OPINION: A tale of two leaders

Justin Trudeau took some heat in Kelowna, but that’s what happens when you put yourself out there

Had Stephen Harper come to Kelowna during his reign as prime minister, you might not have even known about it.

He did come to Kelowna, parachuting in to shake hands with firefighters before getting the heck out. But he certainly wasn’t strolling the streets, talking to regular people, shaking hands and—oh the horror—taking pictures with them.

We bring this up to highlight the stark contrast in our past two prime ministers: One who shielded himself from virtually everyone, including those in his own party, and the other, who is not afraid to step out into the public and talk to real people.

One constant criticism of Justin Trudeau seems to be his penchant to enjoy people, allowing them to take pictures with him. Such a harsh thing (insert sarcasm emoji here) to do for someone who is representing all of the people of Canada.

This week’s trip to Kelowna brought out the best and worst in the people in our city. There was the F-bombs hurled at Trudeau from a passerby; and there was the transgender person who stood up in front of over 2,500 people to thank the Liberals for their inclusivity. Talk about two ends of the spectrum and we wonder what would be said if those two residents ever sat in the same room together.

Trudeau and his government are taking it on the chin from Kelowna’s pro business community and other well-to-do folks, who say proposed changes to small business tax rules will hurt them badly.

We can’t imagine those small business owners are scraping by on $40,000 a year, or trying to buy a home when making minimum wage. Or lining up at the food bank to put food on their table. So if government wants to level the playing field between those making over $150,000 and taking advantage of loopholes in the system and those making $40,000 a year, then we say good on you. The true middle and low class people are the ones who need help.

Are we really considering doctors the middle class?

Speaking of government, Trudeau was the second leader to come to town recently, following Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Like Trudeau, Scheer is a young charismatic leader. He had his own message to his party faithful. He told people his party doesn’t get its message covered by the left-wing media and they had better take their country back from those high-spending Liberals.

Attacking the media and playing on people’s fears. Sounds like a familiar strategy that has had success elsewhere.

Maybe we ought to be careful what we wish for in federal politics.