The Surprising Success of a Fraud
Justin Trudeau has managed to get re-elected as Canada’s Prime Minister despite poor leadership, gaffes and being exposed as a fraud. Conservatives - who felt they had a good chance of regaining power - are now left reeling. How can Trudeau be such a phoney, they ask themselves, and yet still triumph?
There was a brief period in Canada’s recent federal election when it looked like everything was about to come crashing down for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A top darling of progressives all over the Western world, Trudeau had been on the receiving end of glowing coverage by the liberal media for his vocal commitments to feminism, diversity and climate change. Yet on a Wednesday evening in September - right in the middle of the campaign - he was exposed as a fraud, the biggest hypocrite of them all.
The news didn’t come from domestic media, which was notorious for giving Trudeau the soft treatment. Rather it was TIME magazine that dropped a bombshell story with the headline: “Justin Trudeau Wore Brownface at 2001 ‘Arabian Nights’ Party While He Taught at a Private School”.
The photos shocked the nation and sent Trudeau’s Liberal Party into immediate damage control. Blackface is considered seriously racist in Canada. And many of the usual Liberal spin doctors went silent: How do you publicly defend pictures of Trudeau, then 29-years-old, proudly wearing elaborate blackface make-up?
Ever since being elected Prime Minister of Canada in 2015, Trudeau had on many occasions publicly denounced others as racist for lesser sins. Sometimes he even seemed to malign the entire country as a bunch of racists who could only be redeemed by kneeling at his progressive altar.
As the hours went by, other media reported that there wasn’t just one but three documented instances of Trudeau wearing blackface throughout his 20s. The Prime Minister himself basically acknowledged he had done it so many times he didn’t remember the exact number.
It should have been the end of the campaign. Either Trudeau would step down amidst the shame of it all and another leader would be chosen by the Liberals to fight the election campaign or the voters would voice their disapproval by kicking him out of office come October 21st, the day of the vote.
A funny thing happened though. Trudeau didn’t step down and the voters didn’t boot him out. Instead, people rallied behind even. Even Barack Obama stepped forward to offer a social media endorsement of Trudeau, encouraging Canadians to give the embattled leader another chance. And so he was re-elected as PM and continues to govern.
The thing is, it’s not just the blackface scandal that exposed Trudeau as a progressive hypocrite. If anything, that should have just been the final straw. No, it’s been several years of double standards and screw ups - and yet the man persists.
Trudeau travels the world lecturing the United Nations, conferences in Hamburg and just about anyone who will listen about feminism. (Except for in a meeting with the Organization of Islamic Countries, where his representative was noticeably silent on the issue). But that soon fell apart and he started being labeled a fake feminist after the country learned Trudeau had groped a female reporter in public in the year 2000 against her wishes. Things got worse when he expelled prominent female cabinet ministers from his team, who had made a big deal over appointing, after they refused to do his bidding.
He promised voters he would be a worldly globalist and make us proud abroad but then made a fool out of himself when he visited India, putting on multiple cultural costumes that not even regular Indians wear and danced about as if he was mocking their culture. Then when China started turning the screws on Canada earlier this year - randomly detaining two Canadians, banning meat imports and outlandishly labeling Canadians as white supremacists - Trudeau chose to put his head in the sand, unable to stand up to the rising authoritarian superpower.
Conservatives in Canada - who felt they had a good chance of regaining power after being out in the cold for four years - are now left reeling. How can Trudeau be such a phoney, such a fraud, they ask themselves, and yet still triumph?
The truth is that Trudeau’s support and seat count was in fact whittled down a great deal, but not enough to unseat him. He offered freebies to voters to lure them in and then launched personal attacks against the Conservatives. Trudeau planted the seeds in voters’ minds that the Conservatives would roll back access to abortion and gay rights, even though they had no such plans. It worked to a degree. On election night, Trudeau swept urban areas across Canada – now his only remaining stronghold.
Back in 2015, Trudeau was able to genuinely claim a major victory. Canada’s Liberal Party had been knocked down to third place for the first time in modern history. They considered themselves Canada’s “natural governing party” but were dealt a major blow by former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
When Trudeau first entered politics as a Member of Parliament in 2008 he failed to distinguish himself as a parliamentarian. He gave no major speeches. He didn’t sit on important Committees. He seemed to spend more time at his boxing gym than seriously engage with public policy issues. The perfect fit for a man who cared more about his stylish socks than legislation, a man everyone assumed only got into politics because of his last name, being the son of the polarizing but iconic former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who led Canada almost interrupted from 1968 to 1984.
By the time of the 2013 Liberal leadership race the party was down in the dumps but Trudeau used his name recognition and good looks to take over the party and begin his ascent to power. He kept a low profile until the 2015 election and it was widely believed that when he started to campaign and appeared at the debates he’d perform so poorly that he’d be laughed off the stage.
His opponents underestimated him though. The country was growing tired of Harper after he’d been in power for almost a decade and Trudeau campaigned on the slogan “sunny ways” and talked a big game about feminism and diversity. He won a powerful majority.
But in this latest election he was reduced to a minority government and is now forced to win over the votes of other parties - most likely the left-wing NDP - to stay in power. That wasn’t the only reality check Trudeau was handed though. He also lost the popular vote. The Conservatives, under leader Andrew Scheer, received 200,000 more votes across the country than the Liberals. It’s just that the way Canada’s Parliament works - where people vote for one of 338 local Members of Parliament and not the Prime Minister directly - the numbers broke down such that Trudeau won the most number of seats.
A big challenge ahead is that Trudeau won no seats in the Western province of Alberta. This is the home of Canada’s oil patch, where supposed climate prophet Greta Thunberg made a recent pilgrimage to denounce. While Canada’s oil and gas sector is loathed by climate alarmists who want to shut it down, it is one of the economic drivers of the nation and provides almost 500,000 direct and indirect jobs along with billions to government coffers in the form of royalties and tax revenues.
One would think a responsible Prime Minister would champion this sector. But Trudeau has openly mused about wanting to “phase out” the oil sands and repeatedly makes it known that he considers aggressively tackling climate change through taxes and regulations is one of his top priorities. Because of this, Trudeau has divided the nation between fans and foes of Alberta.
Alberta now talks about separating from Canada and - alongside two other provinces - has taken court action against Trudeau’s deeply unpopular carbon tax, which is expected to only increase in the years ahead.
In the meantime, Canada is getting a preview of the immigration woes that plague Europe and the United States. Beginning in 2017, asylum seekers began to cross illegally into Canada through New York state right after having arrived in the U.S. via international flights. About 20,000 people enter Canada a year this way and most of them are believed to be bogus refugees, yet they still receive generous monthly payments from the government while waiting years to learn if they'll be deported. While Canadians are known around the world for being pro-immigration, for the first time in recent memory polls show many more people want immigration numbers decreased than those who want them increased, largely because of Trudeau’s poor handling of the file. Rather than close the illegal border crossing though, Trudeau revels in the opportunity to denounce anyone as racist or intolerant if they bring up the issue.
These issues are expected to come together during this minority Parliament in potentially explosive ways. The usually laid back Canada is now at a crossroads, divided regionally and split on big policy issues and the once perfectly progressive Justin Trudeau has been exposed as a fraud but is hanging on to power by a thread.
Anthony Furey is the oped editor for the Sun chain of newspapers in Canada. He’s the author of a book on national security and has appeared on Fox News Channel, BBC News and many other TV and radio shows.