Comedy, it turns out, is Justin Trudeau's true passion. He hid it well though. Many of us were convinced he was serious about reconciliation and climate, but now, in an open affront to justice and the future of humanity, Canada's Prime Minister is tossing aside those promises*. It's like we've been punk'd by a veritable Ashton Kutcher protégé.
The pictures of Trudeau on set were perfect. Him standing there, addressing the international crowd in Paris, speaking in line with sound climate science. And his embraces with First Nations leaders at reconciliation announcements were also shining moments, especially for a nation with hundreds of years of "cultural" genocide. Tears were in eyes everywhere. He was compelling, convincing.
Maybe some joke writers sensed what he was doing: creating plausibility and generating genuine hope before crashing his audience back down to reality with the punch-line.
Trudeau, joker extraordinaire
, is now showing us the full ugly underbelly of his twisted, devilish ruse. Instead of shutting down the tar sands, which could be considered a real first step for reconciliation and climate action, he is cheerleading the Energy East pipeline, aka Keystone XL on steroids.
The young whipper-snapper is saying we need fossil fuel extraction to pay our way to a green economy
. Or, to paraphrase the logic, "cooking the planet will generate the resources needed to save it after it's too late", as John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) lays it out. Who knew Trudeau had suck a sick sense of humour?!
For the PM and his friends, the funniest part must be that they're planning to prove they're better at getting pipelines built than Stephen Harper, who didn't give a hoot about climate and didn't get any built. Hilarious, eh?
But lots of people don't see the humour.
At a meeting this week with indigenous leaders to discuss climate, Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam (representing a community in the eye of the tar sands shit-storm) stormed out, saying “I think Canada’s in a crisis and it ain’t going to get any better now. Canada failed terribly, the provinces failed terribly in regards to addressing this [climate] issue,” according to APTN
And from Sheila North Wilson, Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak: "We shouldn’t have to beg for time with the prime minister. We should have time to speak with him on a nation to nation basis that he keeps talking about and we have yet to see that.”
Instead of focusing on nation-to-nation relationships, Trudeau is spending time strategizing with the premiers how to get pipelines built, those same ones that get approved through a process many many many First Nations say is broken.
Trudeau's nation-to-nation promise? 404 Error, File Not Found. He fooled us and now he's dropped the punch-line: other things are way more serious for him, and the nation-to-nation relationship only matters when Canada likes what it's hearing. That's a cruel joke, dude.
An indigenous expression fits here, one used to describe his father and many other white people (probably including my family): "Speaks with forked tongue." It means the person says something nice and fuzzy sounding, but really means something quite different and devious. Maybe Trudeau finds this amusing.
Or maybe, like most of us, he simply doesn't know about the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty at Niagara in 1764 as foundational pieces of the Dominion of Canada
, or about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. There's something funny - in an endearing way - about ignorance, no? Except it's pretty obvious he knows what he's doing. After all, his father and Jean Chretien tried it almost 50 years ago to disastrous effect.
But hey, "Comedy is tragedy plus time"
, right? Maybe generations from now people will look back at how Justin Trudeau tricked us and really ruined a great chance to turn this country around, and they'll laugh a hearty nervous laugh.
He got us good. Real Change? It was an elaborate prank! He's a Harper in buckskin's clothing, holding the crowd captive to his sick and twisted comedy.
*To be completely honest, I think Trudeau as a person, deep down, really wants to see reconciliation and climate action, and is conflicted at the level of the soul. But in his position as PM he is being pushed forcefully by certain interests whose core business is in direct opposition to these aims, and he doesn't have the backbone to stand up to them. Until he does, it's fair game to call him out on broken promises and try to have a little laugh doing it. And also to build the biggest social movement this country has ever seen to make these essential changes happen.