Justin Trudeau, wife Sophie Gregoire, son Xavier and daughter, Ella-Grace
Have you noticed the plethora of lists that are trolling the internet these days – ‘20 fun facts about’ / ‘10 scandalous things you never knew about’ / ‘6 women you never knew existed in ……’s life’ / ‘10 reasons why ——- cannot be trusted with your wife’….. and on and on those lists go. Open your FB timeline and take a peek at the right-hand side of your page and it’s crawling with mindless trojan-soaked web pages designed to titillate your innermost voyeuristic senses.
Even respectable media organizations like CNN, Washington Post, The Times of India and Fox have these abominable links strewn all over the sides of their pages that seem to grab you by the collar and yank your attention to them. Sometimes these links are even placed in between paragraphs of articles. Even if you don’t want to know about 20 celebrities who have ‘ordinary’ spouses or 10 once-gorgeous movies stars whose plastic surgeries went horribly bad, you are drawn to these inanities.
The ethos of news gathering and dissemination has clearly changed. Raw news and honest opinions no longer make money, even when they are obviously spiced up. Scandals and shockers have to be there on every page you visit. It is literally open season on famous folks. Issues don’t matter anymore.
Perhaps the ethos of the consumer – the average educated urban Joe, has regressed – from being concerned about what matters to the future of themselves and their families and how the decisions that their leaders make affect the world as a whole – to wanting instant titillation. Watch a rerun of any one of the recent Republican Party 2016 Primary debates and pay close attention to the questions from the moderators and you will be dumbfounded by their sheer inanity. “What do you think is your greatest weakness?” – I mean come on, are you kidding me?
Maybe the world of politics has grown so dark and gothic, so filled with a sense of despair from realizing that nothing we say really matters to the powers that govern – so hopeless that we have all become like those musicians on the Titanic, lost in their music, knowing that no matter how many life jackets they find, they will ultimately perish with the capsizing liner.
In the midst of this vicarious, voyeuristic world, the Canadian Federal Elections have just concluded with the Liberals winning back a thumping majority, throwing the spotlight on one man who seems every bit like a breath of fresh air – a photogenic, handsome fresh prince, with curly, Greekish hair and Mediterranean looks. If he wore a chiton, you might mistake him for a modern day Paris or Achilles or Ajax the Greater. Or, if you saw him in the raw, you might think that Michelangelo’s David has come alive.
Meet Justin Pierre James Trudeau, the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada, only 43, though not the youngest elected leader in the world – that honor goes to Matteo Renzi of Italy, at 39. Justin, a fiery Liberal, has just won a landslide over Stephen Harper’s unfeeling and remote right-wing conservative government. We liberals are thrilled.
Isn’t a trend emerging in the developed world – of a surge in support for liberal, leftist ideology?
In the US, a little known Senator with a decidedly leftist philosophy, named Bernie Sanders, is burning up the polls ahead of the 2016 Presidential race. Methinks that the elitist Republican Party of the US has as good as lost the 2016 White House.
In the UK, another leftist named Jeremy Corbyn is now the head of the Labor Party, which was earlier known more for it’s rightist, business friendly governance.
In Germany, an astute Angela Merkel is changing tack and positioning herself more to the left, sensing the trend around her.
We may be looking a ‘G8 Spring’, which unlike it’s Arab version, might succeed, given that we don’t have despots and dictators here.
In Russia, a bomb in an airliner is the first nail driven into the coffin of Vladimir Putin, whatever spin he may try to put on the crash (CIA, MI6 plot, yada, yada, yada). The ‘Great Satan’ is no longer the US, for Islamic extremists the world over – It is Russia and boy, is Volodya unprepared what is about to come. Obama, in a masterstroke, has handed over to the Russians the pesky burden of militant Islam.
Given the ever widening income disparity in the so-called free world, perhaps Marxism shall ultimately have the last laugh after all. Had the Soviet Union not been so heavy handed with it’s citizens and hung on, maybe it would have emerged the ‘winner’ in the Cold War.
Heck, relaxing back on my ‘easy’ chair with my Ipad and my podcasts and opinion pieces certainly is getting better than sex.
Lists have emerged about Justin Trudeau too, but unlike those other lists whose sole aim is to shock, his lists are generally positive. Take a sampling right here……
- His choice of the most important cabinet position, Minister of Defense, is Harjit Singh Sajjan, a decorated Lt. Colonel with three tours in Afghanistan and one in Bosnia – a Sikh and an Indian- Canadian. Wait – here’s the best part – Sajjan is a naturalized first-generation immigrant who was born in India. This would have been unthinkable in any other western nation, or maybe any other nation – western or otherwise.
- He has no less than four Sikhs in his cabinet. Besides Sajjan, the there are : Navdeep Bains – Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Amardeep Sohi – Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Bardish Chagger – Minister of Small Business and Tourism.
- 50% of his cabinet are women, some holding key portfolios. Among them is another first-generation Canadian, born outside Canada : Maryam Monsef, Minister for Democratic Institutions. Monsef fled with her family from Taliban-held Afghanistan in 1996, when she was just 11.
- Trudeau’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General is another woman, a member of the First Nations Wee Wai Kai Tribe.
- His Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Coast Guard is yet another member of the First Nations – Hunter TooToo, an Inuk from Nunavat.
When I look at the petty, racism-laced, bigoted society that exists south of our border, I am amazed at how different Canada has turned out to be. I doubt if I have ever seen a more diverse set of folks than the one that Justin Trudeau has picked, in any western nation’s cabinet. The average age – 50, (max:69/min:30) is still young when compared to most developed nations. Here are some other ‘fun facts’ about the young Trudeau.
- Instead of a motorcade, he arrived for his inauguration in a bus with his team.
- He hasn’t brought in close friends and cronies, keeping personal friends at a different level from his official position.
- His off-the-cuff remarks reveal a stance that is far less belligerent than his predecessor, the hawkishly conservative Stephen Harper (though I have to admit that Harper is a lamb in front of most American conservatives).
- Trudeau projects an understanding that multi-culturism and cultural integration is a necessary process that enriches a democratic society. This is in complete contrast with values that American leaders identify with.
- Some Americans have noted his principles, affability and good humor and even decided to Christen him the ‘white Obama’. We liberals love Obama and are therefore taking that as a compliment.
But like every new guy who takes power anywhere, Justin Trudeau’s tenure too has started as a love-fest with the public. And as the world has oft witnessed, that love-affair usually turns bitter after nine months to a year max.
Remember Rajiv Gandhi? Appointed India’s Prime Minister, when he was just 40, at first he could do no wrong. Like Justin, Gandhi too was a good-looking man and like Justin, he gave off an air of being a man of the masses, approachable and easy to talk to.
The similarities are striking. Rajiv too carried no baggage, not even a whisper of any misconduct or some other skulduggery. He was content being given milk runs, easy shifts and choice stop-overs, as an Indian Airlines pilot, before his mother Indira Gandhi, died and propelled him into the hot seat.
Both grew up in the lap of luxury and entitlement. Justin – as the eldest son of Canada’s Prime Minister #15, Pierre Trudeau and Rajiv – as the eldest son of India’s Prime Minister #3, Indira Gandhi. Interestingly, like Rajiv did, Justin too has kept his head so far and retained a sheen of outward humility.
Justin with his dad, Pierre Trudeau
Except for one big difference – Rajiv Gandhi never really had a clue on how to inspire his party, cabinet and staff and govern, instead depending largely upon the typically Indian character trait of blind subservience toward the Gandhi name.
Justin Trudeau’s competence hasn’t yet been tested but he will receive none of the idolatry that Rajiv Gandhi had been virtually guaranteed. From the manpower choices he seems to be making and thereby the signals he is sending to the Canadian masses, it looks like we finally have a winner.
Way to go, Justin. Just don’t have too many busty interns hanging around you and for heaven’s sake, don’t turn Langevin Block into another ‘oral’ office.