Monday, October 1, 2018


  Before he hurried back to Ottawa to defend his government — fairly ineffectively — against a battering in the House of Commons, Canada’s prime minister was at the United Nations in New York doing something he’s good at: schmoozing, shaking hands and being generally cheerful.
  His goal was to win support for a vote that won’t happen until 2021, three years down the road. The vote is for a two-year stint in one of the temporary seats on the UN Security Council. Asked at his closing press conference for “something tangible” Canada would do with the seat, he responded that “one of the things we’ve seen is there’s an appetite for Canada’s approach and Canada’s solutions in growing the middle class, and promoting diversity as a strength.”
    Watching audience pining for a show of leadership, Canada’s prime minister was preoccupied with a temporary seat to be decided at a time he might no longer be prime minister, on a council whose five permanent members hold a veto that makes the other 10 members little more than interested observers. If there is a more acute example of the Trudeau government’s preoccupation with symbolism over action, and style over substance, it’s hard to imagine.

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