It used to be that Canadian politics was weirder than American politics.
With a staggeringly ignorant, rant-prone, Twitter-using president in the White House, this is obviously no longer true.
Even crack smoking Rob Ford, he of the drunken blackouts and racist outbursts, has been out-weirded by Trump.
I think it is having an effect on our politics.
Personally, I find that Trump occupies a significant portion of the time my brain allots to “caring about politics.” When he’s threatening nuclear-armed dictatorships or messing with NAFTA, that’s warranted. We should all be worried.
But we’re also drawn in by the nonsense. At least I am. Maybe you’re the kind of person who can reliably pass up headlines about porn stars launching lawsuits, about Michael Cohen’s mounting legal troubles, about petty corruption and bizarre utterances by Trump’s supporters.
Shouldn’t I spend more time worrying about Canadian politics?
Consider all the weird/controversial/important stuff taking place in Canada right now:
• The federal Liberals are nationalizing a major oil pipeline so they can triple its size – through Langley, by the way.
• The NDP is running both B.C. and Alberta – and their premiers are one more argument away from simply dueling with pistols at dawn.
• Ontario’s election is seeing a showdown between a resurgent NDP and a Progressive Conservative party led by the late Rob Ford’s brother Doug.
I think Trump could have a short term effect on Canadian politics. Call it the attention gap.
How much more can our politicians get away with if we’re even five or 10 per cent less attentive to what’s going on here, because we’re bent over our phones, shocked at the nonsense south of the border?
Personally, I’m trying to cut back on Trump. I’m on a nutty news diet. From now on, it’s Parliament, not congress, premiers, not oily presidential offspring.
Wait, he did what? Okay, got to check that out…