Justin talked, we listened
Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau chats with students at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta., on Wednesday October 30, 2013. (Lyle Aspinall/QMI Agency)
It's time the media stopped cheering on Justin Trudeau and started peeling back the curtain.
The novice Liberal leader is rightly under fire for saying at last Thursday's "ladies night" event that "There's a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime."
Various groups in Canada whose members suffered under Chinese Communist policies have denounced Trudeau's statements. But a bizarre CBC panel on Friday night seemed to imply Trudeau was the one wronged.
Maclean's Martin Patriquin was certain Trudeau was joking.
Panelist Kelly Cryderman, from the Globe & Mail, said "you have to wonder if he misheard the question."
It was then mentioned that after Trudeau's weird comment he said "Sun News can now report that I prefer China."
Panelists laughed that Sun Media then reported Trudeau's words. Verbatim. So readers and viewers could decide for themselves.
At the beginning of the segment, host Rosemarie Barton conceded "we didn't stay for the whole event." Which was why they couldn't play the clip, because they didn't have it.
So let's get this straight: Sun reporters attend a segment in full and report on it. CBC reporters fail to properly cover it.
And somehow Sun Media is the one being laughed at? For providing better coverage than the well-funded and amply staffed CBC?
But here's the thing. Not even Trudeau says he was kidding.
On Friday he doubled-down: "In this world we're competing with countries that have the capacity to react to big issues quickly and completely." He's making it clear he holds some degree of admiration for the speed at which central-planning governments can get results. Including China.
Trudeau referred specifically to China's green energy policies. But, as Lorrie Goldstein noted in Sun Media papers Sunday, Trudeau is "apparently unaware China consumes almost 50% of the world's coal and is building one new coal-fired generating plant per week."
Polls show Trudeau could become prime minister in 2015 with a majority. Yet we still know very little about this rising politician's policy smarts or lack thereof.
It's time to drop the pom-poms and take a closer look.