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Culture > News

Debunking Your Love for Justin Trudeau

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

In case you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada since 2013, has garnered mass support from Millenials and Gen-Z kids for wearing rainbow socks and saying women deserve rights. Yet, these actions do not have much impact and so he has not done much to create positive change within the country. After photos of 29-year-old Trudeau in brownface came to the public eye, I and many others rapidly changed our perspective on this seemingly progressive man. I began to dig deeper into Trudeau’s background in politics.

Trudeau massively lacked political experience prior to entering his position as prime minister in 2013. In fact wasn’t until 2008 that Justin Trudeau’s political career began, leaving him with only 5 years of experience. In 2008, he then won a seat in the Canadian Parliament representing the Papineau district. Trudeau perhaps reaped benefits from his father’s past, as Pierre Trudeau served as prime minister of Canada during his then-wife’s pregnancy. Perhaps his past with a seat in Parliament did provide him with some experience, but it seems to have not effectively prepared him for his Prime Minister standing in 2013.

Many issues Trudeau campaigned off of have yet to be addressed during his prime-ministership, or have been addressed poorly. I would say he has definitely failed to come through on the promises he made to his country.

In tune with his “woke” persona, Trudeau promised to abolish the law preventing gay men from donating blood for 5 years after having sex with another man. Instead of abolishing it, however, he simply lessened the time frame from 5 years to 1 year, which still is an unjust and truly unrealistic rule for gay men. His sluggish reaction times are also illustrated by his inaction towards extending parental leave. He also promised to extend parental leave to 18 months, but has yet to even mention the matter since coming into office.

Trudeau claimed to be a serious advocate for limiting climate change but has fallen through on his promised efforts to make a greener nation. He promised to end fossil fuel subsidies in order to make Canada a more environmentally friendly nation, but most subsidies will stay around until at least 2025. He also approved the massively controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline and spent $3.5 billion to ensure the project could continue, a sum that could easily be invested in producing more renewable energy; instead, the risks for oil leaks have massively increased. He claimed this was an investment for Canada, but this pipeline has yet to pay off.

This is not his only investment that has yet to prove effective, as Canada continues to fight a budget deficit. While nothing compared to the US national debt of over $74 trillion, Canada has found itself in $18 billion of debt as of 2019. This sum was meant to be limited to $9.9 billion, according to Trudeau’s pledge. Though no nation will ever be debt-free, it’s difficult to write this debt off as an unavoidable issue when he spent $215,000 on a vacation to the Bahamas in 2017.

Trudeau claims to be woke and aware of his privilege, but his actions have yet to convey that. In 2014, many newspapers mass reported the story of 28-year-old Trudeau groping a news reporter. In response, he stated, “If I had known you were reporting for a national newspaper, I never would have been so forward” — an apology which begets the question: did Trudeau ever really feel any remorse? These are not the words of a man aware of the privilege of his powerful position as the son of a former prime minister. 

The most recent event calling attention to Trudeau is the surfacing of his images in blackface. Similar to his response to the 2014 groping incident, he replied, “I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege, but I now need to acknowledge that comes with a massive blind spot.” He seems to be claiming he always understood his privilege and intended never to exploit it, but I wouldn’t say these actions have illustrated that. Furthermore, he has yet to explain why he has done it and seems to still be justifying his actions. 

Trudeau’s actions both in and out of government indicate that he is not an ideal image of a leader. Though he claims to understand his privilege, he has failed to demonstrate that through his present actions and has actually done quite the opposite. Overall, his inability to follow through on promises (or address them at all) has failed his supporters and ultimately damaged Canada. Though he believes he has checked his privilege, he has yet to prove himself as a woke man. A man with so many flaws should not be hailed as an exceptional leader – consider him #cancelled.

Kyrie Woodard

Columbia Barnard '23

is originally a Washingtonian turned New Yorker. Her hobbies include talking about her cats, Bobby and Greg, and drawing macroeconomic graphs.