Sometimes, you just have to shake your head.
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister until 2025 and possibly beyond, runs a government that excels at being predictably inconsistent, transparently delusional, occasionally devious and excessively obsessed with the latest shiny object.
Think not? Let me count the ways leading to Tuesday’s latest grand delusion.
For inconsistency, consider this week’s declared purchase of the F-35 fighter jet. It comes a dozen years after the last time Canada announced we were buying them, before being interrupted by Trudeau’s promise to never EVER buy that particular jet.
The timing for this $19-billion flip-flop, which cabinet ministers blamed on their own bureaucrats, was obvious.
The government whipped out the F-35s to give its April 7 budget the cover to spend big on jets to bolster its feeble military investments at a time when the rest of NATO is arming up.
Sticking with military matters, there’s a nagging inconsistency in Trudeau pledging more lethal weapons to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion, which most Canadians rightly support.
But it ignores the fact Canada’s largest arms export is to Saudi Arabia, which is doing a ramped-up Putin-like “special military operation” on Yemen, using Canadian armoured vehicles, which a United Nations report says is “helping to perpetuate” the war.
Then there are the shiny political lures that almost always hook Trudeau.
Next month, Global Citizen is hosting a glittery star-studded event to help Ukraine. Given how he’s already promoting it on his office website, you just KNOW the prime minister will be basking in coverage from the front of the global online stage.
Meanwhile, young girls are again being denied schooling in Afghanistan while starvation takes hold. This, in a country where nearly 160 Canadians died defending human rights. So far, crickets on the prime minister’s social media accounts.
And, finally, the prime minister does have a devious side.
On Wednesday, Trudeau will make an overdue visit to the Williams Lake First Nation where 93 burial sites linked to a former residential school have been found.
This is right under the flight path he took for a surfing getaway on the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation last fall.
However, this visit comes the day after a big-ticket Liberal fundraiser in Vancouver, which allows the government jet to transport the prime minister and cabinet ministers on the taxpayers’ tab for an overnight getaway, which, I must stress, does not make him the first prime minister to overlap public duties with partisan activities.
But, all of the above is a long winding way of getting to the biggest head-shaking development of the week, the 270-page grand plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the pivotal fight against climate change.
You can only hope these ambitious targets can be met because it’s vital for our planet’s future.
But this is a far cry from a concrete plan. It’s barely a blueprint. More like a wish list sprinkled with pixie dust and REM-sleep levels of dreaming.
Consider the biggest culprit, the oil sector, where emissions have increased by an eye-popping 137 per cent since 2005, even with coal-fired power plants being mothballed.
The feds say the new target must see emissions suddenly drop by 42 per cent in just eight years, apparently forgetting their promise to boost Canadian oil and gas exports to Europe to help reduce its dependence on Russian energy.
When asked how Canada’s oil patch could ramp up production to help Europe and still meet its dramatically reduced domestic emissions target, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson declared that people “oversimplify these issues.”
Canada, he said, must “walk and chew gum at the same time” by helping meet Europe’s post-Russian energy needs, while remaining on track for deep cuts in domestic emissions. Gosh. Look who’s simplifying now?
The government also insists 60 per cent of new car purchases must be electric in just eight years, this in a sales market where EVs now register just five per cent of sales. How? No idea beyond something called a “sales mandate” now under development.
The bottom line, according to Green Party’s Elizabeth May, is that just five pages of charts in the entire door-stopper of a document actually matter because they flesh out the goals with some bare-boned hints of hopeful action.
Of course, it’s hopeless because none of this will come to pass.
We haven’t met an emissions reduction target in our history and there’s every probability the next prime minister will gut or shelve this plan in any event.
But it fits with Trudeau’s consistently inconsistent political behaviour. He reaches to the stars for self-reflected glory without having his feet grounded in reality.
That’s the bottom line.
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