The Rise and (Possible) Fall of Justin Trudeau Show the Perils of Woke Governance

The scandal that has engulfed Justin Trudeau’s government in recent weeks is, in many ways, a very Canadian affair: It involves no sex, violence or even allegations of personal enrichment. Rather, it centers on the question of whether the Prime Minister and his representatives improperly pressured his ex-minister of justice—a former Indigenous chief named Jody Wilson-Raybould—to back off the criminal prosecution of a well-connected Quebec-based engineering firm that has been charged with fraud and corruption.

To be clear, no one is alleging that Trudeau and his minions flat-out ordered Wilson-Raybould to reverse her decision in the case. In true Canadian style, the badgering of the former justice minister seems to have been a largely passive aggressive exercise, with a succession of public figures reminding her about all the many, many jobs that might be lost in (politically sensitive) Quebec if she didn’t reconsider her decision. And when she stuck to her principles and failed to relent, the PM removed her from her justice-ministry post, and pushed in a newcomer named David Lametti who—quelle surprise—seems quite open to revisiting Wilson-Raybould’s original decision. As dry as all this must sound to non-Canadians, the scandal (which doesn’t have a name yet) has become a huge deal in my country. And the latest polling suggests it has done severe damage to the Liberal brand in the run-up to this year’s national election.

All governments eventually become enmeshed in some kind of scandal, of course. But Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are unlike their predecessors in one crucial respect: They have created the first national government anywhere that has explicitly presented itself as a political vessel of ultra-progressive social-justice mantras such as intersectionality and #MeToo. And there is evidence to suggest that this scandal has been all the more damaging to the Liberals precisely because their grubby treatment of a principled Indigenous woman is so obviously at odds with the pious social-justice posturing that, until just a few weeks ago, often made the Liberals sound more like an activist organization or undergraduate student society than a G7 government.

* * * 

Trudeau’s woke identity is something he brought into office from day one. He banned anyone with pro-life views from his caucus, then tried to force recipients of a Canadian summer-jobs fund (including Bible camps) to declare support for pro-choice dogma. When asked why he insisted on creating Ottawa’s first gender-balanced cabinet, Trudeau declared, “because it’s 2015”—as if to suggest that anyone who didn’t support affirmative action was a misogynist (causing feminist website Jezebel to gush that “the sexiest thing about Justin Trudeau is his cabinet’s gender parity”). Under the Trudeau government’s bill C-16, pronoun misusage could become actionable under Canadian human-rights law. His government has introduced new environmental impact assessments that require project managers to impute “the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors” in their environmental analysis. And he has promised transgender offenders the right to be imprisoned in jails that align with their gender expression.

On the question of “male toxicity,” in particular, Trudeau often has seemed like a social-justice Twitter account on two legs. He told Marie Claire magazine that he was raising his sons in a way that would allow them “to escape the pressure to be a particular kind of masculine that is so damaging to men and to the people around them. I want them to be comfortable being themselves, and being feminists—who stand up for what’s right, and who can look themselves in the eye with pride.” Trudeau also talked about the need for “gender budgeting” when it came to “big infrastructure projects” such as oil pipelines, since “gender impacts when you bring construction workers into a rural area…because they’re mostly male construction workers.” And of course, Trudeau has spent a good deal of his time as Prime Minister talking about “reconciliation” with Indigenous people—which has mostly involved leading a maudlin exercise in national self-flagellation. Fittingly, when asked by reporters on Thursday whether he would be apologizing for anything to do with the Wilson-Raybould scandal, he said no—but then added that he would be apologizing to Canada’s Inuit later in the day (for Ottawa’s handling of a tuberculosis outbreak that took place more than 50 years ago).

Not all of these policies turned out badly, I should say. Trudeau’s decision to ensure 50% female representation in his cabinet, in particular, seems entirely vindicated by the emergence of stars such as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a possible Trudeau successor, in my view), Treasury Board president Jane Philpott (who resigned last week) and Wilson-Raybould herself. Nor can he be faulted for highlighting the appalling treatment of Canada’s Indigenous peoples by generations of Canadian politicians—even if he seems more interested in performative contrition than creating new policies. But taken as a whole, his government’s over-the-top embrace of the most faddish forms of social justice has come to so completely define his brand that it has turned him into a sort of caricature, and obscured his very real accomplishments on important issues such as trade. In 2018, when he publicly corrected a woman who had used the word “mankind”—“we like to say peoplekind,” the PM admonished—the country took the absurd rebuke at face value, and Trudeau was pilloried. Days later, Trudeau explained that he was joking. That seems credible, but the very fact we all assumed he was serious shows what kind of po-faced politically correct image he had fostered.

If you are a professor, or a student, or an activist, it is entirely possible to live every moment of your publicly observable life in a way that is consistent with social-justice ideology—because these individuals’ only publicly observable actions are composed of largely symbolic social-media declarations. But that isn’t true of politicians, who, as Justin Trudeau has learned, must occasionally make real-life decisions. For all his talk about #climatechange and #reconciliation, for instance, Trudeau’s government had no choice but to plow ahead with a controversial US$3.5-billion pipeline that is opposed by environmentalists and some First Nations groups—for the simple reason that most Canadian voters care far more about unfashionable concerns such as jobs and energy access than they do about climate change or Indigenous rights.

One of Trudeau’s great political gifts is that he is extremely photogenic. Combine that with his penchant for social justice, and you get some great moments—such as the embrace between Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould at her 2015 swearing-in ceremony, when she became the public face of the Liberals’ reconciliation efforts. Three and a half years later, such images have come back to haunt Trudeau, as Indigenous leaders (and even members of Wilson-Raybould’s own family) react to her ouster. What’s worse, in testimony to the Commons justice committee this week, former Trudeau advisor Gerald Butts (who resigned last month amidst the scandal) more or less declared that everything Wilson-Raybaud had told Canadians is untrue. The Liberals have been careful not to call her a liar. (“I believe she spoke…her truth,” is how Freeland gingerly put it during a CBC interview last week.) But even so, it is impossible to reconcile Butts’ attempt to discredit Wilson-Raybould’s narrative wholesale without making nonsense of Trudeau’s woke 2018 claim that “when women speak up, it is our duty to listen to them and to believe them.”

To reiterate: All political parties succumb to realpolitik sooner or later. What makes Trudeau different isn’t that he is less ethical than most of his prime ministerial predecessors. It’s that he ran the first government in Canadian history that not only lectured Canadians about matters of policy, but also consistently instructed them how to live and think—how they should practice feminism, raise children, use pronouns, and seek to absolve their collective sins against Indigenous peoples. The bullying of Wilson-Raybould—which is the way many Canadians have come to regard the way she was treated—isn’t just a scandal in and of itself. It also makes a retroactive mockery of all the sermons we Canadians have had to listen to over the last three years. It feels like showing up early for an appointment with a nutritionist, and catching her wolfing down a whole sleeve of Oreos.

The most successful Liberal Canadian prime minister of our era was Jean Chrétien, who left office with his reputation (largely) intact, despite scandals an order of magnitude more serious than l’affaire Wilson-Raybould—including Shawinigate and Adscam. In part, that’s because when he was caught, Chrétien more or less just shrugged and said, in so many words, “yeah, you got me.” He had never pretended to be a high priest of human morality—and so while his actions seemed base, they didn’t seem altogether hypocritical. I was one of the many Canadians who welcomed Trudeau’s more idealistic style of Liberal governance. But his tenure also has taught me to miss some aspects of Chrétien, who, for all his faults, at least never arrogated to himself the role of national scold. I miss that.

Whatever the fate of Trudeau in the wake of this scandal, progressive politicians everywhere should take heed of the larger lesson. Social-justice purists have a habit of turning on their own, because no one is capable of living up to the program of doctrinal purity that the movement prescribes. When this happens to some lapsed social-justice warrior on Twitter, it brings grief to one person. When the target is a lapsed national leader, the collateral damage can extend to an entire government.


Jonathan Kay is Canadian editor of Quillette. Follow him on Twitter at @jonkay.

Featured image: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.


  1. bumble bee says

    Trudeau is a cautionary tale. He is what happens when people are incapable or believe they are unable to govern themselves. They need a big brother to not only make sure there is no diverging speech, no pro-life talk here, he acts like a social grammar nazi by correcting mankind into peoplekind. Then to make it worse if you use the wrong gender pronoun well it’s off to the reeducation camp for you. What is really irritating is that like a true progressive, he believes wholeheartedly that his dressing down of others is his job. I think Canadians are too polite to standup to people like Trudeau.

    • david of Kirkland says

      He’s just another example of royalty and nepotism…the breeding of tyrant families to control others.

  2. In perusing the article, I found this glittering nugget of comedy gold: “He told Marie Claire magazine that he was raising his sons in a way that would allow them ‘to escape the pressure to be a particular kind of masculine that is so damaging to men… I want them to be comfortable being themselves, and being feminists.”

    I laughed, but then, suddenly, I started to feel sad for his boys. What if they wanted to “escape the pressure” not of being the sort of toxic unfeeling brute that Trudeau believes non-feminist men to be, but rather their father’s pressure to make them into “feminists”? What if they actually wanted a little bit of that “damaging” masculinity– you know the kind that makes men run into burning buildings to save someone’s cat or to take up arms to defend a country, and makes them — and this is where it becomes almost unbearably abhorrent — naturally protective of women and children?

    Just imagine the sense of disappointment and defeat that would overwhelm Canada’s first “feminist” Prime Minister. And the guilt with which his brutish and “dangerous” sons would have to live the rest of their lives.

    • Craig WIllms says

      @New Radical

      Amazing! I thought the exact same thing, instant sympathy for those boys. They need to be told flat out there’s nothing wrong with masculinity – nothing.

    • david of Kirkland says

      If they are like most teens, you can be sure they’ll buck under his coercive reins.

    • Bella says

      Well spoken! Thank you for speaking up for men. As a woman it is great to hear men not being afraid to speak to these issues.

    • @NewRadical Your post is extremely sexist. I hate political correctness and identity politics but, your post ignorant. Do you live in a cave? It is not mankind – it is humankind.Is that so terrible for you?

      • Quilter52 says

        huMANkind, dont you mean hupeoplekind, . Human has man in it. Must stop mentioning half the population

  3. Ray Andrews says

    Canadians are tough competitors in two fields: Hockey and PC. In hockey the sweetest victories are over the Yanks. In PC we are giving the Swedes a match.

    Yes, Justin has a problem. Wilson-Raybould cannot loose this because she is both female and indigenous. Checkmate, Justin.

    • D.B. Cooper says

      How’s the curling up there in Canada? I would think, common sense would dictate it’s better than average.

      As for Canada’s affinity for PC behavior, am I just imagining this or does it seem like there’s a positive correlation between majority white (>70%) countries and PC culture? It’s almost like the more crispy white a country’s demographics are the higher the likelihood they’ll be sacrificing their society on the altar of politically correct behavior.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @D.B. Cooper

        Yup, although the effect seems strongly correlated with English cultural heritage and slightly less strongly with other western European cultures (Scandinavia being an exception, possibly even surpassing the Anglo desire for self-replacement), but for reasons I’d like to understand, eastern whiteys seem immune to this suicidal instinct. Why are the Hungarians not PC? As for the Russians, far from wanting to die, they are vigorously asserting themselves. Did the Iron Curtain prevent the spread of PC? If so, history might view it as the ‘sanitary barrier’ that I believe it was referred to as by the commies.

        • Rendall says

          @Ray Andrews

          Were the people Eastern Europe to have a higher melanin content, their histories would be held up by the PC as yet more examples of egregious white colonialism. Alas, the lack of melanin content confounds the easy division of the world into “POC” and “White”.

          Not only has slavery, genocide, invasion and atrocity occurred there throughout history, it has occurred in living memory. Thus are Eastern Europeans quite immune to feeling guilty over the policies of centuries-dead leaders, unlike more refined coastal nations.

    • E. Olson says

      Ray – the question I have is how does a white male heterosexual with an apparent history of sexual assaults on women (hard to believe since I would guess he was gay otherwise), from an extremely privileged background, and with no accomplishments of note, get elected PM of PC Canada? Does he identify as a indigenous woman or some other victim status?

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        I’ll have you know that Justin is a FULLY QUALIFIED SNOWBOARD INSTRUCTOR!

        As to the ‘assaults’ I’m not sure I take them any more seriously than the gazillions of others that prominent males face. However we do have a problem there: woke as he is, Justin is of course a #metoo and #believewomen zealot, and that means — should mean — that he should offer no defense against such charges and declare himself guilty at the moment he is accused. No?

        Why? I think because we wanted some charisma after the dull, sober competence of Steven Harper. And there was the Mike Duffy scandal which was not very ‘big’ but had truly terrible optics.

        No, no Victimhoods at all. French tho, that helps. Otherwise it goes to show you that a white heterosexual can still be woke enough to pass if he’s pretty.

      • D.B. Cooper says

        @E. Olson

        how does a white male heterosexual with an apparent history of sexual assaults on women… with no accomplishments of note, get elected PM of PC Canada?

        A victory for nepotism, if ever there was

        • Ray Andrews says

          @D.B. Cooper

          This is a quibble, but I’d not call it nepotism, I’d call it unofficial royal succession. One of the reasons I’m a monarchist is because the plain fact is that we’re not yet ready to do without it — we have our unofficial royals, the House of Trudeau, just as you have yours in the Kennedys. Heck if some handsome young Kennedy came along to save the Victemocrats, let’s be honest, his royal heritage would help a great deal. Better to just have the Queen and be done with it, it’s so much easier to manage.

        • Not sure why you say it’s nepotism when his father is a Cuban dictator.

    • Taysse says

      Wilson-Raybould, despite her uncontested intersectionality points, can lose (and should) because she ultimately simply folded under standard political pressure and proved that she has no real intersectionality cojones by refusing the Indian Affairs portfolio offered to her. Plus, if the government is corrupt, resign from government; don’t give me this “I’ll just continue to support the rotten thing in a more discrete fashion” schtick.
      Canadian Anglos (the old stock gang) are indeed PC-whipped and diversifried. They have no history of ethnic or racial solidarity apart from some occasional vapid and symbolic resistance to the American entertainment industry and some military posturing two hundred years ago. The unabashed self-respecting emotions and pride running through the veins of Quebeckers, vilified up till now as economically unviable, are the only hope, strangely enough, that Anglos have of finding inspiration to survive.

      • Wes Nelson says

        You really don’t understand the concept of Prosecutorial Independence and the AG’s role is protecting it, do you?

  4. Sean Leith says

    Justine Trudeau is disgrace to human beings.

  5. Marko Novak says

    Some of us Canadians knew from the get go that he was unfit to be Prime Minister based on his hubris, narcissism and ego. He did not disappoint.

    • Henry says

      Agreed Marko, I knew from day one this clown show would not last. A part time drama teacher running the country ? Making laws and leading a great nation ? The lack of real world experience and business knowledge is astounding.

      • Stephanie says

        Yes, it’s quite concerning a Quillette editor not only failed to see all the red flags, but also viewed Trudeau’s social justice “idealism” positively!

        I thought Quillette was the place to express what social justice considers wrongthink. How is this to be done with an editor who can’t see the danger of social justice ideology when it hides behind a pretty face?

        I also cannot help but notice that there has been no talk on Quillette about Maxime Bernier, who founded a new party last year. The first explicitly anti-SJW, anti-crony capitalism, actually conservative party in who know how long, and it doesn’t merit a mention? It seems like the same tactic as the mainstream media: ignore it to keep voters unaware.

        • Phil Major says

          Bernier is such a breath of fresh air. He’s on the right side of nearly every issue, and actually has a pro-Canada agenda. Imagine that: a Canadian political party campaigning on policies that are good for Canadians.

          • Andrew says

            Agreed. Bernier is the first real chance at turning the ship around up here and steering us back towards our sovereignty and prosperity. I would like to see Mr. Kay’s opinion on the PPC.

        • Kay’s characterizations seem to fit into the narrative of noble and good woman, who’s motives and purity can’t be questioned, being mistreated and bullied by an evil man. The article doesn’t fit the current story against the backdrop of the larger social story of virtuous women being oppressed by rotten men. Rather it seems to accept that story and shows how this is an instance of it.

          As Stephanie suggests, the fact that Kay believed in Trudeau’s PC posturings in the first place is concerning. Of course he could have grown out of that view since then, but we don’t see the evidence in the article.

          We actually know very little about what actually happened up there on Parliament Hill, the nuance, or the culture but are making inferences from scanty information.

          I’d like to see Maxime Bernier (new conservative voice and party) looked at here too.

  6. Doug Deeper says

    The author concludes with, ” …no one is capable of living up to the program of doctrinal purity that the movement prescribes.” Of course he is right. This “program of doctrinal purity” is not based on human history, human nature or the human condition precisely because those who promote it are so ignorant of all three. They live in academic bubbles far from most of the harsh realities of real life.

  7. Doug Eaton says

    Very well written and informative report. It’s the arrogant presumption of moral superiority that makes the legions of scolders so unbearable.

  8. Constantin says

    Splendid! For Mr. Kay, the problem with Trudeau is not that he is unethical – no – no. The biggest problem that Mr. Kay identifies is that Justin Trudeau is unable to “shrug it off” as his great Liberal predecessors with a simple “you caught me” and, one would assume, a grand Cheshire Cat smile. To me that sounds almost like a public confession from Mr. Kay, who obviously feels at home among corrupt and shameless politicians. That is obviously good to know. Other than that, Mr. Kay does not like the moral preening and constant lecturing from someone who is in effect an intellectual pigmy. Curiously, a lot of Canadians introducing me to the politics of my adoptive country have unfailingly characterized the Canadian Liberals as the consistently and blatantly corrupt but reliable slightly left-of-center political option that allows Canadians to enjoy life without worrying much about politics. Mr. Kay is the archetypal Canadian liberal voter longing for the days when Liberal politicians would get fat at the pig trough while leaving everybody else to carry on in peace. I was disappointed that the article did not end with a cheerful: “Oink! Oink!”

    • augustine says

      “the consistently and blatantly corrupt but reliable slightly left-of-center political option that allows Canadians to enjoy life without worrying much about politics.”

      Just like Obama in the U.S. A kind of political successfulness to be sure, for those who wish to remain as children.

    • ….Mr. Kay’s problem with Trudeau is first and foremost the social justice agenda he constantly pushes. The point of this article was to expose how it is so detached from reality that not even the head priest can live up to it. Despite Trudeau’s proselytizing, he was no better than the rest of us deplorables.

      • Phil Major says

        Consider though, Kay did admit he was excited to vote for Trudeau. Kay is part of the problem.

  9. Drew Brown says

    There is no corruption here at all, because there is no personal benefit to Trudeau – no trough. And why would Canadians consider it wrong that he would try to protect a Canadian company and the jobs it creates? This is business as usual, not a scandal, and certainly not corruption. As for the former minister, I don’t know what her end game is: SNC Lavalin to leave Canada? Maybe shut down? And the benefit of that would be?? Cabinet ministers have to be team players and I don’t know how her free-agent approach benefits herself, the government, or Canada.

    • Sean says

      No personal benefit? He did it to get reelected, to stay in power.
      By your logic, anybody who owns a company that employs people shouldn’t be prosecuted because of potential job losses. Also, SNC wouldn’t go under, and if they were banned from certain government contracts, other firms would step up. It’s capitalism.

      • Ben says

        The other firms would step up and hire the very people who had worked for SNC prior. Then Trudeau could claim jobs had been created. The only problem for him was the timing of the job losses coinciding with the election cycle.

        • A.U. says

          Well, as I read and listen to comments there won’t be real job losses anytime soon due to their backlog of projects that they are working on!

      • Ray Andrews says


        The above really seems to think that corporate crime should be winked at because a few jobs might — might — be at stake? Welcome to Russia.

    • A classic case of do what I say not what I do.

      One of our favorite prime ministers said from the start that he drank too much and was unfaithful to his wife. Scandals plenty, hypocracy none.

    • Scott says

      I see things much like drew.. as for ” her truth” those following from day one know that it was Wilson Raybould who first used the phrase here. As well, with all the worrying about attorney client relationship, how did this all begin? As a news paper story. With an undisclosed source. Consider the possibility that Wilson Raybould , angry about being part of a cabinet shuffle, ” leaked “the story knowing we would end up here

      • Phil Major says

        SNC didn’t and doesn’t qualify for a DPA for a variety of simple to understand reasons. Read the legislation:

        1) They would have to admit fault for the crimes they’ve been charged with. They haven’t. In fact, executives from SNC have instead said the exact opposite in deposition. They would have to perjure themselves to admit guilt now.

        2) They are not presently in good standing with respect to similar corruption charges, as they are embroiled in the Montreal Hospital bribery scandal, which is now before the courts.

        3) They have a history of similar corruptions charges, and a company with convictions for similar corruption charges, or a company that in some way accepts responsibility for prior corruption crimes (via plea deal or settlement with admitted guilt) does not qualify for the DPA. SNC has a long history of corruption convictions and acceptance of guilt (I believe the number tops 40).

        There was no lawful way to offer SNC a DPA, and yet Trudeau, Butts Wernick and others tried to change the AG’s mind no fewer than 20 times. That they invoked partisan political reasons for doing so is just an aggravating factor.

        This is a scandal, Trudeau is corrupt, and there should be an investigation with proper subpoena power, that can remove cabinet confidence muzzles, and that can call witnesses under oath.

        The Liberals won’t allow several key actors to speak, including JWR for the period following her firing, and they won’t make available their emails, texts, or other corroborating evidence.

        That you still side with Trudeau should be embarrassing.

        • Chad Chen says


          You do not seem to understand the Westminster parliamentary system that the British gave to Canada.

          In all such systems, the Parliament (legislature) and the Cabinet (the Executive) share the powers of the government that are not reserved for the Monarch (the Crown). As head of the Cabinet, Trudeau has de facto final authority over prosecutorial decisions, including those made independently, on legal criteria, by his Attorney General.

          Trudeau is being crucified for trying to influence the decision of an Attorney General he has the authority to overrule, and most Canadians, who come from countries or ethnic groups unfamiliar with Westminster parliamentatism, are condemning him because they think the Attorney General is the final authority on prosecutorial decisions.

          This essay does nothing to clarify these key issues.

          • Phil Major says

            @Chad If the AG interfered with the decision of the department of public prosecutions, it would be the first time in Canadian history. If Trudeau interfered directly – which seems unlawful to me under Canadian (rather than British) law, but even if you’re right that he has that authority – it would be the first in Canadian history.

            Surely such extraordinary use of authority ought to be justified by some extreme need? What would ethically justify such an exercise of power in this case?

            Almost no jobs are actually at risk. So what other reason could a Liberal grasp at? And how would it justify this interference, especially in light of the fact that SNC does not qualify for a DPA under Canadian law?

      • William Coates says

        @Scott While I have issues with Ms. Raybould, like her knee jerk reaction to the Boushie verdict, I do not consider her a hero, I feel that the progressive agenda dictates that women in politics should be immune to everything male politicians have had to deal with for centuries.
        However, it is hard not to consider her or someone close to her that did leak this story as anything more than whistle blowers, exposing a wrong committed by an entitled government, who favors one province over all others.
        You can’t mention job losses a million times, and yet have nothing to back that claim and then send a relentless stream of men from the PMO and Finance to intimidate her, oh and lets not forget the impartial partisan Michael Warnick,and his personal connection to the former clerk of the privy council who works for SNC Lavalin now, or that she was the “second opinion” to the independant prosecutors office, and didn’t need a retired supreme court justice to tell her how the law works.
        So for all these people to pressure her and to tell the Attorney General she does not know how to do her job,and then remove her when she digs in, because they know she is not going to change her mind because the decision has already been made by the IPO and she was not going to over-ride that decision, and then blame it all on her because she’s difficult to work with and just is not getting how important these jobs are for Quebec, so yes I would be angry too.

        • Chad Chen says

          “knee jerk reaction to the Boushie verdict”?

          Typical. The Boushie verdict was in-your-face, 100%-proof racism, as textbook as it gets in the modern era, where it is no longer acceptable to parade in Klan robes and shout “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow”.

          You should apply for membership in the John Birch Society.

          • William Coates says

            @Chad Chen She tweeted her disappointment in the verdict immediately after and moved to make changes to the justice system related to limiting jury challenges in indigenous trials that is a “typical” knee jerk reaction usually based on feelings or bias with very little if any evidence to support those feelings, and if the verdict was so blatantly racist and failed to meet the burden of proof for an acquittal why wasn’t it appealed?
            And what does the Boushie verdict have to do with the klan and segregation, and how does me having an opinion based on her tweet after the verdict make me a racist? Or are you saying only people like you are allowed to have an opinion?

      • Eric Yendall says

        We are supposed to encourage and protect whistle-blowers, not spend time questioning their motives or character.

        • William Coates says

          @Eric Yendall My point exactly, just not as concise and to the point as you.

    • Stephanie says

      Adding to Sean’s point, corruption in the Quebec construction industry is old news. Everyone knows it is endemic. SNC are undoubtedly Liberal donors. Do we know how much they’ve donated to Trudeau’s campaign?

    • Taysse says

      Totally agree. Business as usual. Two women (one aboriginal, to boot) broke down under standard fare political rough and tumble. Even Jonathan Kay, in his anti-wokeness spiel, claims she was “bullied”. We have to get rid of that word in adult conversation. Politics is indeed in great need of reform. Pussification is not one of those.

    • Karen Straughan says

      @Drew Brown By that reckoning, a company that violates health and safety regulations, or abuses the rights of foreign workers, should be given a pass by our government and justice system because hey, they’re creating jobs, yo.

      And if a politician sticks his nose in and gets that company off the hook for its abuses and violations so he can get reelected? No corruption there. Just business as usual, dontcha know.

      And if someone in his cabinet refuses to go along with this totally above-board, not remotely unethical bahavior because she has a publicly sworn mandate to follow the law as it was written by legislators with the consent of the people rather than as decreed by her superior from on high, well then she’s just not a team player.

      We don’t want any free agents here, after all.

    • you should review the details a little closer before commenting, ie the large donations to the liberal party, and we will never know about the secret bank accounts in the Caribbean because the investigation has been shut down SNC Lavalin is a disgrace for Canada and should have been shut down years ago.

  10. Sydney says

    Holy crap: “I was one of the many Canadians who welcomed Trudeau’s more idealistic style of Liberal governance.” Wow.

    You had to have been lobotomized if you voted for this government. (I voted for the Conservative candidate of my riding and hoped for a Harper government!)

    It was 1000% obvious from the moment he was gifted (by name-brand legacy and eyelash flutter) his Montreal riding that Junior was an under-educated, spoiled, trust-fund brat who had neither studied nor worked a day in his life. And, hey, why bother when you’re a Trudeau? It was 1000% obvious that the most serious idea in his lightweight brain was acquaintanceship with the trendiest bars, clubs, and restos of Montreal. It was 1000% obvious that he was the to-the-manor-born of the 21st century.

    The author fell for some vague “idealistic style,” hook, line, and sinker? His bro Alex’s pro-Iran documentary wasn’t a giveaway? His own declaration that returning terrorists would always be welcomed back wasn’t a giveaway? His loony mom wasn’t a giveaway? His loony wife’s bizarre, fake infomercial about flavoured menstrual blood (google it) wasn’t a giveaway? The boxing match with his Conservative colleague wasn’t a giveaway? His high-drama moments as an MP in front of the cameras (the frustrated part-time drama teacher…) wasn’t a giveaway? And the author helps run Quillette? Yikes.

    I’m a third-generation Prairie NDPer who moved steadily over adulthood to political centrism/conservatism. Did my Prairie roots allow me keener common sense than the author? He WELCOMED Pretty-Boy Jihadist?

    Author mentions how outsiders can’t know and don’t much care about the details of Canadian goings-on. True, but he should have mentioned but that Trudeau’s transgender language Bill C-16 was THE springboard of Jordan Peterson’s worldwide intellectual success. Without the Orwellian compelled-language Bill C-16, Peterson would still just be another U of T prof ranting in front of students.

    And the author misses mentioning that Trudeau’s fake feminism has some history attached: A reporter accused him of groping her at a public event (just before he was PM), and he explained it away in the same intersectionalist way that his government is explaining away the SNC-Lavalin conversations with Wilson-Raybould: That “everyone experiences things differently” from each other! Hahahahaha! The best fake-feminist grift ever! Canada’s Jian Ghomeshi should be proud (indeed, the two famous Canadian feminists are in a photo together).

    Too bad that people outside Canada don’t care about our news. Today’s press conference with Trudeau NOT apologizing for the flaming dumpster fire of Wilson-Raybould-SNC-Lavalin, but instead inserting that he WOULD BE apologizing “later in the day to the Inuit” was hysterical.

    And this: “…Trudeau’s decision to ensure 50% female representation in his cabinet, in particular, seems entirely vindicated by the emergence of stars such as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a possible Trudeau successor, in my view)…” YIKES! Seriously?

    His 50% female representation entirely vindicates him? Really? Chrystia Freeland has all the intellectual weight of my kitchen-floor dust bunnies, which probably does make her a fantastic successor to Junior. And Quillette readers would have a field day with Celina Caesar-Chavennes (MP and Parliamentary Secretary for two years) who directed fellow male MP Maxime Bernier to, “Please check your privilege and be quiet.”

    Or how about Iqra Khalid, who tabled Canada’s universally loathed Motion M103 soft-Sharia legislation? She wasn’t in Junior’s Cabinet proper, but as a female Muslim MP (Trudeau loves Islam, as he routinely reminds us “alt-right,” “Nazi” Canadians) she has been given high-profile, plum jobs in Parliament regarding justice, human rights, and international and foreign affairs…while being investigated and questioned by the interested public with regards to ties to terrorism and terrorist organizations (google it). She was even forced to rescind and apologize for an honour she awarded an organization with actual terror ties.

    Does all of this (and there’s much more) “vindicate” Trudeau for the author?

    I’m a Canadian who NEVER for a moment “welcomed” anything about Trudeau Junior or his terrible government that, among many other things:

    – Erased borders with a tweet (handing hundreds of millions in cash to lazy economic migrants)
    – Raised taxes and devastated the middle class
    – Hollowed out the economy (he devastated our resource economy while buying ME oil)
    – Divided Canadians by region and identity (like all good Marxists)
    – Signed on to the HATED UN Migrant Pact without a single moment of public debate
    – Bought off the entirety of our mainstream media (CBC, CTV, Global, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, and more for billions of tax dollars) so that his far-left government’s narrative could be entirely controlled and the public entirely indoctrinated

    Trudeau and his far-left government are even worse than a simple train wreck. Idiot boomers and millennials opened the door to a government that has spent its four years dismantling everything that is Canadian, brick by brick.

    Those of us who knew better are crossing our fingers for October’s election. Will voters be as clueless as they were when they actually thought that Trudeau’s socks and eyelashes signaled “a more idealistic style of Liberal governance”? I hope not.

    • @Sydney and Joe

      Most Australians I know actually continually confuse, Trudeau and Macron, when pushed they’ll say something to the effect, “That can’t be Trudeau, hes so old he has to be dead.

      The other half haven’t heard of either.

      • W2class says


        I’m Australian and all I needed to know about Justin Trudeau I learned when Fidel Castro died and Trudeau described it as “a sad loss to the world”. Maybe he actually (and appropriately) said “good riddance to bad rubbish” and I’m just remembering it differently to him.
        Sadly, I fear my own country is about to head down the same ideological cul-de-sac as canada, at our upcoming federal elections.

        • @ W2class

          Alas it’s beyond that, we literally vote between the devil and the deep blue sea. I really despair, too many people with the right heart and ideas go and vote the same way their family has done for generations, without realizing that these parties now stand for the very things that they complain about all the time.

          Rudd, said that he and the liberals had only a cigarette paper between them. Maybe people should remember that ?

          I got woke on a trip to Paris where I literally tripped over immigrants lying on the footpath, and narrowly missed a huge terrorist event. Literally I have a photo sitting at a table where the occupant of that chair was shot a couple of hours later.

          I came home and and there was a siege in Sydney. I looked around I started looking for statistics, we have every year, about 200 000 new permanent residents + up to 200 000 temporary workers with pathways to citizenship, 5-600 000 foreign students with working visas and pathways to citizenship, + backpackers + spouse / family visas + refugee intake….

          But wait there’s a about a thousand on Manus, look there quick. It’s a joke, what neither party realises is that to the poor, old age pensioners, and working families ,living in an air-conditioned cabin by the sea looks like heaven.

          After their rant they have a beer and watch TV.

          Some do listen to podcasts ???

          And yet, sadly, once in the ballot box, they vote how grandpa did.

          If we don’t have democratic change I fear violence. I admit I understand both sides, but at some point, we need to chose sides.

    • Phil Major says

      You forgot Maryam Monsef.. who’s government was deporting people who’s parents falsified their birth country to gain Canadian citizenship… and then it was revealed that Monsef’s own mother falsified her birth country to gain Canadian citizenship. She doesn’t even deny it, instead saying that she never knew, as she was a small child. But her government was actively deporting people under the exact same circumstances (although they weren’t Liberal cabinet ministers).

      Monsef, according to the precedent set by her own government, should have been deported. And when people called for this, the Liberals and their ridiculous supporters defended her and somehow she’s been given a pass.

      It’s all special treatment for Liberals and friends of the Liberals.

    • Rick Phillips says

      One might add two other initiatives which could be note-worthy. Minister Wilson-Raybould was also mandated by Trudeau to make decisions to end appeals or the taking of positions inconsistent with the Government’s commitments, with respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and “Canadian values” (presumably these are woke values). That includes the Crown’s conduct in litigation. The Attorney General of Canada’s met this mandate through a Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples (Which to the best of my knowledge was not Gazetted i.e put forward for comment)

      The directive established guidelines that every government litigator must follow in the approaches, positions, and decisions taken on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada in the context of civil litigation regarding section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and Crown obligations towards Indigenous peoples.

      Some of the guidelines have the potential to weaken government’s potential ability to more aggressively defend its position in legal cases. For example, Guideline #12, requires counsel to recognize Aboriginal rights, including Aboriginal title. … “Where Aboriginal title and rights are proposed to be denied, counsel must seek direction on the proposed position from the Assistant Deputy Attorney General”

      In addition, Litigation Guideline #12 reads in part (paraphrasing) that in pleadings, facts that are known to support the statements in the Indigenous party’s pleading and that may advance reconciliation should be explicitly stated and not just admitted where appropriate. For example, instead of only listing those paragraphs with such facts in a generic statement of admission, counsel should affirmatively plead those facts; The following is given as and example of style of pleading:

      In response to paragraph x of the statement of claim, since at least the date of contact, the plaintiffs and their ancestors have lived at various sites in the vicinity of the identified area.

      The guideline makes clear that Counsel should make admissions of fact and identify areas of agreement on the law relevant to establishing Aboriginal rights and title or other issues in the litigation wherever possible.

      It should be noted that First Nations civil cases against the Government of Canada are numerous and potentially very costly. Some examples:

      • $3 Billion class action lawsuit filed against Ottawa over First Nations child welfare discrimination
      • Poundmaker and Onion Lake First Nations (and others) sue federal government for failing to protect oil and gas rights on traditional lands. Seeking $3 Billion.
      • 21 Manitoba First Nations with respect to 1997 agreement allegedly breached. Seeking “multi-billion dollar” settlement
      • Lax Kw”alaams First Nation (and others) sues BC and Federal Government over BC Tanker ban
      • Beaver Lake Cree – Lawsuit against Alberta and Ottawa over development permits (want legal fees paid in advance)
      • Etc, etc.

      Perhaps this approach to reduce and narrow litigation with First Nations is a least cost approach that promotes reconciliation but there is also the potential for the guidelines to make litigation more attractive by improving the potential for it to succeed

      The Trudeau government also appears to have ascribed to the belief that the justice system is skewed against women (as a consequence of Jian Ghomeshi’s acquittal) and responded with Bill C-51. C-51, as described by Jonathon’s mother Barbara Kay through the following excerpts from one of her articles, encompasses “changes that will satisfy many radical feminists, but may ruin the lives of many innocent men accused of sexual assault. C-51 expands the “rape shield” protections for sexual assault complainants, by restricting the ability of the accused to use communications by a complainant or witness that are “of a sexual nature” or “for a sexual purpose” as part of his defence, particularly to establish the defence of “mistaken belief in consent”. An accused is prohibited from introducing these kinds of sexually explicit texts or emails as evidence in court unless a judge first rules them to be admissible, after conducting a closed hearing with the Crown prosecutor, which the complainant may attend, accompanied by her own lawyer if she chooses.”.. “If this bill passes, defence lawyers will be more restricted in the evidence they can lead”…. “The defence’s prior disclosure may also identify complainant landmines, permitting the Crown to plot a course around them.”

      The common denominator pursued by Minister Wilson – Raybould on behalf of the Trudeau Government was of course to ensure that the legal defenses of the “unwoke” are weakened to allow for “woke” outcomes.

    • Stephanie says

      Thank you, Sydney, great comment.

      I’d also point out that Trudeau is the first Prime Minister to be in violation of MP ethics laws, and has now racked up FOUR such violations (under investigation for a fifth). On what basis does Jonathan Kay say that “what makes Trudeau different isn’t that he is less ethical than most of his prime ministerial predecessors”??

      The author bends over backwards to whitewash Trudeau’s record.The opening comment about Canadian political scandals being boring and minor sets the tenor for the whole article’s excuse-making. And it isn’t even true! Justin Trudeau’s own mother was fucking the Rolling Stones while Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister!

      Can any American President match such a scandal? It’s a hell of a lot more embarrassing to the office than JFK and Monroe, Clinton with Lewinsky, or Trump with Stormy Daniels or any other porn star. Presidents seducing literal sex icons is horrible for their wives and a blight on their character, but is much better to the dignity of the office and perception of strength than literally being (excuse the word) cucked publicly while in office!

      Although Clinton’s grooming of an intern is more on the predatory rapist side than the playboy side. Much like Trudeau’s groping of a journalist (published when it happened years ago). And let’s not forget one of Trudeau’s female MPs slept with two other MPs, and then claimed sexual assault even though she literally supplied the condom. Both of those MPs got booted, but when that same female MP was accused of stalking and grooming a PTSD-ridden veteran, she faced no consequences.

      So yes, Liberals have had their fair share of sex scandals.

      • Avid Reader says

        @ Stephanie, the vision of Justin Trudeau possibly being a love child of one of the Rolling Stones has injected immeasurable hilarity into my Sunday night! Thanks!

    • Andrew says

      @Sydney – I totally agree with your entire rant but also feel Scheer is simply Trudeau light and will do very little in terms of making life better for Canadians. Unfortunately, I think the cons need to be decimated and Bernier’s party send a clear signal that it’s time we unapologetically stand up for Canada, reject the insane UN dictates and start to implement real free trade with other players.

    • Sydney, your comments are better and more truthful than the original article,you hit the nail on the head .
      thank you

    • Nick says

      So many sour grapes in that post you can probably smell them in Australia. I’m proud to have Freeland as my MP, one of the top performers in this government, with a very strong resume. this is one of the most balanced pieces I’ve read on the SNC-Lavallin imbroglio.

  11. Joe says

    An interesting read from an Australian perspective. The main issue is hypocrisy and the inbuilt presumption of moral superiority by woke politicians like Trudeau. We have our own examples, of course.

    The article reminded me of our former PM Julia Gillard. She claimed misogyny was a big issue yet was happy to accept votes from members of her own party who used union credit cards to pay for a good time (use your imagination) and the Speaker of the House Peter Slipper who likened female pudenda to …(don’t google this, it’s really grubby).

    And then we’ve got Cardinal George Pell, recently convicted for child sex offences (under appeal).
    As the top Cardinal in Australia and number 3 in the Vatican, Pell has always claimed the moral high ground and repeatedly lectured us on the evils of, well, lots of things including homosexuality and pedohilia. Child sex offences are always morally reprehensible but seem worse when the guilty party is a cardinal.

    Same goes for the Australian Greens who’ve got running sores with regards to bullying and sexual harassment claims, and climate change warriors who tell us to fly less but it’s OK for 20000 of them to fly to Poland for a conference.

    Chrétien seems to have worked out that a crime is always worse when the culprit is on the moral high ground, so he didn’t put himself up there. Good advice to all of us, unless we are perfect. Not many of us are.

    Paraphrasing Julia Gillard, I’m buggered if I’m going to be lectured on anything by a woke politician or a SJW or a climate change activist (unless he/she/they don’t fly or drive or use electricity)

  12. Sean says

    I think you’re too easy on Trudeau. I don’t believe his peoplekind comment was a joke. I think he was trying to show how woke he is and is too stupid to know it is not a real word.

    You also skipped over how this feminist was found to have groped a young reporter several years ago.

    The biggest issue with Trudeau is that with the exception of legalizing marijuana, he has achieved almost none of his campaign promises or anything positive for that matter.

    He is the epitome of style over substance.

    • Henry. says

      Agreed Sean. I don’t think PeopleKind was a joke either. I’ve watched the clip numerous times.

      • Karen Straughan says

        If it wasn’t a joke, the scariest thing about it was he didn’t ask her to use the existing and actually in common use word “humankind”. Because dumb.

  13. Citizen XY says

    “their grubby treatment of a principled indigenous woman”

    Is it a subtle or a not-so-subtle distinction between “I’m standing by my principles” and “I’m right, you’re wrong, there’s nothing to discuss”.

    I’m not entirely convinced this is all about principle on Wilson-Raybould’s part, certainly she’s playing it that way, and it may even be so in her mind, but there’s an awful lot of room for sour-grapes and ego to be at work here. Nothing was said in public about the SNC issue until after her undesired removal from the AG position. I don’t recall her mentioning that before being transferred to veteran’s affairs she was offered the indigenous-affairs cabinet position and refused it. Perhaps it was reasonable to refuse it, but publically acknowledging so would have detracted from the perception of her being ‘unfairly demoted’ to veteran’s affairs.

    None of which is to be taken as a defense of Sunny-Wonder-Kid (Trudeau, for those too distant from Canada to get it) and the Prime Minister’s Office in all this.

    It does tend to look a lot like another instance of the SJW-left eating itself when one party fails to meet the rigid expectations (are they principles, or entitlements (the position of Attorney-General) ?) of the other party.

    • Phil Major says

      A couple points: she couldn’t speak publicly about her concerns, because she was muzzled by both cabinet confidence and attorney-client privilege. Second, if it is a matter of sour grapes, how do you explain Jane Phillpot’s resignation from cabinet?

      Her lost trust in Liberal government leadership wasn’t sour grapes, as she was on the way up, and pegged to be the next finance minister. She gave up that massive opportunity in front of her on principle.

      • Citizen XY says

        Phil: “she couldn’t speak publicly about her concerns, because she was muzzled by both cabinet confidence and attorney-client privilege.”

        And yet the issue did break out into public while she was still muzzled, but after the cabinet demotion.
        Us plebes will probably never know for certain, but of the two primary parties involved – the PMO office and the AG office – where would you guess it more likely the leak came from?

        Phil: “Second, if it is a matter of sour grapes, how do you explain Jane Phillpot’s resignation from cabinet?”

        Philpott may have been doing an early read of the writing on the wall for this administration and judging it better to distance (and align) herself early.

        As I said, I’m not trying to defend Sunny-Wonder-Kid and the PMO – the SNC lobbying and the pandering from SWK/PMO in response, stinks – but that doesn’t inherently make JWR a saint.

        There could be many motivations at play.
        It’s possible both JWR & Philpott, in their minds, are acting on (some) principle.
        Are you certain you’d agree with those principles, or stated alternatively, that those principles are the same as the ones being proclaimed for public consumption?

        Politicians do have a tendency to play politics.

        • Phil Major says

          “…but that doesn’t inherently make JWR a saint.”

          She’s far from a Saint and was a terrible… read TERRIBLE.. justice minister.

          But her many failings as a justice minister do not make the actions of Trudeau, Butts, Wernick, or the other players any more legitimate.

  14. Citizen XY says

    “Trudeau’s decision to ensure 50% female representation in his cabinet, in particular, seems entirely vindicated by the emergence of stars such as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a possible Trudeau successor, in my view), Treasury Board president Jane Philpott (who resigned last week) and Wilson-Raybould herself.”

    Three so-called “stars” does not vindicate Sunny-Wonder-Kid’s action in this.
    The reasoning behind the action was faulty.

    As for Freeland, she is a ridiculous, silly person.
    See her defense of “diversity” vis-a-vis Islam on Bill Maher:

    • Daphne Dykeman says

      The gender balanced cabinet brought us such duds as Catherine McKenna, Melanie Joly, Irqa Khalid, and Maryam Monsef. And I agree with you that Freeland is a twit.

  15. Trudeau has always reminded me, in terms of style, of one of the younger, more charismatic of the American evangelical TV ministers, with a huge church, a trophy wife, great clothes and great hair (his hair).

    You just know that his character and his principles are as phony as his smile.

    • Roman says

      This description does remind me of Joel Osteen, now that you mention it.

  16. The sad problem in Canada is that the leading contender for Trudeau’s job is Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer. He comes across as an intellectual lightweight who is always extravagantly critical but never has anything better to offer of his own. If the Conservative Party had a more politically solid leader Trudeau would be toast. As it is, he will probably get re-elected on the strength of his pro-Quebec stance with SNC-Lavalin, while he will characterize Scheer as anti-jobs and anti-Quebec.

    Given the equally unattractive choices — Trudeau and Scheer — I expect a lot of voters in the October election will stay home and not bother to vote.

    • @ AK

      Looking around the world, it seems the globalists have agreed that the conservatives are only allowed “dud” candidates.

      From henceforth elections will be between the extreme left and the populists.

  17. Oh yes, and as for names for the scandal I have seen both “Lavscam” and “Lavagate”.

    • Phil Major says

      Aren’t most of us just calling it the SNC scandal?

  18. Farris says

    The author seems more concerned with that a indigenous woman lost her job than two systems of justice appear to be operating in Canada, one for the well connected and one for everyone else. The same thing seems to occurring in the U.S., where some are prosecuted for lying to Congress and mishandling classified information, while others are heralded for the same conduct.

  19. Chris Milburn says

    Jonathan Kay – I would totally vote for you for PM. So glad you left the Walrus and are somewhere your ideas can fly freely. Great article here, thanks.

  20. scribblerg says

    So having a female quota for cabinet is just peachy cuz some good ministers came out of it? What if they hadn’t? Would it still be a good idea? Exactly how many of the ministers have to be stars?

    Also, what’s with all the reverse snobbery about Canada? Guess what – many political scandals are about abuse of power. In fact when it’s about sex, unless it’s sexual assault, it’s not interesting. And “violence”? When is the last time there was a political scandal including violence in the West? As for this not being about “personal enrichment”, giggling. So the money for the Liberal party and the support provided isn’t about keeping these hacks in their sinecures?

    In closing I’ll also note that the author doesn’t actually support the premise of his article. It’s not Trudeau’s woke politics that are bringing him down – it’s his corruption.

    Wow do I loathe smug Canadian superiority and arrogance. I don’t think Jonathan get just how awfully he comes off.

    • Phil Major says

      The “stars” in cabinet would have been in cabinet without this policy. It’s the many terrible female cabinet ministers who wouldn’t have. Either way it’s a stupid unjust policy.

  21. John says

    “Not all of these policies turned out badly, I should say. Trudeau’s decision to ensure 50% female representation in his cabinet, in particular, seems entirely vindicated by the emergence of stars such as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a possible Trudeau successor, in my view), Treasury Board president Jane Philpott (who resigned last week) and Wilson-Raybould herself.”

    Good to hear choosing your cabinet on the basis of their genitals is working out well. Institutionalized sexism gets a lot of bad press nowadays.

  22. D.B. Cooper says

    Trudeau’s decision to ensure 50% female representation in his cabinet, in particular, seems entirely vindicated by the emergence of stars such as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a possible Trudeau successor, in my view)

    Rather than expressing my contempt for the alarming hypocrisy of Trudeau and his ilk, more generally, I thought I might instead use the above passage as an apt example of the pervading malignancy inherent to social justice theology.

    This passage is worth discussing, not because of its particular relevance to the issue at hand, but because it illustrates a nexus between the increasingly immoral and illogical components that have come to define progressivism.

    For reasons that I will not even pretend to explain, Kay (author) somehow finds the courage to defend Trudeau’s morally indefensible decision to select members of his cabinet on the basis of their genitalia. Just think about the centrality of this initiative for a moment. Canada has arrived at a place where its Prime Minister believes it legitimate to select members for the most powerful cabinet in the country on the basis of their genitalia. Not their qualifications. Not the totality of their professional experience. But their genitalia.

    While I would like to think that most Canadians would agree with me, if Jonathan Kay is a representative sample, you can be fairly sure that they don’t as evidenced by the author’s claim that Trudeau’s inherently immoral decision was vindicated by the emergence of stars such as Chrystia Freeland. Unfortunately, the problem with this claim is that it’s logically fallacious.

    To understand why this claim is fallacious, simply consider Kay’s apparent tendency to overlook or outright ignore the opportunity costs that are naturally associated to the affirmative selection by genitalia process. Remember, the defining selection criteria for half of the cabinet was their vagina. Having a vagina was the mandatory and every other criterion (professional experience, education, etc.) was subordinate to that. The problem with Kay claiming that Trudeau was vindicated is due to the fact that he incorrectly assumes the net benefit of Trudeau’s vagina requirement was positive. But how does Kay know that Trudeau was vindicated, since if the primary criteria for selecting these emerging stars was their genitalia, not their merit. If Trudeau would’ve selected his cabinet strictly on the basis of merit, it may have been the case that an even bigger star would’ve emerged; in which case the opportunity costs of Trudeau’s gendered selection process would’ve resulted in a sum total negative, i.e., not vindication but criticism. Of course, it could also be the case that the members he selected were the ones with highest merit; although this seems exceedingly unlikely since half of the cabinet was chosen from only 50% of the population.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @D.B. Cooper

      ” If Trudeau would’ve selected his cabinet strictly on the basis of merit, it may have been the case that an even bigger star would’ve emerged”

      Or even that those same aforementioned women would have been selected ENTIRELY ON MERIT, and without the patina of PC-quota to take the shine off. It would appear that the lady who appeared to be a quota filler — Indian and female, hey! two for one! — has shown herself to be a person of integrity notwithstanding that that’s not why she was chosen. Sometimes the right thing gets done for the wrong reason.

      BTW DB, too bad the other thread is now stale, I look forward to debating economics with you.

      • D.B. Cooper says


        Yes, I agree. We need to circle back to economics in the near term. After witnessing your love affair with UBI, to not return to the subject would be tantamount to a moral failing on my part. Due to your previous misgivings on the topic, I know view my role in the discussion (of economics) not unlike an accountability partner to someone in a 12-Step program.

        I’m there to guide you through the darkness, but you’ve got to want to be helped. I can’t disabuse you of these fallacious arguments. Only you can do that!

        • Ray Andrews says

          @D.B. Cooper

          Claire says she’s going to improve the comments section so you get emails of replies and can keep a subscription to an article open on email. That would make it possible to keep a thread open indefinitely which would help. As it is, having to rescan over and over again gets tedious eventually and so threads are abandoned. Areo does a bit better but ‘The Conversation’ is the best I’ve found.

          Anyway, yes, we can take it up again the next time the idea comes around. You will find me reasonable but hard to convince. I find the plutocrat’s narrative as self-serving as the Victim’s narrative.

    • scribblerg says

      And what’s with calling politicians “stars’? For the most part, they are grubby hacks who obsess about themselves and their power. And foreign minister Freeland is no “star”. Look at the consequences of her snubbing the Trump admin on trade? She got Canada a much worse deal. She’s also post-nationalist completely comfortable with overruning Canada with refugees and other migrants.

      The smug, smarmy Mr. Kay is a hack.

  23. Nick Podmore says

    I suspect that he elected a 50/50 cabinet because he wanted a group that he could charm and control. Unlikely with a bunch of men, most of whom are better educated and better qualified than he is! Canada elected a B-grade movie star. Personally I think he is utterly self serving and would have adopted whatever the prevailing ideology was at the time, it just happened to be 3rd/4th/5th/6th wave feminism and intersectionality. The fact is that exceptional people are outliers and rare, the fact that a very significant proportion of women leave professional careers to raise and nurture a family means that there will always be a smaller female proportion of these exceptional people available in the “workforce”. Say you have 50 exceptional men and 50 exceptional women in a labour pool, if 20 of those women leave the pool to have a family then the number of exceptional female candidates will shrink. This fact seems to have entirely escaped the feminists. But then they believe that the ultimate gift and responsibility that could be bestowed upon a species – the gift of creating and nurturing life – is an irritating patriarchal problem instead of something to be revered and respected. It is utterly anti-female to have this view! As a species our offspring are very vulnerable for a very long term so 1 part of a breeding pair has evolved to protect the other. I am not suggesting for a moment that this should naturally be a women but it is what THEY choose. You could easily book an elected cesarean have the baby and be back in the office in 4 weeks but this is not what the vast majority of women want. They want to be with their kids, it is a biological imperative. So if a large percentage of women leave the full time professional workforce you will always have a gender imbalance unless, like Trudy, you decide that merit is not the primary decider but a vagina is. So ultimately the gender pay gap and professional disparity is a matriarchal problem, not a patriarchal one.

    • E. Olson says

      Nick – your comment is incredibly sexist and demeaning to people who identify as women. It is very presumptuous to assume that exceptional people are evenly divided between males and females when there are gender studies journals full of articles that clearly demonstrate that women are vastly superior to men, but are kept down by patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and misogyny. For a number of reasons it is also very unfair of you to assume that women have the sole responsibility and desire to take time off their paid work to have and care for children. First, women who bare children run the risk that 50% of the babies will be born male, which greatly increases the risk that future generations of women will also face man-made obstacles to their rightful place in society due to patriarchy, toxic masculinity, misogyny and rape culture. Second, more children will need food, resources, and emit CO2 that will further reduce the 12 years we have to avoid global warming meltdown. Third, it is totally unfair that women should be expected to take time off their from their careers as CEOs, cabinet ministers, and other high status/pay positions to have children until lazy good-for-nothing men carry their rightful share of the load by gestating and breastfeeding 50% of all children. And please don’t try to spout nonsense about how many woman actually want to take time off work to have and take care of their children, because the gender studies literature is very clear that such behavior is driven entirely by patriarchal socialization that starts at childhood when little girls are given dolls and princess outfits, and not toy trucks and spaceships.

      Nick it is time for you to check your toxic male privilege and get your thoughts in alignment with Canada’s first elected PM who identifies as a woman: Justine Trudeau.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        “until lazy good-for-nothing men carry their rightful share of the load by gestating and breastfeeding 50% of all children”

        I understand that biologists are working on it. Yes, we may one day have male pregnancy. Mind … males are to be made obsolete anyway by growing sperm from stem cells, so the final solution to toxic masculinity is on the horizon. Mind, there could be an intersectional difficulty: will black males also be obsolete? What about gays?

        • E. Olson says

          Ray – but if science can eliminate men, won’t that also eliminate toxic masculinity, patriarchy, and rape culture as sources of all societal problems? Who will be left for women blame? I guess they could blame the “legacy of patriarchy”, just like SJ warriors and race hustlers still blame the “legacy of slavery” 150+ years after slavery ended, but without men around will women get any satisfaction from their whining?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            Yes. I wonder if some of the Victimologists are smart enough to know that they have to keep the narrative alive since that’s what keeps them in business — or will the doctrine force the final solution? You could be right tho, just as colonialism can be to blame for everything that’s wrong in Africa three generations after it ended, and slavery for every failure of negroes five generations after that ended, heck surely legacy patriarchy will suffice for a century or two. And I think you are certainly correct that you have to have someone to whine at. Unless you are sharing your misery there is hardly any point.

    • Avid Reader says

      @ Nick, I so agree with your statement about the pool of female candidates shrinking as competent women take time off to have a family. I feel that many taxpayer dollars could be saved, if those researchers investigating lack of diversity in politics, oil exploration or any difficult job that involves long hours and/or time away from home, would actually listen to the many studies that show “WOMEN DON”T WANT TO”

      Full kudos to @E. Olson, I wish I had your talent for sarcasm par excellence. Second only to Tatiana

  24. Felix says

    I’m not at all convinced that this “scandal” can sensibly be linked to Trudeau’s woke politics. I got to know about it from German news sites (I’m in Germany) where the fact that Jody Wilson-Raybould has an indigenous background was not mentioned at all. Neither was the fact that she is female politicised. Nevertheless, both for me as part of the audience and for the journalists commenting on the issue it was clear that Trudeau was at fault.

    Not for being in any way unwoke or sexist, racist, etc. but for attemting to obstruct the course of justice. And that is bad enough.

    So while I cetrainly think that Trudeau’s activism can be criticised on many grounds, this particular scandal has little to do with it and even in this article the connection seems quite forced.

    • Ray Andrews says


      It is a bit forced, isn’t it? All we really have is the presumption that Justin supposed he could force Jody to do his bidding, she being merely a squaw. But was he really thinking that? Would it be any different, really, if the minister of justice was a white male? I rather doubt it, the only thing that would change is that this article would not have been written. The article is itself woke for presuming that wokeness is at issue here.

      Yes sir, you are quite right. I’m mildly ashamed for not having seen that myself.

  25. PiersPlowman says

    Why does “more or less declared that everything Wilson-Raybaud had told Canadians is untrue” link to a tweet by Catherine McKenna about climate change. Was this a mistake, or am I missing soething?

  26. An excellent article. It should be required reading for all Canadians.

    Jonathan Kay has summarized, using wonderful prose, Trudeau’s slimy actions, self-serving posturing and extreme PC virtue signalling.

    Only Liberals could not or would not see through this sham of a leader. All they could see was his hair and all they could hear was his name. Perfect credentials for the leader of the country, right?

    Trudeau should never have been elected and now Jonathan and others are acknowledging their mistakes. Thanks for nothing.

  27. Andy T says

    Maybe you didn’t intend for this to be funny but it is that sarcastic and sick sort of way. The classic tale of hubris come right around to bite squarely in the behind.

  28. This scandal has a name, it’s called #lavscam. Also, I cannot agree with Mr. Kay about Trudeau’s decision to appoint his first cabinet with 50% females. This is a very dangerous dereliction of duty and responsibility to the Canadian people: decisions of this magnitude should never be made on the basis of Intersectionality but exclusively be based on the criterion of competence. The lucky fact that some of the women chosen have turned out to be competent does not excuse the initial crime of judgement.

  29. Mr. Kay: If you approve of gender quotas in selecting a cabinet, and if you “…welcomed Trudeau’s more idealistic style of Liberal governance”. then why on earth are you the Canadian editor of Quillette?

    • Sydney says

      @Robert Hadley

      You’re absolutely correct. And in Canada, “a more idealistic style of Liberal governance” doesn’t even make sense. Than what? Than whom? “More idealistic” (whatever “idealistic” means) than Stephen Harper and his Conservative government that ran a steady ship through a devastating global recession?

      The author makes ZERO sense (which would be the hallmark of a Liberal in Canada.)

      And there’s surely a joke in this somewhere, and especially on International Women’s Day: Perhaps the author slept his way to the top of female-run Quillette…?

      (Just joking; please don’t anyone get their delicate knickers in a twist…)

  30. Sydney says

    I posted this when Trudeau’s SNC-Lavalin scandal broke as a comment-verse for Quillette’s ‘Headline Rhymes’ section. It’s worth reposting in these comments now!

    Ode to the Globalist-Socialist Paradise of PM Justin ‘Junior Trust-Funder’ Trudeau:

    We’re ignored up here in Canada chill
    Trudeau morphed us into a U.N.-like blue pill

    But his virtue-signalling globo-socialist regime
    is turning into a conservative social-media meme

    Trudeau government poop is hitting the fan
    thanks to shady dealings with SNC-Lavalin

    The gov called us racist and Nazi and alt-right
    While corrupting justice and committing crimes of collar white

    Americans should inspect their own politicians woke
    And be careful of those who doth protest the most

  31. david of Kirkland says

    Eating themselves is how tyrants always work. It’s why the more central planning you allow, the more authoritarian and totalitarian the end results will be. The idea that there is a correct way to live is the fallacy and crime of these haters of actual human beings, not just those coerced into agreeing with whatever nonsense the powers say you must have.

  32. Etiamsi omnes says

    Trudeau is also on the record for having said, with obvious glee, that “Canada was the first post-national state.” This is what big money would like to have everywhere on Earth : we’re all immigrants, all cultures can mix, etc. Just consume.(it’s good for the economy), keep your eyes on your phone and leave running things

  33. tessouat says

    Reconciliation with First Nations, especially in Western Canada, was about pipelines from the get go. In 2017, the Supreme Court made it mandatory to get the approval of native communities before the construction of any infrastructure on their land. A bunch of tribes in British Colombia and Alberta made it clear that they opposed the pipelines. Wilson-Raybould was nominated to mollify them. It did not work.

    Now that Reconciliation has proved to be ineffective and that Wilson-Raybould is gone, Trudeau has become useless to Bay Street and its energy projects. Their money is now on the CPC and a more confrontational approach towards indigenous opposition. That is the reason this scandal is blown out of proportion.

    • scribblerg says

      All nations are built upon conquest. It’s the way of the world. And at least the West brought the modern world. The West conquered the natives living in the Americas, I’m okay with that. Reality is much better than Utopian fantasies about our past and future.

      Every nation is formed via force. And the “natives” were no different. I read two great books by Charles Mann on the anthropology and other aspects of the past 30,000 years in the Americas. Warring, conquering, exploiting the land via vast burns. Most people don’t know that the “Great Plains” in the U.S. are from massive Indian burns (they don’t mind being referred to as Indians, fyi. It’s a common term used in the field by academics actually.

      But we can’t speak honestly about such things.

      • Andrew Roddy says

        Yes. All this whinging about genocide, past and present, can be terribly tedious. Glad to hear you’re ok with it. Good for you.

        • Eric Yendall says

          Genocide is a very loaded word to casually toss-around in this case. It trivialises the true genocidal actions of the Nazis.
          More to the point there was and is not any substance to the claim of genocide against Canada’s aboriginal peoples. The simple fact is that their culture was simply unable to survive faced with western culture. To receive the rights and benefits of the prevailing culture requires that they fully participate in and take on the same responsibilities for it as everyone else. Their failure to assimilate, aided and abetted by the embrace of identity politics, victimhood and virtue-signalling by too many Canadians, has left the aboriginals in a hopeless and unsustainable culture of poverty, handouts and resentment.

          • Andrew Roddy says

            Eric Yendall. I suspect we are in complete agreement. I don’t believe a word you have said and neither do you. These are stories you tell yourself to help you sleep.
            It’s kind of you to share them. They be of help to others in the same boat as yourself.
            I hope you weren’t expecting to be taken seriously.

        • Gilles St-Gilles says

          @Andrew Roddy
          Can you let us know what aboriginal nation the Canadians genocided?

    • Stephanie says

      Wasn’t it the unelected Chiefs that opposed the pipeline, while the elected ones did (broadly)?

      The pivotal issue doesn’t seem to be Aboriginal rights, it seems to be monarchs hoping to extract more money versus representatives who want jobs for their constituents.

  34. SGM says

    The fact that the Trudeau government placed gender rights, perhaps second or third in the pre-conditions, of a trade deal with China is complete insanity, and demonstrates that he is so detached from reality. It’s one thing for 20 year old humanities student to be promoting this new form of social justice, whatever the heck that means, but when the leader of country is acting the same way, it is simply dangerous. Mr. Trudeau is now getting a dose of reality; this is not a board game, and the female indigenous minister of justice, is not a wooden figure to be manipulated and paraded as part of his diversity/inclusion doctrine, but a real person with an intellect and strength of character far exceeding Trudeau.

  35. Gilles St-Gilles says

    I have to disagree with Jonathan Kay’s praise for Chrystia Freeland.

    The Trudeau government has managed to generate extremely hostile reactions from Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, the United States, China and even Brazil. Relationships with all these countries (all bit players on the world stage, admitedly) have never been more frosty, not under the soviets, not under Mao. Chrystia Freeland, going to “Taking on the (Trump) Tyrant” panel while negociating NAFTA, for instance? Not an endearing move. Inviting a Sikh condemned for trying to assassinate an Indian minister to an official event while visiting India? That did not go so well. Etc

    I just don’t get how she receives such adulation while Canada has burned bridges with so many of the important players on the world stage. Canada will take on Trump, China, Russia, Saudia Arabia and India? I don’t think so.

  36. Andrew Elsey says

    We’ve heard it from denumerable thinkers for going on 200 years now – white men pretending to be liberals are intrinsic liars looking for power. And, moreover, as we’ve repeatedly seen over the past ~100-150 years since Western suffrage, the uncountable and increasing plurality of Chelsea Handlers of the West, despite their lifelong, devout hatred towards the evil white man, will still block vote for the white guy they find the more attractive (provided he fakes the values du jour). And so, men like Justin still have a viable path to power, at least for the next 50-100 years. Men may think with their dicks but thankfully we do not vote with them (although, who knows in the future? It is patent that attractive women hate men less and why that is the case). And so, here we are, in the Brave New World where Mr Trudeau has not lived up to his Faux!

  37. “Trudeau’s decision to ensure 50% female representation in his cabinet, in particular, seems entirely vindicated by the emergence of stars…” NOTE: The true “stars,” such as Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, would have emerged in any event had Trudeau chosen his cabinet on the basis of competence rather than genitalia.
    “…“we like to say peoplekind,” the PM admonished…Days later, Trudeau explained that he was joking.” NOTE: No he wasn’t! Study the video carefully. He was deadly, arrogantly serious – lecturing, hectoring, mansplaining, and interrupting a woman.
    “Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a possible Trudeau successor, in my view)…” NOTE: In my view, heaven forbid!
    “I was one of the many Canadians who welcomed Trudeau’s more idealistic style of Liberal governance. But his tenure also has taught me to miss some aspects of Chrétien…” NOTE: So the author would rather have Canada led by a corrupt Liberal Prime Minister unburdened by an “idealistic style of Liberal governance” than the current incumbent, a hypocritical “national scold” with highly suspect integrity? Canadians deserve better than either of them!

  38. Sydney says

    Can’t believe how badly the author missed the mark on Trudeau here. I made a few points and commenters brought up loads of others. We tend to forget quickly, but there have been more shocking issues showing egregiously poor leadership than you can count:

    Virtue-signalling as usual, Trudeau and his entourage came to Vancouver to PERSONALLY welcome (along with the now ultra-left United Church of Canada), a group of so-called “Syrian,” so-called “refugees.”

    THREE months later one of the “refugees” (a single, military-aged male) raped and murdered a 13-year old Vancouver girl, Marrisa Shen, in a local forested park. Asked about the child’s MURDER, Trudeau is on video (google it) smirking, chuckling, and dismissing the reporter’s question.

    Junior PERSONALLY interfered in a provincial court’s decision that he didn’t like. A group of inebriated and armed young First Nations adults came onto a Saskatchewan farmer’s land at night, where it’s suspected/assumed they were trying to steal a truck (a chronic problem in rural areas). The farmer shot at, and killed, a young man. The farmer was acquitted of the manslaughter.

    Indigenous groups were angry with the verdict, and Trudeau publicly sided with them (!) and flew the family of the dead indigenous man to Ottawa in order to make amends. Trudeau’s open interference with the judicial process was astonishing. Trudeau has never respected Canada’s judicial and criminal system. This is the author’s “idealism”?

    Google Trudeau’s Parliament office photo op with the alleged terror-connected owner of a Toronto business, Paramount Foods. Google Trudeau’s PMO photo op with Muslim convert and Afghanistan “hiker,” Joshua Boyle and his small children. Boyle’s story defies comprehension, but for some reason he was invited into the Prime Minister’s Office for a cheery, baby-hugging photo op just before being arrested and charged with kidnapping and assault. Does this post’s author not remember any of this?

    The beat here just goes on and on and on and on. This government was a horrible mistake of epic proportions for Canada. Crossed fingers for the October election and that idiots who voted for the Liberals wake up in time to bring Canada back from the brink.

  39. alex dennison says

    I agree with most of the thrust of this column but find it ironic that the writer identifies “THREE GENUINE STARS ” who have come to prominence under Trudeau, and yet 2 of those three have resigned!!! That has to say something. Of course I completely disagree with the third “star” Freeland. You have got to be joking, she was totally outmanoeuvred during the free trade talks with the USA and Mexico, asking to be allowed to sit in and then being told NO. How is she a star?

  40. This may be news to some, but ALL humans are flawed. A leader that recognizes this will be well served. In doing so, that leader might exhibit a little humility and restraint in overestimating your ability to run other people’s lives. In contrast, if you present yourself as a perfect human being capable of making decisions for the rest of us, then you are going to fall hard at some point.

    The philosopher king, Marcus Aurelius said it well:
    “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly.” And he wisely included himself in that group!

  41. TD2000 says

    Since when does “woke” governance include doing the fossil fuel industry’s dirty work? Trudeau is the worst kind of hypocrite. At least Trump is honest about his blatant favoritism toward his oil buddies.

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