While covering The Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa last weekend, I was approached by a Member of Parliament (MP) who was a prominent cabinet minister in the previous Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We got to talking about President Donald Trump: a political character who continues to be the bête noir of Canadian liberals who view the U.S. news through the double prism of CNN and their own fanciful fears that the U.S. presidency remains in the hands of a madman.
Conservatives will tell you that they really do like Trump — but many of them will not say it too loudly. But it is fascinating to learn how many Conservative MPs are growing increasingly weary over Trump’s eagerness to praise Prime Minster Justin Trudeau. He rarely misses an opportunity to claim the Canadian PM is doing a first-rate job and how much his work is appreciated. For his part, Trudeau has managed to find common ground with his U.S. counterpart’s appeal to the middle class — people that Trudeau claims to represent and champion but who are are quite alien to his social circle of wealthy liberal elites.
Trudeau of course was closer to Barack Obama and the two truly seemed to be soul mates when their paths crossed on state visits. When Trudeau visited Washington, Obama said he would be handing the progressive torch to his Canadian alter-ego. And that’s precisely why American liberals love Trudeau so much: it’s like Obama never went away.
Or alternatively, Trudeau provides a frightening depiction of what life might have been like had Hillary Clinton won the last presidential election.
In the the last few weeks, Trudeau has never seen like such a stunning reflection of Obama as he has careened from one tortuous exercise in political correctness to another. Trudeau is not a consistent player on the U.S. news. He may attract attention when a pariticularly and painfully pusillanimous policy becomes fodder for Fox News. Last summer he certainly achieved a moment of notoriety when he announced that he would be rewarding former Taliban terrorist Omar Khadr with a lump sum payment of $10.5 million. Khadr, who confessed to killing one U.S. soldier and wounding another in Afghanistan, was a long-time guest at Guantanamo Bay’s exclusive quarters, did not seem like a candidate for instant wealth.
Last week, Trudeau did it again when the U.S. media realized that Trudeau had lectured a woman at a town hall meeting in British Columbia about using “peoplekind” instead of mankind. Nobody was sure whether such a verbal absurdity existed but Trudeau ignored the fuss until the embarrassment became too much to ignore and he suggested the whole thing was just “a big joke.” Sure, just like his leadership.
But some of the really good material was not so well reported. While Trudeau was attempting to charm the Canadian rabble one town hall at a time, he was asked just how in hell he planned to “rehabilitate” the ISIS terrorists who have returned to Canada after going abroad to slay the enemies of Allah. Trudeau didn’t attempt to explain that one but he did suggest that this nomadic refuse was somehow reminiscent of Italian immigrants who chose to settle in Canada in the years from the Second World War. Trudeau suggested that people then objected to the language, dress and religion of these new Canadians and people today were exhibiting similar intolerance and cultural obdurance today.
Trudeau, a la Obama, has continued his kind of identity politics, playing the race card with a frequency that is surprising even for him. On Monday, he attended a reception in honor of Black History Month and decided that “anti-Black racism” was now a clear and present danger in Canada as he promised to ensure that more Blacks were elected to the House of Commons. That performance followed a weekend where he injected himself into a legal case involving a Saskatchewan farmer who was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of First Nations man. Trudeau quickly logged-on to his Twitter account to express his outrage and to suggest that racism was to blame for the verdict. How was this not a clear case of political interference in a judicial matter?
For Trudeau, it just doesn’t matter at all. He consistently says a lot of stupid things — not jut politically stupid but plain as the nose on your face stupid. But, like the U.S media was about Obama, the Canadian media remain fatally attracted to this attractive, well-coiffured but maudlin, shallow and increasingly authoritarian political figure.