Canadian Leadership and Realism Needed in the Wake of Trump and Brexit Victories

I admit I have lived outside Canada for a generation, which can lead one to being less informed with what is exactly happening in Canada.

It can though provide new valuable and objective perspectives on strengths and weaknesses of ones homeland, more removed from excess emotions and navel gazing.

For example, having lived in the United States for more than two months this year during the heat of their presidential election helped me better understand our neighbours,  as well as my stint at Harvard many years back.

However, I have visited Canada on vacations and keep track of developments there, albeit listening less and less to Canadian media even if I am covered by it, from time to time.

And I plead guilty as being a sucker for CBC as it is a vital link for keeping Canada together, even if at times being overly politically correct and generally too liberal in my opinion.

However, I think it is fair to say from my global perspective ( lived and/or worked in around 20 countries)  yet having grown up in Canada, that too many Canadians, due to our leadership, in serious part are both naive and overly caught up in liberal mantra.

I am not per se against liberals, but am against the kind of cult-like following to this ideology  that showed up in most Canadians’ reactions to  the results of the US presidential elections and preceding campaigns.

For most  Canadians, about 80- 90 percent, (see CBC and various polls)  were strictly against Trump, seeing him as an extremist.

He on occasion showed  excess bluster and sensationalism against certain minority  groups so had to be totally trashed was the current Canadian view.

This was in particular, the view from Canadian media.

The flood of sensationalist, politically correct media messages ad nauseum  was swallowed almost whole by my fellow citizens, including the view that Trump was on the scale of being a dark evil ‘prince’.

Even most Canadian conservatives were supremely anti-Trump.

I am sure the illustrious school and universities  I went to that provide so many members of our politically correct elite were horiffied by Trump and his victory – or close enough.

Almost none of the instructors there in those institutions would likely publicly support positive discussion by students about Trump.

They would also likely look very much down on anyone having any enthusiasm for him.

That in my mind shows the lack of intellectual integrity, even among our so-called best educational institutions governed by the elites.

That Canadians swallowed these viscous liberal, main media messages against Trump, promulgated by the elites and nearly wholesale, while half of Americans did not, shows that Americans may have more political maturity in my estimation.

I believe a Maclean’s magazine article year backs showed data supporting this greater degree of maturity.

I believe, too that  American elites have provided more room for debate supporting the view that the centre does not have to be glued to you, if you want to be considered a decent human being.

And  evidence indicates that Americans are not so much caught up in ideologically crushing deviation from the centre.

Canadian elites are much more so.

Of course  most of our Canadian elites look  at these true conservative pro-Trump’ deviants’ more politely at times by just trying to put  these ‘troublemakers’ into social ostracization.

Canadian liberals can be more polite than their US counterparts.

Yet they too have been eliminating  any or positive media coverage of Trumpists and looking at these serious dissenters to liberalism as if they should be sent to a kind of ideological gulag.

Of course, I am joking to make my point, kind of.

Yet too many if not most Canadians interested in US politics  are largely uncivil in their thinking about anyone who thinks Trump is generally okay.

Is that true open-mindedness?

Sadly, even if upsetting, I have to say the evidence of this anti-Trump passion shows that most of our governance in Canada has  an ‘authoritarian’  bent towards Pro-Trump, non-centrists.

Maybe this authoritarianism  has a bit to do with the fact that Canada was a British colony which only got full control in the 1980s  to make constitutional changes independent of the British House of Lords.

Deference to colonial and pro-government authority mentalities, especially the latter has been more difficult to get out of the main political cultural mainstream in Canada.

The more independent and non-deferential Americans, on-the-other-hand  can separate out Trump’s bluster.

They also have a more realistic view about security concerns, regarding  the need for refugees and immigrants to be properly vetted and not accepting unlawful immigration.

Remember, this is a great problem for the Americans given that Mexico borders the US not Canada and America being the number one target for ISIS.

Canadians need to appreciate this context.

That takes maturity, too of seeing the other side and having empathy than just spouting out intolerance by strongly promoting  misconceptions or exaggerations about so-called American intolerance and nativism.

Instead, too many Canadians especially our elites, in a beacon of excessive pride,  self-righteously declare their greater love for refugees with even our prime minister feting them with hugs at  the Toronto airport.

It was kind of a message to our neighbours in concert with Obama’s outwardly pro-immigration message,  saying we Canadians and liberals are superior in morals and civility than you Trump loving rednecks.

Such wonderful PR gestures and other such loud public bronzing of our progressive values were positively  greeted  recently by the Economist magazine in declaring Canada as especially being the last developed country with open minds and ‘open borders’.

This is puppycock and devoid of the consideration of the massive surges of refugees that Europe has faced that makes the numbers Canada has welcomed look almost piddly

If the PM had let in say 500,000 to  700,000 refugees an equivalent portion to what Germany did, many Canadians in backlash would not be so progressive sounding.

If he had on his borders massive numbers of illegals flooding in he might be up to making the sizeable numbers of deportations that even President Obama has been making in recent years.

How do you like them so-called progressive immigration credentials Obama likes wearing?

Even Prime Minister Trudeau given the security situation in the Middle East does not want to come close to letting in the refugee numbers, as a percentage  of the population that Chancellor  Merkel in Germany has.

Yet we talk up ourselves as being so pro-immigration .

This is a fantasy, too to an extent.

Another fantasy is that the Canadian economic ship is quite solid.

Economics shows this up to be one of the biggest fantasies.

For example, the most populous province, Ontario is one of the most indebted regions per capita of almost any major jurisdiction in the world.

(Fact check that, as well.  If I were paid more for these blogs I would give you a mother lode of precise references. Sorry, if that sounds to be too capitalist. Sorry if I said sorry but I am still a Canadian)

Yet given Canada’s excessive dependence on the digging up and sale of commodities and  thus, the need  to preserve important manufacturing, Ontario, still lost Nortel.

Unbelievable as this was one of the few major communication hardware multinationals in the world and a past jewel in the Canadian industrial crown.

This and the decimation of Canada’s only smartphone manufacturer in Canada, Blackberry have happened in just the last several years.

And despite Boeing, the US plane manufacturer making lots of profits, the Trudeau government has had to consider bailing out  aerospace and train making Bombardier.

It should not be forgotten that Bombardier had its contract annulled with London for the lies it made about what it could do and its shoddy work.

Go figure about our industrial leadership also when our two hundred year old plus, huge Molson brewery company not so many years back was sold to the Americans.

It took centuries for this company to become a great global brand name.

I am talking of the Molson family who sold this Canadian industrial icon, which started off in Montreal in the 1700s and with whom incidentally I went to school with one of  the major family members.

I hope they are reading this and buy their company back with the participation of our rich banks that  let it happen while our government stood passively by.

Canadian elites need to show more patriotism as when the banks made sure our Toronto Stock Exchange was not sold to foreigners.

Do you think President-elect Trump would  let the New York Stock Exchange get into the hands of foreigners.

Yes, Canadian elites  almost let  a European  group pry such a valuable and profitable financial institution away from us.

Therefore,  with a few exceptions by debt and industrial structure, Canada can be argued as structurally sinking even if it might be argued that it is not happening at a fast pace.

There is a reason why our dollar is at 74 cents per the US one while many Canadians talk down America.

Our banking sector is liquid but how long will it remain protected as it was generally outside the free trade agreement.

Trump in opening up NAFTA may strip away such protection and increase even more the competition Canadian banks face and  put more limits on US bank purchases that help that Canadian sector get into the large US market..

In the face of it, what do so many misguided Canadians say?

Especially at the top, they articulate that Canada is a nice place to live in.

So enjoy and relax and put a steak on the BBQ – if you can afford it, even the grill.

Maybe if you have a house or condo in Toronto with 80 percent of the mortgage paid off and/or are rich, you should say it is a nice place.

Maybe if you have bountiful government or banker pension or  very high paying job, all is okay.

That is only a distinct minority, but a huge portion of our elites tell everyone largely to be happy.

Things are too uncertain for most others to really knowing whether their company pension is protected or whether they can meet day to day expenses.

And many for various reasons, not due to their fault necessarily have no serious pension.

And both incomes and productivity have not been growing sufficiently to help the many.

And not to forget  more and more money and manufacturing capacity is being sourced out to developing world countries.

Many Canadians are therefore struggling evermore terribly especially in certain regions.

But for how long, we shall see such complacency to these problems and no Trump-like  movement upsurges?

Canadians, though less and less  are also  still under the illusion that Canadian medicare is great.

Sitting around  a good number of times for eight hours or more in an emergency waiting room to get a 93 year old relative to see a doctor is not what makes me proud to be Canadian.

There being more cat scans in the American state of Minnesota (at least  not so long ago)  than all of Canada should not make us proud.

Many people waiting  a year and a half for elective surgery should not make us proud.

No American politician who does not want to be laughed out of Congress will use the Canadian medical system as a model for reform.

Canadians, at least most, are thus naive about the benefits of our current medicare system.

It needs to be seriously reformed, including looking at highly regulated  privatization models  with full scale competition and guaranteed quality care for the poor and elderly.

Too many Canadians take their money south of the border for emergency operations and may I say, sometimes superior care.

Even there is a growing trend to go to  developing countries like India and Malaysia, in which the latter I had a contract working for the government, to cut private care costs.

Personal  experiences abroad show the medical care in some of these countries is competitive with the developed world, especially quick access at affordable cost to the best equipment and top doctors.

I believe Trump will try to move the Americans to developing a  ‘Swiss-like’ one  as  one of the better privatized but humane models to deal with the “made in Washington” Obamacare mess of high premiums for most.

We should study it and see what reforms we might be able to borrow from the Trump administration..

In the military we are still lacking in developing both a proper upgrading and expansion of it, as well as making enough of our own planes to communication hardware.

I have an article at http://petedash.com/canadian-pm-harper-warrior-bluster-against-putin-big-hat-no-cattle/  It statistically shows how inferior by size and equipment our military is particularly given the huge size of Canada it needs to cover against well-equipped and huge militaries of our neighbors.

I have written and spoken for years about the brutal world that is unfolding before our eyes that requires geopolitical realism and proper military and security resources.

These views were well covered in Postmedia, the CBC and by a major Wall Street media site.

Yet too many Canadians say ” I am all right for now, as usual so things will be all right for us in the future.”

Besides America will defend our security interests, these same say.

This is not the voice of a full grown-up especially since Trump is dedicated to make NATO allies pay more of the collective “military” bill.

We must therefore entertain the idea of even having a capacity that puts us weeks away from having nuclear  bombs with the implicit  threat we are ready to deliver them.

Countries with nuclear weapons are never invaded or stripped of large parts of their sovereignty. And no doubt, worry neighbours thinking of being too aggressive with  approaches of  trying to  grab Canadian resources, outright or with intimidation.

This is not a priority over improving our conventional military, but more of where our mentality should be directed over time given where US policy is going towards making allies more independent and an “America First”  policy from the new US administration.

Meanwhile, at the same time,  maintaining our involvement in useful peacekeeping rather than excessively supporting regime change in other countries should be a preference.

This is in line with  the part of the Trump doctrine that makes sense.

Given the world’s shrinking natural resources like water and well beyond, there will be  greater interest by Americans and Russians in encroaching on our sovereignty,  if not territories,

We say we own the more and more important Northwest Passage in the Arctic and Americans have challenged that with ease. What next, up there, access to oil?

We need to get realistic and have a truly capable military not only in terms of  the quality of the soldier, which we have but by size and equipment, as well.

Trump will negotiate hard with us and our increased military size and modernization or dedication to it will be helpful to our position

All together, Canadians cannot run around describing ourselves as Boy Scouts who will be always respected because of such an image when it gets down to brass tacks in deal making.

Rather by looking too compliant to open borders and complacent about international threats, we will  continue to invite ourselves  to be eaten alive by external investors and  certainly our enemies.

Let us not forget those types who have grabbed our Nortels, took valuable pieces of our Blackberries and the too many who have bought Canadian  citizenships without adding any real sustainable know-how or decent paying jobs.

Korea’s Hyundai, for example took our government subsidies and then did not go through building a car plant.

Canadian colleges in the Middle East were ripped off of millions by certain locals. Is this a further example of such naiveté?

This is all documented including the lack of accountability by those who made these terrible errors that wasted valuable Canadian government resources in such flagrant excess ‘generosity’ to foreign interests.

One of the ‘guilty’  appears in the aftermath to have got himself promoted to heading a high paying college job of  his preference.

Never mind the Trump university scandal. We have enough scandals of wasted educational funding at home to look into.

And wise spending of educational resources is critical to productivity and thus, the idea of  wasting such resources internationally is very sad.

This promotes mediocrity not meritocracy and degradation of the Canadian brand.

That brand must say we are not easy- to be taken to the cleaners and shaken down.

In the current adult world , Boy Scouts are figuratively getting the praises from open refugee and investment and trade  policies.

But  too many of those who do the praising outside the country are often more like wolves in the way they deal with and take advantage of us.

More balance is needed in giving attention to Canadians of displaced workers,  the less educated,  in rural areas and of the non-evident dispossessed and struggling.

We welcome too much all that sweet liquid talk into our ears that says we are nice and are the last place on earth for the ‘wretched of the Earth”  to be truly welcomed.

That is a nice fantasy too.

We need more political  maturity with a focus on our internally challenged and poor.

Firmness and respect are needed, not trying to win the Miss Congeniality context of  the world and the Boy Scouts variety show.

Canada remains still one of the top countries in the world but for how long in the future at this pace.. Let us not forget that too despite our challenges.

But where it was more prosperous and faster growing  three or more decades ago, it is slipping irrespective of rankings. Especially in productivity and competitiveness.

We, as well, do not want to be measured against many developed countries that are sinking faster than us.

We should measure ourself against the Germanys not worrying about whether we are attracting as much per capita inward investment as Mexico. We do not want to be the latter.

We want to be able to say we are the best possible, if not great and with a foundation of sustainability for our grandchildren and extended family of fellow citizens.

We can do better if we develop a culture of realism, responsibility than victimhood and entitlement – and whining.

One that puts first and foremost protecting existing Canadians within our own borders and outside,

And with an industrial structure that makes sense,

Proper work ethic and sense of initiative.

And intelligent risk taking that will get us a real foothold in the computer industry.

And a military that can never be defeated and using made-in-Canada equipment.

That generates well paying, even moderate union endorsed  jobs where possible, and decent paying jobs at home.

We will need trade agreements and other agreements that ensure foreigners add real sustainable value.

And Canadian jobs are properly protected, as well as our overall national interests.

These are just some thoughts for debate, stimulated by the very changing world around us.

If Brexit and Trump do not wake us up from our naive attitudes, then what hope for us to be a real enduring  nation?

What hope will  there be for actualizing the great destiny Prime Minister Laurier foresaw?

That made the first prime minister MacDonald fight so hard to make a Canada independent of America (and even Russia that controlled Alaska around Canada’s years of formation.)

If we do not fundamentally change  parts of our culture, we shall be children and adolescents to the world forever and certainly to the superpower(s) and, before the lurking wolves of the brutal world.

It is time for more Canadians especially our leadership  to grow up and learn from the lessons learned about what the true world  is around us. (Including learning from well-placed  expats, for example especially ones with one citizenship mindedness).

And what we need to do to assure our full success in it.

The status quo in Canada will not do.

Givem the fast (brutal) changes taking place as seen by what is happening in Europe with the far right rising,

And we cannot believe differently that these high pressure changes are coming, given Brexit and most importantly, the Trump victory in America.

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