearing up NAFTA (no, Mexico is not the only other country tied to that deal) and defense cooperation is characterized by a relationship that might be described as a mutual admiration alliance. The U.S. and Canada are not only connected through membership in NATO but extensive continental defense agreements including the grandest of them all: the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) agreement that has committed both countries to a joint air defense doctrine since 1958.
Then there’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canadians elected this uber-liberal in 2015 after almost a decade of Conservative government under Stephen Harper. President Barack Obama cannot find sufficient verbiage to extol the excessively liberal virtues of this preening and pusillanimous progressive politician.
The twins of big government were together again yesterday as Obama and Trudeau pledged themselves to energy insufficiency by attempting to block all oil drilling in the arctic. It may be a parting shot for Obama, but Trudeau is just getting started with his liberal agenda and is bound to run face-first into a Donald Trump presidency.
He was asked about that in one of those end-of-the-year interviews that all politicians encourage. After maintaining an admirable silence throughout the primary season and the election campaign, Trudeau exerted what must have been an awesome degree of self-control by continuing to maintain a polite distance after Trump won an election that virtually all Canadian observers were certain would go to Hillary Clinton.
But now he’s preparing for battle. He told the Canadian Press: “I do not want to dive into the hypothetical, but you’re asking me, ‘where is the line?’ The line, for me, is that I will act in a way that ensures that Canadians do not suffer and have all the benefits and opportunities that I can possibly give them,” he said.
I don’t think Trump cares where Trudeau perceives “the line” to be or even if he has taken much notice of the prime minister. But he probably should for two reasons: first, free trade might not work with Mexico but it is thriving between the other NAFTA partners and that bilateral relationship needs to continue; and second, Trudeau will remain a distant but vital symbol for left-wing Democrats who will see in the Canadian prime minister confirmation that liberal policies continue to be viable and relevant.
But Trudeau is more than a symbol. He’s like an ominous coming attraction of what could happen to America if the Nancy Pelosi-wing of the Democratic Party sustains its ascendancy.
Trudeau famously (at least in Canada) was once asked what governments in the world he most admired. His response? China was number one. If that doesn’t stimulate your ideological radar, nothing will. Of course he couldn’t contain his effusive praise for Fidel Castro’s catastrophic communist record in Cuba, where the Marxist leader in the perpetual combat fatigues waged war on freedom for half a century. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau was prime minister for 15 years and was a close friend and confidant of Castro. The elder Trudeau was suspected by the U.S. border services of communist sympathies and denied entry to the United States in the 1950s.
Justin Trudeau has already energized the libertine left in Canada with boutique store policies designed to appeal to lefties on both sides of the border. He’s promised to legalize marijuana and is an admitted pot user himself. He recently created a special advisor on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited (LGBTQ2) and he is streamlining the process to promulgate more “safe” injection sites for intravenous heroin users.
Oh yes – he’s captive to environmental extremists and is poised to impose a carbon tax that will rob from Canadians in order for China to produce more greenhouse gasses.
On foreign policy he makes Obama look like a hawk. Trudeau won’t even confirm a war with ISIS and believes that with enough United Nations care packages we can solve poverty in the Middle East and given sufficient employment opportunities, Islamic extremists will no longer seek to annihilate Western values and democratic freedoms. But we’ve heard that from Obama’s talking heads too.
Trudeau isn’t fomenting any direct conflict with the United States but he is waging a cultural war that is potentially equally dangerous.
And that’s worth watching.
Follow David on Twitter @DavidKrayden