, 02.03.2020 07:47 AM

My latest: sad Trudeau

Is Justin Trudeau sad?

He sure looks sad. He looks positively dejected, in fact.

In his few public appearances since the election, Trudeau has radiated none of the boyish charm that was the signature of his first term in office. Gone are the selfies, the costumes, and the maddening preoccupation with social media.

In their place: a grown-up Prime Minister, kind of.

The beard, the flecks of grey, the downcast eyes: all of it combines to give the Liberal leader the gravitas that he has lacked for far too long. He may be ineffably sad, but the sadness sits well on him.

Plenty of folks have similarly been struck by how changed Trudeau now seems to be. And – ironically, and whatever is the cause – that it has matured Trudeau.

It may sound a bit like Kremlinology, but it can’t be denied that Justin Trudeau is different, now. Even his detractors say so.

One of his biographers, the CBC’s Aaron Wherry, has observed that Trudeau is showing more introspection, and more humility, than ever before. He seems “less youthful,” declared The Economist.

“Humble,” agreed someone at the Toronto Star. “Sombre,” they said. Even card-carrying Trudeau critic Rex Murphy has acknowledged it: “There has been a change in his manner since the election.”

Now, it’s not as if Trudeau lacks justification. Raging wildfires in Australia, dozens of Canadians killed by Iranian missiles, crippling weather, an impeached and distracted president, climate change and economic uncertainty, a coronavirus global emergency: 2020, the experts agree, has deeply sucked, and it is only days old. There is little about which any Prime Minister can celebrate.

But there’s something else at work here – something that is not easily attributable to 2020’s bleak headlines. More than current events explains the change in Justin James Pierre Trudeau, PC, QC.

The conservative rageaholics tweet wild speculation about Trudeau’s personal life. All of it is fair game, to them. And all of it is is mean and lacking in proof.

The answer, like so many things in politics, may be hiding in plain view. It’s not a mystery.

Justin Trudeau is downcast – humble, sombre, older, changed, and all of the things the commentariat say he is – because he lost the election.

Because, you know, he sort of did. Everyone, including his opponents – particularly the Tories, who selected Andrew Scheer because they thought he’d be a reasonable placeholder leader, until someone better came along – believed Trudeau was preordained a second Parliamentary majority. It was his birthright.

And he didn’t get one.

Blackface, LavScam, Aga Klan, GropeGate, deficits, the Griswolds Go To India: all of it came together to bring Justin Trudeau down Earth. And at the worst possible time, too. An election.

It can’t be denied, of course, that Scheer and his campaign manager ran one of the worst election efforts in recent memory. Jagmeet Singh lost half his caucus. Elizabeth May could only add a single, solitary seat to what she had.

Trudeau did poorly in the 2019 federal general election, bien sur. But he knows he is only Prime Minister because his adversaries did a lot worse.

So, he’s sad. He looks humbled. He’s seemingly older.

Canadians like it. An Abacus poll conducted a few days ago concluded that “a clear majority see him doing an acceptable or better job.” His party is more popular than it was, and Trudeau’s negatives – while still a bigger number than his positives – are shrinking.

We don’t know why you’re so sad, Justin Trudeau.

But we’re kind of happy about it


  1. Leasa Janssen says:

    Yes. Yes and yes, but… Do you really think it was mean of people to speculate about the state of Trudeau’s marriage? Of course when they use harsh derogatory terms or outright personally insult his wife it wrong obviously, but we must remember that Ms. Sophie thrust herself into the spotlight in a way that made her look so needy for attention. The MLK song, the longing looks into her husband’s eyes and constant touching even at Trudeau’s first memorial service. And then the nanny thing, then the I need a team thing (btw are we paying for a team and what are we getting for it?). For the first few years she was everywhere he was, hanging off of his arm. Then over the last 18 months, she’s completely gone to the point of separate vacations. I do believe spouses and children are out of bounds, unless the spouses put themselves out there. And she did that all by herself. Leasa

    • Warren says:

      Family is out of bounds. When those bastards at CBC decided to put my marital breakup in a story about the election, was that okay? I can assure you it fucking well wasn’t.

      • Paige says:

        generally I would agree that family should be off limits. But… it has to be off limits to both sides. When a politician drags their family out for a photo op, they have broken the seal and cannot expect their opposition to sit back.

  2. PJH says:

    The electorate gave his father a spanking his second time out as well. He was rewarded with a majority gov’t the third time out, however, and unless the Conservative Party gets its act together, Justin Trudeau will achieve the same. History does indeed repeat itself.

    • Michael says:

      The CPC is set to choose their own Michael Ignatieff as leader.

      • PJH says:

        If you are talking about Peter MacKay….I’ve met both men, very briefly….Mr. MacKay was personable, warm and engaging. Ignatieff was aloof, and awkward when dealing with the great unwashed like me. Ignatieff was obviously highly intelligent, but had all the political acumen of a newt, and the personality of one to go with it. Mr. MacKay aint no Yale scholar, but neither is our current PM. Mr MacKay has the likeability factor, and he’d have the political smarts to have a beer in hand instead of a glass of Bordeaux ala Iggy when photo op’d watching the Stanley Cup playoffs…..

  3. Steve says:

    I just don’t think our costume donning, blackface wearing, virtue signalling, focus group approved Prime Minister is capable of any kind of introspection. Election night showed that he still thought he was the big win, and his acceptance speech had a “suck it” undertone to it. Even as the gears on the economy are starting to seize up, he continues to assert that their number 1 agenda item is climate change. Meanwhile, no action on fractured national unity that gets more fractured by the day. And don’t forget, old-style “selfie PM” showed himself in Winnipeg a couple weeks ago “buying donuts for the team.” Sure.

    No, Trudeau is playing the next character in his limited acting repertoire. He is incapable of being serious.

  4. Robin says:

    Following the money usually tells an interesting story. Trudeau gave $50 million to Mastercard, and shortly thereafter, Mastercard gave $50 million to George Soros, purportedly to help refugees around the world. Given JT’s track record, I find it difficult to accept this as coincidence.
    If this was the intent, why the subterfuge?

  5. Pamela Ingold says:

    I’m not in politics or the public eye, so I can afford to be cynical. It’s nothing but an act, people: just another performance by a failed drama teacher. Do you really think the guy who behaved so rudely on election night is capable of change overnight? The idea that Canadians are falling for this act is ludicrous.

  6. the real Sean says:

    Of course he’s sad. He has been foolishly placed in a job which everyone knows is wildly above his skill set. Canadians wisely chose someone else by a few hundred thousand votes. The Zoolander train wreck keeps moving along only because of parliamentary niceties. This government has produced a consistent string of failures unparalleled in Canadian history. He should be sad. He should f&*king quit so the Liberal Party can return to normal and get on with things.

  7. Dayton Funk says:

    I’m sad. Many of us are sad. Sad we have had to put up with this moron for this long.

  8. My differences with this government and party are as big as all outdoors — and they go all the way back to India, when I first urged passing a massive vacuum cleaner in the PMO. (Still waiting.)

    But IMHO, as the Americans say, you don’t kick a dog when it’s down. This Prime Minister is not acting — nor faking it — and anyone who truly believes that is either non-sentient, an asshole or both.

    These things happen: Trudeau’s heart is no longer in it, for various reasons, and thus he’ll probably take that walk in the snow before spring. When the job no longer makes you want to roar right into the office pronto, when it becomes an obligation that only weighs you down, then it’s time to go and call it a day. That’s what I expect from this Prime Minister, and no, I don’t plan on gloating. In human terms, it’s way, way, beyond sad.

    • Pamela Ingold says:

      Please don’t label others who disagree with you as “assholes”…

      • Pamela,

        If it was Scheer, Singh, May, or anyone else, who was in a diminished or affected psychological state, no matter the cause, I would still also call it as I see it.

        If you are personally offended by my use of the term, then I apologize to you for not using another more acceptable synonym.

    • RKJ says:

      Hi Ronald, perhaps I am non-sentient, an a–hole or both, but my vote is with the “he’s faking it” group. As his poll #’s go up, his interest and arrogance will increase proportionally. Canadians are looking for a chance to vote liberal. The conservatives have yet to offer a compelling alternative. As well, I doubt he has any “walks in the snow” coming anytime soon. You will note he has appointed Freeland as deputy PM. He’ll use her up and when he feels ready will float back to where he wants to be.

      • Hi RKJ,

        I find your second sentence and onward, to say the very least, intriguing. Your strategic thinking is well gamed out.

        My view has been for a while that this period constitutes the de facto grooming of Freeland for the big job. I doubt the rank and file are thrilled, if I’m right, but there’s nothing they can do about it, for now.

        • And to use a Trumpesque term: was there a quid pro quo when all female cabinet ministers stuck with Trudeau in the wake of JWR, JP and CCC’s departure? Or was it more of a quiet understanding? Interesting.

    • Max says:

      Hmmmm… I’m inclined to think that anyone who uses the term “non-sentient” is an asshole. Am I wrong in that?

      • Max,

        Not necessarily. Your opinion is as valid as mine. But Max, point is, Trudeau is visibly affected since returning to power. IMHO, that means cutting him, or anyone else, in such a position some slack while they get their shit together. That’s my point. You already know what I think of those who quite deliberately go out of their way to pile on.

        I left the LPC and returned to the CPC because of what this PMO did on so many fronts. So, you won’t see me giving this government the benefit of the doubt politically as soon as we find ourselves going into the next campaign. Instead, I will work to defeat it.

    • Fred from BC says:

      I’m with you, Ronald. So far, at least.

      I think Trudeau has been humbled (his government hangs by a thread….how could he not be?). It took a few days after the election, but I do believe that reality has now set in. Yeah, there was the doughnut stunt (and it *was* a stunt, for sure) but that probably wasn’t his idea, and he did handle the Iranian incident fairly well, I thought. We’ll see.

  9. Pedant says:

    It was always creepy seeing a middle aged man trying to be a boy-band teenypopper.

  10. PAM LEVY says:

    I do not for one minute think Trudeau is sad about tragic world events or that he has suddenly matured and become humbled. It is just another act that includes another costume change. This sad act does not make me happy.

  11. Gyor says:

    “the Griswolds Go To India” that made me laugh.

  12. joe says:

    Justin is sad because his cabinet colleagues finally told him that his real job is to be the press spokesperson for the Liberal cabinet, and to get the doughnuts. Jobs for which he seems qualified.

  13. Pamela Ingold says:

    I’m not a Conservative – and my reply was negative.

  14. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    You know, you can be the first to enlighten the rest of us as to why Trudeau is in his present psychological state. How’s about it?

  15. JIM Johnson says:

    I have heard some speculation that Trudeau may be gone by the end of the year and that Freeland or Carney might be their next leader. Freeland appears to be doing a lot of work that Trudeau should be doing.

  16. Fred from BC says:

    “I dare say not one Liberal has commented on this thread.”

    That’s because we can always rely on you to give us the Trudeau fanboy viewpoint, Mike:

    “He’s mature and statesman-like.”

    “He’s bold and courageous!”

    “He’s a feminist and a progressive.”

    “He’s just misunderstood…but soooo dreamy!”

    (etc, etc…)

    We get it. Justin Trudeau could get caught murdering a hooker, beating up a homeless guy or molesting a child, and you would STILL find a way to make excuses for him.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “My actual viewpoint is that compared to Trudeau you are a nobody who’s opinion means nothing to me.”

      And yet you seem irresistibly compelled to respond to my every utterance here. Interesting.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “I believe you did the responding pal. ”

        Wrong again:

        “I’m just responding to this Fred guys blathering.”

        (as I said: irresistibly compelled…)

      • Warren says:

        Guys, enough. No commenter flame wars here. Find your own sandbox if you want to do that. I want your comments on the issues, please. Not each other or me.

  17. Robert White says:

    I commented yesterday but the system deleted it. My comment was supportive of Trudeau and I’m a Liberal adherent too.


  18. Douglas W says:

    PM will continue this charade until the fall.
    Then, calls a snap election.
    Wins 200-plus seats against a hapless Opposition.
    Four more years.

  19. Gilbert says:

    I think the prime minister is no longer enjoying the role of prime minister. I’m not so sure he’ll run in the next election

  20. Douglas W says:

    MacKay has 20 Conservative MPs backing him, so far. Who might they be?

    • Douglas,

      I think it would be a good idea to keep a running tally on the campaign website. After all, perceived momentum is nine-tenths of the leadership law.

      • Douglas W says:

        Ronald, smart idea: a scoresheet on the CPC website, indicating who’s backing who.
        Quite informative.
        Party can run digital ads against the content: LOL

        On a more serious note, intrigued to know who the Quebec MPs are supporting.
        For what it’s worth, Erin O’Toole’s French is decent. Question becomes, does he have any ground game in Quebec?

  21. I was gone for so long (post 2009) so I have absolutely no idea. But we’ll start getting those famous convocation phone calls soon enough, for those of us who haven’t already received them. Then we can see what’s what with our own eyes.

  22. Stephen Sinclair says:

    He’s acting, pure & simple; and not doing a very good job. Nothing has changed in the man except the false gravitas.

  23. Pedro says:

    Humility?!! For Deus sake I sure hope so. One can NEVER have enough of that. That said, his father rarely showed much but I’m sure he had plenty. That’s why he was such a great politician no matter how opposed to most of that which he instituted. I’m keeping an eye on Justin and if you’re correct, I just may have to consider him seriously.

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