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COMMENTARY: Dear Prime Minister, do your job and end the pipeline war

There is no national unity when Alberta and British Columbia are throwing down in a trade war that threatens Canada's economy. Prime Minister Trudeau needs to step up and impose a pipeline peace, Charles Adler says.
There is no national unity when Alberta and British Columbia are throwing down in a trade war that threatens Canada's economy. Prime Minister Trudeau needs to step up and impose a pipeline peace, Charles Adler says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

By now, everyone knows that Justin Trudeau is the world’s No. 1 feminist.

He’s more feminist than Gloria Steinem, and the immortal feminist Bettys, Friedan and Ford. Feel free to add your favourite feminist icon to that list. Our prime minister is more feminist than all of them combined — more Catholic than the Pope, as it were.

We get it. The message is downloaded to our devices every day. It’s exhausting for those of us who want something much more from a prime minister than two-bit activism. This is a serious country with serious issues. The most pressing one is national unity, which Liberals used to claim as a core value.

There is no national unity when Alberta and British Columbia are throwing down in a trade war that threatens the country’s unity and its economy.

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The trade war has begun over the issue of a pipeline expansion. At the moment, Alberta is boycotting B.C. wine while B.C. is considering its options. There is talk about boycotting Alberta beef.

READ MORE: B.C. wine boycott could hurt Albertans, say food and beverage industry entrepreneurs

Once these things get rolling, people forget who fired the first shot and why. They just get hyper-involved in an orgy of vengeance. Nobody wins or loses these wars. And they need not happen in a country where our core, foundational values are peace, order and good government.

The prime minister is obsessed with being seen by women voters as the world’s most sensitive male. But there’s nothing manly about not doing your No. 1 job, which is keeping the Canadian family together. Staring into a shaving mirror and imagining oneself to be the darling of women worldwide may be acceptable behaviour in Hollywood, but it doesn’t put food on the table in Fort McMurray, Alta., or Kamloops, B.C.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain CEO condemns B.C.’s move to restrict bitumen shipments

I mention those two towns because, while it may not have gotten much national attention, they were shining examples of Albertans and British Columbians being the best of neighbours in the worst of times.

During the wildfires in B.C. in the summer of 2017, which forced thousands of families to evacuate homes and farms that were too close to the flames, many flooded into Kamloops. There was an urgent need for blankets and food and baby formula. No community was more generous in giving their B.C. neighbours the milk of human kindness than Fort McMurray, Alta., a community that had itself suffered from a massive forest fire and smoke and desperation in the previous summer.

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Today, we’re looking at the possibility of Fort McMurray and Kamloops taking opposite sides in the fires of a feud fueled by politics and fed gasoline by the indifference of a self-absorbed prime minister. His response to the simmering feud is to download the same empty talking points that he uses in campus town halls filled with slobbering fans who are convinced he is something he isn’t and likely never will be — a historic world leader.

READ MORE: Andrew Scheer says he expects Trudeau to waffle on Trans Mountain pipeline

This week, while the fires of a trade war were being kindled by the rhetoric coming from B.C. and actions from Alberta, the national leader was absorbed with a YouTube clip that went viral. It was of him, of course — why else would he have been watching it?

WATCH BELOW: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau corrects woman who said ‘mankind’ during townhall 

‘Peoplekind’: Trudeau corrects woman who said ‘mankind’ during Edmonton town hall
‘Peoplekind’: Trudeau corrects woman who said ‘mankind’ during Edmonton town hall

The clip, which was pilloried in much of Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., captures a moment from a recent town hall at the University of Alberta. A young woman, who identified herself as being with a local church, took a very long time to make the point that she was concerned about the Trudeau government’s Canada Summer Jobs program, which wants to deny jobs created by religious organizations that take the kind of position on abortion that turns you into a leper with Trudeau Liberals.

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The woman at the town hall talked about why women’s empowerment was essential for mankind, a concept that would ordinarily fit right in the PM’s breadbasket. But she didn’t know that she was skating recklessly on a linguistic banana peel.

Without blinking, the prime minister shut her down and told her that “mankind” was not acceptable to Canada’s self-appointed language czar. The word “man” is bad enough. But attaching the syllable “-kind” was offensively over the line. “Man” represents evil, didn’t you know? So he told her that “peoplekind” was kosher.

Of course, “peoplekind” isn’t a word. It’s just something a political rock star can use, knowing the fans will lap it up like a cat with a pitcher of warm milk. Within a couple of news cycles, the PM admitted that “peoplekind” was just a dumb joke. While viral videos can clutter up airwaves and screens in Canada, they don’t create a national unity virus. Pipeline disputes do.

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The prime minister doesn’t appear to realize that Canada is not a town hall where slobberers gather. British Columbians and Albertans need more than listening. They need doing. They require certainty and unity, not slobber food and dumb jokes. The country is not a town hall and it’s not a driverless car. If the national leader doesn’t wish to be in the driver’s seat, he should get off the road immediately.

Since he seems to be dim (I have too much respect for the office of prime minister to call any of them stupid) on what his constitutional role is in a matter of federal jurisdiction, maybe it’s time for some creative duplicity in order to connect with his need to always feel like Superman rescuing Lois Lane.

READ MORE: ‘We’re standing up for the national interest’: Trudeau weighs in on Alberta, B.C. dispute

Perhaps a Trudeau-friendly columnist can publish a lie that the PM would believe. Portraying the pipeline dispute as an “evil man vs. woman” conflict might work.

The evil male would be represented by John Horgan, the premier of B.C. He needs to be seen as threatening a vulnerable female, the premier of Alberta, Rachel “Lois Lane” Notley. Maybe such a fairy tale would push the man-child prime minister to do his job and enforce federal authority.

But if we can’t corrupt a Trudeau friend to do the nation a favour, perhaps I can be of service. Here’s a letter that might spell out the problem in terms the prime minister might understand.

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Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Your mom’s home province needs help. Those cowboys next door won’t buy B.C. wine and they are some of B.C.’s very best customers. They’re kicking B.C. in the grapes, prime minister. It hurts. They’re also B.C.’s third most important customer for tourism. They drop nearly $2 billion a year in B.C. If they stop doing that, it’ll hurt Mommy’s home province, prime minister.

They also control the tap for gasoline. They send it down some pipe that needs expanding. If they turn off the tap, British Columbians will have long lineups for gasoline. There will be shortages, and what’s available will be at a price that will hurt Mommy’s home province.

But if none of the above touches you, prime minister, please know this. We have two great Canadian provinces at war. You have the constitutional authority to bring peace.

Want to impress Canada’s women? Be a man.

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Charles Adler hosts Charles Adler Tonight on Global News Radio 980 CKNW Vancouver, Global News Radio 770 CHQR Calgary, 630 CHED Edmonton, Global News Radio 680 CJOB Winnipeg, Global News Radio 640 Toronto, Global News Radio 980 CFPL London, and soon, CHNL Kamloops, from 7-10 p.m. PT. He is also a columnist for Global News.

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