From shore to shore debates on borders are raging. Global warming, warfare and insurgency-based conflict continue to ravage nations across the world. A majority of migrants travelling from Africa are escaping a violent dictatorship in Eritrea. Kim Jong-Un continues to rattle his sabre with rocket launches whilst his people starve. Syria, Nigeria, Turkey and Iraq continue to be battle grounds as the religious zealots of Daesh/ISIS and Boko Haram continue to displace their populations. The immigration argument therefore has swept its politicised fingers across the industrialised world as migrants continue to flood in to industrialised countries. The element of movement that built civilisations has now become a fertile ideological battle ground.
After his successful electoral win, Justin Trudeau has placed his liberal political style at a direct contrast to the conservative leadership of Stephen Harper. Harper became most prominent after ignoring the sexual abuse and murder of indigenous women, the refusal to accept gay marriage and touting the line of an incredibly environmentally unsustainable XL oil pipeline that resulted in the doors to The Oval House being shut in his face. It seems for Canada, Trudeau’s popularity amongst the public is stead fast but his recent budget has raised some rather pointed hot and cold criticisms of his cabinets’ ability to handle federal budgets.
Already on the back foot as the youngest ever prime minister in Canada, he started off his Easter weekend with a visit to Fogo Island with his family. In his own words, his budget examines a Canada from a platform that embraces diversity and scourns economics looks at Canada from a platform many will find akin to the likes of Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and old labourites like Tony Benn:
“[The business community has been]…richly rewarded over the past decade and that it was time to put some money into the pockets of struggling low income families.”
Justin Trudeau, Canadian 2016 Budget
Another controversial policy has been the previous governments treatment of indigenous populations-something that is an embarrassing stain on a country that is often considered the nicer of the two in North America. Trudeau has maintained his desire to improve the lives of Canada’s indigenous, along side his finance minister Bill Morneau, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde and his incredibly diverse cabinet; they expect to find $8.4 billion dollars to close the educational gap, improve on-reserve housing and provide clean drinking water to the indigenous population. These plans go along way to examining the effect of sexual violence and ill-education has had on the indigenous communities largely ignored by the previous Prime Minister.
Yet the Federation for Canadian Taxpayers have criticised his less than thrifty plans arguing that there is no timetable for dividends and the Centre for Policy… has been just as critical, adding the plan simply doesn’t go far enough.
Across the border, Trudeau has entranced social media, and obviously found a friend in Barack Obama. He is using his last months to support controversial policies like the closure of Guantanamo Bay and pushing for greater support for environmental initiatives that can reduce methane production around 45% in the coming years. Undoubtedly, the US State dinner was a welcome respite from what has been a slow descent into fascist rhetoric, xenophobia and anti-immigration rhetoric in the Presidential race.
What a difference a border makes…
Donald Trump has been outspoken in his support of what is the marginalised poor white American- he is an example of their popular revolt. Followed by a whole host of characters from Bill O’Reilly to Ann Coulter. Absolute polarisation has occurred; the liberals work tirelessly to highlight their intellectual superiority poking fun at inaccuracies with crude wit whilst the conservative sect, facing electoral annihilation used their moral superiority to garner every political trick necessary to convince their voters that the US was on the edge of Armageddon. They won. The fruits of their labour is a celebrity businessman with the tact of a sledgehammer.
Donald Trump has spent the least on his campaign of any of the other candidates. He has mercilessly commercialised his campaign by using his platform to flog his goods. Never offering a disavowal or a direct endorsement policy-wise, the media have run rampant with embellished stories of his roguishness. Admitting he would use trade as a bargaining chip in putting America first in regards to disputes over the South China Sea Islands. He has not ruled out savagery torture techniques that have played into the hands of ISIS/Daesh forces. Not to mention building a wall against Mexico to keep the rapists out and going after the families of Muslim terrorists. It has all done nothing but birth a star.
Justin Trudeau is a marker to a certain degree. Proof that after Stephen Harper’s unpopular leadership that scorned diversity and ignored minority rights, that there is a possibility of a political human willing to make vital social changes to increase cohesion. The problem is that the fear of Donald Trump is infecting the world, as leaders such as Victor Orban in Hungary work to produce illiberal statutes openly defying migratory EU laws. Trump’s wall is already in use there to help protect Christian values. Freedom of the press has already been stifled by the Turkish leader Erdrogan in his bid to increase their affability to agreements on migration with the EU, and fast track the Turkish application to the institution.
The conclusion seems to be that in the current climate: it has to get a lot worse before it gets better. Whilst Canada will see an unprecedented era of positive cohesive policy if Donald Trump is successful, unlike under Stephen Harper, the rhetoric of fascist, illiberal countries will fester and increase because of the US’s reach.