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John Chuckman





I am extremely disappointed in Justin Trudeau over this.

I wrote him, as a member of Parliament, about two years ago, advocating that if he ran for leadership of his party, he make an issue of vote reform and that it would be one of the most important things he could do.

Ordered-preference ballots are much more democratic than the current, simplistic first-past-the-post ones, the ones now used in Canada and in the United States.

Such ballots give voters a much greater sense of having had some effect with their vote, and they would encourage greater voter participation.

Well, he did make the promise and made it rather strongly in his campaign, not just with a little sound-bite or two. And I took it, along with one or two other promises, as a key measurement of his future performance.

Always with elected politicians, you get a bundle of goods, so to speak, some, or many, of which you do not want, and so you select one or two as the important ones for you.

And here he is, backing out of what I regard as his most important promise.

I understand that he cannot get the various political parties to agree on reform, and he rightly does not want a plebiscite on the matter, plebiscites on complex matters such as this being almost guaranteed to fail. Many simply might not understand what it is they were being asked.

But that is the role of leadership, to implement what you truly know is a better, far better, system and let people learn about it by experience. If they prove unhappy with it, it can always be undone in future. Trudeau has a comfortable majority in Parliament, so there is no barrier to his acting, other than his own hesitations or reservations.

Justin also recently made what appears a seriously bad move in foreign affairs by removing the classy, intelligent Stéphane Dion (PhD from the Sorbonne) and replacing him as Foreign Minister with a pierogi-eating, speaks-Ukrainian-at-home, Russian-resenter named Chrystia Freeland.

It is not at all clear what his intention was in doing this, but, for some reason, he thinks that this will appeal to Trump. Why else do it at this time?

He could be right, but, if so, it wouldn’t speak well of Trump. Trump’s complete set of views and intentions remain unknown, although he campaigned on some mighty important matters with which we can only hope he will follow through – a much better, more cooperative, and respectful relationship with Russia being a key one.

This provides just one more example of the difficulties humanity has in governing itself, a matter which becomes far more critical to everyone with Trump simply because his office and his country influence everyone, not just 35 million Canadians. Will Trump make good on ending the murderous Neocon Wars? Will he set a new standard for American foreign affairs? Or will he get bogged down in a narrow agenda of interest only to American Patriot types, a group not known for large views?

There is an inherent, ongoing contradiction in America’s leading role in world affairs with the interests of many ordinary Americans being narrow, the other 95% of humanity counting for little or nothing while yet being profoundly affected by America’s acts. That reality made the work of the War Party elites easy because no one at home much cared what they did abroad.

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