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Positive premiere: why Justin Trudeau is adored on the Internet, but do not like at home

The Prime Minister of Canada is called a politician of a new era, but the Canadians themselves will not agree with this.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau. Holiday pictures AP
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau. Holiday pictures AP

After the victory of Donald Trump in the presidential elections in the US, many Americans seriously thought about immigration to neighboring Canada. Moreover, the media cover with interest the activities of country’s head Justin Trudeau. He is represented as a policy of a new era that wears colored socks for diplomatic negotiations , pronounces inspirational speeches and is not afraid to be ridiculous.

However, Trudeau’s popularity is mixed. Although he deserved the sympathy of the Internet, Trudeau was actively criticized inside the country for his hypocrisy and unfulfilled promises. In June, the publication The Outline criticized the policy of Trudeau. In the footsteps of the column talks about the reasons for the popularity of the prime minister and his controversial decisions.

Political path and election race

Although the world public paid attention to Trudeau after the elections in the US, he was in the focus of attention of the Canadian media long before Trump appeared in the political arena. Fame in the country was inherited from his father Pierre Trudeau – the former prime minister of Canada and one of the most popular politicians of the second half of the 20th century.

He was an ardent liberal, he abolished the death penalty, permitted abortion, stopped persecution of gays, achieved tax cuts and increased pensions. In foreign policy, he strengthened relations with the United States, the USSR, China and Cuba.

The tragic death of Pierre Trudeau in 2000 was ironically the beginning of Trudeau’s younger political career. At the funeral, he gave a vivid speech, which the media liked. Then the future prime minister worked as a teacher of French and mathematics, but after his father’s death he became interested in public activities.

In 2005, he defended nature and fought against the zinc mining project, three years later he urged the Canadian authorities to take part in the ethnic conflict in Sudan , the same year he fell in the House of Commons. Five years later, in 2013, he  Liberal Party, led by his father. The future prime minister easily avoided inner-party competitors, gaining 80% of the vote.

Trudeau speaks to voters during the election campaign for the post of prime minister. Photo of the "Liberal" Party of Canada
Trudeau speaks to voters during the election campaign for the post of prime minister. Photo of the “Liberal” Party of Canada
It is difficult to say with certainty why Trudeau won with such a margin. A crucial role could be played by kinship with the outstanding leader of the country, the weakness of other candidates or natural charisma. Probably the inner-party victory was ensured by all three points. Trudeau was young, friendly and well behaved in public – the next two years he successfully demonstrated it.

In early autumn 2015, when the preparations for the prime minister’s elections were coming to an end in Canada, the main rivals were the parties of “new” democrats, liberals and conservatives. Opponents tried to discredit Trudeau, pointing to his youth and inexperience. The weaknesses of the candidate for the post of leader of Canada were also covered in the media.

The journalist, who was engaged in the activities of the leader of the Liberal Party, claimed that he was not as clever as his father. At the same time, she recognized that Trudeau possesses a developed emotional intelligence. That is, roughly speaking, can conquer the public emotionally, and not erudition. Perhaps this helped the policy win in the elections.

Why do they love him?

Attraction and friendliness

According to Trump’s critics, with him, the US is facing social and political degradation, as well as tougher immigration laws. Under a special blow after the inauguration were refugees from the poor countries, representatives of sex minorities and women, concerned about the sexist statements of Trump.

For all the radical critics of the president, Canada looks like the most convenient option for immigration. Two countries share borders, they have minimal visa formalities, but in Canada a much more loyal attitude towards immigrants and the LGBT community. In addition, Trudeau seems much more charismatic politician.

Like Trump, he easily captures the public’s attention, but prefers the image of a good-natured guy. He is 45 years old, but he looks much younger – he always smiles, joggers, is not afraid to go without protection and communicate with journalists.

Still, Trudeau loves animals. His picture with small pandas in the spring of 2016 immediately became viral. But this exception – much more often Trudeau is photographed on holidays, with children, firefighters or policemen, always with a big smile and a crowd of fans behind him.

The liberal leader of Canada does not hesitate to come to meetings with leaders of states in colorful socks with the heroes of the Star Wars, fool around on the camera or build a fortress from blankets in the office. All this took place after Trump’s election and was widely covered in the media, including that Trudeau wears colored socks in diplomatic interests.

The popularity pursues Trudeau and the Middle East. Thousands of refugees from Syria responded to the Prime Minister’s promise to put them into the country in 2015. By the summer of 2017, Canada had taken more than 50,000 refugees. Some of them the prime minister personally met at the airport, passing warm jackets.

The benevolent attitude of the leader of Canada towards the descendants of the impoverished country could not but attract the attention of the American people. While Trump was closing the US borders for people from the Middle East and telling the electorate about the horrors of IGIL, photos of the smiling Trudeau along with the refugees scattered around the net.

Trudeau welcomes Syrian refugees. Reuters photo
Trudeau welcomes Syrian refugees. Reuters photo
Popularity in social networks and loyalty to minorities

The leader of Canada supports the LGBT movement, shares feminist views, and heads the cabinet of people of different views and nationalities, consisting of 15 women and 15 men. He appointed the Minister of Democratic Institutions a Muslim refugee, and the Minister of Sport and for persons with disabilities – a blind Paralympic athlete.

Opponents of Trudeau found this gesture populist. Allegedly, he selected the team without evaluating her political skills. Single accusations, however, did not in the least affect the reputation of the new prime minister.

According to a public survey, 28% of Americans have promised to leave the country if Trump becomes president. And Canada was the most attractive place for immigration.

Trudeau is close to young people, and to the older generation – he manages to balance between progressive tendencies and observance of long-standing traditions.

During school graduation, Trudeau made a series of photos with teenagers, because he just ran past. He has more than 3 million subscribers on Twitter, which is good for the country’s leader, far from loud politics. The Prime Minister appeared on the cover of the Marvel comic book and explained to journalists the principle of the operation of quantum computers. At the same time he brings up three children, is happy in marriage and professes Catholicism.

For which he is scolded

Sale of weapons to the Middle East

Even before the start of the struggle for Prime Minister Trudeau’s seat, he criticized the Canadian government, which, as part of the coalition forces, bombed the territory of the IG. In 2014, when terrorists rapidly strengthened influence in the Middle East, the leader of the liberal party proposed to stop bombing. In his opinion, the Canadian government did not explain why the country needs this war.

Trudeau continued to fight for the end of the bombings in 2015 and actually completed the military operation almost immediately after the election. This did not prevent him from maintaining the agreement on the supply of arms to Saudi Arabia, which was concluded by the past prime minister. In the winter of 2016, Canadian authorities sold to the state about a thousand military vehicles for $ 15 billion.

Critics of the agreement have focused attention on the fact that Saudi Arabia can use weapons against innocent people in Yemen, with the rebels of which it has been fighting since 2014. These suspicions can not be completely groundless. In 2015, the country’s authorities executed by cutting the head of 158 people.

Canadian fighting car. Photo of the Armed Forces of Canada
Canadian fighting car. Photo of the Armed Forces of Canada
Later, Canadian authorities acknowledged that the sold weapons could indeed be used against innocent people, but insisted that Saudi Arabia is Canada’s ally in the Middle East.

This is a rather strange position, considering that the policy of the Middle Eastern country regarding, for example, the LGBT community completely contradicts the values ​​of the Canadian people and the prime minister himself. For homosexual intercourse, the citizens of the country face imprisonment and in some cases even the death penalty.

Having occupied the prime minister’s chair, Trudeau not only extended the arms export treaty, but also began to show loyalty to Trump’s military policy. Thus, he approved the bombing of the air base of the Syrian army Shayrat in the province of Homs by American troops. In response, Trump praised Trudeau’s decision to increase military spending by 70% in the next 10 years. It is difficult to say how this fits into the pre-election plans of the liberals for the development of the Canadian economy.

Pierre Trudeau bears Justin's son. Photo by Canadian Press
Pierre Trudeau bears Justin’s son. Photo by Canadian Press
Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy rhetoric in places resembles his father’s. During the later stages of the war in Vietnam, Pierre Trudeau actively opposed US military operations and personally hosted Vietnamese refugees at the airport, as did his son with Syrian refugees.

Prior to the publication of Debra Young’s book ” Canada and the United States: Ambivalent Allies ” in 2010, the general public did not know that, although before the cameras, Trudeau Sr. opposed the war, he shot off an arms deal worth $ 2.65 billion .

Canada produced for the American soldiers in Vietnam most of the ammunition and napalm. Thanks to these supplies, the US troops destroyed hundreds of villages and killed thousands of lives not only of soldiers, but also of civilians.

The effects of napalm shock in South Vietnam. Holiday pictures AP
The effects of napalm shock in South Vietnam. Holiday pictures AP
The plight of descendants of indigenous peoples of Canada

Another controversial point in the Trudeau rhetoric is the policy of multiculturalism in Canada. Like his father, he considers it important to unite all the inhabitants of the country, whether they are indigenous people or refugees. It is enough to look at his cabinet, partly consisting of Hindus, Muslim women and other national minorities.

In the rest of Canada things are worse. In 2016, for the first time in the history of Canada, the number of offspring of indigenous Canadians in prison exceeded25% of the total number of prisoners. In some regions, this figure reached 48%. Such a strong link between descendants of indigenous peoples is associated with a low level of social security in small settlements and regions where they live.

Trudeau on the general photo of the Cabinet of Canada in 2015. Photos of the Canadian government
In Canadian settlements, the level of education, medicine and social security is much lower than in densely populated cities. This led to a decrease in the level of employment of descendants of indigenous peoples and Indian tribes. According to data in the middle of 2015, only about 35% of the indigenous population over 15 years of work. For comparison, Canada’s overall employment rate is just over 61%.

Against the backdrop of the plight of the indigenous people, Trudeau’s election promise to “become prime minister for all Canadians” seems more than ambiguous.

From 2018 to 2021, the Canadian authorities poured into the budget nearly $ 500 million to ensure the well-being of children of descendants of Indians and other indigenous people of Canada This is indeed a major investment, reflecting the importance of the problem. However, payments so far can only comfort, but not change the state of affairs.

In 2016, in a small settlement of Attavapisket with a population of 2,000 people, there were 100 suicide attempts in the autumn and 41 in March. The oldest man, who tried to settle accounts with life, was 71 years old. The youngest is 11 years old. The crisis is associated with the lack of opportunities: in the village poor medical care, there is no decent education and work. People who are unable to leave Attavapisket or settle down often fall into depression.

The inhabitants of Attavapisket during the funeral procession. Reuters photo
The inhabitants of Attavapisket during the funeral procession. Reuters photo
Travel to the Bahamas

But if the gaps in the military and social policy of Trudeau, the inhabitants of Canada can take for a thoughtful plan, it is much more difficult to turn a blind eye to the private life of the prime minister. In March 2017 it turned out that during the Christmas holidays he flew to rest on a private island in the Bahamas: the total cost of travel Trudeau and his staff amounted to 127 thousand dollars.

This figure has become enough that the Canadians are indignant at the waste of taxes that they pay. The situation was aggravated by the speculation of opposition parties, who stressed that Trudeau did not just spend public money, but went to a private island popular with billionaires.

In response to criticism, Trudeau said he was ready to answer for his actions before the special commission, the owner of the island is his good friend, and it was possible to get to him only by helicopter.

It turned out that this is not true – half of the officials flew in a private airplane, whose services, in fact, were paid by taxpayers. A little later it became known that the original cost of 127 thousand dollars – not exactly the exact figure published by the government. The final amount was 133 thousand dollars. Although this is an insignificant difference, the Canadians and the opposition were outraged by the fact that the prime minister twice lied, going on an expensive trip.

Charges of treason

In early July, US special forces officer Lane Morris accused the Canadian prime minister of high treason.

This story begins long before becoming Trudeau as a politician. In 2002, a native of Canada, 15-year-old Omar Khadr, who moved to Afghanistan, killed an explosion of a grenade of an American soldier and wounded Lane Morris. Khadra was caught and more than ten years, he said, was tortured in an American prison in Guantanamo.

In 2012, he was allegedly secretly transported to Canada on the orders of Barack Obama, after which he spent three more years in a Canadian prison. In the course of the proceedings, the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that the Canadian authorities illegally sent agents to the American prison for interrogation of Khadr and violated a law prohibiting interrogation of children.

Omar Khadr in 2015. Photo from the personal archive of lawyer Khadr
Omar Khadr in 2015. Photo from the personal archive of lawyer Khadr
The Canadian government officially apologized to Khadr and paid him $ 8 million in compensation, hoping to hush up the long-playing process. However, 55-year-old Morris called the government decision a “betrayal” by Trudeau. Together with the wife of a soldier killed by Khadr, he filed a lawsuit against the former Guantánamo detainee at $ 134 million. This money should cover the loss of the widow and Morris – a grenade thrown by Khadr, deprived him of his right eye.

It is not clear how much the charges of an American veteran in “treason” are justified. For sure the continuation of this story will pass Trudeau by, leaving behind in the worst case a small spot on the reputation of the smiling prime minister.

Nevertheless, in the last six months his rating has significantly decreased . In November 2016, the leader of Canada was supported by 58% of the population, and in April 2017 – 42%. According to the experts, this drop in the approval rating is due to several reasons. Including the Prime Minister’s expensive trip to the Bahamas and his support for the construction of an oil pipeline within the country, despite the possible threat to the environment. A year ago, for the same reason, protests of the Indians and the liberal community raged in the United States . Since the fall of 2016, they have been held in Canada.

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