National Post (National Edition)
Man of global political hotness
Legions of progressive Canadians who have long lamented the alleged loss of our country’s international reputation under the Conservatives awoke this week to find their sense of self-esteem instantly restored, as the world took note of our incoming prime minister — specifically, how attractive he is.
Media outlets from Gawker, Vice and Buzzfeed, to Britain’s Mirror, Telegraph and Independent, have offered their insightful analysis into Justin Trudeau’s yummy body and “long flowing locks” of hair. Cringe-worthy copy has been accompanied by shirtless photos, of which there is no shortage (maybe he and Vladimir Putin will get along after all).
Trudeau himself cannot be blamed for this spectacle — he can’t help it if he’s attractive. (Although for the dignity of the country, it may be time for him to keep his shirt on.) Everyone else needs to get a grip.
This is more than merely embarrassing; it’s a rather obvious example of a double standard.
How is it OK to salivate over Trudeau’s body, in a world where it has become taboo to make even an innocuous passing remark about a female politician’s looks?
Skirting dangerously close to the edges of self-awareness, The Independent’s Victoria Richards seemed to recognize the incongruity.
“I scrolled through multiple images of his long, flowing locks, witnessed him marching in a gay pride parade, held my breath through those topless boxing poses and sighed openly after reading about his pro-abortion, feminist, climate-change-supporting, liberal credentials. But it was mostly the boxing shots. And that hair,” she wrote, before deciding her reaction was all perfectly fine.
This may all seem harmless, except the people who feel compelled to publicly exclaim their carnal desires for Trudeau tend to hail from the same political class that believes merely electing him will restore Canada to a mythical Liberal golden age of global credibility.
The incoming prime minister has already sparked a re- birth of this country’s humiliatingly parochial obsession with what the rest of the world has to say about us. In truth, few foreigners give Canada a second thought. When they do, we generally maintain a good reputation. If anything, we enjoy a level of esteem far higher than anything we deserve.
A recent report from the Canadian International Council highlighted that Canada has slipped far behind the global pack on measures much more important than “how many Guardian columnists don’t like conservative foreign leaders.” Our foreign aid spending has declined at a faster rate than Italy’s. And our defence spending as a percentage of GDP is the lowest in the Group of Seven.
And we can’t even blame Stephen Harper’s pennypinching regime, as the decline began in 1995, under the Liberals. According to the authors: “The difference in commitment to global engagement (before and after 1995) is 10 times greater than the difference between parties within each era.”
Best ignore that. The hollowness of the left’s obsession with Trudeau is herein exposed. It’s not about what we’re actually doing on the world stage, but rather what their favourite international media outlets are saying about us. It’s not about the $6.5 billion Trudeau will need to find in cuts to fulfill his promises, but rather his looks and the raft of progressive causes he will champion.
Which is why there is something perverse about Trudeau’s self-satisfied proclamation at his first post-election rally Tuesday.
“Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years,” he said. “Well, I have a simple message for you: On behalf of 35 million Canadians, we’re back.”
It would be a lovely sentiment, if it weren’t juxtaposed with his promise to withdraw our paltry contribution to the international efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant. There is no compelling reason for us to pull our six fighter jets from an engagement against a genocidal terrorist group that has contributed to the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
What Trudeau is proposing is not a recipe for a return to a mythical Canada. It’s an argument for greater insularity. Restoring our international reputation — if that is actually necessary — requires more of us than pretty speeches and leaders. Such a thing requires real commitments of blood and treasure.
Add that to the very long list of Liberal promises.