Now approaching the end of his first term, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can look back on one major accomplishment: legalization of marijuana.
Not many know, and few would care, if Trudeau is a pothead himself. As a politician, his greatest gift might be empathy; he seems to have an innate ability to put himself in other peoples’ shoes, and feel as they do about important issues. Unfortunately, as with the controversy over climate change, this capacity can lead to stalemate.
Canadians rank with the highest greenhouse emitters in the world on a per capita basis. Trudeau supports the Paris agreement, and he wants to cut Canada’s pollution by taxing the use of fossil fuels. At the same time, Trudeau is onside with the corporations that exploit Canada’s natural resources, and he has the utmost sympathy for the workers employed there. Thus he plans to increase bitumen shipments to overseas markets.
Such a union of opposites can make for great poetry; in the real world though, Trudeau’s “pipe dream” undercuts his pretense of caring about mankind’s future here on Earth.
One weakness of Canada’s democratic system is that it’s difficult for many people to see beyond their own immediate needs. As with the wolves, the bears, the squirrels and the robins, their attention is fixed on the moment, and the daily requirements of food and shelter. Politicians’ jobs depend on convincing people that they are the best ones to look after their interests, so the leaders too, focus on the here-and-now.
In comparison to other countries, Canada is one of the most blessed. We have a small, fairly well educated population, in a huge area. If anyone can afford to give something back to the world, and show flexibility and ingenuity with regard to making a living, it’s Canadians.
Unfortunately at the present time, the required leadership is not there.