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Brian Jones: Politicians’ perennial push for truth

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for a selfie with a woman at a Canada Day barbecue in Dawson City, Yukon, July 1. — Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for a selfie with a woman at a Canada Day barbecue in Dawson City, Yukon, July 1. — Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

The federal Conservatives are conducting something they have dubbed the Defend Local Jobs tour.

No word yet on how much scalpers are charging for tickets, but demand will likely be similar to Nickelback.

 

People who remember the 1988 federal election will understandably wonder whether the Conservatives’ Defend Local Jobs tour is standup comedy, because it certainly sounds like satire.

“In order to defend Canadian jobs, we had to destroy them,” to adapt a popular phrase from an even earlier era.

In the past three decades, free trade with the U.S. — and, later, with Mexico — has cost Canada hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. Depending on which source you cite, the number could be 200,000, or 500,000. Statistics, as everyone knows, are as malleable as a Liberal PM’s principles.

You could connect the proverbial dots and state it isn’t mere coincidence that the adoption of free trade was closely followed by the decline of the North American middle class and the rise of the now-infamous “1 per cent,” but experts at places such as the Fraser Institute could prove you wrong in one of their regular manifestos showing how globalization and corporatocracy have been just swell for the man on the street and the men living on the street.

A quick quiz, although there is no right or wrong answer: which did you find more annoying — Brian Mulroney bragging about the 30th anniversary of the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, or Ed Martin boasting about Nalcor’s completion of the Labrador-to-Newfoundland transmission line?

Sticklers for historical detail and/or defenders of all things conservatoid might interject that it was the Progressive Conservatives — not the Conservatives — who conceived and signed the free trade agreement.

Although technically correct, it is mere wordplay. It is akin to saying the Tea Party, not the Republicans, elected Donald Trump.

A quick quiz, although there is no right or wrong answer: which did you find more annoying — Brian Mulroney bragging about the 30th anniversary of the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, or Ed Martin boasting about Nalcor’s completion of the Labrador-to-Newfoundland transmission line?

Thousands of Canadian jobs vanished with the rise of the euphemistically named “knowledge economy.” Some say robots stole the majority of factory jobs. Maybe so, but freer trade is also a culprit.

Check your closet. Pants, shirts … made in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc. Check your kitchen cupboard. Plates, cups … made in China. Every North American household, no matter how humble, now has a China cabinet.

Canadians don’t even make their own hockey equipment anymore. Budding superstars don gloves, shin pads, etc. made in Taiwan, Vietnam and other hockey hotbeds.

Nevertheless, knowing from experience that the public will often enthusiastically support actions that are false, misleading or outright lies, the Conservatives embark on their Defend Local Jobs tour. Propagandists can always find work.

• • •

Meanwhile, over in the Liberal camp, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been accused of a long-ago groping, but so far the darling of feminists and the #MeToo movement has escaped punishment or purge.

Various men have been dropping like their flies due to allegations of sexual harassment or impropriety. A complaint alone is often enough to get these dirty bastards fired, guilty or not, with due process or not. Because it’s 2018.

The white knight against sexual harassment allegedly groped a weekly newspaper reporter at a fundraising festival in Creston, B.C., in August 2000. An article she wrote about it at the time resurfaced recently on — where else? — social media.

Trudeau told reporters this week he doesn’t remember any “negative interactions” at the event.

Negative what? Interactions. Look no further for a perfect example of the euphemisms and bafflegab that poison modern politics.

By definition, “groping” does not involve an “interaction.” Groping is a one-way action. Someone does it. Someone else has it done to them. There is no “interaction.”

In a world that valued clear language and precise thought, a PM would simply say, “I did not grope that woman.”

If, indeed, he did not grope her.

The former reporter, unfortunately, has refused to comment or be interviewed.

OK then. Positive interactions it was.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.

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