Friday, July 4, 2014

Two Cent Rant: Justin Trudeau

Hey +Crystal and Kyle: you wanted to hear my opinion about Justin Trudeau?

Here's my two cents.


Imagine going to a high-class restaurant and finding out that they only serve three meals. Furthermore, imagine that the only real difference between those three meals is their name and a little seasoning. You'd probably be disappointed, right?

Welcome to Chez Canadian Politiques, where the service sucks, the food is bland, and it gives you indigestion.

This is what we have to choose from, my friends: three rigid viewpoints, three stances, three ideologies to cope with such crucial topics as climate change, income inequality, and political corruption.

That's 35 million opinions crammed into three little boxes.

Talk about options! Talk about representation!

Throw in the fact that MP's, once elected to office, answer only to their parties, who in turn answer to special interest groups and wealthy benefactors, and you start to see how broken our political system truly is.

In this context you can probably see why I have difficulty putting my faith in any politician. The race between Uncle Stephen, Tommy "The Troll" Mulcair, and Justin Trudeau is little more than a contest to crown the least-worst of the bunch.

On paper, Justin Trudeau appears to be the winner of this sorry contest. 

I say appears because what Trudeau says and does on the campaign trail is irrelevant. A candidate can and often will say anything necessary to get the votes. Once victorious, all bets are off.

Remember Obama's promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay and protect whistle-blowers? Remember the hope he inspired in the American people?

Once elected, Obama quickly forgot about shutting down Guantanamo and if Edward Snowden is any indication, he also forgot about protecting whistle-blowers. Under his watch, drone strikes have become commonplace and the surveillance state has further tightened its grip on the American people.

"But we won't."
Let Obama and the many politicians like him serve as a sobering reminder: words are wind and deeds are the only accurate measure of a politician's integrity.

Keeping that in mind, here's my assessment of Justin Trudeau.

  • Youth and good looks
  • Family name
  • Ballsy
  • Progressive
  • Takes the high road
  • Innovative
  • Hesitant
  • Missteps
  • Inexperienced

Let's start at the top. 

Trudeau's youth and good looks give him a clear-cut advantage over Uncle Stephen and Tommy "The Troll." What do looks and youth have to do with politics, you ask? First off, just look at that smoulder. He's so dreamy.

I could get lost in those eyes.

Secondly, perception is everything. We live in a materialistic world and though it should have no bearing on a political campaign, youth and good-looks have a profound effect. Remember Nixon vs. JFK? Ever heard of Warren G. Harding?

Sometimes looking the part is enough to get the part.

Having the Trudeau name probably doesn't hurt his image, either. Everyone loves a dynasty!

But enough about perception. Let's talk tangibles.

Trudeau is ballsy. He takes calculated risks. Whether it's getting in the ring for a charity boxing match, admitting he smoked pot after becoming an MP, dropping "F" bombs, or giving Liberal senators the boot, he is willing to put himself out there and take chances.

And most of the time his risky behaviour pays off.

Furthermore, he's not afraid to take stances that might alienate some of his supporters or make him an easy target for his political opponents. His position on marijuana, for example, has drawn plenty of heat from Uncle Stephen's Northern Republicans but to his credit, Trudeau hasn't flip-flopped.

In fact, Trudeau has taken the high road, refusing to respond to his opponents' goading despite their best efforts.

This might be the thing I like most about him. Attack ads are repulsive and a testament to all that is wrong with our political system. Shouldn't politicians be telling us why we should vote for them instead of telling us why we shouldn't vote for the other guy?

Lastly, what we have seen of Trudeau's platform is surprisingly progressive. It includes making government more transparent, legalizing and taxing cannabis, and conducting earnest research into the implementation of a Universal Basic Income. And even though his stance on the environment is a little ambiguous, it certainly can't be worse than the thinly-veiled climate-change denials coming out of Uncle Stephen's camp.

On the flip side, Trudeau has been criticized for being too hesitant. He hasn't divulged the full details of his platform yet, stating that he would wait until 2015 to do so. Is this really a sign of reluctance, though? Or does he have a legitimate reason to hold off? In the article linked above, Trudeau says he wants to consult and work with Canadians to "build a platform that reflects both the priorities, concerns and solutions that Canadians are generating across the country."

In other words, he's trying to represent the Canadian people. Novel concept, I know.

But it's not all roses and rainbows. Trudeau has taken a few missteps along the way. Declaring that all Liberal MP's should vote pro-abortion and flip-flopping on his open nomination pledge are the most prominent examples that come to mind.

My problem with the first is not that Trudeau is pro-abortion--I too support a woman's right to choose--but that he is telling his MP's how to vote. The only people who should have the right to tell MP's how to vote are the people who elected them into office.

And the open nomination thing is only a partial flip-flop. Out of 338 ridings, 328 were open, meaning Trudeau only appointed candidates in 10 ridings. The comparisons to Mao Zedong are a little premature.

Finally, the biggest knock against Trudeau is his lack of experience. To me, this is also the weakest argument against him.

I've seen what the seasoned veterans are up to, how they run things, and more importantly, who they represent. And quite frankly, I've had just about enough. 

Experience isn't the end all, be all. Just because you've been doing something for a long time doesn't mean you've been doing it right. Poor experience is worse than no experience because it leads people to think that their way is the best way and refuse to consider potentially better alternatives.

Maybe it's time we turn to someone who hasn't been completely corrupted by our Industrial Age political system, someone young, optimistic, charismatic, and well-meaning, an earnest politician who actually wants to enact positive change, not just for himself and his small group of advisers and benefactors, but for all Canadians.

Could Justin Trudeau be that guy? I don't know. I'd love to believe he is but I've seen too many flip-flops to trust anyone on their word alone.

What I do know is that he can't be any worse than Uncle Stephen and his Northern Republicans.

/rant over

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