‘Everything is wrong with Canada’s prime minister — except his appearance’

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Trudeau Belgium Attacks 20160322
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the subject of a scathing column in a largely conservative Brazilian weekly. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, usually a media darling on the international stage, found himself on the receiving end of attacks by a Brazilian columnist and a global human rights group in recent weeks.

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Veja magazine and Amnesty International both came out swinging against the prime minister — the former blasting him as a “narcissistic” pretty boy who is soft on terror, and the latter criticizing him for not doing enough to rescue a jailed Saudi blogger.

Usually, when Canada’s prime minister makes international headlines, it’s for his advanced yoga poses, “spellbinding eyes” or “message of optimism.”

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But Brazilian national magazine Veja — which usually dedicates its largely conservative pages to calling for the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff over allegations she manipulated budget accounts to boost her re-election campaign — cast a critical eye on Canada’s leader over the weekend.
In the article, roughly translated as “Justin Trudeau is cute, but very ordinary: Everything is wrong with Canada’s prime minister, except his appearance,” columnist Vilma Gryzinski paints Canada’s head of government as a shallow aristocrat leading an “organized” country down the path to destruction.

Gryzinski blasts the filmmakers behind the biographical film God Save Justin Trudeau and the reporters who cover Trudeau as “sycophantic,” and calls the prime minister “the embodiment of vaguely leftist and confusingly well-intentioned liberalist dreams.”

She largely focuses on Trudeau’s physical appearance, reproaching him for “shameless parading” his good looks and posing for photos, specifically referencing a yoga picture that made international headlines last month.

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Yoga Trudeau
This 2013 photo of Trudeau doing the ‘peacock pose’ resurfaced as an internet sensation last week. A Sao Paulo-based magazine was not impressed. (Twitter/@gregkolz)

Gryzinski also criticized Trudeau for pulling fighter jets out of Iraq and Syria and opening Canada’s borders to 25,000 Syrian refugees, asserting that he would “support any insanity, including terrorism, when committed in the name of the Muslim religion.”

The columnist only pulls her punches from the prime minister long enough to take aim at his mother Margaret Trudeau, whom she accuses of “abandoning her children” in a wild and drug-addled youth.

ANALYSIS | Let’s give Margaret Trudeau the respect she deserves
Amnesty International calls PM’s remarks ‘indelicate’

Amnesty International also had tough words for Trudeau on Thursday, though not quite so inflammatory as the Brazilian columnist’s scathing hit piece.

The human rights group criticized the prime minister for suggesting the Canadian government needs to tread warily in its bid to help secure the release of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Badawi, who is not Canadian but whose wife lives in Quebec with their three children, was arrested in 2012 for his criticism of Saudi clerics and was convicted in 2014. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail as well as 1,000 lashes. He received the first 50 in January 2015 but has not been whipped since.

 

“Obviously we want to be able to help,” Trudeau said in an interview with Montreal radio station 98.5 FM. “Sometimes, pushing too hard, too quickly has harmful consequences for the people you want to try to help.”

Trudeau’s assertion that Global Affairs Canada is working hard on the file did little to placate Amnesty spokeswoman Anne Sainte-Marie, who accused him of lacking tact.

“Too quickly?” she said. “What is the Trudeau government’s cruising speed? Does it mean waiting for him to have spent 10 years in prison?

“His ‘too hard, too quickly’ seems a bit indelicate…. It’s a bit indecent on Mr. Trudeau’s part.”

CBC.ca April 8th 2016

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