Like a lot of the country, I got wrapped up in the coverage yesterday of Justin Trudeau’s swearing in ceremony, and his walk about at Rideau Hall with the new cabinet. I thought about going down personally – one of the perks of living in Ottawa is that you can actually be there for these kinds of things – but in the end decided to just listen to the coverage on CBC Radio, and then watch a bunch of video on the CBC news that night.
I find I am very surprised at a lot of things.
I’m surprised at how likable he is. In Justin’s interviews (may I call you Justin?), he seems genuine and really, really nice. He’s warm and caring in a way that we haven’t seen – maybe ever, in a PM. He’s always hugging someone – his wife, his kids, his new cabinet ministers. It’s adorable.
I’m surprised at how important this moment in history seems. Many people in the crowd at Rideau Hall said they wanted to be there for the moment when Trudeau became PM – like they expect it to live on as a key moment for Canada. I don’t remember ever caring this much when the other Prime Ministers were sworn in. I certainly have never, ever watched a cabinet dissection for hours and hours, like I did last night. I’m hoping for change, but it’s not like we’ve been living in some sort of oppressive dark ages – it’s just time for some new points of view and new approaches – and yet this does seem, somehow, like the dawning of a new age.
I’m surprised at how hopeful I feel. It made me feel so emotional seeing a picture of the new cabinet – especially compared to Harper’s cabinets which were mostly old, white men. And I swoon a little bit every time Trudeau makes a Facebook post, talking directly to Canadians and inviting the press and public to call him out on any issues we have. There’s an openness here, a welcoming feeling that makes me weirdly teary-eyed when I think about it.
And lastly, I’m surprised at how much I care. I mean, I obviously care about Canada and what happens here and I’m passionate about voting and staying informed about the issues. But I mean I care on a personal level about Trudeau, and how he performs. Of the Prime Ministers that have been around since I’ve been able to vote – Mulroney, Campbell, Chretien, Martin, and Harper – some I’ve admired, some I’ve feared, some I’ve been indifferent to. But certainly, all have been just another politician – not someone who gets treated like a rock star when he shows up at public events. Don’t get me wrong, though, I like that – he’s our Obama, as my husband says – and I like that he’s young, and dynamic, and enthusiastic, and ready to listen.
I really like Canada today – and that says a lot. Welcome to the office, Mister Prime Minister.