Friday, November 15, 2013

Admired no, be impressed with, absolutely

So the Conservatives and their supporters in the media are making a little political hay from a statement Mr. Trudeau made a few days ago about China.  His remarks seemed innocuous enough but you would think by the reaction from the Conservatives that Mr. Trudeau suggested Canada follow the Chinese model.

Of course that is BS and all the reaction does is demonstrate that the Conservatives' internal polling is telling them what the public polls have been saying for months.  Mr. Trudeau is a real threat to win the next election.

Buried by all of the Conservative hyper-ventilating is a real assessment of the country of China.

Let's remember that 20 years ago China was a poor country.  The size of its economy was not even in the top ten.  Now it is the second largest economy in the world and it is on a trajectory to overtake the largest economy by the end of this decade.

To put that in perspective, the Communist dictatorship in China is beating the entire capitalist democratic world at their own game.

That is a remarkable achievement.

No one can admire a government that slaughtered 100s or even 1000s of its citizens for the temerity of demanding democratic reforms but objectively speaking one can be impressed with how they have guided one of the fastest economic expansions in history and how that expansion shows little sign of abating any time soon.

As well, with economic power comes political power so Canada and other democratic countries better begin to come to grips with some of the implications of that.  In all likelihood the Chinese government will frown upon any western government that makes any comments they do not like and with political power will come the ability to demonstrate that dislike in tangible ways against the offending government.  Very soon, gone will be the days that Canada or any other western government will be able to lecture the Chinese government on its human rights record without suffering a heavy price for it, one that would probably have a significant economic impact in the offending country.

Mr. Trudeau's statement was questionable but it could have elicited a reaction from his opponents that could have advanced the understanding of the new dynamic that is shaping up in the international community.  Imagine, if the Conservatives would have made nuanced statements that caused debate on how to handle that and informed Canadians of the pending new reality.  It would have been in the public interest.

Instead they went for the cheap "gotcha" moment and that moment was lost.  Not that I was expecting anything different.

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