“The problem isn’t just Trudeau. It’s the backroom boys who bubble wrap their leaders and make them appear as political Barbie dolls. As they stage-managed last weekend’s Liberal convention, Kiev was burning. Yet neither Trudeau nor his handlers thought it opportune to move away from their pre-scripted playbook and utter a few impromptu but coherent thoughts on the tragedy.”
The Toronto Sun
Thanks to the upheaval in Ukraine, the borders of Eastern Europe are likely to change again.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has denounced the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in Kiev as an “armed mutiny” and declared the rule of Interim President Oleksandr Turchinov “illegitimate”.
Sooner or later, Moscow will move to protect its Black Sea fleet anchored in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, now in a hostile Ukraine.
This could well be the start of a new cold war, pitting the might of Vladimir Putin’s Russia against the timidity of the European Union and a feeble America.
And then there’s Canada.
When the map of Eastern Europe does alter, the one person who should not be residing at 24 Sussex Drive is the former drama teacher turned politician, Justin Trudeau.
Here is why: Appearing on a Quebec TV talk show, Trudeau was asked to comment on the situation in Ukraine.
His answer (for which he eventually apologized on Tuesday) was flippant.
“It’s very disconcerting, particularly since Russia lost in hockey during the Olympics — Russia will be in a bad mood…”, the Liberal leader said with a straight face.
The host seemed taken aback by the hockey reference. He asked Trudeau, “Just because of hockey?” The Liberal leader put on a sheepish smile, saying it was his “attempt to bring a little bit of a lighter tone into a situation that is extremely serious.”
If Trudeau wants to be prime minister, he will have to improve more than his sense of humour.
Who will he turn to when he is faced with the reality of a Crimean Republic created by Russia on the Black Sea, or the sight of Russian tanks rolling into the Ukraine’s pro-Russian industrial heartland of Kharkov in the east of the country?
As Max Fisher of the Washington Post wrote, Ukraine’s ethno-linguistic-religious political divisions resembles the “red America”, “blue America” divide in the U.S., but are much deeper.
I doubt if Trudeau understands this complexity.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair dismissed Trudeau’s explanation of his Ukraine comments as unacceptable.
“I fail to see the levity when you have dozens of people shot dead in the street of their own capital. So you don’t make jokes about it,” he said.
Mulcair suggested Trudeau’s words were not an isolated gaffe, but indicative of a pattern.
He mentioned Trudeau’s praise for China’s “basic dictatorship” and comments after the Boston Marathon bloodbath where, instead of denouncing terrorism, Trudeau called for a study of the root causes of it.
While Ukraine’s ambassador, representing the new government in Kiev, demanded an apology from Trudeau, Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney questioned Trudeau’s grasp of world affairs.
He told QMI Agency, “I don’t think he understands the complexities of these issues. I’d be surprised if he could find Kiev on a map.”
The problem isn’t just Trudeau. It’s the backroom boys who bubble wrap their leaders and make them appear as political Barbie dolls.
As they stage-managed last weekend’s Liberal convention, Kiev was burning. Yet neither Trudeau nor his handlers thought it opportune to move away from their pre-scripted playbook and utter a few impromptu but coherent thoughts on the tragedy.
All it took was an earlier, simple question to Trudeau about Ukraine, put to him by the host of the popular Quebec television show Tout le monde en parle, and their whole house of cards collapsed.