I have begun to try to imagine what it must be like to be involved in politics. There are a thousand reasons I could never do it. The first is, I know what I think about most things, and am not really that open to persuasion. Since politics is essentially about the art of compromise, I could never make a go of it.
For one thing, I would, supposing myself for a moment to be in politics, occasionally be forced into making a bone-head move, like Justin Trudeau’s bone-head move in going last week to New York to beg Donald Trump to represent Canada with the President of China, begging him (Trump) to ask Xi Jinping to release the two Canadians he has held in custody for months, because we are holding an important Chinese businesswoman in Vancouver, at the request of this same Donald Trump. This is a plea to which I would already know the answer ---“you release her and I will release them” --- and the solution to which lies within my own hand. Talk about a bone-head move!
Even worse than discovering I have made a bone-head move would be the fact that the surrounding acolytes on whose advice I depend (especially in view of the upcoming election) would be virtually unanimous that I was showing the highest level of statesmanship by grovelling at the feet of this appalling American bully. (And always echoing around in my head would be the sweet soprano of my Minister of Foreign Affairs assuring me that it was all Russia’s fault, as, apparently, in her mind, everything is.)
Would this be a recipe for the easy-going, relaxed life of the sort I have always craved?
Not at all. Far better never to have got involved in this rat-race. Worrying ceaselessly about what would be the right move, given all the circumstances --- the worry of our famers suffering from their loss of the Chinese market, the threat of worse to come, the uneasiness of our business community, always anxious in their ceaseless grubbing for profit, the indignity of sending the Chinese leaders messages that they don’t even bother to answer, my fear of an explosion of wrath against me by the unpredictable man now running the United States into the ground, the fact that my bone-head move flies in the face of my country’s long friendship with China, with all the positive results that have occurred over the decades, especially in having elevated our status as a minor world power, all that, and more --- and I would probably pass a sleepless night. But I would hope that when I emerge after my sleepless night, the bare facts of the case would present themselves to me as the obvious solution.
Okay, we have an extradition treaty with the United States, but we never thought they would elect an unbalanced Despot to power. That is one consideration. Another is that, as I would have been repeating to myself over and over during my long sleepless night, we are a country that believes in the rule-of-law.
Our extradition treaty mandates that we cannot extradite a person to face a charge that is not a crime in our own country.
Ms. Meng, the important Chinese lady who is held under detention of a sort in Vancouver, is accused by the United States of having somehow tried to avoid the sanctions imposed by the Madman in the Oval Office, as he is affectionately known, in relation to Iran. Not only are these sanctions not imposed by Canada, but they have been imposed in defiance of the Join Comprehensive Plan of Action in relation to Iran from which the Despot has withdrawn unilaterally, after it had been laboriously negotiated by the combined diplomatic brains of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States — plus Germany, and the 25 other members of the European Union.
Mind you, in my personal experience I have found that diplomats, as a class, are guys who live high on the hog even in the world’s poorest countries, and their judgments are not always to be trusted, but I would think that by combining the knowledge of the world held by diplomats from the 31 countries with probably the best educated diplomats extant, we could have expected more respect for their work than the Despot has given them.
It would be deeply demeaning, it seems to me, that my good self in the guise of a politician, would be required by the bullying tactics of the Despot to abase myself before him in such as way as happened last week.
I would, of course have borne in mind the advice given by one of our former prime Ministers, Brian Mulroney, who warned our young leader --- did I mention that I took the political job as a young man, still a trifle wet behind the ears? --- that the number one job of a Canadian Prime Minister is to keep on the good side of the President of the United States, but this advice might have been somewhat tarnished in my mind by the memory of his joining President Ronald Reagan in singing a cringeworthy version of Abie’s Irish Rose, or maybe it was When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, before embarking an an economic plan for free trade that has resulted in the takeover of our economy (once again) by the American moloch, a result that anyone with his eyes open might confidently have forecast.
So I would hope that emerging from my sleeplessness, my first call would be to the Minister of Justice asking him to advise the United
States that he has been advised by his officials that sufficient grounds do not exist for the extradition of Ms. Meng, and that he so rules.
End of crisis, leaving me, as the young nation’s young leader, with nothing more to do than ride out the storm of tweets and insults that would emerge from the Despotic bully in the Oval Office, which could be assuaged by offering him a life membership in the exclusive 80-member Redtail golf club at Port Stanley, Ontario, that once had Queen Elizabeth, his pal, stay overnight, or better still, we could invest a paltry $78 million in buying millionaire Craig McCaw’s golf club on James Island, near Victoria, B.C, where he could become the sole owner of a whole island in which to indulge his narcissism and megalomania, recently identified by author Michael Wolff in his follow-up book on him, as being among the Despot’s mental deficiencies.
And cheap at the price, I would say.
Wot the hell, wot the hell, I fear I am never going to make it in politics….