Don Martin: Life in Trudeau's brain defies imagination
Getting inside Justin Trudeau's head these days requires a vivid imagination.
The prime minister's bizarre statement on the Middle East war this week reflects a distorted view that human-shielded resistance by Hamas terrorists can be overcome with "maximum restraint" by Israel's military.
How a conflict where civilians, foreigners and sick patients are being held hostage by terrorists in and below Gaza hospitals can be resolved by passive soldiers using bullhorns instead of bullets is a tactic that would never have made it into Sun Tzu's Art of War.
But that's Trudeau's simplistic thinking as he struggles to straddle many fences only to find himself impaled on the polls.
Now, spare some empathy for a prime minister governing a country seething with antisemitism and Islamophobia. He's holding a stick of diplomatic dynamite with a fuse lit at both ends.
And as he tries to find a way to extinguish the fires, he's being personally hounded and chased.
Consider what happened when he did one of his classic restaurant walkthroughs this week which, instead of the usual star-struck handshakes, triggered a screaming chorus of diners and protesters demanding the ceasefire Trudeau can't possibly endorse without giving Hamas a public relations victory.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S TROUBLES COMPOUNDED
And things are just getting started as pro-Palestinian organizations disseminate guidelines to successful "bird-dogging" of Trudeau and his MPs at public events while ensuring every encounter is filmed and widely shared.
Trudeau's troubles are compounded by having his totally-over-her-head Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly regularly flying off script. She diverged from Trudeau's lines to say there must be a "humanitarian truce" leading toward a ceasefire when Israeli negotiations can begin with Hamas. Chances: zero.
And over at the United Nations, Canada's twisting itself into a diplomatic pretzel after abstaining on a vote to protect civilians in the conflict and then voting against condemning illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
TRUDEAU'S UNPOPULARITY SURGING
But the prime minister's unpopularity is surging on so many other fronts, it's hard to keep track.
He heads to an Asia-Pacific summit this week which, fortunately, India will not be attending because any encounter with the leader of the country Trudeau accused of orchestrating a state-sanctioned assassination on Canadian soil would go beyond severely awkward.
China's president will be there and is meeting with the other North American leaders. No chinwag with Trudeau has been scheduled nor expected.
One might think Trudeau's annus horribilis couldn't possibility get any worse. But it will.
His controversial carbon tax break has only accelerated his death slide in the polls, even in Atlantic Canada where the tax pause was designed to save the furniture from fires engulfing the Liberal brand.
He now faces a gang-up of premiers demanding more carbon tax breaks to replicate the heating oil carve-out and heat pump subsidies he bestowed mostly on Liberal-dominated Atlantic Canada.
Trudeau also faces the likely approval of a private member's bill that would carve out another farm exemption from carbon taxation, a move Steven Guilbeault says won't happen as long as he's the environment minister. That sounds like there's a cabinet resignation or reassignment in the offing.
Then there's this month's fall economic statement, which will be a confidence vote.
There are rumbles some NDP MPs will refuse to vote for it without government-declared support for a ceasefire in Gaza. If enough New Democrats rebel, there will have to be a big blink from somebody if Canada wants to avoid an election – and nobody should be striving to avoid that more than the Liberals.
But, incredibly, this multitude of messes doesn't seem to faze the eight-year prime minister as he continues to plan for his fourth election victory even with polls speaking in one voice of a looming Conservative landslide.
That's why it's so fascinating to watch this government-in-denial skipping along in Trudeau's happy world.
It's a world in which Hamas will free hostages and let humanitarian aid flow in the aftermath of Trudeau's call on Israel to use maximum restraint, setting the stage for a ceasefire and two-state negotiations with Hamas.
It's a fiscal environment where the deficit's size still doesn't matter even as the economy slides into recession; a place where a few billion dollars will end the affordable housing crisis and where a billion dollar cut from the armed forces budget won't hurt our military's reputation as a global laggard.
It's a world where India will suddenly forgive Canada and co-operate in investigating the murder they stand accused of ordering.
And,of course, only in Trudeau territory will voters soon see things differently and send Liberal approval numbers surging to re-election just in time for the 2025 vote.
Yes, it's still all sunny ways inside Trudeau's brain. Trouble is, it defies imagination.
That's the bottom line.