An appropriate role for our PM?

July 6, 2017   ·   0 Comments

WE WONDER HOW MANY Americans happened to tune in on the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, and whether they came away envious of their northern neighbours.

Although not really a highlight of the event, Justin Trudeau’s long impromptu speech was definitely on the optimistic side, and while he called for renewed efforts in the areas of climate change and treatment of our quarter-million indigenous residents, there wasn’t a word we heard that could be seen as critical of either opposition party in the Commons. (Nor, of course, should there have been.)

In fact, what will probably be the most memorable part of his speech was his omission of Alberta from his listing of the country’s provinces and territories, something for which he later apologized.

What a contrast that was to the communications Americans were observing from their president, whose only non-critical tweet was that same day, and was directed at Canadians and his  “new found friend,” Justin Trudeau.

At a time when Mr. Trudeau had succeeded in enlisting the aid of former Conservative prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell in trade talks with the U.S. and a selection process for Supreme Court of Canada judges, Donald Trump has done nothing similar in dealing with his nation’s problems, headed by its health-care crisis.

In fact, his latest response to the Republican senators’ inability to agree on a replacement for the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. is to repeal the Act and leave an estimated 32 million Americans (almost the current population of Canada) without health insurance until Congress comes up with some sort of replacement.

In the circumstances, it will be interesting to see what happens Friday at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

There has been some suggestion that Mr. Trudeau is the only one capable of bridging the huge gap between Mr. Trump and German chancellor Angela Merkel on the subject of the Paris accord on climate change.

However, we find it difficult to see how our PM can do much more than advise the President that even he has failed to achieve unanimity on the issue, with Manitoba opposed to the use of a tax on carbon production as a major weapon in reducing greenhouse gases.

Perhaps a wiser course would be for Mr. Trudeau assist the president on health care.

It would be interesting to have Mr. Trudeau suggest that Mr. Trump appoint a commission with instructions to recommend a solution to the current morass, which – even with Obamacare – still sees 28 million U.S. residents with no protection against such things as serious injury from a car accident or a sudden discovery of late-stage cancer.

After all, it was a Conservative government (with John Diefenbaker as prime minister) that in 1961 appointed a royal commission to “inquire into and report upon the existing facilities and the future need for health services for the people of Canada and the resources to provide such services, and to recommend such measures, consistent with the constitutional division of legislative powers in Canada, as the Commissioners believe will ensure that the best possible health care is available to all Canadians.”

In 1964, the commission, headed by Justice Emmet Hall, recommended a national health policy and a comprehensive health care program – which Saskatchewan already had – and the rest is history.

That Mr. Trump has the power to take such a step is unquestionable, since he has already done it in an effort to support his allegation that there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.

As we see it, such a move may be the only one capable of finding a solution that would win support from both Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.