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October 28, 2017 1:55 am

Aesop, sunny days, and Justin Trudeau

Friday, October 23, 2015 @ 3:46 AM

 By Peter Ewart

Justin Trudeau beamed before a cheering crowd of supporters in Montreal on the night of his election victory.  “Sunny days, my friends.  Sunny days,” he repeated, promising a new way of doing things in the country (1).

With “sunny days”, Trudeau was harkening back to a term often flaunted by Liberal Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier over 100 years ago.  At the Liberal Party Convention in 2014, Trudeau first used the term to draw a sharp comparison between himself as “Mr. Nice” and then Prime Minister Stephen Harper as “Mr. Nasty.”

Similar to Barack Obama’s “hope and change” campaign of 2008, this comparison was to become a fundamental part of Trudeau’s election strategy, reflected again and again in Liberal Party messaging.

So what about this “sunny days” expression?  Why is it being brought up now?  As historian Frances Russell notes, it comes from one of the fables of Aesop, the ancient Greek writer (2).

Here is how she sums up the fable:  “Aesop tells the story of the sun and the wind arguing over who was more powerful, based on which one could convince [a] traveler to shed his coat.  The wind proceeds to try to blow the coat away.  But the harder the wind blows, the tighter the traveler bundles himself inside the coat.  The sun decides to do the opposite and shine brightly and warmly on the traveler.  The sun soon succeeds in getting the traveler to remove his coat, winning the contest.”

As Liberal Opposition leader, Laurier used the fable to criticize the Conservative federal government of his day over its fierce fight with the Manitoba government regarding Manitoba’s bilingual school system.  Instead of threatening and raging, Laurier proposed his own “sunny way” of getting the Manitoba government to agree to the federal demand.  And that was to create a different atmosphere by sitting down with the Manitoba Premier and urging him to be patriotic, and “just and fair.”

It all sounds so nice and cozy.  But Aesop’s fable deserves some closer reading.  It is noteworthy that the issue in the fable is never whether the man should have the choice to keep his coat on or take it off.  Rather, it is simply what method should be used to compel him to take it off, i.e. the wind blowing or the sun heating things up.

Furthermore, both the sun and wind each use a form of pressure or coercion to accomplish the aim they have both agreed upon.  In all of this, the man is a passive object, something to be acted upon, something to be manipulated.

What are the implications of this “sunny days” approach for the Canadian people?

Like the Conservatives, the Liberal Party is, and always has been, a leading party of the economic and political Establishment.  This Establishment is dominated today by giant globalized corporate and banking interests.  And it has an agenda.

This agenda includes privatization, out-sourcing of manufacturing, austerity, de-regulation, slashing of social programs, erosion of civil rights, as well as the increasing integration of the Canadian economy into a “United States of North America” under the thumb of these giant corporate interests.

The Harper government implemented this agenda, as did the Liberal Chretien and Martin governments that preceded it.

None of these governments disputed the essentials of what had to be done, rather the main difference has always been how it is to be done.

In that regard, Stephen Harper used an incremental approach, the aim being to impose a barrage of  smaller changes in the hopes that people would not notice or feel threatened, i.e. the analogy of the frog in the pot of water gradually being heated up.  But eventually, many people did notice, and that is where Mr. Nasty came into play, demonizing opponents and creating an atmosphere of fear and division.

Factions within the Establishment began to feel that Harper’s approach was no longer working and had become stalled.  Other corporate factions, such as the big television networks, felt out of favor and wanted a bigger part of the action.  Still others worried about growing opposition from First Nations and other sections of the people to resource and pipeline projects.

Enter Liberal Justin Trudeau with his “sunny days”.  Essentially, Trudeau has promised the Establishment that he can get Canadians to remove their coats more effectively than Harper’s approach.

Since the Conservative defeat on October 19th, even leadership contender Jason Kenney has chimed in with a similar comment.  According to Kenney, Conservatives “need a conservatism that is sunnier and more optimistic than what we have sometimes” (3).

For now, it looks like the new Liberal government will be attempting to use “sunny ways” in its dealings with First Nations, provinces, environmentalists, small and medium businesses, and the citizenry as a whole.

But sunny days can quickly change into stormy ones, especially when people realize that the same old Establishment agenda is at work.


Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia.  He can be reached at: peter.ewart@shaw.ca  

  • Puzic, Sonja. “’Sunny ways’: Justin Trudeau celebrates historic Liberal victory.” CTV News. Oct. 19, 2015.
  • Russell, Frances. “Justin Trudeau banks on Laurier’s sunny ways and U.S. Democratic strategies for 2015.” National Newswatch. Feb. 24, 2014.


  1. Yakabuski, Konrad. “Canadian right gets set for healthy debate.” Globe and Mail. Oct. 21, 2015.


Love the analogy Peter. No doubt the next 4 years are going to be interesting, if not all sunny.

Ewart the pessimist at work.

The wind and the sun are natural elements. Ancient societies who did not know much about nature created gods out of them.

I am not sure whether Ewart is proposing that political parties are gods that we cannot control, that in fact, control us.

Or is it more that Ewart is thinking that the corporate interests are actually the gods and that the political parties are the ones representing the traveller wearing the coat.

Whatever it is, it is simply another pessimistic article in what can be seen by many to be more optimistic times.

Wonder what he would have written if the NDP were forming government …. I think I know …. the NDP cannot be bought by corporate interests …. LOL

First Phillips, now Ewart. What’s next on 250??

First Phillips, now Ewart. What’s next on 250??


Someone has convinced these two that they are “Big Thinkers” and that their opinions are somehow giving us something to ponder?

When Trudeau really gets in the driver’s seat, reality will hit the road. The fable will be just that, a fable; “Cloudy days my friends, cloudy days.”

sometimes a story is just a story .there’s no need to work so much into it.

The Liberals have a plan to go into defecate spending. Something like $125 billion over 10 years. A lot of this money will be used for infrastructure and will be transferred to the Provinces and Municipalities through the Build Canada Fund.

Paul Martin (The power behind Trudeau) is a great supporter of Private Public Partnerships, on Government infrastructure projects. So brace yourselves for some huge profits for private business collected from taxpayers.

But But Palopu the fiberal, woops liberal supporters , CBC etc that will only add a small percentage to the debt. Know if Harper had made that statement all hell would have broken loose.

Oh its going to be sunny times with flowers in my hair.

I think that what Peter is giving us are just facts to say they are pessimistic so be it. The sun hasn’t started to shine at this time.

What I get out of Peter’s article is that he believes that it does not matter which party is in power, the agenda is the same, just the method of achieving it is different.

That agenda is, according to Peter, driven by the corporate establishment, not by the voters.

That is why I posed the rhetorical question about what he would have written had the NDP come to govern instead of the Liberals.

That is why I look at his article as a pessimistic one since no matter who is in power, the corporate establishment is running the show, and the political parties we elect are mere pawns of that establishment, even to the extent that they have become part of that establishment. So Zimmer, Doherty, and others like them across the country are just “yes” people to the PM, the PMO, and the Cabinet.

Of course, given those who share that point of view with Peter, the corporate and royal establishments of the 15th century were those who acquired land by “discovering” so-called new continents, claiming them and developing them. In Canada, the corporate establishment would have included the Hudson Bay Company which still exists today.

The article is not about Trudeau, the article is about the corporate establishment and how, no matter what we do, they remain in control.

Palopu wrote: “The Liberals have a plan to go into defecate spending.”

I am just trying to picture that in my mind.

Thanks for the laugh. :-)

gopg2015 . I can agree with your last comment.

I see the Liberal god is starting out with a 10million dollar reno to his new house. LOL. Defend that Libs.

Some times auto fill can be a hoot . Defecate spending ? That’s a beauty .

It’s not his new house . It’s his first house or old digs . Stevie was supposed to have it fixed but couldn’t handle being away from his precious for twelve to fifteen months . He instead kept his family in danger of illness or worse . What a guy .

Interestingly Peter talks about the integration of the Canadian economy into the “United States of North America” under those giant
corporate interests.

Yet when Canada tries to diversify its customer base for oil.

The NDP , First Nations and environmental groups object and are
manipulated and funded by US based trust funds.

You will also note that the world is now becoming formed into
trading blocs .


Is that the best that you can do. DO you think people posting here are stupid or something?

Here is the rest of the story. Keep in mind, the building you are referring to belongs to Canada and is part of the country’s infrastructure.

From an interview of Margaret Trudeau.

“Twenty-four Sussex is in need — has been in need since I was there 40 years ago — of major infrastructure repair, and it simply hasn’t been done.”

The CBC News report goes on to say:
“In the 2008 auditor general’s report, the National Capital Commission said the home hadn’t had major renovations in 50 years and needed $10 million of work.

“It was stated the occupants would have to move out of the stone mansion for 12 to 15 months.

“The prime minister’s office responded in 2008 that Stephen Harper had no intention of moving out of the official residence until his term was up.

So, the ESTIMATED price in 2008 was $10million. We now have 2016 coming up. 8 years of construction inflation which hi higher than the average inflation. We are looking at $15 million is my guess.

I wonder which one of Peter Ewart’s major Corporate Establishment construction companies will get the job. For sure not someone from Calgary anymore. LOL

“You will also note that the world is now becoming formed into trading blocs”

As trade became world wide trade, it has always formed into trading blocks. It was the reason for expanding. Find more “lebensraum” (living space, more spices, more furs, more of everything.

In the English world they were/are called commonwealths. In fact, we are still part of one.

The people in charge are no longer Royalty in the western world. It is a combination of governments and corporate entities either working with each other or working against each other. The interesting things is that we, the serfs, are never really certain which it is.

Peter thinks he knows, but does he???

10 million dollars? Tear it down and give him a plain old fashioned bungalow. He can find out what it’s like to live like the middle class he claims to champion.

lol 2 gopg2015 defending a spoiled brat, politician, spending 10 million on his new digs. The hypocrisy in a Liberal voters life, must be hard to live with.

I think that rather than fixing Twenty Four Sussex, we should build Justin a new igloo in the Arctic, as far north as possible.

Looks like Putin is taking steps to lay claim to the Arctic. If we get Justin in residence up there first, then maybe we can actually claim ownership of the Arctic before Putin does!

“Russian bear pokes Canada – what will Trudeau do? by SARA MACINTYRE, Guest Columnist

We have a new prime minister-designate — Justin Trudeau — who denigrated Putin’s dangerous and provocative actions in Ukraine as simply motivated by a “hockey loss.”

His first act was to tell our American ally he is going to pull our CF-18s out of the fight against ISIS. This group of terrorists are the most vile, barbaric and ritualistic murderers the world has witnessed and Trudeau is choosing to stand on the sidelines.

It is by no coincidence — more by design — that the expansionist Putin regime announced plans Thursday for three new military bases in the Arctic. The Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, boasted: “This is a really large base that was never seen during the Soviet times, and it has modern equipment, all of the needed equipment for these boundaries.”

So what say you, prime minister-designate Trudeau?

The Russian Bear is poking Canada and what do you plan to do?”

Sunny days ahead?

HG:”His (Trudeau’s) first act was to tell our American ally he is going to pull our CF-18s out of the fight against ISIS. This group of terrorists are the most vile, barbaric and ritualistic murderers the world has witnessed and Trudeau is choosing to stand on the sidelines.”

And they will keep being the most vile, barbaric and ritualistic murderers the world has witnessed even if Canada stays in or gets out of that mess half ways around the world on the other side of the planet!

Take off your rose coloured glasses and examine the size of our military and financial resources! Then keep looking and evaluate our decades long neglect of infrastructure, our food banks, soup kitchens, homelessness and Canadians living in tent cities!

Conservatives with agendas that support warmongering, including the killing of innocent families scare the dickens out of me! How often do we have to make the same mistakes?

And now we found out that Harper was living in a DUMP for almost a decade!

The Auditor General asserted in 2008 that 24 Sussex was in dire need of repair to the tune of 10 million dollars!

Perhaps we ought to have turned our attention inward to the shortcomings of our own country (roads, schools, hospitals, healthcare, environment, pensions…etc) rather than being on extensive military proven fruitless adventures chasing some elusive guerillas who can bring down a ten million dollar helicopter or a 40 million dollar fighter plane with one shoulder fired ground to air missile!

Wow. This was one of the best written editorials I’ve read since I moved here over 25 years ago. Thank you Mr. Ewert for such a wonderful thought provoking piece. While the writing skills of our local media are often an embarrassment, this piece is well written, informative and creative. I definitely look forward to seeing more articles like this.

>>> TAN

So which action(s) have you taken recently that we may or may not know about and has made a difference to people other than yourself and they thanked you for it because it is exactly what they wanted, other than this support you gave to Peter?

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