Neo-Nazi shut down

Finally, by Twitter. Only took a million complaints by some of us for about three years. It’s long overdue but it’s good news.

And, hopefully, it’s the start of something else that’ll be good, too: tomorrow, the neo-Nazis Sears and St. Germaine will get the judge’s verdict in the historic promoting-hate-against-women-and-Jews prosecution. We’re all going to be there, and hoping you can be too.

Second floor, College Park Courts, 444 Yonge Street, Courtroom 501 at 10 a.m. See you there.

Column: Trudeau turns his back on women and indigenous people

Justin Trudeau said he’d support indigenous leaders.

He didn’t.

Justin Trudeau said he’s a feminist.

He isn’t.

Justin Trudeau is a terrific actor, however. There he was, after his latest cabinet shuffle, and butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. He almost sounded offended.

Demoting a competent, smart, inspiring indigenous woman like Jody Wilson-Raybould – as the Liberal leader had literally done, just minutes before inside Rideau Hall – wasn’t a demotion at all, he huffed. There can be no greater honour than working with Canada’s veterans, he insisted.

And if some other Prime Minister had said it, it’d be partly true: it is an honour assisting the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces. But under Trudeau, it was a lie. Under him, Veteran’s Affairs has become a political landfill. Under him, veterans have been disregarded, disrespected, and litigated against in the courts.

So, everyone recognized Trudeau’s claim for what it was, which was unadulterated bullshit.

This was the truth: Jody Wilson-Raybould was demoted – as she effectively later confirmed herself, in her own words, with an extraordinary statement to the constituents who first elected her in 2015. She’d been dumped. She’d been rendered PNG – persona non grata, to appropriate a phrase from The PMO Kid’s fave TV show, The Americans.

Why? Because she threatened them.

Leaving aside her gender, leaving aside her indigenous heritage, Wilson-Raybould was simply the most effective Minister of Justice in a long, long time. And she was insufficiently deferential to Justin Trudeau and the grievance-nurturing children who comprise his entourage. Or, as a Maclean’s writer memorably called them, “a tiny cadre of out-of-their-league staffers operating out of the Building Formerly Known as Langevin.”

Jody Wilson-Raybould spoke truth to power, as she herself said. She didn’t suffer fools gladly, as was well-known. She was impatient for change – for women, for the forgotten, for First Nations people.

But Justin Trudeau and his oxymoronic brain trust – who always regard dissent as treason, and who always see themselves alone as the stewards of all that is good and true and Canadian – didn’t like that. They didn’t like that at all.

As “feminists,” as those who claim to empower all women, their most revealing moment came last Summer, when it was confirmed that Justin Trudeau had groped a female reporter at a long-ago festival in B.C. Trudeau’s response?

Believe women when they come forward. Just, you know, don’t believe that woman. Support women who are victimized by men.

Just not that one.

Jody Wilson-Raybould has achieved plenty in her career, as a wildly-successful lawyer, as a Crown Attorney, as the leader of the B.C. Treaty Commission, as the Grand Chief of her home province. She knows Trudeau’s type, one suspects. All capable women do.

Justin Trudeau – who was the beneficiary of the most inept Conservative and New Democratic election campaigns in a generation – is entirely that type. He was born to immense wealth, was elected due to his surname, and never held a Parliamentary position more senior than the youth critic for the third party in the House of Commons.

But as an actor – as the willing receptacle for bland, beige talking points, wheedled out of a focus group somewhere – he is without equal. He is indisputably the Phoney-in-Chief, and he is exceptionally good at it.

Will female voters be offended by Trudeau’s ritual knifing of Jody Wilson-Raybould? It’s unlikely, for now. With Andrew Scheer’s social media still churning out frat boy bumpersticker stuff – and with Jagmeet Singh continuing his downward descent into irrelevance – female voters, historically reliably liberal, will keep their powder dry.

Will indigenous leaders turn against Trudeau for what he did to Jody Wilson-Raybould? That seems more likely. Across Canada, indigenous leaders are increasingly muttering to each other that, at least with Stephen Harper, he was always truthful about his disinterest in their issues. Justin Trudeau, they say, cheerily says one thing to them, and then does another.

And what of Jody Wilson-Raybould? She should resist the temptation to quit – because that’s what Trudeau and his acolytes want her to do. She should do her new job well, bide her time, and wait for her moment.

Her leadership moment. It is coming.

And, she should always remember this: smart, capable women are used to dealing with insecure boy-men who have more power than brains.

Jody Wilson-Raybould is just the latest.

With Justin Trudeau, she won’t be the last.

Make America White Again

It’s the hat.

The initial coverage of the Kentucky Catholic kid and the Indigenous veteran decidedly favoured the latter over the former.  A short video of the pair was everywhere, and the outrage was everywhere, too: the kid in the Make America Great Again hat had treated the Indian – that’s what Americans still call Indigenous people – with disrespect, or worse.  The fact that it involved fourteen and fifteen-year-olds didn’t matter.

Anyway.  A longer video has emerged, and I believe it tells a somewhat different story.  You can see it here.

The kid has defended himself, too, on the record.  That’s here. (A lawyer undoubtedly wrote it for him, and he was a rude little bastard but, still.)

I don’t know which narrative will end up dominating.  Like Charles Adler, Keith Baldrey (and other journalists I respect) have said, this mess doesn’t look as clear-cut to me, now.  It’s harder to assign blame. Which then raises a key question: why did so many – me included – immediately believe the kid was the bad guy?

Because of the hat, that’s why.

He’s a kid, and I don’t expect him to be as sophisticated about politics and culture as the readers of this web site are. But the kid’s parents?  And the D.C. field trip’s chaperons? And his teachers, at that private, all-boys, mostly-white private school in Kentucky?  They have no excuse.  None.

Letting hundreds of boys run around Washington wearing MAGA hats is profoundly, deeply stupid.  It’s making a political statement, and every one of them knows it.

In the past two years – because, yes, it has been two years since that white supremacist cheated his way into the White House with the assistance of the similarly-racist Russians – that hat has become as distinctive as a Klansman’s white robes or a neo-Nazi’s stiff-arm fascist salute.  It is much more than a hat, now.

Ask a neo-Nazi.  Ask a committed racist.  They’ll tell you: it means Make America White Again.

It’s the “again” that changes the meaning.  Studies have been written about it.  If Trump had said “Make America Great,” he would’ve sounded like any other politician.  It’s the addition of that final word – plus Trump’s personal history of racism, because other, decent Republicans have used the phrase, too – that suggests going back to an earlier time. When things were whiter.  When things were Christian.  When fathers ran America.

As one writer put it:

To what specific period of American greatness are you wanting us to return? When black folk suffered segregation after slavery? When women had no right to vote or control their own bodies? When gay brothers and lesbian sisters felt ceaseless hate? When we stole land from the Native Americans? When we sent Japanese families to internment camps? When America lynched Mexicans?

Perhaps the kid didn’t actually mean to intimidate that indigenous veteran. Perhaps the veteran was a bit wrong in his assessment of the situation. Perhaps the media got it wrong.

Perhaps, perhaps. About that hat, however, there can be no doubt anymore: it means something.

And what it means, now, is hate.

A Liberal Deputy Prime Minister on Trudeau’s treatment of indigenous leaders: “bad”

From former Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps, in today’s Hill Times:

On the cabinet shuffle, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demoted a female aboriginal star when he shuffled Jody Wilson-Raybould out of the Justice portfolio. Wilson-Raybould, an articulate former chief, was actively courted by the Liberals because of her reputation in legal and aboriginal circles. The Justice portfolio was especially tricky because of her Indigenous roots. As witnessed in the numerous western pipeline protests, the aboriginal community is split in its view of consultation and pipeline location…

Wilson-Raybould navigated those murky waters very capably, privately pushing the government to move more quickly while publicly remaining on board in cabinet solidarity.

The prime minister’s explanation for why she was moved did not ring true. The notion that the veterans’ file needed a steadier hand was contradictory because the outgoing minister, Seamus O’Regan, was tasked to work on aboriginal issues.

The prime minister has repeatedly stated the top government priority is reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. That should have been more important than dealing with the challenges facing veterans. Wilson-Raybould was right to be irked about the move. As a good soldier, she said all the right things about her new portfolio but her body language made it very clear. This was neither a welcome, nor a lateral move.

This is the second time a Liberal Indigenous minister has been downgraded.

The last was when Hunter Tootoo left cabinet and caucus to deal with a substance abuse problem coupled with an inappropriate staff relationship. That occurred almost two years ago. Since then, he has cleaned up his act, but repeated attempts to rejoin the Liberal caucus have been spurned.

Seamus O’Regan successfully underwent treatment for substance abuse and was rewarded with a cabinet position. Tootoo is still lingering in limbo. Both have much in common. They have struggled with the demons of alcohol. But O’Regan has been rewarded for coping while Tootoo has been shunned.

Prime ministerial insiders were spinning that Raybould-Wilson was hard to get along within cabinet. When her people have expectations that have been stoked by government, she had no choice but to fight harder for change.

Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle was based on bad advice. Whoever recommended the demotion of Raybould-Wilson should bow out. Trudeau made the decision but, ultimately, hubris on the prime minister’s team is costing him.