Categories for Musings

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

Coronavirus claims a Canadian victim

…for a joke.  A joke.

It may have been a bit too soon, or too edgy, or whatever.  That’s fair.  But to destroy an award-winning journalist’s entire career over it?

Full disclosure: Peter Akman is a former neighbour our of mine.  He is a great guy with a great family.  I am rumoured to know a thing or two about racism, and I can assure everyone: Peter is not even remotely racist.

But CTV has fired him. For a lame tweeted joke.

You know, CTV: the network that has permitted Jess Allen to remain employed on their network – after Allen said that those who play hockey are “white boys…who weren’t, let’s say, very nice.”  And: “They were not generally thoughtful, they were often bullies.”

Yes, CTV.  The network that promotes, funds and airs Canada’s Walk of Fame – which couldn’t find one non-white inductee in 2019 – and which had only one (1) token woman.

CTV and Bell Media, who this week were telling us all about the importance of understanding and forgiveness, have frankly acted like thugs, here.  And their hypocrisy, it seems, is bottomless.

Bring Peter back.

Bell Let’s Talk Twitter thread: the response

My tweeted thread on the Bell Let’s Talk day got a big response. The thread is here.

Below is a sampling of some of the comments I received, with names and identifying information removed.  I was blown away by what came back at me.

There are many, many people in pain out there.  But their courage and honesty and determination to move forward is simply incredible.

(And, to those who said I was brave, I respectfully disagree.  I just said the truth – my truth, I guess. It was easy to do.  The really brave people are the ones still out there, struggling with mental health challenges all on their own.  If you need help, or just want to talk, DM me on Twitter anytime. I’m not a professional, but I will do what I can.)

  • Thank you Warren. A while back, over the holidays, you tweeted that if we needed someone to talk to, we could DM you. Just wanted to say thank you for that. While I havent reached out, that tweet helped more than you will ever know.

  • Thanks @kinsellawarren for sharing. It’s not easy admitting you’re vulnerable and not invincible.

  • Powerful thread here. Brought tears to my eyes, I’ve been hiding in silence and it isn’t working. Step 3 says no drinking but let’s have a beer some time.

  • There are times the thing @kinsellawarren writes can make me stabby [sic]. Not this time. Open, honest, even a little bit raw, but it might just help someone out there and is worth the read.

  • Everything this guy has shared is so true and so normal and so common. Please pay attention to @kinsellawarren. When my Mom was 60, she tried to kill herself. It was a long (talking) road back for her & me. But she made it!

  • Warren, you need to know how much this is helping so many people right now, including myself. You are a good man.

  • Thanks for sharing your story.  We admire your courage.

  • A beautiful honest post, thanks for sharing many will take comfort in your words.

  • Glad you mentioned diet, exercise, sleep, etc. FWIW, my psychiatrist wife and I did a book on those and other concrete steps to take, especially if (at least at first) you aren’t getting the help you ask for

  • Thanks for sharing. I’m finding more and more we all have our devils to fight and deal with. Some more successful than others. Showing a little real empathy towards others goes a long way towards dealing with them. But sometimes we need Professional help.

  • Such great advice, broken down in manageable sips. Thank you for sharing. We can kick thru darkness…. with support, using our own strength, and by attending to our own wellness.

  • Thanks for sharing your “Let’s Talk” tale. That’s very brave. Let me add that no one needs to share their issues on social media. Ask your family doctor to recommend a qualified mental health professional to guide you through your trauma.

  • I felt seen. I’d been there, different (personal) darkness… but there. It’s raw and powerful when someone shares the story. It can hurt to share, but if it helps just one person to know they aren’t alone in what they’re feeling, it worked.

  • I am #Sick not Weak. People like you inspire me everyday to never give in to this Thank you SO Much Tears writing this, happy and relief ones not sad ones.

  • Well said. Sleep is such an important to make sure you have enough of! So many great tips! Thank you and take good care of yourself.

  • Warren I’ve had plenty of demons in my time, some of which I still can’t talk about, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your struggle and your story.

  • Your 5 points are excellent ones. The 4th resonates strongest with me. GEM. Gratefullness, Empathy, Meditation. For me, prayer and praise is most of my meditation. I go to church BECAUSE I’m not perfect… rationally I don’t agree 100%, but personally.

  • I struggled with depression for 3 years. I really found out who my friends were. I am also here if you need a friend!

  • It isn’t easy to make oneself so vulnerable Warren. Thank you, from me and many others, that I am certain. I was diagnosed with PTSD (which surprised me at the time). I had watched my youngest son die after becoming ill…

  • You’re undoubtedly making a difference for many people out there suffering. They now have a plan in hand and a renewed hope.