Justin Trudeau can be thankful the attacks by the Conservatives on him as Liberal leader haven’t managed to stick. But he shouldn’t push his luck.
Fresh off the Liberal convention over the weekend, Trudeau is taking some heat from the governing party for off-the-cuff – and off-colour – remark he made in response to a question about the worsening crisis in Ukraine.
Granted, Trudeau’s quip aired on a Quebec current events program, “Tout le monde en parle,” that tries to take a humorous turn on things. That still provides little excuse to appear to be making light of a seriously troubled country.
After first stating a view that Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych had lost his legitimacy, Trudeau added that the former Soviet Union country with its protests could be in big trouble. “Especially since Russia lost in hockey, they will be in a bad mood,” Trudeau said, in reference to the Russian men’s hockey team and its poor performance at the Olympics.
Even the federal NDP got in on the act, highlighting the questionable taste of the comment by posting it on YouTube.
The Liberals responded saying the party had indeed taken the matter seriously, having passed an emergency resolution calling for support for a transition to democracy in Ukraine.
Certainly we would expect such business as usual – the party’s support for a just solution. But any response, no matter the context, that appears to make light of a country’s upheaval won’t be met casually. Scores have been killed by police for speaking out against its president since protests began.
It’s hard to say whether the public will pay attention to this barrage of derision by the Conservatives, or if they’ll just see it as the same old bag of tricks.
People enjoy moments when politics – which many find a dreary subject – stumble upon a light-hearted moment. But any politician still trying to be taken seriously should realize there are some matters you simply don’t joke about.