What does it mean that second-term Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now seems to be using a Windsor knot on his tie?

Oct 30th, 2019 | By | Category: In Brief
Anne McLellan at the 19th annual World Partnership Golf Tournament in Edmonton, Alberta, held at the Glendale Golf and Country Club, early summer 2017.

Yesterday the media watching PM Justin Trudeau in the wake of the October 21 federal election reported that “Trudeau turns to two political veterans for advice on forming his minority government,” and “Trudeau taps French ambassador, Anne McLellan to aide in transition.”

(Canada’s ambassador to France, in case you are wondering, is Isabelle Hudon, not Anne McLellan, “a one-time Liberal deputy prime minister.” Ms Hudon is from Quebec, and Ms McLellan is from Alberta — two provinces that have in some degree protested against Mr Trudeau’s federal government in last week’s election.)

The prime minister has now visited Governor General Julie Payette (whom he himself appointed back in the summer of 2017, to take office on October 2 of the same year). As reported by the Canadian Press : “Trudeau and Payette were expected to talk at their meeting about a time for Parliament to reconvene, among other issues … The Prime Minister’s Office hasn’t released any details about what was said.”

We still don’t know just when Parliament will reconvene. But when it does there will be a “Speech from the Throne” in our old British North American lexicon. And the “first test of the Liberals’ ability to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons will be the vote on the Throne Speech, which will spell out the government’s priorities … ”

Meanwhile, when Justin Trudeau won his first (and that time a majority) Liberal government in 2015, “it took more than a month for MPs to be called back to Ottawa, though a new cabinet was sworn in far earlier than that … This time, Trudeau is taking longer to put together his cabinet.” It will be unveiled on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

Justin Trudeau visits the White House on USMCA trade deal, June 20, 2019.

At the moment, when so much still remains unknown and subject to vast speculation, I find myself wondering about the implications for the political future in the recent change the prime minister has apparently effected in the method of tying his tie.

For evidence I submit two photographs. The first was taken when PM Trudeau visited the White House to bless the USMCA trade deal (aka NAFTA II) on June 20, 2019. The second is from his news conference in Ottawa, after the recent election, on Oct. 23, 2019.

In the first photo Mr Trudeau’s tie has been tied with what in my youth was jocularly known as a conventional reef knot (aka “Four in Hand”). In the second photo his tie displays some version of the more symmetrical Windsor Knot.

I don’t know exactly when the prime minister began using a Windsor knot, after this past June. It also appeared, as best as I can tell, during the election debates on TV. One way or another, the prime ministerial Windsor knot seems a fairly recent innovation, “tied” to the election campaign and then to the new post-election minority government.

What does it mean? Two over-imaginative possibilities have struck me.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, on Oct. 23, 2019. ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS.”

First, the Windsor knot is more symmetrical and even more disciplined than the easier and more conventional reef or Four in Hand knot. Does this imply that the new Trudeau Liberal minority government of 2019–???? will somehow be more symmetrical and disciplined than the old Trudeau majority government? I certainly do not know myself, of course, but …

Second, though the Windsor knot is said to have been invented (or at least inspired) by a British monarch (the old Duke of Windsor who was briefly Edward VIII or possibly George V, who is said to have founded the House of Windsor), my sense is that it is today more popular in North America than in the UK.

And does that mean the Trudeau Liberal minority government which lies ahead will be somehow more North American than, say, European or other Old World?

(And what does that even mean, even if it is true???? I certainly do not know myself. But I’ll continue to wonder, as I observe what will be going on in Ottawa over the next while — remembering all the time that things in Canada actually look more sensible than in many other parts of a troubled global village, in the somewhat wild and crazy autumn of 2019.)

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