Canada's prime minister is adored by liberals around the world—but beneath the charm lies a deeply suspect political recordby Shafi Musaddique / July 11, 2017 / Leave a comment
Humans have long looked for icons, saints and cult heroes, to worship. It continues apace today, in the form of admiration for Justin Trudeau. Adulation and adoration seems to meet Canada’s PM wherever he goes, widely unchallenged from both the public and media alike. Social media posts by well-known publications declare an inability for “hearts to cope.” A quick Google search reveals listicles on why the world has fallen in love with Trudeau. And why not? Sweeping in a gender-neutral cabinet, cutting tax for middle income earners and ratifying a free trade deal with the EU tick boxes for the majority of Canada’s electorate.
But it’s time the fawning over Trudeau stopped. Journalists beyond Canada’s syrupy shores have chosen unabashed praise, but withholding scrutiny does no one any favours. And the maple-tinted glasses have allowed commentators to neglect key injustices, perpetrated on the world’s most impoverished by the Trudeau administration.
Vested interests in economic projects with Saudi Arabia, questionable policy on fossil fuels and cosy, uncritical relationships with foreign powers lie at the root of Donald “America First” Trump’s appeal. But, in differing ways, Trudeau commits these same sins.
An arms deal between Saudi Arabia and Canada is the first call for concern. Reportedly agreed at a fee between $12-15bn in 2014 by the previous Conservative government, Liberals ushered the deal to the end. Former Liberal leader and Trudeau’s then foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion—now special envoy to Germany—sealed the deal in April 2016 backed by Liberals claiming the deal could not be broken off. He later admitted the contract, which created 3000 jobs in Canada, was never a done deal. That the Trudeau government was willing to continue this Conservative project with aplomb suggests worrying things about its ability to assess potential dangers regarding where military equipment ends up and how it is used.