My favorite North American leader is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, a dynamic social activist whose whose work on behalf of ordinary Canadians crosses borders and sets examples for governments everywhere. The image of Trudeau and other Canadian government officials handing out winter coats and hugging new refugees from Syria as they arrived at the Toronto airport stands in stark contrast to the immigrant-bashing vitriol currently emanating from Washington, D.C. and every smalltown coffee shop in the United States.
Lately there has been a bit of buzz about young Mr. Trudeau on Twitter, some of it a bit contradictory to the image he seems to have been crafting. So I decided to explore those tweets and try to determine which news was accurate and which was fake.
One tweet from environmental activist (and founder of the climate reality group, 350.org) Bill McKibben states that "The world's handsomest leader has an ugly climate record." It then links to an article in The Guardian which McKibben wrote that blasts Trudeau for his support of pipelines used to transport oil from Alberta's tar sands to the United States, including the infamous Keystone XL.
McKibben's tweet actually had two barbs - one that the young prime minister is handsome (and therefore one might assume that he is a stereotypically 'shallow' pretty-face), and one that his liberal credentials are smirched by support for an environmentally unsound policy and thereby making him a hypocrite. Beauty, or handsomeness, is in the eye of the beholder, but there have been a couple of photos of Ivanka Trump staring glassy-eyed and slack-jawed at the Canadian Prime Minister. So, with flies using Ivanka's mouth for a helipad whenever Justin Trudeau is around, it might be safe to assume that McKibben is correct on that count. Rate it as true that Trudeau is handsome.
It is also true, according to news reports, that Trudeau supports the extraction and transportation of Alberta's tar sands through pipelines. He does so, he says, for the jobs and economic benefits that the activity generates for the province of Alberta. That does not necessarily prove the claim in McKibben's opinion piece that Trudeau is a "disaster for the planet." The prime minister is decisively moving Canada away from the use of coal. Piping oil out of Alberta, true. Disaster for the planet, not so much.
The other area where Justin Trudeau is getting a lot of press is his leadership in the changing world view regarding marijuana. Twitter claims that Trudeau's government has proposed the nationwide legalization of marijuana for recreational use are true. The pending legislation would allow Canadians over the age of eighteen to possess one ounce of weed legally, which they would have to purchase from government-licensed distributors. (The strength of the marijuana would be limited, and the provinces could increase the minimum age for purchase if they so chose. Individuals would be allowed to grow up to four plants in their homes for personal use.) True, all true!
What is not true is the other rampant tweet which claims that Trudeau is pardoning all persons convicted of marijuana crimes and plans to expunge their records. False, totally false - but that's not to say that it isn't a good idea. Think about it Justin - in for a penny, in for a pound!
All of that - and free health care!