This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun.
Any questions about whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sincere in his supposed feminism were thrown under the bus alongside former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould this week.
Trudeau talks a good game when it comes to his feminism.
He basks in the adulation of declaring himself a male feminist to crowds of adoring elites at international conferences and the UN.
He appointed women to half the positions in his cabinet. Not because of merit or fair representation — women comprised 28% of elected MPs in last election — but because, as Trudeau put it, “it’s 2015.”
Equity feminism, which emphasizes equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity, was all the rage in 2015, so apparently, no further explanation was required.
But for all the intersectional points Trudeau scored for this stunt, his ongoing behaviour reveals that his feminism is as sincere as his apology to the reporter he groped at a music festival in 2000.
Oh wait. He didn’t apologize. He said she “experienced it differently” than he did, and then questioned her mental state. “Who knows where her mind was,” said a defensive Trudeau of the young woman he groped.
Trudeau’s fake feminism was on display once again this week in his pejorative treatment towards Wilson-Raybould.
Trudeau is nose deep in the worst corruption accusations to rock Ottawa since the sponsorship scandal. But this scandal is different, and if the accusations unleashed in the bombshell Globe and Mail report are true, it’s far worse.
Regardless of whether Trudeau’s office pressured Wilson-Raybould to interfere in the public prosecution of corrupt Liberal-connected engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, Trudeau’s integrity has already taken a massive hit.
First things first, Trudeau won’t let Wilson-Raybould speak. Instead, he’s repeatedly spoken for her, while refusing to waive solicitor-client privileges and thereby preventing her from speaking publicly and telling her side of the story. He’s muzzling a whistleblower.
Trudeau supports women, so long as they remain quiet and do exactly what he says.
Next, Trudeau’s office started a whisper campaign to discredit Wilson-Raybould, based on misogynistic tropes of women in the workforce being “difficult” and “untrustworthy.”
A recent Canadian Press article repeated the PMO’s gossip, stating that “some insiders say (Wilson-Raybould) was difficult to get along with, known to berate fellow cabinet ministers openly at the table, and who others felt they had trouble trusting.”
In other words, she is confident, opinionated and outspoken — all qualities that make for a successful cabinet minister. Unless you’re a woman in Trudeau’s government, that is, then it’s grounds for dismissal.
Finally, during a news conference on Tuesday, a visibly angry Trudeau not only called Wilson-Raybould a liar, he also dismissively called her by her first name — Jody — while referring to his male colleagues by their titles and surnames.
Trudeau is learning the consequences of playing with identity politics. You can’t simultaneously take credit for having a diversity of women and ethnic minorities around the table, while also demanding that they keep quiet, conform to party lines — no matter how corrupt — and do exactly what they’re told.
Three years ago, Trudeau paraded Wilson-Raybould out as the first female Indigenous attorney general in Canadian history. He took all the credit and accepted all the praise for her very presence in Ottawa.
Now, she’s showing Trudeau what Canadian women are really made of — she’s no shrinking violet, and she may have to take down the prime minister to prove it.