A lot of people like to mock Prime Minister Justin Trudeau because his only “real world” job experience before going into politics was his brief stint working as a “drama” teacher.
And yes, I guess that is kind of funny.
Yet, despite its clear funniness, I’d argue that Trudeau’s background in theatrical drama has actually served him admirably, especially in the recent controversy surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline.
After all, if you’ve watched the prime minister on the news lately, you’d swear to God that he truly supports the idea of ramming an oil pipeline through an army of green protesters.
And who knows, maybe he does.
But I think he’s just acting.
I think, in his heart of hearts, the prime minister actually hates oil, he hates oil-carrying pipelines, and indeed, he hates all economic activities that in any way involve oil or oil-related products.
In fact, I’d go further and suggest that if Trudeau wasn’t Canada’s prime minister, that if he was simply “Justin Trudeau drama teacher”, he’d be standing (stripped to the waist, so as to show off his Haida tattoo) arm-in-arm with Green Party leader Elizabeth May, somewhere deep in a British Columbia forest, protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline’s construction by dramatically daring a bulldozer to run him over.
That’s why it must truly stick in Trudeau’s “Sunny ways” craw to publicly come out in favor of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
So why does he do it? Why does he act like he wants to transport messy, gooey Alberta oil through BC’s pristine environment?
Well, the usual answer to that question would be “It’s just politics.”
Basically, national leaders need to come across like they want to protect the economic well-being of their country, even if that means doing things they might personally oppose.
And maybe that partly explains Trudeau’s pro-Trans Mountain pipeline stance.
Maybe, in other words, he doesn’t want to follow the lead of his father, Pierre, who is still hated for nearly destroying Alberta’s economy with the socialist monstrosity known as the National Energy Program.
So unlike his dad, Justin Trudeau is being more careful: if Alberta’s economy is ruined due to a lack of pipelines, people will blame the anti-pipeline guy, BC Premier John Horgan, and not him.
But I think there’s more to Trudeau’s pipeline stance than mere cynical political calculation.
What I mean is, I get the sense — and this brings us back to his theatrical background – that Trudeau is doing what he’s doing simply because he loves all the drama.
And yes, this Trans mountain pipeline dispute is brimming with all sort of dramatic suspense: Will the pipeline get built or not?; will Elizabeth May go to jail?; will Alberta invade British Columbia?; will Kinder eventually abandon Morgan?
Meanwhile, the star of the pipeline show is Trudeau himself.
All eyes in the country are on him as he seeks to defuse the seemingly undefusable pipeline conflict.
And Trudeau is making the most of the spotlight.
First off, he’s dragging out the conflict for as long as possible, probably just to build up the excitement.
Plus, he pulled off a dramatic Deus ex machina kind of gesture when he flew in from far off Peru, to hold an “emergency” Sunday meeting with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and BC Premier Horgan.
Then, once that meeting was over, Trudeau jetted off to Europe for a series of fun photo ops, knowing full well the pipeline tension he left behind would continue to escalate.
The final act, of course, will come when the conflict is at last resolved. (This will happen after the federal government inevitably agrees to drown either the BC NDP government or Kinder Morgan in a sea of tax dollars).
At any rate, when it’s all done, the media, on cue, will heap effusive praise on Trudeau’s wise leadership.
As a matter of fact, I can picture a Toronto Star headline along the lines of “Great and glorious Trudeau Saves Canada with Brilliant Oil Pipeline Plan!!!”
So yes, for Trudeau this dramatic play will end with applause.
And all he has to do is pretend he likes one oil pipeline.
For a former drama teacher, that’s easy peasy.
The only way to defeat bad ideas is with better ideas.
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