Trudeau-Trump: When Polar Opposites Collide

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

The pair were both on their best behaviour.  President Donald Trump was gracious, referring to his “great, friend and ally” Canada.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who appeared slightly awkward at times and a little less than his usually insouciant self, smiled politely and thanked Washington for the nice weather because it was so bloody bad in Ottawa that day.

It kind of broke the ice with the Canadian media in the crowd who were anxious to throw cold water on all this sweetness and light.

So Trudeau kept on smiling.

It is difficult to explain the phenomenon of  Justin Trudeau to Americans.

When he became the leader of the federal Liberals, the party was not in government and not even in official opposition.  It had what is known as “third-party” status in Parliamentary parlance and was actually considering merging with left-wing New Democratic Party in order to maintain some political relevance.  Yet when Trudeau waltzed to the head of the class, it not only rejuvenated a tired political but created a sense of inevitable defeat for the governing Conservative Party under Stephen Harper.

Harper and his strategic advisors could never decide how to combat Trudeau:  should they politely dismiss him or use the use same ham-handed character assassination narrative they had successfully used against two previous Liberal leaders who appeared inept, indecisive and often dim-witted after the Conservative attack team was finished with them.

They largely decided to deal with the Trudeau threat with a detached and patronizing series of advertisements in the last Canadian federal election that suggested the Liberal was “just not ready” to govern.  That campaign offensive more than implied that Trudeau would in fact be ready to govern some day and begged the quite legitimate question of “just when would he be ready?”  It was hardly a winning formula.  For a true conservative, Trudeau would never be prepared for government because he his politics were dangerously left-wing — at any time.

Justin Trudeau is the son of Pierre Trudeau, who also galvanized one voting base and alienated and another.  His cultural war to enforce official bilingualism across the country and his economic battle with energy-rich Western Canada left a deeply divided country  after 15 years of almost uninterrupted rule.  The elder Trudeau, like the younger one, was  was born into wealth, refused to serve his country during the Second World War because it was a British war and became a dilletante who dabbled in extreme left-wing politics and self-fashioned intellectual who enjoyed being sighted and filmed at strikes and protests in order to demonstrate his solidarity with the working class.  The Liberal Party eventually noticed his undeniable charisma and political potential by absorbing his energies, stabilizing the more radical of his policies and eventually making Trudeau their leader and the country’s prime minister in 1968.

If Just Trudeau has lived a life of less political controversy, it has also been one bereft of real achievement.  Prior to becoming the leader of a major Canadian political party, he was a drama teacher and school counselor — oh yeah, and the guy waiting to be prime minister some day because his last name was Trudeau and there was always a voting constituency that was patiently waiting for his coronation.

Trudeau may have been born into wealth, like President Donald Trump, but there the similarity ends.  The two are as much polar opposites as they are from neighboring nations.  While Trump is pledged to destroy ISIS, Trudeau has frequently declared that Canada is not at even at war with Islamic extremism, and, like his political ally former president Barack Obama, refuses to even use Islamic and extremism in the same sentence.  Trudeau will tell you that he is at war with climate change, which to those of us who know what a sham this global warming racket really is, is not just a meaningless declaration but a willfully stupid one as well.  While Trump exposed the horrors of partial-birth abortion while debating Hillary Clinton during a campaign debate, Trudeau prohibits pro-lifers from running as candidates for the Liberal Party and insists that unrestricted abortion on demand is a “settled” issue in Canada.

At Monday’s meeting, there was little evidence of affection between the two leaders — mild tolerance might have defined the moment.  For Canadians who are growing increasingly engorged with Trudeau’s inanity and desultory leadership, the specter of Trump keeping Trudeau in-line has shifted from a unwelcome obtrusion of American domination to a reassuring knowledge that there is an adult minding the continental household who will provide some much-need discipline for an increasingly rebellious youth.

Follow David on Twitter.