London visit, a study in disrespect

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had one job to do. On behalf of Canada, he had to go to London to pay respects to the late Queen Elizabeth and to offer condolences to King Charles and the royal family. For the occasion, the prime minister travelled with a sizeable delegation that included Governor General Mary Simon, former governors general David Johnston and Michaelle Jean, and former prime ministers Stephen Harper, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and Kim Campbell. The delegation also included some Canadian “artists.”

Sadly, the task proved to be too heavy a burden for Justin Trudeau. During a period of national mourning in the UK, Trudeau decided to party it up publicly with some of his entourage of “artists,” themselves travelling on the public dime.

Why the PM needs to travel with artists, begs the question. My guess is that the company of serious adults like former governor general Johnston or former prime ministers Chretien, Martin or Harper would be far too weighty for the boy prime minister. A few fawning playmates alongside Trudeau would keep him entertained and fulfill his palpable need to be the center of reverence. If left alone too long among adults who formerly occupied his position, Trudeau would likely feel inadequate. Because the playmates were also part of the delegation, of course, their partying was as boorish as the prime minister’s. They too had a duty to behave properly and equally failed — unless they were there exclusively contracted to entertain the prime minister in London.

One does not need to be a monarchist to understand how partying publicly during a period of national mourning is a transgression. But given who Queen Elizabeth was, there are several layers of indiscretion. It is first and foremost a diplomatic blunder. The partying is an insult to the British government and its people, who were in mourning. Trudeau also dishonoured the memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II –whom he claims was a favourite of his; he disrespected the King and the entire Royal Family; he disrespects the peoples of the Commonwealth to whom Her Majesty was Queen; and he equally disrespects the religious community of the Anglican faithful for whom Her Majesty was the head of the church around the world. Lastly, with such immature behaviour Trudeau failed Canada and Canadians, whom he represented at the state funeral.

The prime minister is entitled to his personal views about the Crown, to his lack of respect for the institution of the monarchy, to his lack of seriousness and commitment, and even to his personal lack of loyalty as a subject. No one stopped him from partying his heart out privately at his hotel suite with his friends, for instance. But as the political head of Canada’s national delegation, he was expected to behave in a dignified manner that befits an occasion of such import.

But Justin does not only fail his duty to represent Canada and Canadians at a solemn funeral in a foreign country. Her majesty was not only the longest ever serving British monarch. She was also the Queen of Canada, to whom Trudeau once swore to serve as a head of her Canadian government. His disrespect is also directed at the office he occupies, at Canada and its people. He disrespected Canada’s late monarch, its new monarch and family, among whom are heirs and future successors who will likely reign over this country long after Trudeau is no longer in office and long after Justin is gone.  

Finally, the prime minister and his sycophantic performing entourage, added to their failure of decorum, also fail a basic test of human decency. Regardless of official titles and offices, regardless of all pomp and ceremony, Her Majesty the Queen was the mother, grandmother and great grandmother of their British hosts. Whatever the politics and likely derision of the offices that Trudeau and his bohemian friends embrace, compassion and human decency would have one observe in quiet respect the mourning of one’s hosts. If not out of respect for the Queen herself, then out of compassion for the pain and grief of the living in mourning who had lost a precious member of their family.

In deliberately partying in public during a period of national mourning, Trudeau failed his late monarch and successor the King, he failed Canadians who respected the Queen and respect her rightful successor, and he failed the most basic expectation of human decency to honour the memory of the dead, and to show respect for the pain of people in mourning. The prime minister and his little band have disgraced Canada and Canadians, and once again he disgraced himself.

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