Have we no sense of humour?

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One of the major accomplishments of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s reign as our prime minister was his determination that the French language would survive and thrive as part of our Canadian identity. And he put the federal treasury behind this challenge so that French Immersion classes would be available in all provinces and territories.

His son has followed this up by recommending that the word ‘man’ and, presumably ‘men’ and ‘male’ should not be uttered in polite Canadian conversation. His counsel, declared during his latest tour to meet Canadians, was that we should replace the word ‘man’ with the word ‘person’. Thus, if you are tempted to write to him, talk with members of parliament, instruct kindergarten children in English Language Arts, or converse in proper company outside the bedrooms of your homes – please do your utmost to use the correct vocabulary. For instance, in addition to his admonition to start using ‘personkind ‘to replace mankind, I propose we use personagement (management), woperson (woman), perpersonment (permanent) and agreepeoplet (agreement) as a helpful start. Someone told me he was speaking with his ‘tongue in his cheek’. If so it is wise that he keeps his mouth open.

Now don’t expect an immediate response from the prime minister. He is busy fomenting confusion amongst U.S.A. politicians by promoting the continuation of a trade agreement between U.S.A. and Mexico (a.k.a. NAFTA) by visiting Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s current tour presents some interesting political optics. All three stops, on this his 15th U.S. visit as prime minister, are Democratic Party strongholds. Chicago, home to former president Barak Obama, has a remote connection to NAFTA-friendly Ronald Reagan as he lived there for a miserably unhappy year in 1915. Chicago is still stinging after Nabisco transferred Oreo cookie manufacturing to Mexico, costing 300 workers their jobs. President Trump has stopped eating Oreos. As for California, senior ranking Senator Dianne Feinstein has been a long time active supporter of Hillary Clinton. Of the 53 Congressmen only 13 are Republicans. Three of them voted against President Trump’s tax bill. None of the Democrats voted for it. Mexico’s place in NAFTA must be the target of his promotional tour. Canada is too far away. How many California agriculture or manufacturing businesses want to support Mexico ‘free trade’ and their low wages is questionable. How this will persuade President Trump to renew NAFTA is puzzlement. How this will help the Canadian NAFTA negotiating team is a mystery.

Further, this is an election year for the U.S. Congress. The key issues presently are health care, immigration and the fall-out of the tax bill. Our prime minister seems to want to add NAFTA to this mix. One wonders how we would have reacted if the U.S. president decided on a tour such as this during one of our election years when we both already had negotiating teams trying to work out a deal.

Perhaps our prime minister might be better working on a free trade agreement with Britain. He could thereby try to get preferential access to the Oxford English Dictionary so to add new names to the English language and rid us of the use of abhorrent sexist terms such as man and woman.

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Alan Murdock