Canada Thomas Walkom: Nationalism is being forced on Trudeau

19:28  03 july  2018
19:28  03 july  2018 Source:   thestar.com

Trudeau in Quebec for Fete Nationale

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Thomas Walkom . @TomWalkom. twalkom@thestar.ca. Thomas Walkom writes on political economy. What will Justin Trudeau ’s Liberal government do now that a bill on animal testing has been passed onto the Commons for consideration?

Her government is waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing that has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee Burma. For the Trudeau Liberals, climate change and human rights are defining political principles. Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.


Like his father, Pierre, Justin Trudeau is an internationalist. Pierre Trudeau found the nationalism of his native Quebec narrow and confining. And he was never entirely comfortable with the economic nationalists in his own Liberal Party.

But he recognized that both were powerful forces and acted accordingly. Bilingualism was his attempt to defang Quebec separatism. The National Energy Program was in part an attempt to counter the power of multinational oil companies operating in Canada.

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A little further back, it was the position of the Liberal Party. Justin Trudeau may reject economic nationalism as dangerous. Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Then, on Wednesday, Trudeau spilled the beans. The Russians are being punished for saying that Freeland’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator during the Second World War. Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

In hindsight, the elder Trudeau — with his plans to regulate foreign investment and his decision to have the government purchase its own oil company — seems a champion of nationalism.

But at the time, he was a reluctant one, who had been forced into the role by the zeitgeist of the moment and a visceral dislike among many Canadians for two powerful occupants of the White House, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

So it is with Justin Trudeau. The current prime minister is by instinct a cosmopolitan who talks of a Canada wide open to the world.

He has explicitly disavowed his father’s National Energy Program and, as evidenced by his stubborn refusal to impose a so-called Netflix tax on foreign video streaming, has little interest in using the state to support cultural nationalism.

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The prime minister's state visit to India was at worst only a partial disaster as the photo-ops will be useful at election time, writes Thomas Walkom . Trudeau and his family were on a week-long official trip to India. (narinder nanu / afp/getty images). Prime ministerial trips abroad are rarely

What’s more, there are other forces at play. Trudeau ’s opportunistic pledge to replace Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system before the next federal election was not well thought out. Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

He has no sympathy for Canadian newspaper publishers who argue that federal tax policy is biased in favour of foreign internet giants like Facebook and Google.

When the younger Trudeau became prime minister three years ago, these internationalist positions reflected the mood of the times. They seemed modern and digital. It was easy to dismiss economic or cultural nationalists as out-of-date anti-Americans.

But U.S. President Donald Trump has changed all of that.

With his trade war and his explicit attacks on Trudeau, he has breathed new life into a chippier form of Canadian nationalism.

When Trudeau declared last month that he wouldn’t be bullied by Trump, there were cheers around the country.

When Trump reacted furiously to that, Canadians cheered even more.

Grassroots movements devoted to boycotting American products have sprung up. Asked about this, Trudeau smiled and said Wednesday that he always encourages people to buy Canadian.

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When the Trudeau government announced this week that, in effect, it was keeping the most contentious elements of C-51, there was little outcry. That’s possible too. Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“NAFTA as we know it is finished,” writes Thomas Walkom . Trudeau ’s response to date has been measured. Economic nationalism is popular in the U.S. these days. That is not likely to change even if Democrats win control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.

On Friday, the government announced it would spend up to $2 billion to support industries and workers affected by Trump’s punitive tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. As well, it said it would go ahead with plans to retaliate by imposing equivalent tariffs on U.S.-made goods.

“We will not escalate and we will not back down,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

You could almost hear Canadians cheering again.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to his introduction before a town hall Q&A with youth at a hiring fair held in a Toronto Library, on Wednesday.© Chris Young Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to his introduction before a town hall Q&A with youth at a hiring fair held in a Toronto Library, on Wednesday.

Trump has reawakened a powerful force in Canada. Trudeau understands the politics of this and has rather cleverly used it to his advantage.

When his office discovered last week that Stephen Harper was meeting senior Trump officials in Washington, it managed to insinuate, without exactly spelling anything out, that the former Conservative prime minister was acting as a fifth columnist against Canada in the trade war.

If the trade war ends quickly, Trudeau need not do much more than he has. The financial aid announced Friday will get affected industries over the hump until matters return to normal.

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But for better or worse, nationalism is alive and well in the world. I doubt, though, that he would be surprised. He recognized the power of this force and in his life tried to steer it along paths that were both democratic and, in the original sense of This is one area where the usually deft Justin Trudeau Liberals are missing the boat. Thomas Walkom ’s column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Nationalism is in bad odour. It need not be . True, an ardent form of nationalism has fuelled the rise But the essence of nationalism — an attachment to place and culture — remains a powerful human force . Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ’s government praises the still-not-quite-yet-concluded Canadian politicians? Not so much. Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

But if the trade war lags on or intensifies, as Trump has threatened, there may be no normal to return to.

That’s when Trudeau, like his father, may be forced to embrace the messier part of nationalism — the protectionism, the use of state power to restructure industry, the insulation from the vagaries of world markets.

In the long run, the answer for Canada may well be to reduce its dependence on the U.S. But as Pierre Trudeau discovered when he tried to diversify trade, the long run can take an inordinate amount of time to reach.

In the meantime, people have to eat. In a world where nationalism is on the rise, Justin Trudeau will find that declaring his fidelity to the principles of free trade and open markets is not enough.

Thomas Walkom is a Toronto-based columnist covering politics. Follow him on Twitter: @tomwalkom

Woman who accused Trudeau of groping breaks her silence .
Woman who accused Trudeau of groping breaks her silence "I issue this statement reluctantly, in response to mounting media pressure to confirm that I was the reporter who was the subject of the Open Eyes editorial, published in the Creston Valley Advance in August of 2000," the former journalist wrote.

Source: http://ca.pressfrom.com/news/canada/-82007-thomas-walkom-nationalism-is-being-forced-on-trudeau/

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