Let’s learn from Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not only stolen many hearts with his extremely good looks and dreaminess, but he also exemplifies what a great leader should be. He is a huge advocate for liberal and progressive change, overall Trudeau has had a high approval rating with Canadians, and Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world for being “a force for good.”

“We are dreamers, innovators, builders. We know that in Canada, better is always possible. And we deserve a government that knows that too,” said Trudeau on his liberal party’s website.

Just a few changes he’s accomplished while being in office since 2015 include creating a gender equal cabinet, lowering greenhouse gases, contributing $100 million in aid for Syrian refugees in Canada to the UN High Commission of Refugees, doubling immigrant applications to 10,000 to encourage family reunification, lowering the middle class’s taxes to 20.5 percent from 22 percent, and ending airstrikes on ISIS.

“He’s been championing a lot of causes that are true to what he stands for which I think is really important,” said Government teacher Mr. Kurt Erickson. “I think [this] is awesome, so I think that’s probably the greatest strength during his tenure as Prime Minister is that he’s really sticking to what he said he’s going to do and he’s been true to his word. And, I think often times in American politics, and I think you can say this about just any leader, sometimes they make promises that they don’t necessarily live up to and may say one thing but in practice do another.”

He’s also openly supported LGBTQ+ rights and walks in the Toronto Pride parade every year with his family. He wants everyone to have equal human rights and be fully protected not only under his leadership, but future leadership. He also plans to make discriminating against people because of their gender identity illegal under the Canadian Human Rights Act, making him probably the most progressive leader in the world in terms of LGBTQ+ rights.

Not only does he lend huge support to the LGBTQ+ community, but he is very involved with the education of youth in Canada. If you’re a follower of Trudeau on Instagram, many of his pictures reflect this. You can find pictures which feature stories about young adults who have excelled due to higher education, and how Trudeau promises to create more opportunities for young people to succeed. He regularly attends WeDay in Toronto, a conference to empower youth and give them the tools to take social action and transform lives, to help empower the youth of Canada.

By maintaining an active presence on social media, Trudeau has been able to accomplish another goal of his during his time in office, which is having a more open and honest government. Just by scrolling through his Instagram or watching his Snapchat story, you can see his proposed policy ideas and who he’s been meeting with. This in turn this creates the sense that he really wants to inform the public about what he’s doing while in office, which should be a goal for all leaders.

Trudeau also wants to legalize marijuana because he believes it would steer profits away from organized crime, and he hopes to create federal legislation this spring. Even though only a few states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana, a nationwide legalization could also see a decrease in organized crime and in turn help our national debt since less money would be going towards the war on drugs.

In Colorado, according to The Mercury News, “legalization has boosted tax revenues and breathed life into struggling areas, with polls showing the majority of Coloradans viewing the change as mostly positive.” Along with Colorado, Washington has also seen a positive change come from their legalization.  According to a report done by the Drug Policy Alliance, “the state has benefited from a dramatic decrease in marijuana arrests and convictions, as well as increased tax revenues. During the same period, the state has experienced a decrease in violent crime rates. In addition, rates of youth marijuana use and traffic fatalities have remained stable.”

While President Trump is trying to put in place a Muslim ban in the U.S., Canada and Trudeau have welcomed over 33,200 refugees from Syria in the past year. When Trudeau heard about Trump’s plan he took to social media and tweeted, “to those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”

“We want these families arriving to be welcomed, not feared,” said Trudeau in a later statement.

Adding to his work in foreign policy, he has also created a free trade pact with England, which in turn reduces tariff barriers –making it the best market access ever granted– and creates a stronger middle class for both countries according to Canada’s government website. Overall, it appears he has done a good job in regards to foreign policy.

Moreover, Trudeau is not afraid to poke fun at himself; this is best seen in his “Different Hair, Same Platform!” campaign ad. Other respectable qualities about him include personally greeting Syrian refugees and handing out winter coats to them, committing himself to solving climate change, giving a voice to and fights for aboriginal people’s rights, advocating proudly for diversity across the board –unlike some in the U.S.– participating  in several charity boxing matches, describing  himself as a feminist and promoting gender equality…the list goes on.

Another positive thing about Trudeau, besides his dreaminess, is that he’s more accessible and approachable than most people in the government, and he isn’t afraid to stop and talk when spotted in public. Once a family ran into Trudeau while on a run in the woods and actually snagged a selfie with the Prime Minister.

“I like the fact that he seems to be very approachable and maybe puts himself down to a human level where I think citizens can relate to him, because they see that he is just like anybody else. So, I think one of that things that he does very well [is he] can be self-deprecating at times and I think that’s the draw to him,” said Erickson.

On a personal level, he is a family oriented man, and has been married since 2005 to his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Together they have three children, Ella-Grace Margaret, Xavier James, and Hadrien; all of whom he spends a lot of time with when he’s not in office. Trudeau was also extremely close with his father, Pierre Trudeau, who was the 15th Prime Minister.

Trudeau has a tattoo on his upper left bicep, an image of planet earth inside a Haida raven, which symbolises when his family was made honorary Haida members in 1976, during his father’s time as Prime Minister. Unlike most world leaders, he also frequently does yoga and boxes. Yoga runs in the family, as both his father and wife are also frequent yoga practicers.

Before becoming Prime Minister, Trudeau also used to box for a workout and fun, but now he participates in charity boxing matches every once in awhile. Prior to work in the government, he was a high school teacher at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver, where he taught French, drama, and math.

While on a diplomatic level, he is always meeting with different groups to get their insight on what they want to see happen, or change during his leadership.

“So much of politics is fleeting and ephemeral. But the connections you make with the people who invest their hope and trust in you, that’s what gets you through all of the rest. That’s what makes it worth doing,” said Trudeau.

So what could the U.S. and our leaders learn from how Trudeau leads?

First off, they could learn to be more progressive in terms of change instead of either getting nothing done or going backwards. Secondly, leaders need to engage with the youth more because they are the future. They also need to be more accessible and approachable, because no one wants a leader they wouldn’t feel comfortable having a chat or meeting with.

“I think because he is more relatable and appears to be very approachable and down to earth I think that somebody like Donald Trump could learn a little bit about [that],” said Erickson. “But, I think people sometimes can be a little skeptical. I read some articles of how some of the criticisms of him is that he’s almost too nice, and that people don’t trust it because he’s so nice and he’s so relatable.”

Along with accessibility and approachability, leaders need to create a more open government, so the people can see and understand what exactly is happening.. Leaders also need to be respected by their fellow government members and the people they govern over, because it will be easier to get things done and overall have a positive and productive time in office.

America could definitely do with a Trudeau-esque  leader in the future. Although some of his policies may seem a bit extreme and come off as a political culture shock to some Americans, just look at the following Bernie Sanders had. Erickson even went on to compare Trudeau to Sanders, and he believes that Trudeau would be very popular among Sanders and some Hillary Clinton voters.

“I can totally see somebody like a Justin Trudeau coming up like a newer, younger, hipper, good looking guy or woman who comes up out of the party and people kind of see them as ‘hey this is kind of direction we’re heading.’ I could totally see somebody like that possibly running for office in 2020 or 2024,” said Erickson.