From Sunny Ways to Pelted With Stones: Why Some Canadians Hate Justin Trudeau
In Canada, Trudeau is a polarising figure – online, people either love or immensely dislike him.
Canada’s snap election has increasingly featured against Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. , Trudeau’s campaign stops in recent weeks have been disrupted by – one protester was at Trudeau during a campaign appearance.
Outside of Canada, people might be surprised to hear about the anger directed at a politician known internationally as a youthful, charming, energetic progressive. has found a persistent, visceral dislike of Trudeau among many right-wing online communities.
In Canada, Trudeau’s a polarising figure – online, people either love or immensely dislike him.
Trudeau, the son of famed former Prime Minister who enjoyed a similar international celebrity, when he won his first election in 2015. That campaign was defined by a focus on and as part of a progressive reset after years of Conservative rule.
, another example of how closely linked celebrity and political culture can sometimes be.
Two years later, Trudeaumania had largely dissipated, though it never existed among right-wing groups. In 2017, a friend shared a post from Ontario Proud, , a popular Facebook page . It was a cartoon that originated on an alt-right sub-Reddit suggesting Trudeau has betrayed white, wounded male veterans.
The Islamic crescent on Trudeau’s socks is perhaps a conspiratorial explanation of the false belief that Trudeau paid out to , a Canadian citizen who at the age of 15 was detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay for 10 years for the wartime killing of a US army sergeant in Afghanistan. This allegation ignores the violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Accusations that Trudeau has betrayed Canada was a common theme , another election year. We found no Trudeau meme pages celebrating the leader.
Instead, we watched anti-Trudeau pages describe him as a traitor who deserved to be treated with contempt. In another meme, Trudeau’s name had been reduced to “Turd.”
Blackface, Sexual Predator Accusations
. They believed, that the prime minister’s past behaviour symbolised liberal hypocrisy, accusing him of a performative and superficial embrace of equality and social justice.
The blackface, however, seemed to matter less to right-wing groups than framing Trudeau as . They “uncovered proof” of Trudeau’s alleged lecherous conduct at past schools and targeted the placement of his hands in a photo from a 2001 Bollywood gala.
Memes became designed to prove Trudeau’s past sexual misconduct and used to negatively taint his contemporary image.
Trudeau was a sex symbol, alright, but the worst kind, according to these groups. But the claims had made their mark in these communities and further soured their adherents on the Liberal leader.
Pandemic Intensified Anti-Trudeau Feelings
The COVID-19 pandemic offered these groups further cause to feel .
Pandemic lockdowns, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports and disruptions to businesses offered new ways to interpret Trudeau’s arrogance and betrayal. The reaction wasn’t exceptional – most countries – but rather the continuation of anti-Trudeau attitudes that regard him as an incompetent leader who is not to be trusted, whether with women or with the economy.
Our observations show a darker side to Trudeau’s celebrity status. As much as Trudeau may be regarded as a likeable person by many Canadians and international observers, he’s disliked by right-wing groups for perhaps similar reasons: he’s a rich, entitled white man in a position of privilege and power who they view as betraying what they often call
This may explain Trudeau’s niche unpopularity online and the white, violent crowds appearing at his rallies.
As journalist Fatima Syed writes,
That privilege might also explain a media blind spot. There is a multitude of , and as a society, Canada needs to urgently make sense of the racial and cultural power dynamics that are underlying angry and hateful discourse.
(The authors Fenwick McKelvey and Scott DeJong work as Associate Professor in Information and Communication Technology Policy and PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, Communication Studies at Concordia University. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.)
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