Reassessing PM Justin Trudeau .. with less than one month to go before the 2019 Canadian federal election??

Sep 22nd, 2019 | By | Category: In Brief
Canadian journalist Lauren O’Neil lost in political thought.

I want to quickly say something about why I will still be voting for the Justin Trudeau Liberals in the October 21, 2019 Canadian election, despite the prime minister’s latest self-inflicted wounds.

The most apt summary of the background I’ve run across has come from Lauren O’Neil at blogTO : “Canada’s political sphere is reeling … in the wake of a bombshell leak featuring not one, but four separate images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in brown and black-face makeup … The PM has apologized profusely for his actions, all of which took place at least 18 years ago, but his ruling Liberal party is nonetheless shaken with only one month left to go before a federal election … It’s terrible timing for Trudeau and his supporters, many of whom have expressed disappointment in Canada’s notoriously tolerant leader … American comedians, on the other hand… well, any time is a good time to take a break from Trump material.”

Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

The American comedian I’ve been most influenced by myself here has been Bill Maher – on the September 20 edition of “Real Time With Bill Maher.” And while careful not to tread too politically incorrectly, Mr. Maher did make clear enough that he does not regard what Mr. Trudeau did at least 18 years ago as an altogether cataclysmic catastrophe.

I do think it is altogether inappropriate and just plain wrong for a white person to show up at a public event (or anywhere else) in brown and black-face makeup. As Justin Trudeau has himself immediately recognized and apologized for, it was incredibly stupid and insensitive for him to have done such a thing, even 18 or more years ago at an Arabian Nights party, long before he was prime minister of Canada.

I certainly similarly agree that brown, black, and all so-called “visible minority” Canadians have been and still are treated unfairly and wrongly by all too many so-called “white” Canadians.

Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

As someone whose paternal grandparents came to Canada in the early 20th century from South London in England, I agree as well that at one recent enough point in Canadian history too many so-called “British Canadians” believed they were somehow superior to all other Canadians.

At the same time, I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (all First Nations or Indigenous words) just before the end of the Second World War in 1945. I have lived here virtually all my life. Society in this city (aka the 6ix in the 21st century) – and other parts of the country – has grown astoundingly more “culturally diverse” in my lifetime. Toronto (like several other Canadian big cities) and Canada at large are better and more interesting places because of this.

Hon. Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

In Toronto today (we are told, and it does look that way in ordinary life too) the majority of the population was born outside Canada. So-called visible minorities are now the majority – or soon will be. While much still needs to be done to combat various forms of continuing racism in Canadian life, the blunt fact that Toronto and other places like it have become so culturally diverse so rapidly must qualify as some serious evidence that racism is not quite as big a problem in our country as sometimes suggested. And for better or worse I do believe that some older so-called “white” people can reasonably claim a positive role in the blossoming of Canadian cultural diversity over the past half century.

In at least some respects it also strikes me that Justin Trudeau’s stupidity and insensitivity over brown and black-face makeup 18 and more years ago has similarities to what was widely seen as his disastrous trip to India just last year – when “Trudeau, alongside with his household, was ruthlessly mocked for dressing up in various Indian outfits and even accused of cultural appropriation by some.” The Liberal prime minister is a former drama teacher who still sometimes likes to dress up in stupid and insensitive ways, and he deserves to be mocked and criticized on this account.

Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

In the end, however, I at least try to judge prime ministers by the policies and programs they put in place while in office (and by who they appoint to their cabinets) – not by their symbolic “image” or “wokeness” or conformity to hasty judgments by media personalities. For my tastes and values, the Justin Trudeau Liberals have over the past four years implemented much more progressive and culturally diverse public policies than the Stephen Harper Conservatives, who governed Canada for more than nine long years from 2006 to 2015.

For me nothing Justin Trudeau has done – 18 years ago, last year, or even last week – is a reason to return to a retrogressive Conservative government under Harper’s successor Andrew Scheer. In my view any voter who imagines that a Scheer Conservative regime will actually be more supportive of Canadian cultural diversity, or Indigenous reconciliation, or gender equality, or a secure economic base for the great majority of working Canadians, is living in a dreamland not unlike the mythical realm of the Wizard of Oz.

(And if that reminds you of Australia, look what happened there this past May 18, 2019, when conservatives finally won an election that many had said was all sewn up for the local cause of democracy, diversity, freedom, and progress! And, altogether finally, in tribute to the Torontonian who taught me a great deal of what little I really know about racism in Canada today, “RIP Charles Roach : ‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery ; none but ourselves can free our minds.’”)

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