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How Dignity Lost its Shirt in High Office

An Ontario family, out camping in Gatineau Park near Ottawa last weekend, was startled to cross paths with the Prime Minister and his family enjoying a cave-exploration excursion. As is his wont, Justin Trudeau greeted the Godby family members with affability and enthusiasm. And then he posed for the now-obligatory selfie with one of the Godby children.

It apparently did not occur to Trudeau to ask his excited young fan to wait a moment while he put on a shirt. It probably seemed quite natural to him that a national leader nowadays should appear bare-chested in a photo destined to be plastered over social media here and abroad.

How dignity lost its shirt in high office

Is an apology good enough? How about growing up? Does Justin Trudeau have any concept of the dignity of the office he holds?

Perhaps not much of one. Most of our recent prime ministers haven’t always remembered their high calling either. We’d probably have to go back to the era of Mackenzie King, Diefenbaker, and Pearson to find prime ministers who believed that they had an obligation to behave always with decorum, both within and without the House of Commons
The arrogant clown in Pierre Trudeau caused him to swear and pirouette on public occasions. Brian Mulroney was not bad in the House of Commons, but debased himself politically over Meech Lake and morally in the Karlheinz Schreiber affair. Jean Chrétien’s proclivity for political brawling was well known, though he did respect the House of Commons well enough to stay on his own side of the street.

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