Roundup: Trudeau’s concern trolls

Thursday night, Canadian journalists and pundits started making a big deal out of the fact that the Daily Mail, the most widely-read newspaper in the UK, posted a hit-job on Justin Trudeau. What they didn’t bother to post was that the Mail is a tabloid rag that literally makes stuff up all the time, and lo and behold, it turns out that not only did they get a number of facts wrong in their piece, but they even posted photos that were not of Trudeau, but someone else entirely. And while those same pundits seemed to think that this was an honest mistake rather than the kind of trash “journalism” that is their stock in trade.

And then comes the concern trolling, lumping this kind of thing in with Pierce Morgan’s railing about Trudeau’s “peoplekind” joke (also in the Daily Mail), and other negative press from the India trip. Apparently, this is the fault of Trudeau’s senior staff, who should have given him firmer advice to “rein in his worst impulses,” but reading the analysis seems a bit…facile, and frankly blinkered. One would think that the pundit class in Canada would have the ability to try and see context around the press that Trudeau receives, but apparently not. For example, Piers Morgan is a Donald Trump ass-kisser who has a history of misogynistic comments, for whom Trudeau’s avowed feminism would rankle his sensibilities. And the Daily Mail is a rabidly homophobic publication for whom Trudeau’s tendency to do things like show emotion in public is anathema to their worldview of alpha males. They were never going to praise Trudeau, and he certainly hasn’t “lost them,” so I’m puzzled as to why our pundits are acting like he did. Likewise, many of the Indian publications that criticized Trudeau on his trip were of a stratified slice of society who have a particular agenda when it comes to foreigners. But there is also something particularly white male about this kind of concern trolling as well, which doesn’t look to why Trudeau makes some of the choices he does because those choices aren’t speaking to them as an audience. The traditional garb in India, for example (which was apparently five events in eight days), was showcasing Indo-Canadian designers and targeted both the Indo-Canadian community, but also the classes in India who weren’t the rarified elites in the media (and in India, these are actual elites rather than the just populists referring to us as such in Canada), and those rarified elites have particular denigrating views of their own diasporic communities. Not that a white male pundit who doesn’t look outside his own circle will pick up on these things.

This isn’t to say that Trudeau’s senior staff don’t still have problems on their hands, because clearly they do. Their ability to manage crises is still shambolic, and we’ve seen time and again where they let their opponents come up with a narrative and box them into it before they start fighting back, and they’ve done it again with this India trip. And yeah, Trudeau keeps making bad jokes that he finds funny but not everyone else does (and the Canadian press gallery are notoriously humourless). But there is a hell of a lot of myopia going on in the criticism and concern trolling, and we need to recognize it and call it out for what it is.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau met with Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe but wasn’t able to convince Moe to sign onto the national climate plan and carbon price.
  • As expected, Brenda Lucki has been named the new Commissioner of the RCMP, and will formally assume the job April 16th, with a tough job ahead of her.
  • Ralph Goodale said that Union Station was Aaron Driver’s target when he was shot by police. One journalist’s sources say that it’s news to them.
  • NATO is looking to Canadian troops to take on a bigger role in Iraq to train Iraqi (and not just Kurdish) forces. We’ll see if this actually gets off the ground.
  • The RCMP have finally laid a charge of breach of trust against VADM Mark Norman after over a year of investigation.
  • Indigenous communities are raising a great deal of caution around the MMIW Inquiry’s request for more time and money.
  • At a UN Association of Canada panel on empowering women, Canada’s G7 sherpa said that the Harper-era clampdown on diplomats didn’t let women inspire others.
  • Kinder Morgan got two injunctions against planned protests at their pipeline terminals. Jagmeet Singh says this is Trudeau’s problem to deal with.
  • Maclean’s has a lengthy profile of Caroline Mulroney.
  • David Reevely turns up thousands of “missing” members in the Ontario PC rolls, which is a reminder of how corrupted the current leadership selection system is.
  • Susan Delacourt looks at the #WeNeedBoth movement, to ensure that speaking panels are mixed gender, not just male or female.
  • Andrew Coyne pokes at the recent downturn in Justin Trudeau’s popularity.
  • Kevin Carmichael wonders what trade-offs were promised to the likes of Paul Ryan for their support in getting us off the steel and aluminium tariffs list.
  • Shannon Gormley notes the impoliteness of Andrew Scheer’s trip to London.
  • My weekend column delves into the notion that the PM considers his job “ceremonial,” and about the actions of those making said accusation.

Odds and ends:

Karina Gould has given birth to a baby boy, and is now the first cabinet minister to have given birth while in office in Canada.

The UK keeps looking to the Canada-US border as a model for a post-Brexit border with Ireland, but the Irish government says it’s a non-starter.