Saudi Arms Deal

Jonathan Hayward/CP

Contrast Between Photo-Op Justin And Policy Trudeau Is Night And Day

He won't talk about his government's non-progressive policies, but man does he ever look good with his shirt off. This calculation is duplicitous; it showcases an accessible leader but one with little time to get into the specifics of the policies that run counter to Trudeau's reputation of a real progressive. It is the best of Trudeau, it is the worst of Trudeau, and until his gushing fans and the complicit media start doing their jobs by demanding transparency, we will be stuck having to tolerate both.
Chris Wattie / Reuters

We Need Transparency From Our Government, Not Photo Ops

The press is aiding and abetting the PMO's strategy of image first, substance second, to the point that we can't seem to go a few days without seeing our country's leader in that all too common, casual photo op, reassuring Canadians that he is unlike his predecessor, Stephen Harper. We get it. Trudeau and Harper are different. Only, they do have one huge leadership component in common; both men have taken an element of public relations and used it as their main mechanism to influence public perception. In fact, both men have staked out their preferred piece of PR and taken it to heights previously unknown in the stale world of federal politics.
Chris Wattie / Reuters

The Big, Fat Saudi-Arms-Deal Spin

According to Prime Minister Trudeau, proceeding with the multi-billion dollar arms deal with human rights violator Saudi Arabia is "a matter of principle." When have we heard this before? Ah yes, the previous government. Global Affairs Canada has released a statement explaining its rationale for authorizing the deal, ostensibly in response to the widespread backlash and barrage of questions in the wake of revelations that export permits for the deal were only authorized in early April.
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Trudeau's Handling Of The Saudi Arms Deal Will Define His Legacy

No line taken by the government in this matter will please everyone. Perhaps it will plough through with the deal and weather the heat from critics, no matter how persistent. Alternatively, if it decides to open the books on the Saudi deal, and the contract is altered, suspended or cancelled, there will be complaints from those concerned for the economy. The Saudi arms deal presents the new government with an admittedly complex policy challenge. But challenges can result in opportunity.