The October 19th federal election results changed the game and face of the country. To Justin Trudeau’s credit he’s bending over backwards to keep his election promises?even when conventional wisdom says slow down as in the case of Syrian refugee resettlement. Even when the promises should never have been made in the first place, some will argue.
The previous government has been described as inaccessible, mean-spirited, and fear mongering. Change, it seems was inevitable. I believe that when the Stephen Harper story is written, history will be kind. Certainly kinder than the rhetoric that characterized the days before and after the election.
Some of the Liberals? quick, cheap, and easy changes have attracted positive attention and hit the reset button. Trudeau’s pedigree and GQ cover look have attracted a lot of attention at home and during the flurry of international meetings. The frenzy in Manila could have just as easily been for that other Justin (Bieber).
Any self-respecting personal development guru will tell you that changing our messaging, belief system, and intentions will change our results. But if we announce our new mindset to the brother-in-law, the boss, and the banker, we’re likely to be ridiculed. What you do in the privacy of your own head is your own business.
If You’re the young, perhaps shallow new prime minister your pronouncements are subject to even more widespread mockery. It can’t all be chalked up to a cynical media. He’s taking a huge risk. It’s too soon to say if this is sincere and brilliant or political suicide proving forever that he is a lightweight.
I admit to more than a few eye rolls. Sunnier ways, really? All the gestures: hand over heart, praying hands, bowed head. The cynic in me cringes. It seems so calculated and bogus and superficial and Hollywood.
I thought it was just me. Then a mere two days after the election the National Post did an “Emoter’s Guide to the New Trudeau” piece. They included the Hand on Heart, Prayer Hands, Selfie Reach, Baby Tricks, Ol? Shoulder Touch, and Lots More PDA. All the kissy, kissy face with wife Sophie after forehead touching and hands over hearts or alternately prayer hands is more than I can take. Is there any place for the head touch, him looking lovingly, her with eyes closed at a Remembrance Day parade? Get a room. Apparently Maclean’s magazine counted twenty-two hugs and thirty-two kisses at the swearing in ceremony of the new cabinet.
I also think he’s going to need to reign in his mother. I’ve seen interviews where the notoriously out-spoken Margaret Trudeau seems to be blurting out things that aren’t hers to reveal.
We may get used to and forgive the theatrics if Trudeau makes changes that really improve the life of Canadians. But if things so sideways, he’s likely to become a laughing stock. His response to the Paris massacre already shortened the honeymoon. Hugs and selfies will only go so far, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.