Young, hip, sunny and pretty, aflutter on the pages of Vogue and its European counterparts, Trudeau the Younger promenades across the international stage, a princeling in a tailored suit. Fashion is taking the western world by storm this season, and Trudeau exemplifies our Antoinettian age of political whimsy.
All would be well if the world were but a catwalk.
As the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for Canada and announced that we will likely stagnate at 1.7 per cent growth in 2016 and 2.1 per cent in 2017, our radiant, well-coifed Prime Minister was frolicking by the sea in a "cabinet retreat" at the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews, NB. Asked about the IMF's prognosis - by the fawning Toronto Star, no less - he ignored the question entirely and gushed the same insipid, cliché-ridden burble that Canadians have grown accustomed to since his accession to the highchair of the Liberal Party.
Now, I don't care that my Prime Minister can't answer complex economic questions; he never could, he never will, and that's nothing new. I don't care that his band of merry Ministers is selected on the basis of gender, race, and everything but merit, apparently because 2015 was an inauspicious year for selection based on competence. I don't even care that this motley parade of ministerial nincompoops on a tax-payer-funded five star junket isn't being dispersed with tear gas and its ringleader scolded back to Ottawa to do some work for a change.
What I do care about is that the leader of my country, when faced with grownup issues, can only manage to regurgitate the same inane, sophomoric, platitudinous pap he flogged during the election:
“I’m going to talk to the World Economic Forum about how Canada is looking to invest and looking to build growth for the middle class. We’re going to talk about how diversity is a strength and really showcase the fact that Canada has tremendous opportunities and is facing challenges like lots of places but we have the tools to surpass those challenges in a way that should draw in global interest.”
On the off chance that it's possible to parse some meaning from this incoherent, vacuous piffle, let's take a look at his claims. "Diversity is a strength?" No it's not. Diversity is a neutral descriptor, with all the good and bad that it brings. Diversity is enchanting when it's in the form of an agonizingly gender-balanced and racially audited Liberal cabinet stuffing its collective face with Coq au Vin and Chablis at the Algonquin Hotel, but ask the Yugoslavians or Rwandans how they celebrate diversity, out in the real world, where life is a little closer to the bone. Or, for that matter, ask the women of Cologne and Malmo and Birmingham what they think of their newly diverse neighbourhoods.
Contrary to Trudeau's banal secretions at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Canada is not great because of "diversity," it's great because of the men and women who lived through bone-grinding poverty and sacrifice to build it, long before the Liberal Party took a notion to pursue "diversity" as a national strategy. Diversity might be of the utmost importance to the privileged world of trust funds and nannies and flights of progressive fancy, but frankly the rest of us are more concerned with feeding our families and saving for our children's future than we are about the appropriate mélange of our genitalia, skin tone, and sexuality. Diversity can be both good and bad, but it certainly isn't a virtue in and of itself, and it's far down the list of things that Canadians stay up at night worrying about.
And then there's the rest of his insipid mewling. "Canada has tremendous opportunities?" So what? So do North Korea, Botswana and Outer Mongolia, if only they had leaders who could translate opportunity into positive action of some kind. Canada is "looking to invest?" In what? The same "green" boondoggles that drove Germany and Spain to the brink of bankruptcy and ended with dirtier energy than they started out with in the first place? He's going to "build growth for the middle class?" How? By raising our taxes, hyper-regulating us, and levying new taxes on energy as a final kick in the arse?
Trudeau could be forgiven his babbling prattle and fanciful bromides during the election. After all, he was only a candidate then and of little importance to the greater stage of national and international discourse. But now that he is the leader of a G20 nation, with all the vast intellectual resources of Ottawa behind him, surely it's not unreasonable to expect him to behave more like a statesman and less like a chattering socialite dabbling in political theatre? Because so far, when asked about anything substantive, he's produced nothing more than the 21st century version of "let them eat cake."
— Scott Anderson is a Vernon City Councillor, freelance writer, and a bunch of other stuff. His academic background is in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Philosophy, and poking progressives with rhetorical sticks until they explode.