How Justin Trudeau Won My Respect
Political Destiny or a Desire for Change?
Justin Trudeau was born December 25, 1971. He is the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Margaret Sinclair. His father served as the Prime Minister of Canada from 1968 to 1979 and continued on in this position from 1980 to 1984.
When Pierre and Margaret separated in 1977, it was Pierre who took on the key role of parenting his 3 young sons (although they eventually settled on joint custody). With a father active in politics from the 1960s until Pierre's resignation from the Liberal leadership in 1984. it was simple logic that young Justin would be influenced by this doctrine. Politics and political figures were a major influence throughout his childhood.
Justin's political career took root when, in 2007, he ran and was chosen to be the Liberal nomination for the Papineau Quebec riding. Justin won the Papineau riding in the 2008 election, promoting him to a seat in Canada's House of Commons as a member of the official opposition party. It was the Harper Conservatives who won a minority government that year. Trudeau would later go on to win his Papineau seat again in both the 2011 and 2015 elections.
Justin Trudeau's Determined Perseverance
Justin entered into the politics game at a time when the traditional political scene in Canada was undergoing a dramatic change not only within the parties but also in the principles that governed their policies.
Coming from oil rich Alberta, Stephen Harper was not a big fan of Pierre Elliot Trudeau's energy policies and he apparently carried this grudge along to the son. Harper almost immediately made it clear that, if it were within his power, he would not be making Justin Trudeau's political life a comfortable one.
Trudeau vs Brazeau Charity Boxing Match March 31st 2012
You can't call Canada's 23rd Prime Minister a couch potato. Justin's father was very much a fitness buff and he passed this policy on to his children. Justin is physically active and a willing participant in a number of sports. This includes boxing, yoga, water sports, skiing, and snowboarding. He is also not one to shy away from the dance floor.
It is rumoured that it was his father who taught young Justin to box. Justin continued learning through to adulthood and it was a sport that would change his political future. Justin had sparred with partners but had never actually participated in a true boxing match. In 2011, he learned of a charity boxing match featuring amateur boxers and became intrigued.
He put out the word that he would be willing to participate if an opponent was willing to go up against him. He liked the idea of finding a Tory opponent but it turned out to be a difficult task to find one. There wasn't anyone willing to volunteer from the opposition team until a young Conservative senator named Patrick Brazeau stepped forward.
His credentials were pretty impressive. He had been trained in the Canadian armed forces and held a black belt in karate. Patrick was seen as someone who was capable of extreme fighting and had the looks to go with that reputation. He was strong, stocky, and street smart, a very stark comparison to his tall and thin opponent. Trudeau wasn't given much of a chance against him.
It was agreed that the winner would cut the luscious locks of the loser who would also have to wear the other's political colours for a week. Odds of the winner quickly went 3 to 1 in Brazeau's favour.
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Trudeau is the Underdog in this Fight
I, like many others, watched the bravado leading up to the fight. Brazeau was cocky and loud spoken on his ability to "annihilate his opponent" whereas Trudeau's harshest comment was to say that Brazeau "was going to be surprised". Brazeau stated that he doubted the fight would last longer than the first round. It was a direct implication that Trudeau would go down early in the match. Braseau would admit after the fight that he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders to knock Trudeau out.
Stephen Harper, the Conservative leader at the time, was literally leering like the cheshire cat each time he and Trudeau were near one another. It was obvious that he firmly believed Justin was going to be soundly humiliated in the ring. That Justin had gotten himself well over his head was my thought as well.
This is the point where my opinion of Justin as a "rich little kid living off daddy's reputation" began to change. As an assertive person, I live by a few firm rules and I was seeing his actions falling into those same guidelines.
- You never slam a door you may want to open again.
- You don't paint yourself into a corner or you will face the consequences of that action.
Trudeau's lack of boasting in the pre-fight showed a discipline to both those rules. It was a wise thing to do. Not only was he the underdog with Brazeau favoured for the win, but it is also important to note the heavy Conservative presence within the room the day of the fight. Sun News (a right wing news media) was covering the match. Ezra Levant (now Rebel Media) showed up as the commentator. If Trudeau lost, there would have been no mercy in the commentary that day.
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It Wasn't That He Won - But How He Won
I was one of those who thought Justin would lose the fight so I admit I was shocked when he was not only able to stay standing but he was also able to leave his opponent so battered that the referee was compelled to stop the match in the second round.
It wasn't that Justin won the match that so impressed me though but rather his words directly after the fact and his later words explaining how he prepared for the fight.
He won with dignity and even in an exhausted state showed grace to his opponent. Refusing even after the win to give into the antagonizing positioning of the opposition, Trudeau praised Brazeau's efforts in the ring. He was not quite so polite to Ezra which is logical knowing how Ezra would have handled a Trudeau defeat.
In his own words, Justin Trudeau on how he won the match.
Justin later explained that there is a lot more to boxing than just the fight. It's the strategy that wins the match. He watched his opponent and believing that Brazeau would come on strong in the match but play out quickly, Trudeau planned his pathway to a win. Then he spent a hard 6 months practicing his skills in the ring but also focusing strongly on his endurance training so he would be able to outlast his opponent.
The After Fight Press Conference
Study the Situation, Strategize, Fight to Win
I watched the news after the fight and throughout the weeks that followed. Seeing the reactions of the players in this politically charged boxing match had me realizing this was so much more than just a charity event. The comments from both sides of the fence brought me a new found curiosity and respect for the Liberal politician Justin Trudeau.
Justin remained polite but firm in his retaliation of criticisms from the other side, it is a now well recognized trademark characteristic of his when attacked by the opposition. Rather than acknowledge his win the Conservatives spent a lot of time trying to distract from the fact that the match occurred at all. Unfortunately the Conservative's use of distraction ploys was also to become a signature trait of their party. I have now seen the tactic used hundreds of times since then.
This match did serve one purpose, it changed my opinion of Justin. He fights to win and and he has won my respect. He is an opponent who should never be under estimated. He is diplomatic, empathetic, persistent, and resilient. I've watched many times since then as Trudeau studies the situation, strategizes, and then fights to win within the political situation he is encountereding. Which brings me to another principle I use in my life:
- If someone says you won't succeed. Try harder.
Justin Trudeau does just that.
He Won Me Over
I wasn't always a Justin Trudeau supporter nor was I previously even a loyal Liberal voter but I have changed my mind on that. Watching how Justin handles himself in the political situations set out for him I have become increasingly fascinated with the dynamics of politics and the principles of our 23rd Prime Minister of Canada.
My preferences in previous federal and provincial Canadian politics generally varied with each election and the current issues that surrounded them. I tended to look more at the party than the leader itself but that has changed over the past few years as has the global political scene.
The introduction of the Reform party into Canadian politics and their subsequent joining with the federal Conservative Tory party changed the political landscape in Canada completely. It also shifted my vote loyalty a little closer toward the Liberal, NDP, and Green party platforms.
So it was that when Justin Trudeau came on the federal scene I was already leaning a little in the Liberal direction although I must admit that I was certainly not a big fan of his. The images I saw portrayed him as a pampered little rich kid living off daddy's legacy and like many others I was truly not at all impressed with that image of him.
The propaganda coming from the opposition helped to reinforce this viewpoint or at least that was true until this young politician did something so astounding that even I with my skeptical country attitude had to sit up and give credit where it was due. Justin Trudeau had to earn my respect and that was something that he certainly did. I have developed a strong appreciation for the dedication and resilience of Justin Trudeau in his role as Prime Minister of Canada's.
© 2019 Lorelei Cohen