Opinion

The Trudeau government believes in decorum, not like those goons across the aisle: Robyn Urback

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals don't want to be mean. They still believe in positive politics. It's just that those petty and childish guys across the aisle — led by "Stephen Harper with a smile," which some person once coined … I can't recall who — make that hard.

Ignore the ambulance chasers. Positive politics is still possible

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals don't want to be mean. They still believe in positive politics. It's just that those petty and childish guys across the aisle — led by "Stephen Harper with a smile," which some person once coined … I can't recall who — make that hard. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

This is a note to the youth of the nation. A warning, of sorts, of the evils that lurk a few months yonder.

When the winter turns to spring — when the snow melts and the trees bud and the birds renew their songs — a menacing refrain will once again fill the air. It will invite you to follow the path of hatred and division all the way to the fall. Resist, my children. There is another way.

Our devoted prime minister gingerly broached the subject recently with a group of students in the hallowed halls of Parliament. "We try and stay, you know, serious and respectful," he said of his government's conduct in the House of Commons. "They like to shout," he said, referring to the men and women across the aisle. "That's something that happens naturally in opposition."

Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells students that opposition members "like to shout."

PM speaking to students on Parliament Hill 0:17

You see, children, the anger and aggression typically comes from those other pieces of sh— er … from those other people. The government — this government especially — makes proper decorum a priority. Indeed, the prime minister himself is present in question period every Wednesday so that he may directly offer the vacuous platitudes prepared in response to important questions.

It is with reverence to the institution that he deflects questions about Statistics Canada trying to collect Canadians' private banking data without their consent, or about his government's role in the breach of trust case involving Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, or about his own ethical lapses. This is the mark of a "serious and respectful" government, one that knows where the buck ultimately stops: with the previous government.

While the opposition shouts from across the aisle, the government is working hard to make Canada better. Sometimes that requires standing up and charging against regressive forces — even literally. Or raising a middle finger to those stoking divisions — again, even literally. It's not that they want to resort to obscene gestures or name-calling, of course, but sometimes there is simply no other option. Even David had to use his slingshot once in a while, and in Canada, negative politics is a Goliath.

You might be a bit young to remember, but let me tell you: we do not want to go back to the Harper days of government opaqueness and secrecy — when it would take months, even years, to see Access to Information requests fulfilled; when millions of dollars of taxpayer funds were doled out with little oversight or official record; when major policy decisions were buried in dense government documents for journalists to discover, rather than simply disclosed publicly.

But thankfully, those days are gone. Sure, under the Trudeau government, we still wait months, even years, for Access to Information requests to be fulfilled; and millions of dollars of taxpayer funds are still occasionally unaccounted for; and major policy decisions are buried rather than explained to the public, despite what the Liberals promised during their bid for government. But now, that opaqueness and secrecy comes with a smile. That's the salient point in all of this: the government means well.

Indeed, that is the difference between this government and the last, and it's one we should be mindful of as the next election draws ever nearer: the Liberals don't want to be mean. They still believe in positive politics. It's just that those petty and childish guys across the aisle — led by "Stephen Harper with a smile," which some person once coined … I can't recall who — make the execution of sunny ways more difficult than anticipated.

'Getting a lot done for middle-class Canadians'

So you see, the Liberal government has to do things like table 850-page omnibus budget bills — even though they lambasted the previous government for doing so and promised they would abandon the "undemocratic" practice — because they aren't getting any help from the people occupying the other seats. The Harper omnibus bills were sinister and sneaky and tried to ram through changes without debate. This, on the other hand, is about "getting a lot done for middle-class Canadians." See the difference?

The Trudeau government does not operate out of naked self-interest. Deep down, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer knows that. And NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will come to know that when the Trudeau government finally decides to call the byelection that will get him a shot at a seat in Parliament. The government is just very busy, as we all know, and probably hasn't gotten around to it yet. It's just a workflow thing.

So remember, children: there are forces of darkness and light, of division and unity, of hatred and of love. Only one party embodies those positive energies, not like those other pieces of sh—guys.

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

About the Author

Robyn Urback

Columnist

Robyn Urback is an opinion columnist with CBC News and a producer with the CBC's Opinion section. She previously worked as a columnist and editorial board member at the National Post. Follow her on Twitter at: