LEVANT: Trudeau two-step

ez jt.jpg

Last Wednesday, Justin Trudeau gave a speech to an Aboriginal school in Manitoba.

There are a lot of things a political leader could say to Indian children in Canada — and coming from someone with the celebrity cachet of Trudeau, it could serve as an inspiration.

The importance of staying in school; stories of successful Aboriginal role models who have made a difference in Canadian political life. Maybe a personal anecdote of overcoming adversity, though coming from a rich, trust-fund kid like Trudeau, that might be a bit tough to swallow.

Still, you’d think Trudeau would have his cliches down pat, given the dozens of school speeches he’s given. Until last year, he charged schools ,000 a pop for the honour of hearing him — an elected MP — speak.

But this time Trudeau chose a different message. He told these Indian kids — on a reserve with chronic issues of drug and alcohol addiction — that he wants to legalize marijuana. A local reporter declared that line received “big applause.” From the students.

Not so much from drug addiction counsellors. Or teachers. Or parents. Or really anyone who lives at the Sioux Valley First Nation 365 days a year, not just a celebrity who breezes through for a few hours with his entourage.

Trudeau has styled himself as a youth role model, who is all about being cool. And he uses that form of peer pressure to tell school kids pot shouldn’t be illegal.

It’s terrible judgment. And it’s downright bizarre, given the lifelong struggle his own mother, Margaret Trudeau, has had with marijuana.

She told the Vancouver Sun that using pot pushed her into mental illness. “Marijuana can trigger psychosis,” she said. “Every time I was hospitalized it was preceded by heavy use of marijuana. I miss it. It is a daily struggle. If it’s around, I just don’t stay around.”

And now comes Margaret’s son, winning cheers from children at risk, with his plans for pot.

This wasn’t a gaffe. A gaffe implies a mistake. This wasn’t a mistake.

Trudeau just won’t shut up about pot. He brings it up constantly; and when others bring it up, he dives in deeply — even if he’s in front of children. He laughs off his own use of pot — once saying his coffee habits are more scandalous.

But of course, this is just the first half of any Trudeau story — the blunder. The second half is the Media Party cover-up.

Not a lot of media reported on Trudeau’s pot comments. That’s the first line of defence the Media Party runs for Trudeau — simply ignoring his mistakes, like most did when Trudeau told some Toronto society ladies he admires China’s “basic dictatorship.”

But Justice Minister Peter MacKay made a public statement about Trudeau’s pot campaign.

“To discuss this subject matter in front of children, some of them pre-teens, about his proposal to legalize marijuana, I find just appalling,” he said.

So the story couldn’t be ignored anymore. So it had to be spun.

Enter the Canadian Press, a national newswire service with a track record of covering for Trudeau. It wrote about the story.

What do you think their headline was? Maybe, “Trudeau promotes pot at school, MacKay criticizes?” Or, “MacKay and Trudeau spar over pot?” No. Here’s the actual headline that appeared in media across Canada: “MacKay Spouts Off as Justice Ministers Meet.”

Here’s the first sentence in the story: “Lack of legal aid, overcrowded courts and victims rights are all serious issues facing Canada’s justice system, but Justice Minister Peter MacKay upstaged those troubles Thursday with a tirade against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.”

No mention of pot in the headline or first sentence. No mention of minor children in an at-risk community.

And Trudeau isn’t the instigator — he’s the victim of MacKay’s “tirade.” MacKay shouldn’t even be talking about this. Not when there are “serious issues” he should be talking about instead.

It’s the Trudeau Two-Step. Trudeau blunders and the Media Party covers for him. You’ll see it a lot in the next two years.

This column was written for Sun News November 17 2013.

Ezra Levant

Leave a Response