Diane Francis: Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle is about politics, not governance – Financial Post

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has degraded Canada’s standing in the world since he took office in 2015. A cabinet shuffle won’t change this fact — not only because Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly remains in her post, but because there is a fundamental lack of understanding of geopolitics and economics among the Liberal ranks.

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A Wall Street Journal editorial recently suggested that Canada was such a freeloader in terms of military spending that the G7 should consider replacing it. In the spring, the Washington Post reported that Trudeau told NATO members that Canada would never meet its defence spending commitment of two per cent of GDP.
Another embarrassing revelation was highlighted last week when Blacklock’s wrote a story on a Privy Council briefing note that reportedly said that, “We have some 300 full-time military personnel in the North.”

This is a number the military was actually bragging about last year, when a spokesperson for Joint Task Force North (JTFN) told CBC News that the Forces were not experiencing the same personnel shortage in the territories as it was elsewhere in the country. And according to CBC, most of the 300 are stationed at JTFN headquarters in Yellowknife.

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How can it be that Canada has 300 personnel to defend such a large landmass? It’s not as though Canada lacks funds. Last year, Trudeau and his merry band of cabinet incompetents spent $17.7 billion on management consultants because they don’t know what they’re doing. That’s nearly half of the $36.7 billion this country will spend on national defence this year.

It’s important to juxtapose this puny allocation of 300 personnel in the Arctic with Joly’s claim last year that the resolution of a territorial dispute with Denmark represented a “united front” in the Arctic against Russian President Vladimir Putin. She claimed the deal over Hans Island sent a message to Putin that diplomatic resolutions are better than force.

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So there, Vlad.

Canada’s cabinet is a wildly oversized political clown car, with 39 members compared to 25 in the United States and 23 in the United Kingdom. Members of Parliament get a base salary of $194,600; cabinet ministers make even more. This is considerably more than most of them could make elsewhere.

All this is scandalous, but the real problem is that the American media are cottoning on to the fact that Canada doesn’t pull its weight, militarily or economically. Last year, the OECD forecasted that Canada’s per capita GDP growth between 2030 and 2060 will be the lowest among its 38 members.

Trudeau’s government has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to pony up even a mediocre amount to support Ukraine’s valiant effort to protect the West from Russia. Now, the prime minister has shuffled a bunch of professional politicians into ministries about which they have little or no knowledge. (That’s where the management consultants come in, I guess.)

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At least the new defence minister, Bill Blair, used to be a cop, but most of the other new faces have been promoted to enhance their electability because they are in swing ridings that the Liberals only tenuously hold and have lost in the past.

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A “promotion” to cabinet will help them remain professional politicians. They will be given more money, a boatload of expense chits, a travel budget, a car and driver, and extra staff to promote their every tiny accomplishment. They will be able to spend gobs of tax dollars to promote themselves via social media, press conferences, staged photo-ops, constituency meet-and-greets and speeches.

In the end, Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle is about politics, not governance. It is a fresh coat of paint on a quickly sinking ship. Do not think that our allies and enemies haven’t noticed.

Financial Post

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