Justin Trudeau, the 2020 chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, called for cooperation among international partners and governments to create economic opportunity and prosperity that is broadly shared, “…as a way not just of countering the pull of extremism in some places or the cynicism of populism, but as a way of building a real and tangible future for countries around the world.”

Would that he practiced these values at home!

Where is the cooperation creating economic opportunity and prosperity in Canada?

Canada, a country based on peace, order and good government has devolved in to a country of tribes going at each other. Instead of working together for the betterment for all, participating in our social contract, we are fighting with each other to protect our little areas. This is my land. No this is my land. Whose land is it?

There are approximately 600 Indigenous tribes in this country of 35 million people, and ten provinces and three territories. John A MacDonald, who is now reviled for his interactions with Indigenous peoples 150 years ago, brought all of us together from east to west with the railroad. Seems to me that this is the last thing any leader did to unite this country.

Today we have a government that instead of promoting peace, order and good government, promotes tribalism. This Liberal government is breaking up the country, pandering to the different tribes, let alone regions. The west wants the pipelines. Companies have been working on getting these pipelines approved for ten years. TEN years. The courts have been involved. Yet, not even the courts seem to be able to overrule “tribes.”

Rail travel in eastern Canada is at the mercy of a few Indigenous people in the west going against the law. The blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk territory took over the tracks between Toronto and the east in solidarity with demonstrators in northwest B.C., where Indigenous people and supporters are protesting the construction of a pipeline that crosses Wet’suwet’en territory. The railway blockade included the Mohawk Warrior Society whose red-backed flag was visible on top of a long, upright crossing barrier and a hand-painted sign read: “#RCMP get out.”

Hundreds of passenger and freight trains on that route from Toronto to Ottawa and Montreal were disrupted. What about the economic fallout from that, or the economic loss in the West at the ports? Does anyone care? Or are we too worried about upsetting a few members of a tribe? When did the few get to rule over the many?

In Edmonton, protesters handed out pamphlets declaring “Canada must respect Indigenous Law.” OK. Do they have to respect Canadian law? Seems they do. They don’t have an absolute veto over legislation.

Now it is important to know the blockade is over the Coastal GasLink pipeline which feeds into a $36-billion liquefied natural gas project that was approved by Prime Minster Justin Trudeau at the end of 2018. TC Energy, the Calgary-based company building the pipeline, has signed benefit agreements with the roughly 20 First Nations who reside along the route.

The project has received broad consent from Indigenous communities, including elected Wet’suwet’en officials, but hereditary chiefs have strongly opposed its development.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said “We’ve obviously seen projects that are legally approved but have still had some challenges. In a country where we enable people to have free speech, have their point of view, we are always going to have people that don’t agree with the process that we’ve gone through.” So the government is enforcing the projects, anyway. No? Oh.

Instead we are left with internecine fighting amongst the tribes, let alone with the citizens in Alberta and millions of others who want to see our children and grandchildren thrive in a thriving Canada.

What about the Frontier oil sands mine in Alberta? What is happening there? A joint review panel from the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency gave the go ahead last summer but still no green light. Seems the agencies involved gave the blessing following Stephen Harper’s process and not Trudeau. When is enough, enough? How many regulatory hurdles must a company jump through to get approval? Why would any company ever want to invest in Canada?

Now there may be a problem in New Brunswick. Maybe? Ha!

A small Toronto company, Maritime Iron, wants to turn iron ore into pig iron used in steel making. Seems the problem is emissions. The emission from this mine could prevent Canada from meeting its emission commitment for 2030. And nothing should ever supersede emission controls. That this company could add 200 jobs to the Maritimes seems to be small potatoes when compared to the job potential in Alberta if the Frontier mine is built. But the Maritimes are smaller than Alberta. Who are the geniuses behind these statistics used to condemn the company?

And let us not forget Quebec. Our PM doesn’t. What’s good for Quebec is good for Canada. Let’s not make a west to east pipeline through Quebec because there isn’t “social acceptability” in the province for it to proceed, despite the fact that New Brunswick is saying it has underutilized refinery capacity and Canada is buying oil from Saudi Arabia. When it comes to Canada it is all about Tribalism. All about me. Not in my back yard. But the blockade on the railway? Now the Quebec government is angry. Because THEY are affected.

What is the Liberal government doing to promote the law?

Our Trudeau Liberal minority government is still dithering. Will the residents of Alberta have the right to work for a living while bringing prosperity to the country, or will they be given welfare as a backstop for denying our right to send our resources to market while we import oil from Saudi Arabia. Seems it is now considered better to support reduction in carbon and put proud, hard-working Canadians on welfare, than protect and defend human rights in some of the world’s worst human rights abusive countries. I thought our Ditherer- in- Chief cared about human rights?

Well why should we be surprised? Our proud PM stands with Iran and North Korea at the UN, so why not Saudi Arabia? Especially when you are groveling for a seat at the UN table.

And speaking of groveling; how much money are we paying to send our PM to Africa to chat for eight days, this after sending two cabinet ministers and a parliamentary secretary ahead of him.  Seems  like a last ditch effort to cover up the fact that Canada failed to meet the commitment to reach the UN goal for development spending of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. Canada’s current level is less than 0.3 per cent, which has it near the bottom of the pack among of the roughly three-dozen richest countries in the world. I just learned that we have given the West African country of Mali $1.6 billion in development assistance over the last decade. Just curious, but did we get value for our money because I know our Vets could use it.

How much money of ours is he giving away in a real quid pro quo to the leaders of the 54 countries of the African Union, many of them authoritarian, so they will vote for us to be on the UN non-permanent Security Council? Our dear leader, who champions human rights, gender equality at home, seems to be tongue tied when he leaves.

Thomas Kwasi Tieku, an associate professor and Canada-Africa relations expert at King’s University College in London, Ont., said Canada needs to be careful about which countries it appeals to for support in its Security Council bid. He said Canada should be wary about appearing too friendly with countries such as South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Togo and Uganda, because of their poor track records on governance, human rights and gender equality.

Well, it’s not as if we didn’t know that we had a two faced PM.

If all else fails, perhaps the celebrity power of Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who joined Mr. Trudeau on the trip to Ethiopia will help. He grew up in Nigeria and is well known across much of Africa.

Then again, according to the Black Political Action Committee of Canada what is really important is that “Prime Minister Trudeau will do well to listen and seek greater understanding of the Black experience across Canada balanced with Canada’s role in the economic empowerment of African continental states. It is only after this that he will be able to contribute to sustainable change.”

Remember studying the Industrial Revolution? It lifted millions out of poverty. It also brought smog. Air quality was pathetic. But the revolution did not stop. People, with intelligence, figured out how to fix air quality without reducing quality of life; without fear of end times. There is no reason why we cannot figure out the problem with carbon emissions without taking down the west.

Perhaps, though, this is a problem too difficult for our PM. And so Mr. Dithers divides us into tribes.


From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”