That self-righteous moral superiority that has become so synonymous with Justin Trudeau’s brand appears to end at the Canadian border.
On a swing through Africa in February, Trudeau won the support of Senegal in Canada’s bid for a United Nations Security Council seat. The west African nation’s vote came at the expense of the image that Trudeau has attempted to cultivate for himself on Canadian soil, however.
At a joint appearance with Senegalese President Macky Sall, Trudeau artfully dodged a question about Senegal’s imprisonment of homosexuals. When he had skipped the country and presumably had had more time to think about a response, he gave a bit more. “We all know Senegal is a leader in terms of democracy and in terms of values, but we all have work to do,” Trudeau said in Munich.
For his part, Sall was unrepentant. He defended the laws by saying they’re not homophobic, but simply reflect Senegal’s “vision and…way of living.”
Wrongheaded as these laws are for trampling on individual liberty, I find Trudeau’s newfound appreciation for conscience rights rather cynical.
While there can be an indirect liberalizing effect on trade and diplomatic relations with countries that are less free than our own, it’s not Canada’s role to be the world’s policeman. This is especially true on issues of morality.
So while I don’t think it was or is Trudeau’s job to reform Senegal, it’s interesting that he isn’t, considering how fervently he proclaims to speak up for human rights “here in Canada and around the world.”
His moralization is evidently reserved for his domestic political foes, revealing a glaring hypocrisy in how he stands abroad.
In the last federal election, the Liberals said that to be a leader you need to march in Pride parades and stand for same-sex “marriage.”
Sall, whose country would throw you in jail for trying either, was greeted with a smile and a hug from Trudeau.
This is the same Trudeau whose government co-hosted a media freedom summit a few months before, banning a journalist (me) from covering Liberal campaign events.
And the same Trudeau proudly avowed to protect global religious freedom, not long after barring church groups and pro-life organizations from receiving funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program.
The gap between what Trudeau says in Canada and what he says when purportedly representing Canada is a wide one. As the UN Security Council crusade shows, Trudeau is so concerned with global acceptance and popularity than he’s willing to set aside the virtue signalling we’ve come to expect from him at home.
It’s easy to pontificate on issues of morality in abstractions and platitudes, as Trudeau so often does.
We saw this in the wake of the downed Ukrainian passenger jet in Iran earlier this year, as Trudeau demanded Iran take “full responsibility” for shooting down the plane before he decided to lay some of the blame on the United States.
A Canadian who believes in a traditional definition of marriage is looked down upon by the same Trudeau who will gleefully stand beside someone who throws people in prison for their sexual orientation.
The level of dissonance required to square these two outlooks must surely give Trudeau a splitting headache. Though that would require some self-awareness, I suppose.
Were Trudeau as laissez-fairein Canada as he is abroad there wouldn’t be an issue. At best, it seems he is only comfortable punching down. Trudeau was silent when Vladimir Putin in February said a “marriage is a union of a man and a woman,” and eschewed the idea that Russia would ever legitimize alternative family arrangements.
It’s easy to take aim at church ladies and small-town folk, but African dictators and Saudi oligarchs? Nah.
There’s no equivalence between the two of course, which makes it all the more offensive that Trudeau is obsessed with the former’s religious beliefs but couldn’t care less about those of the latter.
What he lacks in consistency he makes up for in hypocrisy.
This isn’t just a matter of Trudeau keeping his nose out of other countries’ affairs, which one could argue is a tactful approach. It’s about selective outrage that activates only when it’s politically convenient. This proves how shallow an exercise it is when he decides to turn it on.
While I don’t expect this to change, it needs to be called out. The political and cultural elites are fond of marginalizing the views of those guilty of what George Orwell wrote of as thought-crimes in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Evidently, these thought-crimes have an enforcement radius.