If you’ve been on social media at any point in the past few months, there’s a pretty high chance you’ll have seen a post about how great Justin Trudeau is. Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister has won a great deal of affection from British millennials for his good looks, support for equal rights and feminism and his sympathy toward Syrian refugees to name just a few. The overall perception is that Trudeau is a really great guy. However, once you look beyond “15 Times The Justin Trudeau Thirst Went Too Far” and “Here’s Justin Trudeau Saying ‘Yaaas’ On A Loop For Eternity” as sources of information or the pictures of him hugging a refugee or cradling young animals, it becomes clear the hype surrounding him is not to be believed.
Indeed, his record in government so far has been poor. During his election campaign, Trudeau and the Liberal Party admitted they would run a budget deficit, but suggested they would be able to keep it to $10 billion per year. In March 2016, just six months into office, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the budget deficit would in fact be $29 billion a year. Of course, excuses can be made – this catastrophic failure to meet a policy aim was only due to the low oil price, right?
Progressive values were again ignored in September, when Trudeau’s administration approved the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in British Columbia, which will directly lead to 5.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Not only will this clearly have bad environmental effects, it also compromises the rights of British Columbia’s large indigenous population and ignores Canada’s need to diversify its economy. This project only furthers the nation’s strong focus on fossil fuel extraction as the basis of the economy, which is clearly unsustainable, and Trudeau’s continuation of this does little to prove that he is in control of that issue.
For those charmed by promises surrounding refugees, it should be noted Trudeau did indeed manage his promise to take 25,000 Syrian refugees into the country, albeit three months behind schedule. However, whilst it is admirable to bring thousands of impoverished families into the country, Trudeau should also prove he is working to tackle the preexisting issue surrounding poverty in Canada. It may be a cynical view, but it certainly seems like this is another case of Trudeau’s identity politics coming to the fore yet again: he would rather be seen as a charitable, generous man in the media than actually address key issues.
Finally, on his record on equal rights, it is true that Trudeau is a staunch supporter of gay marriage and labels himself a feminist, but even in this fi eld he is guilty of hypocrisy. After all, despite their awful human rights record, Saudi Arabia remains a trade partner of Canada, and the Liberals were accused of misleading the population earlier in the year by claiming they were unable to cancel the $12 billion arms deal between the countries in 2014.
Clearly, Justin Trudeau is not everything he is made out to be. Whilst it is hard to deny that he is an attractive man who may well hold good values close to his heart, his governmental record is the stuff of nightmares for any true Canadian progressives.