by Tom Henihan
Was it the spoiled, rich prince, the fussy schoolteacher or the nightclub bouncer; which former personification of Justin Trudeau came to the fore and betrayed the prime minister’s sunny ways façade?
Whatever vestige it was that won out over the public persona it offered a glimpse behind the illusion Trudeau spent so much time conjuring up.
It might be prudent to keep in mind that all three scenarios mentioned above, all roles Trudeau has played in real life, are of someone who gets his own way; by privilege, by authority, or by force.
Trudeau has an aptitude for the glamorous side of the job, the world travel, being feted and celebrated, hob knobbing with government leaders and heads of state.
However, for his ways to remain sunny he apparently needs to see his will prevail.
When doing the heavy lifting side of the job in the House of Commons, he appears inconvenienced by the process, petulant at having his agenda stalled and almost dismissive of those who challenge his point of view.
As a public speaker, Justin Trudeau sounds boyish, like a teenager on a debating team spieling off his talking points, convinced of their aptness and cleverness but demonstrating little evidence of moral traction in the timbre of his voice.
While the media has touted his charisma and social facility, so much of his cache comes from neither style nor substance but, much like Obama in the early days of his tenure, from the high expectations and goodwill of others.
There is nothing wrong with a prime minister riding a wave of goodwill at the beginning of his tenure. In fact, it provides an interesting study as to how an individual behaves when trust and generosity of spirit comes their way.
Some may find a sense of mission in trying to fulfill those expectations and deserve that support, while others might assume that they are already entitled and arrogantly squander and abuse that trust and goodwill.
It is still early days for Trudeau and one tantrum is certainly not enough to draw any absolute conclusions but any subsequent outbursts will be seen as a trend and will almost certainly diminish his standing.
Trudeau’s lack of decorum was unacceptable in the House of Commons, as it should be unacceptable in any house on any street.
Forcefully manhandling anyone is a demeaning and serious trespass that should not be minimized but it should also be kept in proportion and not bring the world to a complete standstill.
Keeping things in proportion is always helpful and on that score the response from the NDP and the Conservatives to Trudeau’s outburst also deserves censure.
The extremes of righteous indignation in trying to inflate a misdemeanor into an indictable crime were in many ways as great a transgression as the incident itself.
Of course, any show of righteous indignation could be more accurately termed as self-righteous indignation.
Typically, it provides an opportunity to spread one’s impeccable moral plumage to great fanfare by doing nothing other than exaggerating the shortcomings of others.
In this instance it was also poor strategy as the most eloquent means of condemning Trudeau’s behaviour is to let it speak for itself.