The Liberals head into 2017 with a daunting list of promises to keep — legalizing marijuana, sanding down anti-terrorism legislation, growing the economy — and others, like electoral reform and running “modest” deficits, to weasel out of. Surely Justin Trudeau does not have enough spare time to be leader of the free world. Yet voices both at home and abroad seem intent on appointing him the global standard-bearer for “progressivism” in the fight against the (similarly ill-defined) forces that gave us Brexit, President Donald Trump and a resurgent European far right.
Apparently unchastened by the Great Disappointment that was Paul Martin, the likes of The Economist and Bono have been singing Canada’s praises. In July the magazine cheered Trudeau for his infrastructure spending, for “appointing a diverse cabinet,” for “showing rare compassion to Syrian refugees” and, er, for “looking good while standing next to Barack Obama.”
“The world needs more Canadas,” Ireland’s most annoying export then burbled in September.
In the Time Before Trump, Obama was thrilled to pump Trudeau’s tires — and in December, when all was woe, that task fell to his vice-president, Joe Biden. “The world’s going to spend a lot of time looking to you, Mr. Prime Minister, as we see more and more challenges to the liberal international order than any time since the end of World War II — you and Angela Merkel,” he intoned at his official dinner in Ottawa last month. “We need you very, very badly.”