The PM's plane is transformed into a metaphor
On the chaos in city centres, I think it's widespread enough that it's hard to say any one entity is to blame. Maybe a good first step would be to talk about it. I was discussing this in the spring with a friend from a big company -- that a national city summit would be interesting, attendance absolutely not mandatory, but say 15 mayors and a few premiers and the PM and two of his ministers and some national organizations, academics, whatever. Sit down and share observations and best practices. My friend's reaction was interesting. He said there's no way it would work because every organisation would arrive with message to emit, and not a one of them would be equipped to listen and integrate what they heard. Not one government, not the politician you dislike the most, but every organisation. This led pretty directly to my summer series on the pathology of strategic communications. This country has gigantic fucking problems and for some reason everyone thinks it's a public speaking contest.
In less than a day, this has become the longest comment board in the 17-month history of this newsletter, 159 comments including this one. And it's been perfectly civil, or close enough. Thanks to everyone for letting one another have assorted opinions.
This is also the 13th most-shared post on the newsletter (out of 156 posts since I launched), so thanks to everyone for spreading the word. As Art Blakey said, tell your square friends about this music; they're the ones with the money.
I think this is a good summary of the state of affairs of both Justin Trudeau, and of the mood of the Country at the moment.
Your comments on London are on point; it is frightening to travel in certain parts of the City, and it is getting demonstrably worse.
I like the writing style, and the sentiment expressed.
As one of your Liberal readers, I think this is a pretty reasonable piece. You refer to the state of Ontario politics in 2018, and, indeed, I think voters are getting to the point with the PM that they were getting to with Kathleen Wynne---they're just irretrievably sick of him, his face, his voice, his manner. Once you reach that point, it's hard to come back from.
Even speaking as a Liberal: I think the other guy's worse, but I cannot dispute anything you've said about the PM here. I can see why he rubs a lot of people the wrong way. A clip was trending on Twitter last night - I'm not sure if it's new or old - of Jean Chretien doing his whole CANADA IS THE BEST, DA PROOF IS DA PROOF shtick, and people were asking, "Why can't we have a prime minister like this? Why doesn't Justin say stuff like this?" And when the answer is, "Justin does say stuff like this, but when he does it, it annoys everyone," that doesn't augur very well.
Just this week I was wondering “ where’s Paul Wells ?” ... and here you are ! Thank you for your take on the world this week and more especially on the way of Canada and it’s political morass. I am neither a Liberal or Conservative zealot so I am able to appreciate your ‘pox’ on both their houses.
This is why I have been following you through your various media iterations and why I am happy to recommend you to anyone who will listen.
Keep it up !
If Poilievre only scraps the Carbon Tax and gets inflation even remotely under control, and achieves nothing else, I would be a happy citizen.
The BIG thing that we are missing as Paul alludes to is that we are washing out to sea without a lifeboat. My friends who work in housing construction tell me there is no real plan to crank up production because interest rates are too high for builders to carry project expenses into an uncertain market. In Alberta. With oil pushing higher.
Fixing this mess is not going to be easy.
Some 8 years ago, Canadians were advised that Justin Trudeau was "just not ready" to be PM. He had no qualifying life or work experience and traded solely on his father's name. Canadians ignored the obvious and bought into the hype. The state in which Canada finds itself today speaks volumes in terms of government competence - as led by Justin Trudeau. Even with almost 8 years on-the-job training, a review of his record would show (at least to some Canadians) that he is still not ready.
Yes. “ Some damn thing”. I like the idea of cancelling one failed expenditure and applying the money where it’s more needed. I gather the Liberals think they have a communication problem. Perhaps it’s more of an implementation problem. Right now PP is dancing rings around them on communication.
I appreciate the fact that you go after all the parties. I do not see a leader in any of the five parties in the House of Commons that inspires me even a little. Same at the provincial level.
There are a few good MPs like Michael Chong, Don Davies, and Mike Morrice. I also liked former MPs Bernadette Jordan and Paul Manly.
In my dream world all MPs and MLAs are independents and parties no longer exist.
Thanks for your reporting :)
Your criticism of the PM on the world stage, Mr. Wells, is unfair!
His presence is absolutely critical for the other participants.
Once the time of his interventions appears on the schedule, all the other leaders know when to schedule those all important 'comfort' breaks.
You don't want to leave the meeting hall when something important may happen and timing your absences when the PM speaks is a guarantee you are going to miss nothing of any importance whatsoever.
Justin Trudeau the indispensable man!
Looks like the Liberals never learn. A few weeks ago they had a big reshuffle and it sure fell flat on it's face in no time. Where are the great communicators we were told to expect? He once said .Canada is back and everything is sweet because after all it's 2015. Now 2023, nothing moves in the right direction for hurting Canadians except more vague promises, and a PM giving lessons to the rest of the world. Tout à fait inutile ce gouvernement.
Counterpoint: it was a tweet
I guess I’m one of those Liberals who doesn’t think that things are as gloomy as you project. When I read JT’s tweet I didn’t think that he was lecturing, just that as a group there is more that needs to be done. Not to say that he doesn’t have any faults but are the problems that London is experiencing, really his fault. My son lived there 25 years ago and parts of it were pretty sketchy then.
I listened to PP’s speech on the Friday as well as his wife’s extremely long introduction. As much as I tried to be objective all that I could think “ Are people really going to fall for this BS?” He wasn’t speaking to the people who got him there, he was speaking to the gullible ones who will hopefully wake up to the fact that a leopard can’t change it’s spots.
You are a Liberal; I am a Conservative. To me this is not about finding blame. It is truly a bipartisan issue.
Yes, it requires a commitment from all levels of Government. But it first requires a commitment from the citizenry to say this current experience is unacceptable. We must acknowledge that massive change is required, both in our thinking & our execution.
In a virtuous society we would collectively assert “Enough! This cannot go on.”
That is where the solution must begin.
Homelessness, mental health abandonment & drug abuse existed long before Doug Ford was elected. That doesn’t mean I’m implying it’s Kathleen Wynne’s fault either. But she did ignore the growing epidemic as well.
However, were we truly concerned about the problems, we would take the billions of subsidies wasted on battery plants, for example, & commit those funds to involuntary drug treatment, mental health counselling, & entry level subsidized housing.
However, we lack the commitment as citizens, & as politicians, in my opinion. We are what we allow, and we have allowed the beneficence of our collective inheritance to be casually & inelegantly dissipated by neglect, cowardice, lack of virtue & discipline.
These were once shared Canadian values. They are shared Canadian values no longer.
That is my reply.
Thank you Paul for yet another great article. A nice Sunday read. Enjoying your sub stack.
To your last question in the final para, I am sure JT would say we never deserved him, and after 9 years it’s simple to see that the country didn’t deserve a PM who has put us in debt that the Millenials and GenZ’s will spend their lifetime paying off and still be looking for a roof over their head. Yeah, we didn’t deserve the Trudeau Treatment.