I’ve taken to watching TED Talks, lately, in my little home exercise room, to stave off the boredom of staving off the middle-aged bulge.
I ran out of interesting things to watch on Netflix long ago. I talk intermittently and bravely of canceling it, since it’s no longer of any use to me, but there’s zero chance of that happening. My kids won’t let me. I’m the boss at my house, but my children make all the decisions. I’m all hat and no cattle; or, to put it in political terms that non-redneck Canadians will understand, I am to patriarchy what Justin Trudeau is to feminism – we’re both faking it.
Yesterday, as I wearily trod the elliptical trainer on my way to nowhere, I watched atheist Daniel Dennett make the case (somewhat surprisingly) that religions should be carefully studied in schools. He didn’t mean that any of them should be presented as truth, mind you. This is a man who pulls no punches in disabusing religious believers of their faith: “There’s simply no polite way to tell people they’ve dedicated their lives to an illusion”, he once said. Dennett devoted the latter part of his talk, less surprisingly, to a put-down of The Purpose Driven Life, famed pastor Rick Warren’s viral best seller.
I streamed sweat as Dennett's talk streamed seamlessly into another talk, this one featuring the self-same Pastor Warren philosophizing on the challenges of wealth and fame, twin accompaniments to the runaway success of his book. Perplexed, at first, by his newfound, outsized influence, he wondered: “What is the purpose of this?”.
Successful leadership in any sphere, Warren observed, whether it be politics, medicine, the arts, or business, hinges upon responsible stewardship of influence: “What are you gonna do with what you’ve been given?”
Warren’s musings provide a reasonable metric by which to score our celebrity Prime Minister’s first term. Has he truly been in this for us? Or is he nothing more than a craven, corrupted clot of self-interest, as many would have us believe?
Justin Trudeau rocketed to the pinnacle of Canadian politics in a blaze of glory four years ago. Voters thanklessly tossed out dour, workmanlike Stephen Harper (the man who sure-footedly shepherded Canada through the Great Recession) in favour of the glitz and glam of Trudeau and the “doing politics differently” trope he was peddling.
So how has Trudeau done? Has he been a good steward of the tremendous influence bestowed on him by the electorate? Have his “sunny ways” served as a beacon of progress, hope, justice, fairness, dignity, and inspiration for the Canadian people?
Alas, no. His record is littered with fakery, falsehoods, and foolishness. The flotsam of keywords and "key-people" attached to and trampled by his administration tell the tale - no elaboration required, for any Canadian paying attention: LavScam. The Aga Khan. Ethics violations. Jody-Wilson Raybould. Jane Philpott. Celina Caesar-Chavannes. Eva Nassif. Kokanee grope. Peoplekind. Budgets balance themselves. Gender impacts of construction workers. India dress-up tour. Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Blackface, blackface, and more blackface.
I could go on. And on. But a full accounting of his tomfoolery and skulduggery would keep you reading until world’s end – that being in just twelve years, according to all the best climate-apocalypse doomsayers, but still: I know you’ve got better things to do in the time we have left.
Trudeau has, to be fair, accomplished a thing or two. You can light up a doobie with impunity anywhere in the country, thanks to Liberal legislative wizardry. And if the travails of life or illness have erased your desire to toil onwards, you can freely hire a doctor as your handmaiden to suicide. I Got Them High and Helped Them Die - Justin’s future prime ministerial memoir – is sure to be a riveting read.
It’s painfully obvious to anyone actually awake that for all of his woke-ness the man is a fraud. Not just “a three dressed up as a nine”, but a complete zero, masquerading as a ten, with three-hundred-dollar socks.
And yet, unbelievably, he has a reasonable shot at re-election (as of this writing, at least - God only knows what fresh scandal tomorrow will bring).
After all of the hypocrisy, the deception, and the ineptitude there are many who still support this man, many who would reward his shameless gutter politicking with another term as prime minister. (The fact that the chief producer of the foul sewer that constitutes Justin’s re-election “campaign” is a bloke named Butts is irony personified, surely.)
To those wilfully blind adherents of Trudeau I would say this (paraphrasing Daniel Dennett): “There’s simply no polite way to tell you that you’ve hitched your wagon to an illusion.”
But I would also say this: “You are partners in crime”. Because, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb observed in his book, Antifragility: “If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”
The late, unrepentant atheist author Christopher Hitchens, commenting derisively on the passage of American televangelist Jerry Falwell, supplied what shall one day serve as fitting epitaph to the life and times of Justin Trudeau, once he has finally decamped with his bhangra-laced theatrics to the great stage of the hereafter: “If you gave him an enema you could bury him in a matchbox.”
I wrote an essay a couple of weeks ago debunking the ludicrous notion, advanced by Andrew Coyne of the National Post, that Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau are simply two sides of the same, well, coin. Which is absurd, of course: Scheer may not be the prettiest penny, but Justin’s performance as PM is worth less than a plugged nickel, shiny though he be.
It’s more accurate, perhaps, to conclude that Trudeau and Donald Trump are birds of a feather. Which is also absurd, at first glance. Ever since Hurricane Trump blew onto the American political scene millions of our southern friends have looked longingly and enviously northward at our dashing, handsome, “progressive” PM.
But both men are egomaniacs; and both men seemingly cannot shake loose their core supporters, no matter how disgusting their antics. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn't lose any voters, okay?” the pussy-grabbing Trump infamously said during his presidential election campaign - and he wasn’t far off, as it turned out.
It’s no different, really, for our Justin. No matter what he does, his base holds firm. All he needs to do, in the face of endless scandals that singly would sink any other campaign to the depths of the Mariana Trench, is offer up sanctimonious crap about how “we” need to do better, prattle on about tree planting, throw in some “free” camping, paddle about in a canoe, and presto - all is forgiven and forgotten.
I dearly hope, for the sake of our country, that Canadians come to their senses in time to turf this shallow, incompetent fool from office; that on October 21 we collectively say via the ballot box to Justin Trudeau: “You’re the boss. But today we make all the decisions. And you, sir, are fired.”
My kids would be proud.