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Canada Kelly McParland: Justin Trudeau hypocritically punishes others for past mistakes, while brushing off his own

21:28  26 july  2021
21:28  26 july  2021 Source:   nationalpost.com

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Kentaro Kobayashi, the director of the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, was fired abruptly, just as the Games began, for making a really ugly joke about the Holocaust — in the 1990s.

Anita Indira Anand, Justin Trudeau are posing for a picture: Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand, left, and Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, right, look on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa on Dec. 7, 2020. © Provided by National Post Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand, left, and Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, right, look on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa on Dec. 7, 2020.

It was an indefensibly awful joke, in which he said, “Let’s play Holocaust!” and pretended to be cutting up paper figures of people with a pair of scissors. It’s one of those forms of humour that professional comedians defend as being so entirely offensive as to undermine any notion they should be taken seriously. It was also part of an act during a comedy show 23 years ago, when Kobayashi was 25 and part of a comedy duo looking to make a name for itself.

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It’s no secret that striving young comics can say some pretty ignorant stuff as they sort out what’s allowable and what isn’t. He’s apologized, but no matter. He’s out. Shouldn’t have been so dumb 23 years ago, Kentaro. Who are you to make mistakes?

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin is also pondering the ruins of his name, reputation and career as he seeks to defend himself against an allegation dating back more than 30 years, to a time when Fortin was a student at the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, Que. The accusation is reportedly that he exposed himself to a woman.

Fortin was head of Canada’s vaccination rollout when the claim emerged and was forced to abruptly step down. He denies the allegation and is fighting the charge. He says in an affidavit that his removal was the work of “political interference in the military chain of command” — i.e., that he was steamrollered for political reasons because the prime minister didn’t want to wait for due process to take place or a reasonable investigation into the claim.

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“The reputation I have built up over the course of three decades of service to my country has been irreparably tarnished by the decision to announce publicly an investigation into my alleged conduct, exacerbated by the fact that the announcement lacked the context that the investigation relates to a single allegation of misconduct dating back over 30 years,” he said.

No matter, he’s out too. The truth of what happened 32 years ago didn’t count as much as the prime minister’s desire to demonstrate a zero-tolerance policy for bad behaviour, even if it involves something that might not have happened.

These two cases — Kobayashi and Fortin — raise some familiar questions that relate to the past conduct of people who find themselves in the public eye. For instance, is there a statute of limitations after which patently dumb or offensive behaviour should be measured against a person’s activities in the decades since? Should there be some formal attempt made to determine whether the allegations are true before ruining the person’s reputation?

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Does the fact a person was young and foolish at the time of the alleged incident, and has since become a transparently honest and respectable citizen, mean anything at all? Or is it better to just crush people and be done with it, in order to warn off any young people out there who might be thinking of doing something dumb and offensive? (Not that warning young people against doing foolish things has ever worked before.)

Reading about Kobayashi and Fortin brought to mind a young Canadian with a well-known name who had a definite taste for dressing up in costumes and painting his face (not to mention, chest, arms and legs) black or brown. When images emerged of Justin Trudeau making a spectacle of himself in blackface at various points of his pre-politics career, he was suitably mortified, apologized profusely and used it, as he often does, to share a homily with Canadians on the importance of learning from the past, examining our actions with honesty and using the lessons to better ourselves.

It was similar to his response to complaints that, as a young man, he had groped a young female reporter at an event in British Columbia. He was a bit less repentant in that case, insisting he didn’t recall doing anything wrong, but acknowledging that “someone else might have experienced that differently.”

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He didn’t step down, of course. And no one in his cabinet or caucus suggested he should. Rather than stick to the high-minded code he demanded of others, he played for time, waiting to see if Canadians would forgive him, which they largely did.

The lesson in this is plain: if you find you’ve made an imprudent or unwise mistake as a youth, it’s best to seek a career for yourself in politics. That will let you lay claim to high moral standards by denouncing and dismissing others for their human failures, while neglecting to apply the same rules to yourself in the hope the public will grant you a reprieve, as they often do. In the end you have a fighting chance to enjoy a long and profitable career of “public service,” safe in a world of firm double standards.

National Post

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usr: 1
This is interesting!