Justin Trudeau: The Peter Pan Prime Minister

trudeau-supermanJ.M. Barrie’s 1911 novel, Peter Pan, is about a boy who never grows up. He is described as “perfectly lovely”, “dreadfully ignorant”, and loves “showing off.”1 The character of Peter is not unlike Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada. Similar to Peter, Trudeau is strikingly handsome, lacks basic knowledge and loves to be the center of attention.

Justin Trudeau craves the media spotlight. Capitalizing on his good looks and personal charm, he has taken selfies with thousands of Canadians, more than any politician in Canadian history.2 In 2015, the Liberal Party made Trudeau’s penchant for selfies part of their election strategy by selling selfie sticks with the party logo on them.3 One of Trudeau’s most infamous selfies is when he posed for a photo with a topless young woman at Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade.4 Trudeau takes selfies not just as a courtesy to someone who requests a photo, but as a deliberate strategy to capture media and public attention.

In addition to selfies, Justin Trudeau seeks media attention by wearing costumes in public. On his February 2018 trip to India, he wore a series of traditional Indian suits, even dressing as a bridegroom for a wedding, for which he was widely ridiculed.5 In 2017, he appeared in the House of Commons dressed like Clark Kent and unbuttoned his dress shirt to reveal a Superman T-shirt.6 At a 2017 NATO meeting in Brussels, he showed off a mismatched pair of coloured socks.7 Seeking media attention by wearing flamboyant clothing is not the behavior of a statesman. Like a Hollywood celebrity, Trudeau wears costumes to increase his popularity with younger voters.

Trudeau’s flamboyant style distracts Canadians from his lack of substance. Case in point: As Canada’s chief lawmaker, he doesn’t know what the nation’s laws are. Mary Dawson, the former Ethics Commissioner, found that Trudeau violated four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act by receiving free vacations to a private island in the Bahamas from the Aga Khan, whose private foundation was registered to lobby the government.8 Trudeau’s defense was that “it wasn’t considered that there would be an issue there.”9 In other words, he didn’t know that accepting gifts from someone who lobbies the government was illegal. A Prime Minister who breaks the law because he is ignorant of the law is incompetent.

Justin Trudeau doesn’t perform the normal duties of a Prime Minister. In her report on Trudeau’s ethics violations, Dawson said that Trudeau sees his role as Prime Minister as “ceremonial in nature” and that he doesn’t have business meetings with his cabinet ministers, but rather “relationship sessions.”10 Trudeau has given full authority to his cabinet ministers to make major decisions. This suggests that he doesn’t have the knowledge and/or ability to do his job.

Stephen Harper was right: Justin Trudeau is “just not ready”, and he never will be.11 A former drama teacher, Justin is an actor on a stage who is “pretending” to be Prime Minister. Rather than leading the country, he represents the country, the male equivalent of Miss Canada. The son of Pierre Eliot Trudeau, Canada’s 15th Prime Minister, Justin was able to ride on the coattails of his father’s last name and win the 2015 election. If Canadians elect him again in 2019, it will show that in the age of the Internet, style is more important than substance.

Notes

  1. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (Collins Classics, 2015), 7, 23, 35.
  2. Terry Pedwell, “’Selfies’ a new mainstay on election campaign trail,” CTV News, September 28, 2015, https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/election/selfies-a-new-mainstay-on-election-campaign-trail-1.2583928
  3. “Selfie Stick,” Botique Liberal, accessed March 6, 2018, https://boutique.liberal.ca/shop/accessories/selfie-stick/
  4. Katie Underwood, “Justin Trudeau posed with a topless woman — hooray!,” Chatelaine, August 6, 2015, http://www.chatelaine.com/living/justin-trudeau-posed-with-a-topless-woman-hooray/
  5. “Justin Trudeau’s ‘Bollywood’ wardrobe amuses Indians,” BBC News, February 22, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-43151115
  6. “Justin Trudeau: The Mr. Dressup prime minister,” Macleans, February 24, 2018, http://www.macleans.ca/multimedia/photo/the-mr-dressup-prime-minister/
  7. Vanessa Friedman, “Justin Trudeau’s Sock Diplomacy,” New York Times, June 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/fashion/socks-justin-trudeau-canada.html
  8. Catharine Tunney, “Trudeau ‘sorry’ for violating conflict laws with visits to Aga Khan’s island,” CBC News, December 20, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-ethics-aga-khan-1.4458220
  9. Alex Boutilier and Bruce Campion-Smith, “Trudeau violated multiple conflict laws when he accepted family holiday to Aga Khan’s island: ethics commissioner,” Toronto Star, December 20, 2017, https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/12/20/trudeau-violated-conflict-of-interest-rules-with-vacation-to-aga-khans-island-ethics-commissioner-says.html
  10. “This Is How Justin Trudeau Sees His Job, According To Ethics Report.” Huffington Post, December 26, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/12/26/this-is-how-justin-trudeau-sees-his-job-according-to-ethics-report_a_23317053/
  11. “The Interview,” YouTube, accessed March 20, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c86-9HitWg0

This Op-Ed was originally published in The Post Millennial.

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The Reason Justin Trudeau Broke His Balanced Budget Promise

trudeau deficits

In the 2015 federal election campaign, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau promised to balance the budget in 2019. The Liberals would run annual deficits of less than $10 billion for three years, and then balance the budget in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.1 This was a bold strategy, to borrow money in order to “invest” in infrastructure. Trudeau’s deficit plan set him apart from Tom Mulcair, the NDP leader, who promised four years of balanced budgets.2 After Mulcair’s announcement, Trudeau told his wife Sophie Grégoire, “I’m pretty sure we just won the election.”3 Trudeau believed that his short-term deficit plan made the Liberals more attractive to voters than the NDP.

Two months after winning the election, Justin Trudeau still planned to balance the budget in 2019.4 However, when the Liberal government unveiled its first budget on March 22, 2016, the balanced budget promise was abandoned. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced a $29.4 billion dollar deficit for 2016-2017, $29 billion for the following year, $22.8 billion for 2018-2019, and $17.7 billion for 2019-20 with no plan to balance the budget in subsequent years.5

The reason Justin Trudeau broke his balanced budget promise is because the Liberal fiscal plan did not add up. The Liberal plan included $146.5 billion in new spending and tax cuts over four years.6 If Trudeau kept the 2016-2017 deficit to less than $10 billion, he would not be able to keep all the spending promises he made during the election. He broke his balanced budget promise so that he could keep his spending plans intact.

Justin Trudeau’s promise of a balanced budget by 2019 was a clever deception to win the election. If he told Canadians that he would not balance the budget, it is unlikely he would have won a majority government. Trudeau promised three years of deficits totaling $25.1 billion.7 Now, with their first budget, the Liberals plan to increase the federal debt by more than $100 billion in their four-year term. Justin Trudeau deceived voters during the 2015 election, and he should apologize to the nation. The Liberal fiscal plan was a fraud.

Notes

  1. “Justin Trudeau says Liberals plan 3 years of deficits to push infrastructure, CBC News, August 27, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-liberals-infrastructure-deficits-1.3205535
  2. “Tom Mulcair says NDP’s balanced budget commitment was his idea,” CBC News, October 11, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/tom-mulcair-says-ndp-s-balanced-budget-commitment-was-his-idea-1.3266310
  3. Ryan Maloney, “Trudeau: NDP’s Balanced Budget Pledge Was Moment I Became ‘Pretty Sure’ Liberals Would Win,” Huffington Post, March 17, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/03/17/justin-trudeau-ndp-balance-budget-pledge_n_9486576.html
  4. Andy Blatchford, “Justin Trudeau says vow to balance budget in 4 years is ‘very’ cast in stone,” CBC News, December 17, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-budget-deficit-1.3369459
  5. Pete Evans, “Ottawa forecasts $29.4B deficit — with lots more red ink to come,” CBC News, March 22, 2016, http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/budget-deficit-infrastructure-1.3502940
  6. “Liberal fiscal plan outlines $146.5B in spending, tax cuts over next 4 years,” CBC News, September 26, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-liberal-fiscal-plan-1.3245239
  7. “The Liberal Fiscal Plan and Costing,” http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2434195-the-liberal-fiscal-plan-and-costing.html#document/p7

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