The View From Here – Jason Kenney’s personal attack on Trudeau is an unhelpful at this critical time

Tom Henihan

While I agree that Justin Trudeau gravitates towards the shallow end of the pool, where he can enjoy maximum visibility while effortlessly keeping his head about water, I disagree with the means and the spirit of Jason Kenney’s attack on the prime minister.

Jason Kenney’s personal attack on Trudeau reveals more about Jason Kenney than it does about Trudeau.

As we know very well by now, name-calling is wearisome to listen to, it degrades political debate and casting personal insults never furthered a cause or shed new light on anything.

“I know Justin. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. This guy is an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl… and he can’t read a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin, OK.”

Apart from its lack of wit or originality, what is particularly objectionable about Kenny’s attack on Trudeau is that it is somewhat cowardly as it takes no courage, no risk of political capital to criticize Trudeau in the province of Alberta.

It is old territory; everyone knows the Trudeau name is anathema to many Albertans and the trust funder, millionaire line is hackneyed.

The napkin and finger bowl metaphors tell us a little about Kenney’s per-diem dining habits but add nothing to our perception of Trudeau.

Kenney should be reminded that one does not have to be a millionaire to be vacuous or shallow, these endowments come naturally and don’t cost a cent.

Besides, Kenny doesn’t appear to have come up through the school of hard knocks either, as he also attended a number of elite colleges on his way to Ottawa.

Everything about Kenney’s attack on Trudeau is predictable including his divide and conquer approach, praising up Trudeau’s colleagues in order to diminish Trudeau himself.

“I worked with dozens of MPs in Ottawa, including the opposition who were thoughtful, intelligent, engaged people with whom I had a constructive relationship. He wasn’t one of them,”

This statement seems to suggest a sense of vendetta similar to a schoolboy’s antipathy for a colleague he envies.

Jason Kenney also asserts that Trudeau has difficulty with nuanced political issues and that he finds the debate around the Trans Mountain pipeline particularly challenging.

The Trans Mountain pipeline debate is neither nuanced or complex. Neither is it in any real sense a debate but rather an impasse created by an intransigent environmental movement that has the B.C. government in its pocket now that the Greens Party hold the balance of power.

No debate is necessary when contending with a faction who, believing that they are absolutely on the side of right, also believe that they don’t have to listen to absolutely anyone.

The environmental movement does not do nuance; they don’t allow any mitigating factors to temper their fervour, no weighing the opposing arguments, no thought for the repercussions on others and no pliability to entertain criticism.

Protecting the environment is a game environmentalist’s play, it is a style they wear, a blind faith to which they fearfully refuse to have put to the test.

Environmental concerns have merit and must be taken seriously. People behaving as if they are the absolute authority is devoid of merit.

Although Trudeau has been slow to offer real leadership on the Trans Mountain issue, he has acted more decisively recently on behalf of the project.

For Kenney to make a sweeping statement that Trudeau is “one of the worst prime ministers for Alberta in our history,” at this critical time is not helpful to the interests of Albertans.


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