What to Make of Justin Trudeau

Updated on August 10, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

Honestly, Justin Trudeau Confuses Me

I am probably more Liberal than I realize, but in saying that, I seriously don't know what to make of Justin Trudeau.

I have a hard time taking him seriously as a prime minister, but then, based on the decisions so many political leaders make, I have a hard time taking many politicians seriously. That being said, there's also politicians who scare the pants off me...hello, Donald Trump?

I think what it is with Justin Trudeau is he's been made out as more of a swoon-worthy figure in the media than anything else. More often than not, those in North American society are hearing about his hair, his smile, and lately, the fact that he photobombed a wedding in Tofino, British Columbia shirtless.

I remember a similar fuss being made of Vladimir Putin when a series of photos of him riding a horse while shirtless surfaced, but Putin is taken very seriously as a world leader, though there are many who are quite concerned about what he may or may not do (rightfully so, but we're not talking about Russia today).

Justin Trudeau has been in office for nine months, and while we hear from him when tragedy strikes, such as the senseless slaughter of police officers in Dallas in early July, or when there is something to celebrate, such as when Penny Oleksiak snagged Olympic silver in the Rio pool at just 16 years old August 7, there's not much he's really done that garners him notice on a political front.

I'm told he's delivered on a good deal of his election promises, which is great, and he was the first sitting Canadian prime minister to march in both Toronto and Vancouver Pride. He's delivered some interesting legislation, such as the revamped child tax credits and the bill regarding transgender rights, where transgender individuals were promised protection under the Canadian Human Rights Code.

But internationally, he seems more known for his good looks than his policies.

American magazine Mic called a shirtless Justin Trudeau "one of Canada's most prized national treasures," and the story was led by an obviously-Photoshopped image of Justin Trudeau, shirtless, riding a moose. Earlier this summer, a family caught up with the Canadian prime minister, once again shirtless, hiking with his family in Gatineau Park. The photo went viral throughout the Twitterverse.

The fun poking doesn't stop there, though; NDTV (New Delhi Television) ran an Associated Press story about a shirtless Justin Trudeau, who was taking a break from surfing, photobombing a beach wedding, as did the South China Morning Post. The Associated Press piece that both websites ran also noted that Justin Trudeau is one of the few Canadian politicians actually recognized in America, likely due in some part to his friendly relationship to current United States president Barack Obama.

Sure, it's not unusual for politicians to undergo a bit of a scathing by the press, but Trudeau is one of the first Canadian politicians to be discussed with increasing regularity about how handsome he is. He and his equally photogenic wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau made a splash shortly after Justin Trudeau was elected as Canada's 43rd prime minister because they became the first Canadian couple - that is, the first PM and his wife - to be featured on the cover of Vogue.

The coverage about Justin Trudeau's varying states of dress and his good looks reminds me in some respects about the fuss made over President Obama's appearances on late night television. For me, and perhaps for other Canadians, the question becomes how seriously can we take a leader who is better known for his good looks and his shirtlessness than he is for his participation on the international stage?

Justin Trudeau is Good with Kids


Justin Trudeau Does Attend Meetings and is Allowed a Holiday

I'm not saying that Justin Trudeau has no right to down time. Far from it.

I just have a problem with the media making more of a big deal over his good looks than is necessary. I get that Trudeau is charismatic - it's something that appears to run in the Trudeau family, which is probably why his father Pierre was successfully also voted into office a few times. The media just doesn't appear to grab onto Justin Trudeau's ideologies and participation on the world stage the way they do his good looks, and that could spell trouble for Canada being able to be taken seriously as a nation.

It does not help that Justin Trudeau's relationship with President Obama was described as a "bromance" and that his meeting with both the United States president and the President of Mexico was captioned with headings like "The Three Amigos Summit." It's hard to take a leader seriously with language like that.

I am also not saying that someone who is unattractive should be voted in so that we as a society can focus on the job he or she is doing. Let's face it; society as a whole tends to look more at someone who is charismatic and a little attractive more so than they do people they deem unattractive. How, though, can Canada be taken seriously on the world stage when the international media has a field day every time Justin Trudeau steps into the public eye and the media goes nuts about how he's in great shape, or how he's shirtless, or anything along those lines?

Even at Halloween, the Canadian media, at the very least, was eating up images of Trudeau and his family dressed in Star Wars costumes. That's awesome that he's trying to give his three little ones a life that many Canadian families are able to enjoy, with excursions for Halloween and so forth, but images like that about Trudeau abounded for some time after Halloween, clouding anything he may have done after the fact.

Have we become a society so blinded by someone's appearance that we've forgotten to focus on the things that matter? The skills and ideas that someone brings to the table, rather than the looks, or lack thereof? We've even focused on appearance during the United States presidential campaigns, especially when it comes to Donald Trump's hair or how attractive Melania is - or how old Hillary Clinton might seem.

I get that we like to distract ourselves with the "pretty factor" and that glitzy, colorful wrapping is a big deal, but we also need to look at the heart of things and determine what really matters.

Looking at what our politicians do, rather than how "hot" they are, seems more important.

The Three Amigos


Promises Justin Trudeau Has Kept - per Huffington Post Canada

  • A more open, accessible style of governance, working with provincial and municipal leaders and striking a less adversarial tone.
  • A cabinet with as many women as men.
  • A 20.5 per cent income tax rate for Canadians earning between $45,282 and $90,563, down from 22 per cent.
  • A new 33 per cent tax bracket on income of more than $200,000.
  • Restore the mandatory long-form census.
  • Unmuzzle scientists.
  • An arm's-length advisory body to recommend merit-based nominees for the Senate.
  • Withdraw Canadian fighter jets from Syria and Iraq. Trudeau said the jets will be coming home by Feb. 22 while the government beefs up humanitarian aid and military support to train Iraqi ground forces.
  • Improve access to and reduce the cost of prescription drugs. The federal government has joined the provinces in a cheaper bulk-buying scheme.

Huffington Post Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Oath of Office


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