It has been gently suggested to me that I keep my eyes firmly toward the north, ignore happenings in the United States and fix my attention on Canada.
But let me paint a picture of the difficulty I find myself in. Say you’re in a car, and you’re driving east. Off to the left, excuse me, north, the view is somewhat interesting. Look, there’s a bird, the Christus Clarkus, with its distinctive British Columbia call, “Hack! Hack! Sorry! Sorry!” Isn’t it pretty? And there, in Alberta, an endangered bird, the Rachus Notleyus. Perhaps you should take a picture. It may be the last time you see such a sight.
But then, as you drive along, you happen to glance south, perhaps because a Canadian bird, Loonus Trudeau-us, has flown south for a brief handshake and you want to follow his flight. Wait, what’s that? It’s a train wreck! A huge, orange locomotive has burst into flames! They’ve accepted the resignation of the conductor, er… national security advisor, and the locomotive is struggling to stay on the tracks. And it’s leaking! Bigly.
How do you look away? Do you point out the potential wreck to your travelling companions or do you cast your eyes northward again because it’s really none of your business?
I find I cannot look away. I must comment on the wreck.
What a week it has been for political observers. As the ominous, Nixonian, words, “what did he know and when did he know it?” drift across the landscape in Washington, D.C., the Trump administration is facing what appears to be its first full blown crisis. Sure, there have been previous gaffes — alternative facts comes to mind, claims of millions voting illegally without any evidence to back it up — but this is big.
What we have now is the former (now resigned) national security advisor Mike Flynn admitting to having conversations with the Russian Ambassador prior to Trump taking office. And apparently misleading Vice President Mike Pence about those conversations. And apparently President Trump knew what Pence did not know, because he had been warned by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, several weeks before this came out. Then Trump fired Yates over her stance on his immigration order. But he remained “fully confident” in Flynn right up until two hours before he fired him/accepted his resignation. And then the New York Times published a story saying that there had been “constant” contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence all last year. Then Russia tests a cruise missile, getting right in Trump’s face. And then Trump began to tweet — of course he did — that it was all the fault of ‘fake news’ and said the problem was leaks, not Russians.
Wow. How can you look away from that? And President Trump is right in that leaks are a problem. He’s wrong that they are the only problem here, but the west wing is leaking copiously at the moment. Leaks are usually a sign that someone is unhappy, and the amount of leaks making their way to the “dishonest media” in recent days is quite astounding. Obviously, there are a lot of people unhappy because the good ship Trump is listing. The “fake media” is reporting power struggles within the White House. The vultures are circling, to get back to our bird theme.
And that’s just a quick drive by as I drive east, trying in vain to keep my eyes above the border. We are now entering Saskatchewan where their provincial bird, the Bradus Wallus, has an approval rating well above 50 per cent. Not much to see here. How am I going to keep my eyes off that train wreck?
Carolyn Grant is Editor
of the Kimberley Bulletin