Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called as early
election hoping to win a majority of seats in his nation’s
parliament, but the strategy has failed as his Liberal Party
won almost the same number of seats they held in their
minority government. The main opposition Conservative
Party gained only 3 seats, while the leftist New Democratic
Party won enough seats again to provide Trudeau with the
necessary majority to lead the country he has led since
2015. A sizable bloc of seats was also won by the Quebec
nationalist party in Canada’s second largest province.
Half of Trudeau’s party’s seats came from Ontario, the
largest province. Conservative Party strength was in
western Canada. Although the Trudeau’s Liberals won the
most seats, they were virtually tied with the Conservatives
in the national popular vote. Trudeau’s gamble clouds his
political future, and he will once again have to satisfy his
parliamentary partners, the New Democrats.
OVERRULING “THE SQUAD”
In a last-minute gambit, nine anti-Israel Democrats in the
U.S. House had $1 billion in aid to Israel’s vital “Iron Dome”
system deleted from the infrastructure bill before Congress,
threatening not to vote for the bill if the aid were not removed.
Led by the radical “Squad” that includes Minnesota 5th
District Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, their victory was brief
as the U.S. House then immediately passed the aid in a
separate bill with a bipartisan vote of 420 to 9 with 2 voting
“present,” and one Republican joining the negatives.
NEW U.S./U.K./AUSTRALIA PACT
In a week of foreign policy debacles and other bad news,
President Biden joined traditional allies Australia and the
United Kingdom in a domestically popular new defense
pact known as “AUKUS.” The agreement calls for mutual
defense cooperation to meet the new aggressive challenge
from China, and includes the sale of U.S. nuclear submarines
to Australia. The latter led Australia to cancel an earlier
order for French nuclear subs, and deeply upset French
President Macron, who recalled his ambassador to the
U.S., and other European allies (who were not consulted on
the move). The pact was initiated by British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson who, like Mr. Biden, had not received much
good foreign policy news recently.
BORDER CRISIS WORSENS
With a Mexican border crisis clearly worsening despite
denials by the Biden administration and many privately
embarrassed Democratic leaders, record numbers of
undocumented would-be immigrants from South and
Central America and the Caribbean are at or crossing the
Mexican border. Some are unaccompanied children, and
none are required to be vaccinated to enter the U.S. The
images of crowded refugees at border points and bridges,
previously downplayed by many in the establishment
media, is now a major story beyond the directly-affected
border states. Vice President Kamala Harris, charged by
President Biden to manage the crisis, is virtually invisible.
Local Democrats seeking re-election in 2022 are increasingly
worried by political fallout from the crisis.
VIRGINIA IN PLAY?
Most recent polls show the Virginia race for governor,
scheduled to take place in five weeks, to be too close to call.
Pitting former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe
against Republican busInessman Glenn Youngkin, the
race had not been expected to be close in a state which has
voted consistently Democratic in recent years. The current
Democratic incumbent is term-limited. Virginia was carried
by Joe Biden by 10 points in 2020. Although rural Virginia
remains heavily Republican, the Washington, DC suburbs
in the state have been increasingly Democratic because so
many work for the federal government, and commute.
Copyright (c) 2021 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.