Gates: Justin Trudeau isn’t as perfect as you think

Simeon Gates, Staff Writer

It was only a few years ago that people claimed they were ready to board the nearest flight to Canada if Donald Trump won. Compared to the mess that was the 2016 election cycle, Canada seemed like a maple-scented utopia. 

Part of that was because of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s then-newly-elected prime minister. He was sort of anti-Trump: handsome, liberal, friendly, and advocating for the sort of progressive changes liberal Americans had dreamed of for their own country.

But recent news has damaged Trudeau’s wholesome image both abroad and in his home country. On September 18, 2019, Time magazine published a photo showing the Canadian prime minister in brown-face at an “Arabian Nights” themed party. More images of a young Trudeau in blackface followed. Whether his actions were out of ignorance or bigotry, they are unacceptable, especially for someone who claims to support diversity.

This abhorrent behavior was unveiled in the midst of another political scandal. Trudeau and his administration are accused of pressuring the former minister of justice and attorney general to drop a corruption investigation into SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian engineering company. Trudeau claims he was only looking out for Canadian jobs since the company is based in Quebec, Trudeau’s home province.

Despite claiming to support progressive ideas, he has done little to back that up. He once promised he would try to repair the relationship with Canada’s First Nations tribes. But in June 2019 his government approved the expansion of an oil pipeline indigenous leaders say puts their communities at risk. 

The blackface and obstruction controversies come at the worst possible time. Trudeau is currently running for re-election in October. The recent news has some constituents rethinking their support.  

Further south, the United States has its own election and political scandals to deal with. The lesson here is that while it may seem like the grass is greener, there could be weeds and pests lurking out of view. And instead of looking to other nations or leaders as a model, Americans should focus on what will make our own country better.