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Justin Trudeau – Much Ado About Nothing

This post contains scenes of violence, nudity and coarse language with frequent references to Justin Trudeau which may be deemed toxic to some. In the absence of a literary hazmat suit, reader discretion is advised.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Has it really only been a couple of years since Justin Trudeau was anointed Liberal Leader? Actually, it hasn’t been quite two years but it seems much longer somehow. I think it’s because many in Canada are so obsessed with him that barely a day goes by without some article, comment or news story in which he is prominently featured.

There has been more talk about Canada’s Peter Pan for the past sixteen months and a bit than any other politician or political topic. A quick search of “Justin Trudeau” on Google returned 2.45 million hits compared to only 878,000 for Stephen Harper who is not only Canada’s Prime Minister but who has been in the public eye about four times longer than Trudeau has been Liberal Leader. Indeed, pick a subject and even if Trudeau isn’t a part of it, his detractors and supporters alike will find some way to weave him into it.

Even God doesn’t get mentioned as frequently as Justin Trudeau and that’s saying something because God gets mentioned quite often especially towards the end of a frisky moment or two between the sheets.

It’s quite astonishing when you step back and actually think about it. Bill Shakespeare could have been referring to the constant focus on Justin Trudeau when he  wrote ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.

Beyond legalizing marijuana and supporting a woman’s right to choose when it comes to abortion, Justin Trudeau really hasn’t put forward much worthy of discussion. As leader of the smallest of Canada’s main political parties, he’s not really in a position to influence the debate and yet – thanks to the obsession many seem to have with him – he does.

In part, you can blame the mainstream and social media which can’t seem to get enough of him. He is the second coming of Jesus for some and the anti-Christ to others.

Over the past two years more than 20,000 news stories and commentary have been published about Justin Trudeau in four of Canada’s major newspapers and on three television networks alone. I know this because I ran a search for both Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau on each of their websites. The total number of stories and commentary about Trudeau works out to an average of 27 a day although to be honest, some days have fewer than others.( I’m only aware of five articles so far this morning which still isn’t bad for a guy who didn’t do anything over the weekend).

Add to that local newspapers, blog posts, radio commentary and magazine articles and you begin to wonder how we find time for anything or anyone else.

Never has this much virtual printer’s ink been used to publish so much about so little. Even Rob Ford got significantly fewer Google hits than Justin Trudeau (although double those for Stephen Harper) and Ford went viral around the world.

I suspect that Gutenberg might have had a loftier vision when he invented the printing press.

Some articles and commentary are filled with worship, others with derision but in the end; it is still “Him”, about whom so many write and talk.

It appears that Justin Trudeau is news – even when he isn’t.

He is a publicist’s dream; someone who can draw a crowd for no other reason than simply showing up and who can generate publicity without saying a word or even breaking wind in public. It’s a good thing too because he usually doesn’t have much to say that’s of any import which causes me to wonder what all of the fuss is about.

Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, signing EU/Canada free trade deal

Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, signing EU/Canada free trade deal

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper signs a tentative free trade deal with Europe and gets a few days of days of media coverage. Justin Trudeau mentions casually that he smoked a joint once and supports legalization of weed resulting in months of commentary voicing criticism or support.

And before you latch onto that silly concept of a Media Party conspiring against conservatives, most of that commentary has been published by the very news organization that claims Trudeau gets more attention than he deserves.

The ultra-conservative Sun News Television Network and the Toronto Sun alone have published more articles and commentary on and about Trudeau than they have on Stephen Harper. When you add up the total coverage they’ve given to Trudeau, it accounts for 75% of all of the coverage he has received from Canada’s major news organizations.

The Sun News Network devoted significantly more coverage and commentary to Trudeau’s joint (sorry if that sounds suggestive) than it did to either the free trade deal or the ongoing binge drinking and substance abuse of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

When it first came into being, Sun News Network promised news and commentary from a conservative perspective. Well, surely to Christ, there is more to a conservative perspective than Justin bloody Trudeau!

Apparently not.

The Conservative Party and its supporters are even more obsessed. They started their anti-Trudeau campaign about 11 minutes after he was elected leader and it has been so successful that it has catapulted Trudeau into a significant lead in the polls where he has remained quite comfortably for more than a year without much effort on his part.

A Trudeau press conference being disrupted by members of PM Harper's staff pretending to be protesters. (Photo National Post)

A Trudeau press conference being disrupted by members of PM Harper’s staff pretending to be protesters. (Photo National Post)

Were he alive today, Einstein would be encouraged to see so many Conservative strategists proving his theory about insanity was correct.

When it comes to Justin Trudeau, it is Conservatives and their supporters, who are their own worst enemy. They, more than anyone else, including Trudeau himself, have elevated him to a level of importance that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un would envy.

In constantly keeping Trudeau before the public, often with incredibly inane and petty commentary, Conservatives  and conservative media pundits have continued to remind many Canadians of just what it is they don’t like about Conservatives generally and the Harper government in particular.

In a phrase – sanctimonious and negative arrogance.

Many relate to Justin Trudeau because they see something positive about him in sharp contrast to what they perceive as the belligerent negativity of Conservatives. Put simply, whether they think he’d make a good Prime Minister or not; a majority of Canadians simply like Trudeau with many seeing him as the quintessential Canadian; good natured, engaging and non-threatening (a Canadian synonym for vacuous).

To quote and paraphrase former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, “what’s not to like”? Trudeau is a devoted husband, loving father and genuinely likes people. He is open, transparent and refreshingly spontaneous in interviews, although typically that only serves to make one wonder if he actually understood the question he was just asked.

"Hmm..to be or not to be.  Is that a question?"

“Hmm..to be or not to be. Is that a question?”

His spontaneity often betrays an unorganized mind, a lack of critical thought or analysis about major issues and, given the chance, most Canadians are more than capable of discerning that for themselves. We don’t need to be constantly hit over the head with acrimonious Conservative hysteria about it. If anything, it is that daily barrage of negativity that has only served to increase Trudeau’s popularity because it underscored the fact that, for all of his faults, one thing is true.

Justin Trudeau has demonstrated that he can take a punch without losing his sense of humour or good nature. He’s been taking Conservative punches for almost two years but in return, has shown little of the acrimony that Stephen Harper or Thomas Mulcair often display when the criticisms they receive strike a little too close to home. It may not make him Prime Ministerial but it does betray more strength of character than for which he is given credit.

Why would any political party want to enhance that in an opponent?

It also draws a sharp contrast between Trudeau’s persona and that of the other leaders setting him apart from the usual run of the mill smear politics of the day and the carefully scripted, cautiously innocuous talking points to which most politicians cling.

In other words, it deflects the focus away from Trudeau’s weaknesses (leadership, policy, political maturity) which, given an opportunity, he is more than capable of demonstrating on his own and elevates what few strengths he might have (pleasant personality, sincerity, nice hair) to a level of importance that they don’t deserve.

As P.T. Barnum once said, “I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right.”

Barnum understood that being talked about was more important than whether the comments were positive or negative. In politics as with everything else, success cannot be built on public indifference and Conservatives are ensuring that Canadians generally are anything but indifferent to Trudeau. They only have succeeded in keeping Canadians interested in him.

Most surprising is that few of Trudeau’s ideas (and there are only a few) are of sufficient depth to warrant all of the attention paid to him. But then as Mark Twain said, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising,” and Trudeau’s few small ideas have received more free advertising from his opponents than from his supporters.

In twelve months, Canadians will have to choose a new government. During the year-long campaign leading up to that election; the Conservatives and the Liberals will share one thing in common. They will both be talking about Justin Trudeau.

Who knows just how successful the Conservative obsession will be. I doubt it will bring the intended results but, at the end of the day, either Captain Hook will be reelected or Peter Pan will be swept into power on Tinkerbell’s pixie dust and promises to whisk us all away to Neverland.

If Justin Trudeau wins, I doubt it will be on the strength of his leadership qualities or his ideas. At this point, there really aren’t any ideas for which to votel; nor will it be because Canadians who voted for him are stupid as many Conservatives accuse non-conservatives of being (and isn’t that a clever strategy for winning support for your cause).

If Trudeau wins, the stupidity will be ours. It will be as much thanks to the Conservative obsession with him as anything else. We will have continued to present ourselves to Canadians as mean-spirited bullies afraid of the most vacuous politician since Kim Campbell and that, my friends, is hardly very likely to instill confidence in an electorate looking for real leadership.

If Conservatives have a good record and story to tell, then we should be telling it rather than undermining our cause by shooting ourselves in the foot with a pathological obsession with Justin Trudeau.

By the way, I was just kidding about the scenes of violence, nudity and coarse language – Maggie suggested that there was enough violence in the world, coarse language betrays a weak vocabluary and even weaker mind and she doesn’t believe that the world is ready for nude pictures of Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau.

She was probably right – again.

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© 2014 Maggie’s Bear

all rights reserved The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it might be of interest to others

Twitter: @maggsbear – Facebook: Maggie’s Bear  – ivmaki@sympatico.ca

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  • Pingback: The Conservative Obsession | Grumpy Opinions()

  • Stan

    Harper’s next campaign will be fear. His message will be: ISIS, Ebola, Anti-Semites, falling oil prices!!! are coming to kill us. We can’t trust Trudeau now. Boo!

  • Stan

    There is no conservative perspective. Abortion, gay marriage, multiculturalism, bilingualism, socialist healthcare, regulating banks and balancing the budget are all liberal accomplishments. Where do Conservatives stand on these issues? Well, they adopt liberal ideas 10 years later. Conservatives support all of these ideas now, except balanced budgets. Harper added 25% to the national debt.

    • shaky lady

      Har, har! What a load of crap!

      • morri

        sorry, but until this year harper has been governing like a liberal/ndp’er on steroids. if we see a balanced budget this year I will be surprised. surprised but pleased none the less. unfortunately with the massive debt we have no budget can be truly balanced until there is no outstanding debt. if a budget does not include an actual amount dedicated to a reduction in the debt, not just interest payments, that also is not a balanced budget. I also doubt any of the other parties will even try to reduce spending or the debt.