Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, jeered by one critic as a "fearless defender of safe causes," found to his chagrin this week that one of his causes wasn't safe at all.
Commemorating the death of Cuban autocrat Fidel Castro, bosom colleague of Justin 's father, Prime Minister the late Pierre Trudeau, the junior Trudeau found that he had stepped into a wasp nest. People began calling him names, nasty names. Worse still, they were making him look somewhat asinine.
Trudeau's tribute to Castro had been unrestrained: “A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for 'el Comandante.' "
The immediate response was not at all reassuring, such as: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whose parents left Cuba before Castro came to power. “Is this a real statement or a parody? Because if this is a real statement from the PM of Canada it is shameful & embarrassing,”
Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump condemned Castro as a “brutal dictator ... (with a legacy of) firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights." And Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose father fled Cuba during the Castro years, called Trudeau’s statement “disgraceful. Why do young socialists idolize totalitarian tyrants? Castro, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot — all evil, torturing murderers.”
But the most devastating response came as bare-faced ridicule, with people parodying Trudeau, applying his formula to other notable characters:
Jason Markusoff in a letter to Maclean's magazine: "While controversial, Darth Vader achieved great heights in space construction & played a formative role in his son's life."
Canadian sports commentator Mike Hogan: “Today we mourn the loss of Norman Bates, a family man who was truly defined by his devotion to his mother.” (Bates is the fictional psychopathic killer who preserves the corpse of his mother in Robert Bloch's 1959 novel, Psycho.)
Australian news columnist Rita Panahi, “Although flawed, Hitler was a vegetarian who loved animals, was a contributor to the arts & proud advocate for Germany.”
J.J. McCullough, on Twitter: "As we mourn the Emperor Caligula, let us always remember his steadfast devotion to Senate reform."
"Chris" on Twitter: "While 99% of the Titanic's voyage was a complete success, the haters concentrate on the last 1%."
Elana Fric Shamii on Twitter: “Saddened about the passing of Sauron who, while heavy-handed, did advocate for open borders and usher in an industrial era."
What intrigues Canadians, however, was why Trudeau's advisers failed to foresee this deluge. Was it because they assumed Castro's bloody era was far enough removed from the current generation that they could safely canonize him? Or was it because Trudeau himself was so far removed from it, he saw no danger? In any event, as he was composing his encomium on the death of Castro, public celebrations in Miami were celebrating it.