Harry Mount

Trudeau family values

Canada’s new PM is a media darling. You can expect that to change when the bill arrives


 Quebec City

‘I’m worried your gambolling is out of control.’

Canada is about to hit a new high. If the supercute 44-year-old prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has his way, marijuana will soon be legally available. Trudeau himself is no pothead. He last had a joint in 2010 at a family dinner party, with his children safely tucked up in bed at their grandmother’s house. Still, it is a typical policy for the Liberal leader — headline-grabbing, progressive, fashionable. To call Trudeau a press darling is an understatement. The man is a global PR sensation. Only this week, he had himself snapped with two panda cubs — ‘Say hello to Jia Panpan & Jia Yueyue,’ he tweeted — and the world tweeted ‘Awwww’ back. But not everybody thinks the new PM is quite so adorable. It’s no surprise that Trudeau has enjoyed a honeymoon period. His election five months ago was quite a triumph. Four years ago, the Liberal party was in third place with 36 seats. He took it to 184 — the largest gain in Canadian history, and enough for an overall majority. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who had been in power for nine years, were unceremoniously kicked out. In office, Trudeau immediately established himself — like his neighbour, Barack Obama — as a master of hopey-changey stuff. In his first cabinet, he ensured that 15 of the 30 ministers were women. When asked why gender parity was important, he said laconically, with more than a batsqueak of smugness: ‘Because it’s 2015.’ There are worries, however, that for all his high-minded razzmatazz Trudeau is letting the economy go to, erm, pot. His government has promised to sign big cheques for the showy, caring policies he backed in the build-up to the last election. The National Bank of Canada puts the cost of Trudeau’s public projects over the next four years at £47 billion.

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