So it’s been a pretty bad week for
William and Kate, I mean Justin & Sophie Trudeau.
Ms. Gregoire-Trudeau sparked outrage on the left and the right with her comments about how tough her (unofficial) role as First Lady (but not really) of Canada is and how much she could use an extra assistant to help manage all the requests coming her way.
Never content to let someone else have the spotlight (even his own wife apparently!), Justin Trudeau threw a hissy fit in the House of Commons when members delayed a vote by *less than a minute* and ended up storming in the aisle, physically grabbing another MP while also accidentally elbowing a female MP in the chest as he tried to move things along.
I was initially planning to do a post with my thoughts about Sophie Gregoire’s request for more help in her official (but not really) role as “Prime Minister’s Wife”. In fact, you can read a few of the points I was planning to make in this post I put on MetaFilter.
But then, given yesterday’s events, I thought I should do a post with my thoughts on the Justin Trudeau incident. But again others (and again from left and right) are doing a fine job of pointing out the many problems with this whole situation.
So instead, I thought I’d do a twofer and outline the similarities in these two situations and what I think it portends for the future of Mr. & Ms. Sunny Days.
- Both situations reveal people who have a strong sense of entitlement and a lack of awareness of their own massive privilege.
- Even more than that, both situations show people who think they are in a special category – Justin by thinking he has the right to put his hands on another person in the workplace and Sophie by thinking she deserves help for all the hard work being asked of her (not required mind you) while the Liberals have repeatedly, for over twenty years, failed to deliver *real* help to millions of mothers across Canada who work harder for less and need government support more than the wife of a Prime Minister who’s pulling in $300,000+ and already has an existing staff complement.
- Both situations reveal, at their core, hypocrites. Trudeau got much mileage out of his comment “Because it’s 2016” as justification for his (supposed) gender-balanced Cabinet (“supposed” because it’s only gender-balanced if you don’t count Mr. Trudeau who also holds portfolios) and how he proudly admits to being a feminist. But that statement seems to be more about his personal branding and self-image than anything. After all, even though it was a man who got his physical attention in this altercation, the sudden move towards hostility and conflict is something I don’t equate with the men I know who identify as feminists. Beyond that, there’s the fact that Trudeau defends his government selling arms to an anti-woman repressive regime. So unless his dictionary defines feminism as “something that only need be applied within the borders of western nations”, he’s not really a true feminist as I understand the term. Sophie (and I guess Justin too) are also hypocrites for saying during the election campaign that they didn’t need government support for their children since they did very well for themselves. Then, when they won the election, they not only took all the help that was offered but are now, in Sophie’s case, asking for more.
Those are a few quick thoughts on this situation but there’s a ton more I could say.
(To be fair, I should also admit that I think the NDP was equally childish in blocking the Opposition Whip from getting to his seat in the first place but given that Parliament is full of childish acts, that’s sadly typical. I think the NDP probably also overplayed their reaction in a way that actually deflected attention from what the PM did instead of focusing attention on it. Again, this should really about what *he* did which was an unprecedented physical act in the House – not about how Ruth Ellen Brosseau reacted or what Niki Ashton said.)
I’ll end by admitting that I’ve never been a big fan of Trudeau even though I really want to be (and I mean, kudos for getting rid of Harper. That’s awesome!) But whenever he does something I like (low hanging fruit like bringing back the long form census or the diverse and (mostly) gender-balanced Cabinet, etc.), he goes and does something *incredibly* stupid.
And then I go back to thinking about how Trudeau strikes me as one of those privileged rich kids who gets by on his family name, an elitist upbringing and an unerring ability to “fail into success” repeatedly even while being widely thought of as a pretty dim bulb. (Oh my god – I think I’ve just described Justin Trudeau as Canada’s George W. Bush!)
Part of my frustration is how many of my friends, many more progressively minded than myself, bought into Trudeaumania 2.0 during the election, even though I kept telling them that he’s got a better sheen on it than most politicians but I feared a Liberal win would lead to the old “Liberal? Tory? Same old story” situation.
Of course, he’s not as bad as Stephen Harper. And we’ll never know if Thomas Mulcair would’ve been any sort of a progressive icon or a Liberal in an orange suit. But so far, I’m not seeing much to make me think Justin Trudeau truly is some harbinger of a new age of civility and progress for Canada.