Categories: AnalysisCanadian NewsOpinionPolitics

Trudeau Earns a Degree in Pandering

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just loves to shine on the world stage.

But sometimes I wonder, if perhaps, he spends too much time and energy polishing up that shine.

I especially wondered this after Trudeau delivered his well-publicized speech to the graduating students of New York University.

And what a speech it was.

Packed with the latest in trendy progressive buzzwords and brimming with energetic, enthusiastic, exuberance, it was a vintage Trudeau performance, a performance, by the way, which earned the prime minister both praise and scorn.

But what interested me about Trudeau’s NYU speech, wasn’t what he said, but to whom he said it.

And let’s be honest here, his real audience wasn’t a bunch of graduating students; it was America’s media and cultural elites.

Simply put, Trudeau’s aim with that speech was to show CNN that he embodies everything that is anti-Trump.

I’d even argue that positioning himself as an anti-Trump leader, has been Trudeau’s main communications goal ever since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency.

And it’s easy to see why.

It’s no secret that America’s (and Europe’s) establishment detest Trump’s right-wing, protectionist, “America First” agenda, not to mention his general boorish behaviour, so it stands to reason that any leader who can reliably promote a pro-globalist, pro-establishment, progressive outlook, will win heaps of international praise.

Trudeau wants to that leader.

He wants the international media to fawn over him, he wants Hollywood celebrities to praise him, he wants other leaders to revere him.

In short, he wants the rest of the world to treat him the same way he’s treated by the CBC.

And he was getting that sort of adoration, until that is, the anti-Trump international media adopted a new favorite leader: French President Emmanuel Macron.

The media loves Macron because he offers them everything Trudeau offers; he’s pro-globalist; he’s photogenic, he’s youngish.

Plus, he brings something to the table Trudeau doesn’t: intellectual gravitas.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting here that Trudeau is stupid, but let’s face it, no one will ever confuse him with a chess master, or for that matter with a Parcheesi master. (Note to CBC: that was just a joke, in no way did I intend, a la Jason Kenney, to commit heresy by questioning the intellectual prowess of our Great and Glorious Leader.)

Also, Trudeau’s reputation as a serious politician recently took a hit, due to the hilarity of his invented word “peoplekind” and due to his trip to India, which causes anyone who thinks of it to come down with a serious case of the giggles.

Of course, this is why the Liberals were probably ecstatic when NYU decided to grant Trudeau an honorary degree.

Not only would it give Trudeau a chance to burnish his progressive credentials, but the academic regalia, along with the degree, would bestow upon him the aura of a highbrow intellect.

Take that smarty pants Macron!

No doubt the Liberal brain trust assumed, that like the Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow, Trudeau, after getting his degree, would immediately point to his forehead and say something smart-sounding like: “The teachings of Aristotelian metaphysics, combined with Marx’s warnings about dialectical materialism behooves us to be cognizant of postmodern paradigms.”

Anyway, it’s easy to see why all this matters so much to Trudeau. Who wouldn’t want to be the toast of the world establishment?

Yet, Trudeau and his team should take care.

If they spend too much time pandering to the world’s elites, they might forget about the voters back home.

And the voters back home care about more the price of gasoline than they do about progressive buzz words or academic degrees.

Gerry Nicholls

A regular guest on CTV's power play, Gerry is a seasoned professional with consulting experience. Gerry has helped politicians, business people, advocacy groups and non-profit organizations achieve effective and winning communications strategies. Being hailed as a "brilliant strategist" by campaign managers, Gerry publishes analytical pieces on political analyses and strategic communications. On top of this, Gerry has experience in both the US as well as Canada with media analytics and consultation. Gerry has published articles for other large networks such as: The Ottawa Hill Times, the Globe and Mail, The National Post and the Toronto Star.

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