MinstrelGate: Identity Politics Consumes Its Biggest Fan
“I’m not going to accuse @JustinTrudeau of being a racist. But he’s the master of identity politics, and the Libs just spent months accusing everyone of being white supremacists. He definitely is the biggest hypocrite in the country.” CPP leader Maxime Bernier on PM Justin Trudeau in blackface.
When you talk to survivors of catastrophic storms they always tell you about the beautiful weather that preceded it. People swimming at the beach. Gorgeous sunsets. Gentle breezes.
One gets the impression that students of Canadian history may look back at the idyllic days before the 2019 federal election in the same dreamy haze. The mainstream media had taken the temperature of Justin Trudeau’s Diversity Inc ® and reported a rosy forecast. Ethics charges? Intimidation? Fraud? Sexual interference? He should resign?
Pshaw. The man’s heart is in the right place even if his foot is in his mouth.
But then grainy black-and-white photos from 2001 appeared of the man who’s been labelling Andrew Scheer as a racist in the just-called election campaign. Courtesy of Time, an American-based company. They show Trudeau playing Mr. Dressup again, this time as a dark-skinned Aladin and in another photo a Calypso Day-O take.
In the 2015 election the black/ brown pictures would not have defined him, because he had no identity in the public mind. This year, after all his sanctimony on diversity since assuming the PM job, it defines him. There’s no escape. He’s a hypocrite.
To say the least it has caused a Krakatoa on the election. Trudeau is, so far, holding firm and asking for the sort of forgiveness he never gives anyone else. (Remember the two Liberal MPs he summarily removed from caucus for having consensual sex with NDP women who had second thoughts? After he’d been accused of pawing a reporter himself? Yeah, that kind of forgiveness.)
Now there are two big questions to ask. Can Trudeau survive and why was this material uncovered by an American source?
Some apologists have asked why these damning MinstrelGate pictures didn’t emerge in the 2015 election campaign, but it’s clear a large segment of the Hill press corps never wanted to hold him to the same standard that Trudeau holds his rivals. Sunny Ways was getting rid of Harper/ Hitler for them. Bonus. (Ironically the FBI also discovered the most senior civilian in the #RCMP is a spy while Canadian media was obsessed with high school gay/ straight alliances.)
The Liberals are wobbling ahead with their campaign, hoping to outlast another Trudeau bimbo eruption. Which only makes their formula for success even more precarious. By siding with eastern urban elites Trudeau has reduced his election equation to that of his father Pierre: Fortress Quebec, urban pecksniffs and rote Maritime allegiances. By wallowing in the worst kind of partisan politics he’s emulating the Chretien sponsorship scandals.
And that was before MistrelGate.
Who might profit from this political gift?. In the short run, it could help out NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (who put out an immediate grievance statement to capitalize). But he’s proven such an inept politician it won’t last.
Andrew Scheer has huffed and puffed, too. But his focus-group robo-conservatism has already imperilled what should be a slam-dunk win for the CPC. Elizabeth May will do her usual whirligig routine, but ever mindful she wants Trudeau to invite her into a coalition in a minority Parliament.
If this storm has a name it will likely be Maxime Bernier. He will make landfall in the debates after finally being accorded a place in them. (The notion that May, whose Green party was stuck at none or one member of Parliament for three federal elections, was given a place in a debate while Bernier— with a single member— be excluded was one of the more risible jests of the Laurentian Party .)
Bernier is excitable, scattershot and often his own worst enemy. He may be compared to that other populist windstorm, John Diefenbaker, who shattered the illusion that the prime-ministership was a sinecure of the power elite. But he arrives as a useful tool. The man with nothing to lose.
Like another long-shot, Donald Trump, Bernier is unafraid to articulate the resentment felt in the country by many voters. (People forget that Marco Rubio would be the president of the United States had he championed immigration reform.) He’s willing to point out the gap between Trudeau’s lofty #metoo standard and his own failure to meet that standard
It should be well received. Depending on where you are in the country, your membership has different privilieges. From Trudeau’s malleable justice on SNC Lavalin to communities that dump raw sewage in waterways donning the Enviro Shirt to Quebec gaming the Equalization Fund, the double standard is palpable.
Under Trudeau, it’s an Eastern Time Zone kind of world. The national project has its head office in the Bytown Belt, so don’t get no smart ideas.
The ultimate takeaway is that the man who has used divisive, corrosive Identity politics to brand his opponents stands accused of the same. Like most who try to appease these forces he thought he’d be the last consumed by its hungry maw. Now he’s the meal. Bon appetit.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the publisher of http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com. He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also a best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand: How Salary Caps Are Killing Pro Sports And Why The Free Market Could Save Them is now available on brucedowbigginbooks.ca.