Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has become the target of online mockery after interrupting a woman at a town hall in Edmonton, saying he prefers to use the word “peoplekind” over “mankind”. We can overlook the obvious irony of a self-described feminist interrupting a woman to man-splain about gender-neutral phrasing. (Which he did incorrectly I might add – the word “humankind” has been the prefered gender-neutral phrasing for at least as long as I can remember). There were attempts to play it off as a joke, but the exchange is more than a case of performative allyship falling flat. It’s yet another example of the Trudeau exploiting his well-cultivated “woke progressive” persona to obscure his horrible neoliberal politics.
Trudeau using performative progressivism to distract us is nothing new. His campaign promise and subsequent commitment to assembling the first gender-balanced cabinet in the country’s history was one of the first signs that he intended to adopt the mantle of “social justice warrior”, so to speak. Shortly after Donald Trump moved to implement his promised ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries, Trudeau capitalized on public outrage by making a great show of welcoming refugees as they arrived at the airport and tweeting that Canada welcomes all asylum-seekers and – a promise he would later backtrack on. He also won widespread praise when he apologized to victims of Canada’s gay purge and offered them $85 million in compensation. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s just generally a really handsome, charismatic guy, which is something that usually makes people instinctively want to like you.
Behind the charming smile and deep brown eyes, however a calculating politician like any other is, and Trudeau has been particularly shrewd about using his PR machine to cover up terrible decisions, which would otherwise draw widespread public scorn. For example, not many people know that on the same day as that town hall which went viral, it surfaced that he and his government had brokered a $233 million dollar deal to sell helicopters to the Philippines, where they’ll be used for “internal security operations” – otherwise known as “killing citizens whom Duterte deems his enemies”. The move was hardly a surprise to those of us who remember his insistence that canceling the sale of armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia would make Canada into a “banana republic”; those vehicles by the way are not only being used to wage a genocidal war in Yemen, but are also being used on their own citizens.
Even on social justice issues, Trudeau doesn’t follow through on his promises. He’s said time and time again that legislation to fix Canada’s gender pay gap is coming, but more than two years into his term nothing has materialized. He promised to end the ban on gay men donating blood, which HIV researchers say is “ridiculous”, but has yet to come through on that either. He did almost legalize pot, but then decided to pass off that issue to the provinces to fuck up.
Trudeau also has a deplorable record on dealing with Canada’s First Nations peoples. His inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women is widely considered a failure, with families complaining about a lack of communication. Child poverty and potable drinking water continue to be problems on reservations, and his promise to give tribes veto power on pipelines crossing their lands was broken almost immediately.
While we’re on the subject of pipelines, Trudeau really, really loves oil. He told a group of oil moguls in Texas last year that “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there”, and remains steadfastly committed to making sure that the Tar Sands – which produce some of the filthiest oil in the world – keep flowing. Whole articles could be written about Trudeau’s terrible record climate change issues (in fact I did just that a year and a half ago, and you can check out that article for more information on the topic).
The sad truth about Trudeau is that he hasn’t really done much at all. Like Obama before him, he came into power riding a wave of populist outrage at the failures of the previous conservative administration by presenting himself as an avatar of youthful optimism, but managed squander all that good will and political capital by failing to seize the opportunity presented to him. Trudeau could have done virtually anything he wanted with his first two years in office – he’d just won a majority government and had catapulted himself onto the world stage by providing a friendly face to contrast the shitstorm happening in the US. Instead he threw away one of the most extraordinary honeymoon periods any politician has had in recent memory to embrace the status-quo.
Abandoning his electoral reform promises – the reason many people voted for him in the first place – was the first of many signs that the candidate you were promised wasn’t the prime minister that you were going to get, and the outlook hasn’t gotten any better since then.
I’ve gone this whole article and only sworn twice, so allow me to dispense with the nice language and go on a bit of a rant to conclude this article. Justin Trudeau is a despicable piece of shit. He’s a liar, a hypocrite, and a fake leftist who uses the mantle of progressivism to hide what a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing he really is. If you voted for him, you should regret it. I honestly can’t stand people fawning over this fucking asshole just because he’s good looking and can fake a surface-level commitment to liberal causes. I get it – we’d all fuck Daddy Trudeau’s brains out, and having an affable charming guy representing us to the rest of the world is a nice contrast to the man-baby the US is currently stuck with, but seriously people, as real progressives we need to start holding this guy to a higher standard.