SNOBELEN: Trudeau’s Tofino trip was many things – but it wasn’t out of character – Toronto Sun

Author of the article:

John Snobelen

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to media after visiting a vaccination clinic in Ottawa, Sept. 28, 2021.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to media after visiting a vaccination clinic in Ottawa, Sept. 28, 2021. Photo by Blair Gable /REUTERS

Article content

It’s a little tough to get too fired up about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vacation fling to Tofino.

Article content

All sorts of people expressed shock and horror over Trudeau’s flaunting the national holiday he took great pride in creating. Winging off to Tofino on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (and flying over Indigenous communities that had invited him to participate in ceremonies) probably wasn’t the brightest thing the PM has ever done.

But it darn sure wasn’t out of character.

Trudeau and his ilk believe that everything is gesture. Saying you are a feminist is just as, if not more, important than actually doing things that respect the power of women. Saying you are an environmentalist does not require you to turn out lights or turn down the thermostat (or avoid flying in a private jet to Tofino).

In other words, it’s what you say (or symbolize), not what you do.

Article content

Trudeau is not out of step with a large cadre of people who have found the grand gesture to be an easier path than the long, tough trail to realize on intention. In fact, he is in perfect sync with current fashion.

Facebook friends are incredibly more efficient than the arduous business of maintaining real relationships with real people. Pasting a heart on a post or, for the truly committed, retweeting a clever banner is just as morally uplifting as donating real time and energy to a cause.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

It is hard to find fault with the era of the grand gesture. Heck, those massive WE Day rallies were a lot more fun than donating time at a local food bank.

And, truth be told, the folks who have the gesture thing figured out are better people than me. They darn sure are more certain.

Article content

I’m not certain that I understand the way nature works. I haven’t got a clue as to how to save the planet (or how higher gas prices will). But the folks who have a Green Party t-shirt know exactly how I should live.

Heck, I’m so stuck in the past I actually worry about repaying debt. How unwoke is that?

And, despite years of visiting reserves, meeting with First Nations leaders, debating the methods of sharing natural resources and the kindness of many individuals who have shared their perspectives, I still lack any particular wisdom when it comes to the way forward for all Canadians. I just know we have to keep trying.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Which gets me back to the king of the grand gesture and that ill-timed flight to Tofino. It doesn’t matter.

Article content

Had Trudeau attended a ceremony at the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation instead of flying (why are you environmentalists so quiet on this?) directly to Tofino, nothing would have changed. It would have been just another empty gesture.

Trudeau and company are all sizzle, no steak (cowboy interpretation – all hat, no cattle).

This is the minor fault of the grand gesture. Nothing gets done.

Years bleed to decades and still there are boil water advisories. Serious negotiations stagnate and courts are left to render impossible dictates. And while the sad legacy of residential schools and the hunt for gravesites occupy public attention, the building of a foundation for the future of all nations in Canada is still mired in legislation founded in assimilation.

Building a better future for the next generation of Canadians is serious business for serious people. Trudeau might as well be in Tofino.

opening envelope

From our newsroom to your inbox at noon, the latest headlines, stories, opinion and photos from the Toronto Sun.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300