The Eternal Sunshine Of His Spotless Mind
Frankly the events of the past two weeks have sane people concerned about the United States. Is it the theatrics of Donald Trump? The calls for revolution from Bernie Sanders? Ted Cruz’s evangelical fervour? All of the above?
No. It’s Justin Trudeau stirring the loins of America’s power structure. Saying that the Excited States swooned over the Canadian PM during his recent visit to Washington is like saying Drake is fond of the Toronto Raptors. President Obama and his wife Michelle resembled people who wake up to discover that the perfect coupe has moved in next door.
The prez said, “What’s not like?” about the tousled-haired Canadian as they stood like glamorous gods in the Rose Garden. Michelle had the vapours over Sophie Gregoire and her kids, proclaiming them “delicious". The state dinner, replete with Canadian actors, was fodder for the TMZs of the world who fawned over Canada’s first couple. If there was a cross word spoken about Obama’s capricious blocking of the Keystone Pipeline project no one was saying publicly.
CBS 60 Minutes did a crush note to Trudeau’s back story and his miraculous ascent to the prime ministership. “Boxing isn’t about hard you punch; it’s about how hard a punch you can take,” he purred. (What’s with Trudeau and his false comparatives? Deliver punch/ take punch. Know us for resources/ know us for our resourcefulness? Some might see a… pattern?)
When Trudeau helpfully offered that Americans could learn from Canadians to look outward to the world more often, the CBS host Lara Logan didn’t even vomit. (Well, maybe a bit in her mouth). His Zen energy— “Killing your enemies means they win”— was just the sort of fatuous comic break the primaries needed.
Giddy doesn’t capture the impact of cuteness. BBC America trilled, “Trudeau brings star power to Washington”. America’s mainstream media contrasted the bespoke boy from Baytown with the shambles of their own ongoing election. His bland assertion that a career as a part-time drama teacher and snowboard instructor had prepared him for office was greeted with sage nodding of heads. Even FOX hosts giggled like schoolgirls about the confluence of hope-and-change and we-can-do-better.
Thank goodness Canada’s media visiting DC with the PM looked at the whole thing with a jaundiced eye. (https://twitter.com/RosieBarton/status/708412137060831232/photo/1) In a political process that has been reduced to selfies and photo ops, the Washington pose-and-click protocol was right in Justin’s wheelhouse. (And CBC’s, apparently.)
Okay, maybe Preston Manning suggested that Trudeau had been suckered by America in a Globe & Mail op ed cheekily titled “The best prime minister the United States has ever had. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/justin-trudeau-the-best-prime-minister-the-united-states-has-ever-had/article29206854/ ) The piece purports to be a memo sent to the White House from the State Department.
“In many respects he epitomizes the ‘it’s all about me’ generation and its self-expression and promotion via social media. So let’s like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter – and while we’re at it, why not a selfie? By catering for a day or two to Mr. Trudeau’s desire for personal attention and aggrandizement, we can safely ignore conceding anything of substance on Canada-U.S. issues and more easily and cheaply advance our own interests in those areas.”
He might want to linger in friendly D.C. Back in Canada the reality of Zoolander as PM is sinking in. Many people are realizing that instead of an economic manager, Canada has a Life Coach leading the nation. Really, is there a day that goes by without some helpful life lessons from the selfie king? And aren’t we grateful?
Trudeau was virtually awarded the Nobel Prize in DC for his unblinking acceptance of 25,000 Syrian refugees. Trudeau sees the country as a Holiday Inn Express where all are welcome for the free breakfast. No sooner was he returned to Canadian soil, however, than an Islamic fanatic took to stabbing people at a recruiting centre. But don’t worry, the vetting process works swell.
Let’s face it, it’s not like Trudeau himself promised anything more than the eternal sunshine of his spotless mind. His plans— aside from gargling bromides— have always included bigger deficits than Harper/ Hitler ran, more taxes on people who create wealth and tying Canada to the global environmental consensus even as the greenies’ assurances of climate death are coming apart (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/did-global-warming-slow-down-in-the-2000s-or-not/) Sort of like his Papa.
If someone thought he’d have a solution to the collapse of the energy business that was something they’d projected on Trudeau, not a claim supported by any empirical evidence. Similarly his solutions to the native crisis, national unity and free trade were the stuff of unicorn powder.
The nation may just have to say, “Justin, it’s not about you, it’s about us.” (Maybe the Obamas can find him a nice job at his presidential library if this Canadian thing doesn’t work out.) The blame is not on him, however. He is who we thought he was. No, it’s on those who saw a silk purse, not a sow’s ear, when he walked uphill against the reversing escalator during the election.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy
Bruce's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience with successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013).