Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

James Di Fiore Headshot

Enough Trudeaumania, Let's See Some Real Progress

Posted: Updated:
COLE BURSTON via Getty Images

Full disclosure: I voted for the Liberal Party of Canada in the last election.

I was one of those voters who waivered between the NDP and Liberals, but became disheartened when NDP leader Tom Mulcair put an inauthentic perma smile on his bearded face and gave us a substandard platform. So I shrugged, and then decided Justin Trudeau would be a more progressive prime minister. I was never swept up in the fairy tale vibe of the campaign, but I saw how well it was run and thought maybe that organizational effort was an indicator on how he would run the government.

He got off to a good start, opting for gender parity for his cabinet makeup, moving forward on the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations, reinstating the long form census and making himself accessible to the media. It was the exact antithesis to the last 10 years that featured a prime minister who rarely spoke to the media and never seemed to show much humanity at all.

trudeau cookie cutters
Do cookie cutters in the shape of Justin Trudeau's face represent the peak of Trudeaumania?

Then the showman came out. Trudeau talked about feminism. He took some selfies. He appeared on the cover of several magazines. His wife sang an awkward song off the cuff at an event meant to be about Martin Luther King. Then he and Obama made some jokes. Then he did a one-armed push up. Those are just a small sampling of his antics since taking office.

And now, I think I've had just about enough.

Trudeau is clearly milking his greatest strength. His likability is off the charts, but with so many important issues happening in Canada right now do we really need to constantly be reminded that our prime minister is approachable and hip?

Justin, if you are reading this, I have a few questions.

justin trudeau
This 2011 photo of Justin Trudeau in the peacock yoga pose ignited a series of memes earlier this year.

How about talking directly about finalizing the arms deal to Saudi Arabia in greater detail than you talk about quantum computing? Like Stephen Lewis said, how can you approve the sale of these arms to one of the world's most misogynistic regimes and still call yourself a feminist? What are the specifics behind our relationship with Saudi Arabia that make them so vital to our interests?

Instead of more sunny ways, what we really want is an explanation for some of the storm clouds in our country.

Why is marijuana legalization being delayed for at least another year, and why are you still allowing young people to get criminal records in the meantime for simple possession offences?

Why haven't you talked at all about Bill C-51 in great detail?

What are the specific details of the Trans Pacific Partnership and when will we begin the ratification process?

How long will our mission be in Iraq, and will we eventually have boots on the ground? Will we be tallying civilian casualties?

Why did you continue providing subsidies for fossil fuel companies in your first budget? And where's the $6 billion in green infrastructure spending?

In this screencap from a video promoting Team Canada in the upcoming Invictus Games, Justin Trudeau literally drops a microphone while doing push-ups.

Canadians have so many legitimate concerns, but you can't seem to stop smiling and offering levity instead. When you are serious, like when you answer questions in the House of Commons, something doesn't feel right.

There appears to be an obvious artificial deepening of your voice when you want to sound like a statesman. By lowering your octave you come off a not unlike a guy trying to compensate for something, and I think I know what it is.

It truly feels like you think you can skate by on your charm and physical appearance.

You are still campaigning, Justin. The election is over. You won. It's time to govern now. And by govern I mean follow through on your promise that you would lead a progressive, sensible government. I can't help but think you are now hedging your bets, believing your honeymoon is ongoing and that you can gain more political capital every time you crack a joke or improvise a response to a question for a gushing reporter from an America lifestyle magazine.

It truly feels like you think you can skate by on your charm and physical appearance.

justin trudeau gq cover
Justin Trudeau on a mock cover of GQ's "Most Stylish Men Alive" issue, made and distributed by GQ itself.

Look, I understand that there's a contingent of conservatives in Canada who always thought you were a lightweight. They said you were in over your head, that you didn't have the depth to handle the big boy job. Like many Canadians, I found their message to be cheap, and in a way that was partially why I voted for you. I didn't want their message of cynicism to prevail.

But if you keep pretending the red carpet is still being unrolled in front of you, that Canadians are still captivated by your down-to-earth persona and good-natured grin, you will eventually have the reality of facing a people who are simply exhausted from the celebrity-like package you have wrapped around yourself.

Recently when you were asked during Question Period why a veteran with no legs had to constantly prove to the government he still had no legs in order to receive disability cheques, you stood up and did the best Stephen Harper impersonation I've ever seen. You didn't answer the question, you just grandstanded. That's not the change we voted for, that's the same thing we've had to put up with for a decade under your predecessor.

justin trudeau selfie
Justin Trudeau stops to take a selfie.

I'm not a pessimist, so there's a part of me that still hopes you will pull a slew of legislative accomplishments out of your bag of tricks. But this long game strategy, if that's what it is, is condescending.

You told us something very specific: you said you were different and would govern differently from day one. You said your government would be the change we could believe in.

With all due respect, if that's still true, then act accordingly.

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook


Justin Trudeau: The Global Town Hall
Share this
Current Slide