10 Promises Justin Trudeau Broke Since Being Elected
It’s not just electoral reform. What the hell, man.
All graphics by Ben Ruby
OK, look. Don't get me started on the electoral reform thing. In retrospect it was absolutely foolish for any of us to believe that the Liberals would dismantle an electoral system that had virtually guaranteed them a monopoly on power for most of the last 150 years and it's unforgivable that they'd cynically prey on a genuine desire among many Canadians to reform the way our democracy operates. I will give them credit for playing the long game, though. They really asked us to take it seriously: the unambiguous promise that 2015 would be "the last election" with the current system; immediately establishing a committee to study reform and giving the portfolio to a rising star in cabinet; going across the country holding consultations with Canadians; and then finally killing it altogether after citing their own popularity as a reason to abandon reform altogether. This promise was broken in such a baroque and cunning way that it is almost admirable.
It's so clever I could almost forgive it, if it weren't for these other major campaign pledges Trudeau made during the 2015 election that he has so cruelly broken before our very eyes.
1. Eat a motorcycle
One of the most unforgettable moments on the campaign trail was during a Liberal campaign stop near a Tim Horton's in Edmundston, New Brunswick, where he was heckled by a rowdy group of Acadien bikers. Demonstrating grace in the face of their thickly accented snubs at his masculinity, Justin Trudeau promised that within a year of his election, Bombardier would re-establish local production of Can-Am motorcycles or else he would personally consume every piece of a 1987 Yamaha Fazer. We've yet to see local production lines fire up for that iconic piece of Canadian road hoggery and, aside from a few candid shots of the prime minister chomping into an exhaust pipe on the benches behind the Supreme Court, it doesn't seem like we'll be seeing him eat that motorcycle anytime soon, either.
2. Murder Elizabeth II
When Gilles Duceppe challenged both Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau during the French debate to prove their support for Quebecers by murdering the Queen, no one thought either of them would accept—let alone the Liberal leader! But Trudeau swore he'd rise to the occasion and spent the next 20 minutes graphically describing how he'd break into Buckingham Palace some brisk summer's eve, creep through the corridors, skulk into the monarch's bedroom and gently but firmly smother Her Royal Highness to death with a down pillow. While some Anglo pundits worried that could be considered a gaffe, they nonetheless appreciated that Trudeau took a firm stance on regicide—especially compared to Mulcair's rambling, incoherent suggestion that the NDP would let the Queen live but incapacitate her by removing most of her limbs. Despite the prime minister's pledge, however, Her Majesty remains at large.
3. Air a six-hour live broadcast of himself gently ladling olive oil over Mike Duffy's head in a darkened room under a single spotlight while Jewel's "Hands" plays on loop in the background
When Mike Duffy's trial returned to court in the middle of the 2015 federal election, most voters thought it might heat things up on the campaign trail. But no one expected Justin Trudeau to dramatically burst into the courtroom while the trial was ongoing to softly kiss the embattled Senator's head as might a doting father. Asked about it on Evan Solomon's Everything Is Political Sirius XM show the following day, Trudeau cryptically announced that "all will be revealed" during a post-election television special where he would lovingly moisturize Mike Duffy with oil in a display of deliberately Christ-like magnanimity. He also was emphatic that this would take place regardless of whether or not the Liberals won the election, and repeated this explanation verbatim after every question Solomon asked him regardless of the topic. Of course, although CBC did in fact air an uninterrupted six-hour video in November 2015 of the prime minister tenderly ladling warm oil over Mike Duffy as he sat in a big barrel bathtub sobbing tears of quiet joy, documents later obtained through access to information requests revealed that the whole episode had been pre-recorded. While it pales against Trudeau's later betrayals, it was still a heartbreaking sign of things to come.
4. Release us from the suzerainty of the CrabLord
Pledging to liberate Canadians from our obligation to ritually sacrificing our first born to the CrabLord in exchange for protection from the Elders of the Black Forest was central to Trudeau's efforts to woo soft NDP and Green supporters to the Liberal campaign. But so far, beyond Governor General David Johnson mentioning how pleased the Crown is that citizens regularly commend their children to the dark lord of the seas during last year's Throne Speech, we've barely heard a word about this from the prime minister.
5. Rescind his father's 1979 recognition of Rush as the ambassadors of Canadian music
Widely regarded as the darkest moment in Canadian history, prime minister Pierre Trudeau named prog rock titans Rush as the nation's musical ambassadors in 1979. The move was so divisive at the time that not only did it fuel the popularity of Quebec separatism and nearly won René Levesque the 1980 referendum, it also roiled the fabric of English Canada by sparking the Geddy Lee-Burton Cummings civil war of 1981-83, in which millions perished. Worse, the Liberals were effectively locked out of Alberta for a generation thanks to snubbing Loverboy. Trudeau maintained that overturning his father's disastrous musical legacy was a key pledge during his campaign stops in Calgary, but as of February 2017, the cerebral and virtuosic performances of Geddy, Neil, and Alex on 1978's Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres is the only Canadian act ever to get state sanction.
6. Overhaul the Canada Food Guide to recognize asbestos as part of a balanced breakfast
It's no secret that Canadians aren't as healthy as they could be, and a big part of this is because the Canada Food Guide is bogged down by the out-of-date nutrition myth that eating asbestos will kill you. Although we know now that the public awareness campaigns about the dangers of eating fibrous flame-retardant minerals back in the 1980s was really an elaborate plot between Big Corn and the American FDA to cripple Canadian asbestos exports, this myth convinced a generation of nutritionists and parents that breakfast cereals like Coughy Crisp or Asbestorama! were bad for children. With childhood obesity rates skyrocketing and closed asbestos mines across the country a lingering, visceral reminder of the havoc American cultural imperialism has wreaked on Canadian bodies, restoring asbestos to the dinner table—along with establishing an asbestos tax credit—was a major part of the Liberal package for young families. But without action on asbestos, Justin Trudeau's promises of "Real Change" might just………….. go up in smoke.
I didn't forget, Justin. We lay together in that open field all night under September's harvest moon and you shared your clove cigarettes with me while I shared my dreams. I didn't get weird when you brought up vore and when I reached for your hand at dawn you told me we had something special. You made me believe we had something special. I cry every day that phone doesn't ring, you beautiful piece of shit.
8. Remake the evangelical cult-classic God's Not Dead where the prime minister is playing every single character in the movie
Unlike the United States, it's unusual for Canadian politicians to make a big show about their faith on the campaign trail. So it was pretty strange when Justin Trudeau spent an afternoon in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, telling Liberals supporters about how Shane Harper's performance of a zealous freshman philosophy student locked in a battle of wits against a cynical professor had changed his life. He said his only complaint about the movie was its lack of Canadian content, and that he planned to change that by creating a shot-for-shot remake of the film where he played every character in the movie, including the members of Christian rock sensation The Newsboys, all the extras, and Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty. He also showed supporters two of the scenes he had already finished—the first in which an extremely racist caricature of a Muslim man beats his daughter for listening to a Franklin Graham podcast; the second in which Kevin Sorbo publicly humiliates his wife at a cocktail party because she left his wine in the trunk of the car—and proceeded to break up the crowd into focus groups to evaluate the clips and give him feedback to improve the performance. But more than a year in office, the only "Christian" film remake we've seen is Stephen Harper's ambitious, if disturbing, television adaptation of Ken Russell's 1971 film The Devils in which the former Conservative leader played both Jesus Christ and the nun who fucks him. It got a cool two stars from the Globe and Mail's John Doyle. But Justin Trudeau breaking both his promise to voters AND his testimony to the Lord? That's a big hot zero right there, my friend.
9. Master the control of fire, thus making Canadian civilization possible
The mysteries of fire have so far eluded us, but our sages suggest that if we learn to master the creation and control of flame, the possibilities are endless. Not only could we cook our food and live in more temperate climes, but it might also enable tool-making, the creation of ceramic art, and a more productive social division of labour. All major parties made human control of fire central to their campaigns, and voters overwhelmingly preferred the Liberals' plan to put the question to a committee. But when that committee returned a report suggesting that fire could be used to clear and prepare land for large-scale agriculture and sedentary settlements, the prime minister was clearly less than impressed. It's been shelved since last December, and who knows if it'll ever see the light of day.
Did Justin Trudeau and his puppet master Gerald Butts seriously think the Canadian people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a crow and an extremely dusty seagull? Do better.