03.29.2016 08:02 AM

Who is Justin Trudeau?

Damned if I know.  Lawrence Martin takes a stab at answering the question, here.  It’s a really good piece, but I found the very last sentence bewildering.  It’s like he didn’t know how to end it, and just tacked it on.

Anyway. When my Dad died, twelve years ago this Spring, Justin Trudeau – who I didn’t really know – reached out to me, and gave me some good advice that I followed.  He sent beautiful flowers to the church, and was very kind.  He was a regular reader of this web site, it turned out.

(Stephen Harper,  by the way, was similarly kind, calling me and my mother to offer condolences and support.)

How does any of this matter? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe it was just politicians being political.

But in Trudeau’s case, however – and particularly in light of some recent experiences I’ve had with the man – I actually think he isn’t (per Martin) an open book, at all.  I actually think he is even more of a mystery than I had previously considered.

Being enigmatic – being a riddle – sometimes works to your political advantage (cf. his father) and sometimes it doesn’t (cf. Richard Nixon).  It depends.

We will all see how it works out for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the fullness of time.  But, increasingly, my suspicion is that the selfies – the Twitter, the Instagram, all of that – are a deliberate distraction, a sleight of hand, designed to distract us from…what?

I actually don’t know, which may be the point.





  1. Richard says:

    I wonder how much of the social media stuff is a lingering connection he has from his Katimavik days. He references his time there quite a bit in his book, Common Ground, and I think that experience helped him connect with younger generations in a fashion that most politicos simply don’t have and even fewer understand. Though Trudeau himself is in his mid-40’s now he still has those senses for reaching out to the under-30 crowd that is all too often given little attention because outside of the youth wings of the parties they rarely vote. He energized that demographic in the election.

  2. M5slib says:

    I don’t think the social media stuff is that complicated. Thinking about the subsequent post you wrote about political advertising, he has an advantage that people are drawn to him through these media, and he capitalizes by accessing people directly without much of a financial cost. It’s a combination of him being able to do it via his personality and appeal and others not having figured out how to capitalize on this new reality as well as he does.

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Instinct makes for a good leader. Sound judgment, for an even better one.

  4. ABB says:

    Very revealing comments, Warren. The enigma could be very very deep and dark. In time (and following a few political crises on the national stage) will reveal all. Some of it has been hinted at, regarding marriage stresses and the rumours of al alleged mistress.

  5. dean sherratt says:

    The last paragraph is bewildering…I once wrote something like that…paused, shook my head and decided I had a keen grasp of the oblivious…

    As for the article, it wasn’t what I would describe as a critical piece and to that extent was half-hearted in exploring who Justin Trudeau actually is. But I’m not a fan of Lawrence Martin in any event.

  6. John from Missasauga says:

    But then again the selfies – the Twitter, the Instagram, all of that ,might just be all there is !

  7. Jean A Paterson says:

    About those selfies, my impression is that they started out as a way to humour JTs friends and fans as a light hearted joke, but then became a demand or expectation upon him. I hope this fades because it is a bit out of place now for a PM and it must make his bodyguards cringe. If he refused a selfie now, that would be a headline on all the Postmedia owned news media. He would be accused of arrogance.
    My hope is that the PM keeps well-informed people advising him, and that he keeps listening.

  8. David Law says:

    What I take from the bewildering last sentence is that JT is probably deeper than Lawrence Martin. In fact, most of the piece suggests that.

  9. David Law says:

    What I take from the bewildering last sentence – the whole piece in fact – is that JT is deeper than Lawrence Martin.

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