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Opinion Oct 16, 2019 12:35 PM EST

Obama was wrong to endorse Trudeau; Trudeau was wrong to accept it

If Trudeau had any care for the integrity of Canadian democracy, he would not recognize this endorsement at all. But Justin Trudeau could not help himself.

Obama was wrong to endorse Trudeau; Trudeau was wrong to accept it
Nico Johnson Montreal, QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Apparently, in Canada, not all foreign interference in our elections is unwelcome. Today, former U.S. President Barack Obama thought it appropriate to endorse Justin Trudeau. If Trudeau had any care for the integrity of Canadian democracy, he would not recognize this endorsement at all. Of course, Justin Trudeau, as always, could not help himself.

All politically-minded Canadians ought to follow this election with care, satisfied that the Government pledged in 2018 to combat foreign interference. This was not just any menial legislation, backed by obscure bureaucrats and tired politicians, but Justin Trudeau’s rallying cry against elite money.

Naturally, when Justin Trudeau sensed his power fading, these indignant shouts became less practical. And so, five years after legislation had been passed denouncing the rich for not paying their “fair share,” Trudeau’s party held a fundraising dinner in New York City to plead with wealthy American-Canadians for donations, breaking a Liberal transparency promise in the process.

This sort of hypocrisy rarely raises eyebrows in Canadian politics nowadays. When Trudeau breaks an ethics code for jetting off to the Aga Khan’s private island, it is our fault for not understanding that he has important friends. Or, when decade-old pictures emerge of a Trudeau in blackface, we should understand that everyone makes mistakes when they are young—not that this applied to a number of Conservatives who have had their careers destroyed through Liberal inspections of their social media.

Justin Trudeau evidently expects his cavalier style of governance to be acceptable for him and him alone. Our Prime Minister may even think it churlish of us not to consider himself above those electoral conventions. Indeed, why should we not let our dear Prime Minister off the grubbiness of minute rules? Why should we not just trust his infallible honesty, now alloyed by the lessons he learned from the blackface, Aga Khan, and SNC-Lavalin scandals?

In press scrums, Trudeau seems surprised that anybody still cares about this corruption. Such is the level of apathy that he has instilled in the voter.

It is rather boring, then, that Trudeau has again overruled conventional democratic practices and has (presumably) requested the support of President Obama. After five years of Trudeau, It is now difficult to become particularly outraged with yet another humiliation of the Canadian government.

That word, humiliation, is entirely fitting for Obama’s entrance into Canadian politics. It is, for example, starkly humiliating that Obama believes he is welcome or even has a right to suggest to us our next leader. In an election that has been a loss of innocence to the Candian public, President Obama’s intervention has been our bleakest moment.

Notwithstanding how patronizing this all is, there are some poignant questions to be considered.

Firstly, if the EU referendum and the French presidential election have proven anything, it is that Obama almost certainly did not praise Trudeau through his own accord. Perhaps Trudeau, who has previously taken a casual approach to this election, has begun to fear the Conservatives. This is especially unusual when taking into account that Trudeau (who has spoken strongly against this sort of thing) is so ready to accept, and indeed encourage Obama’s behaviour.

What does seem strange is that Trudeau would request Obama’s support in the first place. President Obama (who is now on his third endorsement since leaving office) has a rather unfortunate record of supporting doomed campaigns. Take, for instance, the European Referendum in the United Kingdom, where Obama told the British that they would be at the back of a “queue” for a trade deal with his United States. Fortunately, the United States was not his for much longer, and now the United Kingdom is perched happily at the front.

The only way Obama’s intervention will be of any significance this election would be if it provokes President Trump into a bit of one-upmanship, thereby encouraging Trump to endorse Andrew Scheer. If this happens, the PMO will almost certainly belong to Trudeau.

It is, nevertheless, vaguely confusing why Barack Obama would want to advocate for Trudeau at all. Trudeau’s track record of blackface, Nixonian corruption, and the mute pessimism that he fills Canadians with, makes him a dichotomy of the 2008 Obama. Perhaps the 2019 Obama may sympathize with Trudeau: once a great mobilizing figure turned into a symbol of frivolous modernity.

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