Canada’s “cool” new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, reminds me a lot of US President Barack Obama. Both men were elected amid a feverish national clamour for change, both are charismatic and excellent at public speaking (unlike the men they replaced), and both men were unofficially the cool choice in their respective elections. Nothing wrong with that.
There is, however, another similarity between the two, namely a troubling tendency to say one thing and then do another. Much like Obama, who was elected on a platform of peace and now orders more drone-strikes than SkyNet, Canada’s hip new Prime Minister has also started to deviate away from the platform on which he was elected.
Perhaps the worst example of Trudeau’s hypocrisy came just days after his swearing-in last November. Despite having made the argument that “wealthy families” such as his do not require benefits in order to care for their dependents, Trudeau was still willing to send the bill for his nannies (there are two) directly to the taxpayer.
Trudeau has since defended the decision to bill the taxpayer for his babysitting, stating that his family budget is no larger than Harper’s, which is “what Canadians expect.” While the Trudeaus no doubt require some form of childcare services to care for their three children during the day, to say that his family doesn’t need benefits and then turn around and take full advantage of the taxpayers is the act of a hypocrite. The man makes $334,800/year, and yet his first official act was shirking bills onto you and me.
For me, the most disturbing part of the nanny issue is Trudeau’s willingness to take from the taxpayer when he does not need to. I know that he has promised to run a deficit, but this type of carefree spending will do little for Canadians.
Another clear example of Trudeau’s hypocrisy is his pride at appointing a cabinet full of people who have actually worked in the fields that they now hope to represent. Trudeau himself was barely a politician before taking office as Prime Minister, and his thin-soup resume would have been unlikely to qualify him for a job as a parliamentary bathroom attendant, much less the highest office in the land. But, this is an ad hominem argument, and feels like beating a dead horse after the “just not ready” attack ads paid for by the Conservatives.
More recently, there have been accusations of hypocrisy leveled at Trudeau for his position on climate change. The Liberal election platform blamed the Harper Conservatives for pulling Canada out of the Kyoto Accord, stating that the Torries had “failed to take any meaningful action” on the topic of climate change. The reality is that the Liberals were the ones who signed up for Kyoto, and when they handed the reigns over to the Conservatives, Canada was not even close to meeting those goals.
Imagine the Kyoto Accord was a relay race. The Chrétien government signs Canada up, and tells everyone that we’re going to win. Despite this, Chrétien falls flat on his face several times, and by the time the baton is passed to Harper, Canada is already miles behind. So Harper jogs leisurely instead of sprinting, and tries to manage the high expectations of the Canadians who still expect a win. Wisely, he chooses not to expend every ounce of his energy on what is clearly a losing proposition. Finally, Harper passes the baton to Trudeau, who notices that they are in last place, and of course blames Harper instead of questioning why his party decided to enter the race and promise a win in the first place.
It has also been suggested that Trudeau’s massive infrastructure program will be a source of enough carbon emissions to make David Suzuki weep openly, but whether the Liberals can actually meet their climate change targets is less of an issue than their hypocrisy. Blaming the Conservatives for not meeting the improbable climate change goals set out by the Liberals is like lending someone a car full of McDonald’s wrappers and cigarette butts, then complaining that they didn’t have it detailed before giving it back.
Now, I know that many of you (if not most) are shrieking about what a bitter old conservative curmudgeon I am, accusing me of being jealous of Trudeau’s hair, and planning to burn me in effigy as soon as the weather warms up. It’s okay, really. But the reality is that I agree with a lot of the Liberal policies, and take the progressive stance on almost every social issue. Trudeau is saying some really great things; I just wish I could know for sure that he means them.