Joe Biden served Barrack Obama for eight years as his vice-president. By all accounts he wasn’t a total disaster and from what I know he never wore black face.
Mr. Biden is in the fight of his life for the Democratic Party nomination in the United States, the same country Mr. Obama was president. So you would expect the former leader of the so-called free world to support his friend, former running mate and fellow American. Nope.
However, that didn’t stop number 44 from sticking his nose into another country’s election and endorsing Justin Trudeau this week. I’m sure he has an excuse, but really I don’t care.
His endorsement means nothing other than kind words from a former leader. The next government of Canada won’t be working with Mr. Obama they will have to work with Donald Trump. And love him or hate him, Mr. Trump is likely going to be serving five more years. If he doesn’t get impeached.
And Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump have worked together for three years of the Liberal leader’s mandate. Mr. Obama only had one year working with Mr. Trudeau. So I think what everyone would like to see is if the US wants to stick its nose in Canadian politics is Mr. Trump going to endorse Mr. Trudeau?
There, hopefully the last non-issue, issue, of this campaign of non-issues can be put to bed. And, trust me, no one more than this writer is ready for the votes to be counted on Monday so we can put Election 43 out of its misery.
A few weeks ago I wrote a column calling it the Seinfeld Election because it is essentially an election about nothing. Since then I have been referring to the candidates as potential “latex salesmen.”
It is a reference to the Seinfeld episode season three, number 34 where George tells his unemployment insurance officer that he interviewed with Vandelay Industries to be a latex salesman. It prompted the now famous line from Jerry, “and you want to be my latex salesman?”
The last couple of weeks I have caught myself uttering that line on numerous occasions while watching the news. The latest of which is the constant talk of the inevitable horse-trading that will be going on if there is a minority.
I’ve been here before, as Director of Legislative Affairs to Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak after Former Premier Dalton McGuinty’s minority victory in 2011.
Here is what I can say about minorities. When voting: Don’t think about them. When campaigning: Don’t think about them. If you are writing a news story before the votes are counted, remember the whole thing is hypothetical.
However, I will say to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who may very well be the belle of the ball come Tuesday, take a lesson from your 2011 Ontario NDP team. The working relationship we built, NDP and Ontario PCs, was the driving force to call Mr. McGuinty out on the Mississauga Gas Plant cancelation.
It was the driving force behind uncovering shredding going on in the premier’s office and issues with the Stars Air Ambulance. Eventually, by working together, we were able to control the Legislative Assembly and Committees leading to Mr. McGuinty’s resignation. I left after the strategy was derived so I wash my hands of the 2014 vote.
All this is to say, the most important thing that should come out of this minority government is not a coalition. The most important thing is control, of the house and committees so members of parliament can dig into things like SNC Lavalin.
MPs can begin to dig into things like whether the RCMP was blocked in an investigation into the fallout of SNC Lavalin. An investigation into why the career and life of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was dragged though the mud only to have charges against him dropped.
The goal of a minority government is to force whoever is in the big chair to work with all parties to make the House of Commons work for all Canadians.
While there are many who believe the parties are so far apart on issues that working together won’t happen, I say give it a try. Even on sticky issues like the environment there could be common ground.
A great example is carbon taxes versus coal plants. The Liberal government says Canada will eliminate coal-burning plants by 2030. Also that British Columbia doesn’t have to have a federal carbon tax because they have a provincial one.
Well here is an idea; Ontario cancelled coal-burning plants in 2015 – thanks to the work of former PC Environment Minister Elizabeth Whitmer followed by Liberals. So while we wait for other provinces to catch up, maybe we get to avoid the carbon tax. It’s an everyone loses, everyone wins kind of solution.
That’s what we do in Canada, work together, that is why our country was created on the idea of Peace, Order and Good Government. Not like the way the US was created on multiple layers of checks on power to prevent another King from ruling.
Come to think of it, with the extreme adversary nature of this election no wonder a former American leader stuck his nose in – Canadian politics probably feels like home to him right now.
Kelly Harris is Principal of Harris Public Affairs and former Membership Chair of the Public Affairs Association of Canada (Ontario Chapter). He is a regular commentator on Global News Radio 640 and columnist for Queen’s Park Briefing. He has spent the last decade working with Canada’s credit unions and served as Director on the Board of the Canadian Credit Union Association. An internationally published journalist, he has held senior positions in the Gordon Campbell Government in British Columbia and Tim Hudak’s opposition at Queen’s Park. An avid traveller, cyclist and father to Busher, an orange tabby, named after Toronto Maple Leaf Great Harvey “Busher” Jackson.