One of the most powerful moments in President Donald Trump’s latest State of The Union address wasn’t anything he said on domestic politics, but a remark on foreign affairs.

Venezuela is in shambles right now – with a mass exodus of refugees, crime and inflation running rampant and there’s now sadly something called “the Venezuela diet” that explains how people are losing weight for lack of food.

Pretty much everyone except for Canadian public sector union leaders agree that this is a mess and can’t continue. And most sensible leaders agree that President Nicolas Maduro has to go and be replaced temporarily by National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, until proper elections can be held.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland are on board with this, and Freeland has even been helping to lead the charge. Although if there was one quibble to make with how they’re addressing this topic it’s that they’re letting an elephant in the room go unmentioned.

Yes, Maduro is a problem. But he’s not the origins of the problem. And it’s not so much that he’s some sort of natural brute dictator. No, the problem springs from his ideology. He’s a socialist. A diehard socialist who is just continuing the failed legacy of strongman Hugo Chavez.

If Maduro was, say, a free market capitalist you can bet the country wouldn’t be facing the turmoil that’s now crippling the country of over 30 million people.

Yet there has been no mention of the “s” word from Freeland and certainly not from Trudeau, who previously offered up a warm eulogy of Fidel Castro and has stated he admired China’s for its “basic dictatorship”.

A little bit would go a long way to helping young Canadians understand the inevitable ills of socialism. But where Trudeau fails to say anything, Trump steps up to the plate.

“Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim president, Juan Guaido,” Trump said. “We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country… America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”

Here Trump isn’t just making an important statement on what’s happening in Venezuela, but firing a warning shot at the upcoming young legislators in the United States (and one much older one named Bernie Sanders) who think socialism is cool and trendy.

There is a very real risk that today’s young, the sort who strut around downtown wearing Che Guevara shirts, will try to send us further down the socialist path. It would be nice if the likes of Trudeau showed some leadership in preventing that.


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