Robyn Urback: The crowd laughed when Trudeau was asked how he’d deal with Putin. That should be devastating
The most telling moment of Monday night’s Munk Debate, in my opinion, was the moment moderator Rudyard Griffiths asked Liberal leader Justin Trudeau how he would deal with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The crowd laughed.
It wasn’t like the laugh that followed Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s suggestion that he said he had a “great relationship” with U.S. President Barack Obama. Or the collective chortle that met NDP leader Tom Mulcair, when he said his party has a solid record of provincial balanced budgets. The laughter, in those cases, was the audience’s way of saying they weren’t buying what the men at the podium were selling: Sure, Steve, you and Barack Obama are the best of buddies. Good one — tell another!
The laughter that happened at Trudeau’s expense, however, trickled out before he even had the opportunity to answer the question. In that moment, the mere image of Justin Trudeau sitting face-to-face with geopolitical bully Vladimir Putin was enough to solicit giggles from the audience. It was an uncomfortable moment to watch for many reasons, but primarily because at a bare human level, it must have been awfully humiliating...
and Jonathan Kay's
...Trudeau often is described as “charismatic,” a word that aptly describes his presence in a large room full of strangers. But among the people who know him well, there is something more complex and melancholy at work—an inchoate urge to protect the man from further pain. Even after all this time, I feel that protective urge assert itself when I hear Conservatives casting Trudeau as a dilettante who glided through life on the strength of his surname. No one glides through a mother’s abandonment.
Later in life, both Justin and his mother would pick up the pieces of their relationship. Margaret, in particular, came to terms with the mental health condition that lay at the root of her unstable behaviour. But by then, Justin was an adult. As a child, he had been left to confront all sorts of existential questions about family, love, and identity that few of us ever have to deal with. Many of the personality traits that Conservatives lampoon as symptoms of shallowness—gregariousness, exuberance, robust youthfulness—strike me as an outgrowth of his dogged effort to escape the sense of rejection that hung over his early childhood...