, 10.25.2023 12:10 PM

My latest: we need leaders who know how to make a decision, like this guy


That’s all the voters are looking for, really. They know that they are not going to get their way on every single policy decision.

So they all want just one thing from their political leaders: decisions. Clear, coherent, concise decisions.

This writer worked for a leader like that: Jean Chretien. He won three back-to-back majorities not because he was universally loved, or even that his priority was being universally loved.

He won every single election he contested over a 40-year political career because he knew how to make a decision. That’s it. Because that’s the job. It’s simple.

Al-Qaeda attacked America on 9/11, and Chretien did not hesitate. He made a decision. He said we would go with America to fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. We did.

Later, George W. Bush wanted to wage war against Saddam Hussein. Chretien told him to wait until he had proof of weapons of mass destruction. Bush wouldn’t wait. So, Chretien made another decision: we would not join the Americans in Iraq. For them, it turned out to be a quagmire.

Decisions. At a time of war, being able to make a decision – being able to stake out a clear position – is essential. Human lives depend on it.

So, on the eve of the anniversary of Chretien’s massive election victory, we were treated to the spectacle of a Liberal government that can’t make a decision. Our so-called Minister of Global Affairs called for “a humanitarian pause” in the fighting in Israel and Gaza.

On the very same day – the same day! – Canada’s Minister of National Defense (correctly) labeled Hamas a terrorist organization, and (properly) said that they must be destroyed.

Which is it? A humanitarian pause, or destroy them? What’s the decision, Trudeau Liberals?

The Trudeau Liberals are not alone in their apparent fondness for sucking and blowing at the same time, however. Here’s a sampling.

• Trudeau initially said Israel had a right to defend itself, “in accordance with international law.” A couple days later, several of his Liberal MPs openly contradicted him and issued a letter calling for a ceasefire. None have been disciplined.
• CBC, the Toronto Star and even the New York Times claimed that Israel had bombed a hospital in Gaza. It hadn’t. The hospital is still standing, and there were no 500 victims. But have the Star or CBC expressed regret for their decision to effectively blame Israel? No.
• The Ontario NDP stubbornly defended one of their own after she refused to back down from statements that many considered anti-Semitic. A few days later, they decided to kick her out of their caucus.
• Canada’s Ambassador to the the United Nations, Bob Rae, rightly and courageously called for Hamas to be destroyed. The hopeless and hapless Joly, meanwhile, instead called for a “de-escalation.” If 1,400 of your family and friends were raped, tortured and killed – if hundreds of them were kidnapped – would you be telling the victims to “de-escalate” and suck it up? Or would you favor pursuing and stopping the wrongdoers? You know the answer.
• António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, properly condemned the brutal attacks of Hamas. Then, in virtually the same breath, he said that Hamas’ rampage “did not happen in a vacuum” – and added that the Palestinians have been subject to over 50 years of “suffocating occupation.” Get that? Condemn the bad guys – and then say the bad guys weren’t acting “in a vacuum.”

And so on and so on. It’s enough to make you ill. (Actually, it does.)

We are going through a dark and dangerous time. We are on the precipice of things getting worse before they get even worse.

At such a time, we need the sort of leadership Jean Chretien showed: clear and coherent and concise decisions. The ability to decide.

We’re not getting that.


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    Sean says:

    The critical part of leadership, which Chretien had, is the capacity to asses the opposition to your chosen path forward… accept it… and move forward in spite of it. Harper, Mulroney, Trudeau Sr. also had this quality.

    Justin and his inner circle are receiving many varying opinions and simply repeating those opinions back. He doesn’t have any convictions or inclinations towards right and wrong, so instead just tries to be popular.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      A Prime Minister is supposed to have the capacity to empirically judge what is right and what is wrong. If this PM can’t see what Hamas did was pure evil, then we’re really in trouble as a country. The end NEVER justify the means.

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    western view says:

    A very wise person once told me that it takes a lot of guts to swim against the current with a moral certainty that most either can’t or won’t see. A 1930’s Winston Churchill is a fine example of a person derided for years by politicians and intellectuals for warmongering rhetoric about Nazi Germany. Jean Chrétien wanting better intelligence information about WMD is another.
    I look at the current crop of political leaders in Ottawa and realize that if anyone has serious moral convictions about anything, it’s by accident or hidden from public view so as to be able to pivot without compromising them.
    These are dark times in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and rising hostilities in the Indo-Pacific. Canada could get drawn into a serious crisis situation and God help us if this political class in Ottawa have to come together to form a coalition War Cabinet.

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      The Doctor says:

      In connection with your second sentence: I notice that these days, Russian trolls and Putin’s other Useful Idiots on social media accuse the US and Ukraine’s other backers of being “warmongers”. Whereas Putin, the guy who actually illegally invaded Ukraine — twice — is somehow not a “warmonger”. Parse that if you will.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        There’s nothing quite like that quiet satisfaction of seeing God finally pin Putin to the mat but good. So long, sleezeball. You won’t be missed other than by the devil.

        (One down, three to go! They know who they are.)

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    Martin Dixon says:

    “There are good people on both sides”

    -Donald J. Trump
    -most of the Liberal barking seals

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    Douglas W says:

    It’s time to turn up the heat … we need a new Parliament.

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    Dawn Mills says:

    I wish those brave barking seals who are so keen to speak up against what their beloved leader says were as keen to disagree publicly with him on many other issues as well. Our democracy would be all the better for it.

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    Steve T says:

    You are correct, but during Chretien’s era we also had a populace that wasn’t so easily swayed by the random musings of strangers – or by the odd obsession to rebel against the accepted norms because it somehow makes them feel cool and special.
    Some people, perhaps many people, support Hamas and oppose Israel simply because they think it is the “cool” thing to do. Supporting Israel and branding Hamas as terrorists is perceived by these misguided people as somehow being too “mainstream”, and that is bad.
    This approach involves zero critical thinking – just the desire to belong to a special group of rebels. They’ve watched too many movies and TV shows that glorify this sort of approach, and it has permeated their worldview entirely.
    As with many things, we get the government we deserve.

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    Doug says:

    Not a Chretien fan and unsure how history might have unfolded without the splintering of the PC party. The only good thing that came out of the Chretien government was the 94 austerity budget. I’m unsure how much of that was Chretien vs. Martin, the rising influence of Reform, the AB PC’s riding austerity to better polling or the bond market. The Liberal Red Book from 93 defiantly campaigned on stimulus rather than austerity. I was a 21 year old, Reform leaning graduate student in 93 able to vote for the first time. As much as the 93 Red Book turned me off the Liberals, the wedge politics played in subsequent campaigns (ex. the primary motivation of Reform voters was racism), turned me off the Liberals for life and I’ve done my best to spread that sentiment. All that being said, Chretien actually had leadership qualities, unlike the current Liberal avatar.

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      Douglas W says:

      Mulroney, Chretien, Martin & Harper all had staff that generated strong briefing notes.

      Moreover, these PMs and their respective front benches all knew their files, and they did not have to be scripted.

      From Day One, this current PM has functioned entirely by script, and so has his front bench.

      Sad and shameful.

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      The Doctor says:

      I agree with a lot of what you say. The Liberals were also proven to be screaming, shameless hypocrites over Free Trade with the US during that time. Campaigning against it (both Turner and Chretien), then Chretien did a complete 18o on it once elected. And then, speaking of trained seals, suddenly nearly all Liberal MPs, staffers, flacks and supporters thought free trade was just fine, thank you.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Look up the definition of a government MP in the dictionary: if it’s worth its salt, they will be primarily listed under POLITICAL whores…need I say more?

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    Peter Williams says:

    I think Trudeau has made a decision as to which side he’s on.

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    Derek Pearce says:

    One of my favourite times in my 20s was volunteering (canvassing mostly) for my MP during the 2000 election. We had a great group of people on the team and it was very motivating wanting to make sure Stockwell Day was defeated. I think of that campaign fondly. A year later we moved to the other side of the city and I was too busy/lazy to go back to my old riding association meetings. Fun while it lasted though. I got to shake Mr. Chretien’s hand and have a pic taken with him at the Liberal Christmas party in Ottawa that year.

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    Martin Dixon says:

    Love him or hate him, agree or disagree with the decision, at least he made one:


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Now if Florida could only disband next the club for moron governors. Oh, that’s right, they can’t.

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        Martin Dixon says:

        Ronald-I know you are not a fan but at least he made a decision.

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