Trudeau Speaks to a Lack of Judgment

The Montreal Canadiens hockey team drafted a player fined for a sex-related offence. The 17-year-old player, Logan Mailloux, surreptitiously took photos of a consensual sex act and showed them to his teammates — this without the consent of the other person.

The draft selection was a major PR gaffe on the part of the team, especially since the player, now 18-years old, asked not to be drafted so that he could work on bettering himself as a person. The opprobrium became so heated that, finally, the owner of the team, Geoff Molson, felt compelled to write a letter that disavowed Mailloux’s actions and avowed that such actions do not reflect the team’s values.

Even Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau decided to voice his displeasure with the team’s draft selection:

As a lifelong Habs fan, I have to say I am deeply disappointed by the decision. I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization. I think they have a lot of explaining to do, to Montrealers and to fans from right across the country.

There are few among us who are perfect and have not shown, at one time or another, a lack of judgement. Trudeau, the son of a former long-time prime minister in Canada, has a record that speaks to his own struggles with “a lack of judgment.”

  • In his younger days Trudeau would occasionally appear in blackface/brownface. Youthful indiscretion?
  • Maclean’s magazine carried a piece on Trudeau’s “bad judgment.” When Trudeau accepted the billionaire Aga Khan’s hospitality on his private island, this raised many red flags. It was an obvious conflict-of-interest, and Canada’s ethics commissioner ruled that Trudeau was guilty of a breach of ethics. Hopefully, the PM would learn from this “bad judgement.”
  • Aga Khan was strike one. Then came strike two. The ethics commissioner Marcel Dion ruled that Trudeau had again violated ethics when he interposed himself into criminal proceedings against the disgraced company SNC-Lavalin, this to the chagrin of his justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould who felt the pressure of the party machinery being applied to her. Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister, would find herself forced out of the Liberal Party, along with a supportive party colleague, Jane Philpott. In the next election, the electorate pronounced judgement by returning Wilson-Raybould to parliament — this time as an independent. Trudeau and the Liberal Party fell from a majority to a minority government.
  • Back on 8 December 2015, Trudeau made a pledge to First Nation leaders “that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are … a sacred obligation.” So what was Trudeau thinking when he sent in the RCMP, ill-famed for such moral transgressions as carrying out the abduction of Indigenous children from their families, to deal with First Nations? When the RCMP invaded the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en they came with helicopters, snipers, police dogs, and tactical teams even though the Wet’suwet’en made it clear that they were unarmed and peaceful. How sacred was that?
  • But Canada is about the rule of law, isn’t it? At least, so claims Trudeau. Based upon this stipulation and acting on an extradition request from the United States, Canada intercepted and apprehended Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, while in transit at Vancouver International airport. Meng is alleged to have misled HSBC bank about Huawei’s relationship with another company, putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions against Iran. Recently, Meng’s legal team had documents released from HSBC through a court agreement in Hong Kong that indicate no misleading had occurred. However, the BC Supreme Court judge rejected the documents as insufficient. Meng has been awaiting a judicial determination since 1 December 2018. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians detained in China, have been awaiting a judicial determination since 10 December 2018.

Canada has long been pressured to follow US foreign policy with little leeway. Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, likened Canada’s situation to a mouse sleeping next to an elephant. For instance, Canada’s international trade is so highly dominated by ties to the US that Canada can be strong-armed to even stir up confrontation with its second largest trading partner, China.

  • And, as was revealed the other day, Trudeau’s government has approved the sale of $74 million of explosives to Saudi Arabia. This is the Saudi government whose agents assassinated journalist Jamal Khashoggi and chopped up his body to dispose of it. This is the same government which carries out public beheadings, public floggings, and is committing genocide in Yemen.

What is Lacking?

A teenager, lacking judgement and rectitude, committed a despicable act and was punished for it. It is hoped that he can fully atone for the transgression and grow past it.

Trudeau, however, is an adult who is the leader of a country. Unfortunately, his lack of judgment appears almost inconsequential to the lack of morality.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.