At some point in the last century, all the major names in Western media got their heads together and decided that, from then on, any time a political leader reached 100 days in office, we'd mark the occasion with a slew of tedious thinkpieces about what they'd achieved and, Jesus, isn't it a good thing that print media's dying out? Anyway, here's the digital equivalent, which is the same thing but written in first-person, self-indulgent prose.
The latest member of "The 100 Club," as no one's calling it, is Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—the man, the sweater mogul, the stairs faller… the legend. And while I'd normally shy away from writing this kind of garbage, I feel an odd sort of personal connection to Trudeau because I'm also celebrating an arbitrary first 100 days, and as a result I feel as if I have some sort of right to the thinkpiece throne.
About a year and a half ago I met a Canadian woman who found my tweets so funny she literally wanted to fuck me and make me her partner, and I thought, Jack, no one has ever before found your tweets so funny they literally wanted to fuck you and make you their partner, and no one will ever again find your tweets so funny they literally want to fuck you and make you their partner, so do whatever you can to be with this woman for the rest of your life—and that's pretty much what I did. Last spring, I packed up my damp, ludicrously expensive studio apartment in the UK capital, hopped on a plane to Toronto and moved in with the woman with whom I'd previously spent all of one week in person (when I actually type those words I'm aware of how insane I sound).
After months on a waiting list, my work visa came through on the day of Trudeau's inauguration, and I celebrated with a bottle of Molson Canadian as I watched the ceremony take place, and noted the diversity of the representatives. In fact, by insisting on having as many women as men in his cabinet, Trudeau achieved his first campaign promise before he was even technically prime minister. According to Trudeau Metre—which I'm going to blindly assume is correct because that's the most research I am willing to do on a Thursday afternoon—the PM has so far achieved 13 of his 214 campaign promises, including launching a national public inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, something Stephen Harper had refused for years to do. A further 29 promises are in progress, among which is the legalisation of cannabis and making admission to all national parks free in 2017—qualifying Trudeau for Dankest New Leader. One-hundred days in, and you know what I've done for the country so far? This. This "thinkpiece."
But the defining moment of JT's first 100 days came, for me, shortly before Christmas when he went to the airport to welcome Syrian refugees to their "new home." One of the two promises Trudeau's already broken was to have taken in 25,000 refugees by the beginning of 2016—but disappointing as this is, the way he went about the issue and the conversation surrounding it was refreshing. Maybe it was just a photo op to show the man's fundamental decentness, but coming from a country where our last election was dominated by anti-immigration rhetoric on both sides—to the extent that our own center-left Labour party made the misguided decision to sell mugs with "controls on immigration" printed on the side—and given the behaviour of your neighbours to the south (good luck with that wall, fellas), I found it genuinely touching to live in a country where the prime minister even gave that much of a shit about looking like he gave that much of a shit. I'm not so naive to think that there's not a good chance I'll come to regret these words in a couple of years, when he goes all Obama on us and oversees the drone-slaughter of children, but for now there still lingers more than a thread of hope for the future. Trudeau's biggest achievement by far is that he's reignited a sense of pride in the country.
It's this same optimism and basic humanity that's come to define my first 100 days as a resident too. The vast majority of people I've encountered so far have been nothing short of wonderful, have offered to help me get on my feet in this new country in whatever way they can, introduced me to people they think I'd like—and right now things are going pretty damn great. Your national cuisine may be a tie between two unholy abominations of carbs 'n' cheese, your national sport may be Fighting On Ice, the mayor of your largest city may literally be called John Tory, and you may never have produced a movie worth watching, but you know what? For the first time in my life, I feel like I could actually be proud to call myself a resident of the country in which I live.
So here's to 100 days of Trudeau, and of me being legally allowed to rake in the Canadian bucks in spite of my ostensible lack of talent. And thanks, Canada, for being so cool about me stealing your women and jobs. I owe you a lager.
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