In Praise of Prime Minister Trudeau

canada flagMany of us ‘anti-trumpsters’ have half-jokingly declared that we will move to Canada if Trump, by some strange coincidence, is actually elected president in November.  I say “we”, because I made this claim, only half-seriously in a previous post (See post from 13 Nov 2015).  Justin Trudeau is the relatively new Prime Minister of Canada and to date, he seems to be an effective, fair leader.  He reminds me much of President Obama, which coming from me is a compliment to Mr. Trudeau.

A few facts about Mr. Trudeau:

  • Born 25 December 1971 (current age 44) – 2nd youngest Canadian Prime Minister
  • Leader of the Liberal Party
  • Son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (1968-1984)
  • Prime Minister since 4 November 2015

Though he has been Prime Minister for less than six months, he has already been named to Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.  Dahlia Lithwick, writing for Slate noted that Trudeau is “what [Obama] might have been, had he been allowed to just be. Trudeau swept into elected office on the same enormous wave of optimism and tolerance that brought Obama to the White House in 2008. Except the Canadians gave Trudeau a chance.”

TrudeauP.M. Trudeau’s platform is one of tolerance and multiculturalism, feminism and pluralism, environmental protection and military modesty; the exact opposite of the messages we hear today from our political candidates in the U.S.  In fact, after pledging to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees as the rest of the world was closing its doors—he met the first batch of refugee families at the airport as they arrived and helped them find proper winter coats.  While Trump is calling for a ban on all Muslim immigrants for the foreseeable future and the rabid masses chanting their support,  Trudeau says, “the manner in which Canada treats refugees defines us as a nation.”  So true.

Trudeau is resolutely pro-choice, supports legalization of marijuana, identifies himself as a ‘feminist’ and says he is proud to be so.  Canada has a similar problem with un and under-employed people as we have in the U.S., and Trudeau takes a reasonable approach: “Over the past 10 years, it has become harder for millions of Canadians to get ahead. Some people think the solution is to continue on the course we’re on, giving benefits to the wealthy and making cuts to everything else (emphasis added). I have a different plan, to invest immediately in jobs and growth and lower taxes for the middle-class. My vision of our country is a place where everyone has a shot at success because we have the confidence and leadership to invest in Canadians.”

Mr. Trudeau is soft-spoken, reasonable, and intelligent.  The few times I have watched him, such as when he and his family visited the White House in March, I am struck by the sharp contrast between the Prime Minister and the minions we are calling candidates today.  When I wrote my original, tongue-in-cheek article about moving to Canada, I did so in the form of a mock letter to Mr. Trudeau asking for political asylum.  It was meant to be a joke, but I must admit that it is becoming less of a joke and more of a serious consideration.  Not only is Mr. Trudeau obviously more intelligent and a better leader than any on our horizon, but the people of Canada also seem willing to let him do his job and work with their elected leaders rather than constantly fighting them.

All my life, ever since a young child, I have been proud and thankful to be a citizen of this nation.  I grew up believing in democratic values and that everyone had an equal opportunity to follow their dreams.  My interest in the history and political process of this nation has been a driving force since I learned to read. I felt blessed when I looked around the world at people starving in undeveloped countries.  I now understand that those opportunities are not exactly equal, that they are heavily weighted toward the wealthy, the corporate giants, and the rest of us are but pawns in the political game.  This is especially true among republicans, but also, though to a lesser extent, democrats.  The latest presidential candidates are mostly a joke.  If Trump or Cruz win the White House in November, I am certain I shall be seriously considering renouncing my citizenship and locating elsewhere, because the United States of America that once was will have ceased to exist.

“We are dreamers, innovators, builders. We know that in Canada, better is always possible. And we deserve a government that knows that too.”  –  JUSTIN TRUDEAU

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