Trouble in the World

Camp is back and looking relaxed and he had some extra zip in his step. ‘How was the road trip?’ I asked, as he sat down.

‘Fantastic country,’ Camp said, ‘this province is such an awesome place. We went from an urban environment into rugged park land, then across the Okanagan desert up into pine forests, along the pristine Kootenay lakes and rivers, rimmed by snow capped mountains. Most importantly we had time to talk.’

‘Sounds wonderful,’ I said. ‘Better then yoga and beer. Well I’m for one am glad you’re back. As you know the world kept turning in your absence.’

‘I wouldn’t know. For the whole week I didn’t see any news, didn’t even read the paper. What did I miss? Was there trouble in the world?

‘How about the ongoing uprising in Venezuela or the devastating flooding in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick? Or the new, united conservative governments in Alberta and in P.E.I., with the greens in opposition. A first in Canada.’

‘In other words: no real surprises. I read your lonely post from last week when I got back, the one about mind invasions and the reasons to disconnect all but essential communications.’

I nodded. ‘We can assume that all populists are using social media to revise the past and shape the future, frame opponents and propagate their bumper sticker philosophy. Brazil’s newly elected Bolsonaro, is casting the Nazis as a left-wing movement and admiring dictators like Pinochet or Stroessner and he is simply denying Brazil’s own fascist and dictatorial history. Wasn’t it Dick Cheney who famously said about the Abu Ghraib torture chambers in Iraq: ‘If America is doing it, its not called torture.’

‘Well, you sure are hopped up about these cyber wars. I guess here

in Canada we’ve been inundated with our own political scandal involving Trudeau, which doesn’t seem that big of a deal compared to Trump’s long list of transgressions.’ Camp said, taking a mighty swallow from his pint.

He added: ‘The apparent pressure by the Prime Minister on Wilson-Raybould, the acting Attorney General, does not sit well with Canadians of all political stripes. She might have had her own agenda but Trudeau’s inability to express remorse or say ‘I’m sorry’ leave a sour taste behind.

‘Yes, these recent character flaws raise questions about Trudeau’s commitment to the core values, which made him different from all the other politicians, and got him elected in the first place,’ I said.

‘Well, in my humble opinion he has lost his innocence,’ Camp said. ‘Politicians cannot influence and manipulate judicial matters in our country. Judicial independence is one of the sacred pillars of our democracy.’

‘Unlike China,’ I said, ‘which does not understand that our prime minister could not influence the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawai’s chief financial officer. Maybe they should have let her board the plane and no Canadians would have been arrested in China and we could still sell our canola to them but that decision was out of the hands of the politicians.’

‘On the other hand the Prime Minister doesn’t seem to grasp the obvious fact, that China acts – and therefore needs to be treated – like one big mega corporation. If we want their business we will have to play by their rules.’ Camp said.

‘At least we should stop kowtowing to them,’ I said. ‘Their new silk road looks like a one way road from China to the rest of the world.’

We paused and emptied our glasses, looking out at our slice of paradise on the pacific. I wasn’t done yet. It’s been a frustrating week by any accounts. ‘Now we have Jason Kenney, the new Alberta premier, who wants to restrict the flow of petrol to BC unless they let some pipe lines through and Doug Ford in Ontario is cutting the education budget by ten percent, increasing class sizes and letting 3500 teachers go.’

‘He calls that improving the education system,’ Camp said. ‘How many people does he fool with this Orwellian newspeak and since when does cutting the budget of any social and common program improve it?’

‘Good to have you back Camp,’ Vicky said’ while setting down two fresh ones. Your buddy didn’t have anybody to argue with last week.’

‘It’s not arguing he missed but somebody to keep him focused,’ Camp said.

‘Focus on the beer,’ I pointed out. ‘Cheers.’


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