It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when both Canada had an annoying right-wing prime minister and America had a liberal president. Sounds like a blip or momentary aberration, but Stephen Harper governed our progressive neighbor to the north for almost a decade, and his tenure overlapped with almost the first seven years of Barack Obama’s eight years in office. Weird, right?
Anyway, the situation has reversed itself, and Canada’s youthful and relatively enlightened Prime Minster Justin Trudeau will visit San Francisco next month on his Feb. 7-10 tour of the U.S., with additional stops in Chicago and Los Angeles. According to a media advisory sent out this morning, which I’m only slightly flattered to have received, Trudeau will “will meet with local business leaders and entrepreneurs to explore opportunities for increased collaboration between our countries.”
Hmmm. That’s not only vague, it’s very vague. It’s also vague in comparison to the details about his visits to L.A. (a talk at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library) and Chicago (“speech at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics to highlight the importance of public service”).
But it sounds like the 46-year-old Trudeau probably wants to talk to Google or Airbnb or whoever. Maybe he’ll charm everyone with his C-3PO and R2-D2 socks or by explaining quantum computing without using notes.
Let it also be said that Trudeau isn’t perfect by any means. The son of former Canadian P.M. Pierre Trudeau, he’s a beneficiary of nepotism who was reared in privilege, he’s really keen on exploiting and transporting filthy, carbon-rich oil sands from Alberta, and his promises to make amends with Canada’s indigenous First Nationsl peoples haven’t materialized. And for all the glowing praise for personally welcoming refugees at the airport, Canada can be pretty hard-line about immigrants.
But it sure must be nice to be governed by someone who doesn’t blurt out state secrets while cooing about beautiful pieces of chocolate cake. Hopefully, Justin Trudeau will be spotted eating somewhere trendy like Eight Tables or Villon and coyly bat his eyelashes when someone tries to get him to badmouth Donald Trump.