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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FELDSTED -- Depending on the venue, we see the feminist, champion of the downtrodden, ardent environmentalist, champion of the middle class, protector of private sector jobs; the list goes on

Revelations that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dressed in costume and dark makeup on several occasions have turned into a storm of controversy over implied racism -- as if that is the sole factor of the PM’s behaviour under consideration.

It is only one aspect of much deeper problems.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Trudeau has apologized profusely and repeatedly. He has stated that he was unaware of the harm his actions involved, and that his privileged upbringing has left him with blind spots, that allowed him to act thoughtlessly without consideration of the consequences and he is ashamed.

Trudeau lacks a moral compass and thus fails to differentiate between right and wrong. He does not recognize personal responsibility which makes his claims of being ashamed and embarrassed by his racism ring hollow.

While he claims to accept responsibility for his various missteps, he does not follow through with action to ensure missteps will not be repeated.

His 2015 election campaign quip that “the budget will balance itself” turns out to be strikingly prophetic. Without a moral compass, and a sense of personal responsibility, he honestly believes that the mundane matters of sound public administration are self-regulating.

How else can he explain his failure to recognize accepting a vacation on the Aga Khan’s private island, while his government was engaged in dealing with the Khan’s charities, was unethical. His initial explanation was that the Aga Khan was a family friend and so consorting with him was normal and usual.

He could not comprehend the conflict of interest.

For the same reason, Trudeau could not understand that helping SNC-Lavalin to escape prosecution for violating bribery laws called his character into question. He could not appreciate that pressuring the Attorney General to give SNC-Lavalin a break was both unethical and unlawful. He was blind to the severe fallout from his actions. 

It helps to understand that Justin Trudeau is an actor. He relishes role play and is adept at it. That leads to his love of costumes and make-up. He shifts his character to suite the environment he is in.

Contrast his behaviour when he attends a pride parade to that he adopts when visiting a major industrial plant, or when he is dealing with a town hall type of event.

Three different venues, three different characters. Depending on the venue, we see Trudeau the feminist, champion of the downtrodden, ardent environmentalist, champion of the middle class, protector of private sector jobs, and the list goes on.

What we don’t see is a coherent link between the roles, a sense of fairness and equality, a strong sense of right and wrong or an awareness that economic and social issues are closely intertwined and interdependent.

His failure to pay close attention to the basics is unacceptable. Everyone must ensure that the basics; food, shelter, clothing, health and education are funded, protected and sustainable over the long term. We put our needs first and consider filling our wants as we can afford them.

Governments must ensure that the basic services they provide are funded for the long term and protected against the unforeseen. It is dreary, mundane, expected and unworthy of accolades but vital to good governance.

Justin Trudeau has consistently ignored his government’s fundamental responsibilities in favour of new concepts, programs and initiatives. His focus on appointing a gender balanced cabinet rather than appointing the most competent people available “because it is 2015” is not responsible leadership.

Without the ethical and personal responsibility standards and values adopted by our society, he is not capable of empathy with the people his government serves. Those standards and values are key to the development of a compassionate, fair and free society.

We cannot trash the tried and true and reinvent a society with different standards and values. We learn from mistakes and evolve over time. It is not a process that can be forced except in a totalitarian regime.      

Trudeau has never had to concern himself with having to curtail spending to ensure the basics are met. He has always enjoyed sufficient income and resources to live worry free which leaves him blind to the fundamentals of sound public administration.

That does not make Trudeau a bad person, but it makes him woefully ill-suited and inadequate to manage the duties of a Prime Minister and leader of our nation.

The Way I See It ~~ John Feldsted
Political Commentator, Consultant & Strategist
Winnipeg, Manitoba


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