Trudeau Had a Sweet Deal and He Blew it

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a contract with Canadians, a contract he has broken several times over. 

Now, let me quickly add here, I’m not talking about an actual legally-binding contract; what I’m referring to instead, is more like an informal, implicit deal that was struck five years ago between us and Trudeau. 

The deal went something like this: we agreed to give Trudeau the cushiest, easiest job in the whole-wide world and all he had to do in return was be a cool, fun leader who did cool, fun things. 

In other words, he could basically put the government on auto-pilot, (wait for the budget to balance itself?) and concentrate on doing what Canadians expected of him, i.e. pose for adorable selfies; march in Gay Pride Parades and give endless self-righteous lectures explaining why his feminist ideology made him superior to all other less enlightened males. 

Certainly, the Canadian media would have loved Trudeau to stick to this contract. 

After all, it would have provided them with a never-ending source of alluring visual imagery: here’s Trudeau paddling a canoe; here’s Trudeau doing Yoga exercises; here’s Trudeau jogging half- naked; here’s the latest pair of Trudeau’s awesome Star Wars socks. 

The lords of Bay Street too likely wanted the Prime Minister to stick to his agreed upon role, since, when you get right down to it, this country’s CEOs probably want Canadians to focus their attention on Trudeau’s antics, rather than worrying about other issues, such as … oh I don’t know … maybe about how growing government-corporate cronyism is harming consumers. 

And finally, after nearly a decade of Stephen Harper’s bland government, Canadian voters, as a whole, were ready for a pseudo-celebrity fun guy to run the country. 

So essentially, Trudeau, as prime minister, really didn’t have to do anything.  He didn’t need to worry about how to balance the budget, he didn’t have to introduce any sweeping economic reforms, he didn’t need to concern himself with modernizing federalism or work up some new policy on infrastructure spending. 

Trudeau just had to be Trudeau. 

Sure seems like a great arrangement doesn’t it? 

But, for some reason, Trudeau simply couldn’t hold up his end of the bargain. 

Rather than making us smile, he’s making us cringe. 

Indeed, Trudeau keeps blundering into one venal scandal after another: breaching ethics by holidaying on a billionaire’s private island, getting embroiled in the sordid SNC-Lavalin affair, and most recently he plunged himself into the dark void of the WE Charity scandal. 

On top of all that, we also learned he once enjoyed donning racist costumes. 

All that stuff, of course, is the opposite of fun. 

So, what happened?  Why couldn’t Trudeau keep the pact? 

Well, I think there’s a couple of reasons. 

First off, I get the sense Trudeau likely misinterpreted his deal with Canadians, perhaps believing all the adoration coming from the media and from the corporate world and from the general public, meant, as prime minister, he could do as he pleased, or that he was above the ethical rules that bound lesser mortals. 

The ancient Greeks called such a failing “hubris.” 

Hubris, by the way, might be the inevitable vulnerability of anyone who’s lived an indulged and entitled life. 

As a matter of fact, Trudeau himself noted this weakness when, explaining his blackface costume, he told the media, “I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege, but I now need to acknowledge that comes with a massive blind spot.” 

Mind you, all politicians have “blind spots”, which is why they hire competent staffers to help keep them out of trouble. 

And this leads me to Trudeau’s second problem – his staff let him down. 

Somewhere along the line, for example, one of his inner circle should have waved red flags about the SNC-Lavalin and We Charity messes. 

But no one did. 

Just like no one urged Trudeau not to embarrass himself on his infamous trip to India, when he decided to go on a ridiculous costume-changing spree. 

At any rate, whatever the causes, Trudeau’s contract with Canadians is broken beyond repair. 

This doesn’t mean he can’t continue on as prime minister; it doesn’t even mean he can’t be successful. 

It just means from now on, he might just be regarded the same as any other boring prime minister, as a leader who is actually expected to do some real work and heavy-lifting.  

So more drudgery, less fun. 

Given these new circumstances, it makes me wonder if he’ll want to keep the job?

Photo Credit: CBC News

More from Gerry Nicholls.     @GerryNic

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