It's been a rough week for Justin Trudeau.
After positioning himself as Prime Minister-in-waiting through the combination of his pedigree and estimable charm and traditional voter fatigue with a multiple-term sitting government, Trudeau has floundered badly in his first real test of crisis leadership.
It started last Thursday with his jaw-droppingly ill-advised dick joke during a Liberal love-in called Canada 2020, where Trudeau trivialized the ISIS terror threat by mocking the Harper government for "trying to whip out our F-18s and show them how big they are." It wasn't the first time the Liberal leader saw fit to crack wise about a large scale human catastrophe. Last winter, he brought a television interview to a screeching halt when he made a hockey joke about looming civil war in Ukraine.
Between Trudeau's frat boy approach to foreign affairs and public opinion polls showing him to be badly out of touch with prevailing Canadian sentiment on the terror threat, the Liberal braintrust was sufficiently panicked to give Marc Garneau the lead role in yesterday's House of Commons debate on Canada's military mission against ISIS. Not only was Trudeau relegated to spectator status, he left the debate early to attend a speech by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who used the occasion to endorse military action against marauding Islamic extremists.
Justin Trudeau is a decent, engaging fellow with the best of intentions, but we've seen more than enough of him to recognize that he's not prime ministerial. He's a celebrity who would make a terrific figurehead for a charitable organization or maybe even a useful ambassador or consul-general with a little bit of schooling in diplomatic decorum and politesse. But he's no more of a statesman than Ben Mulroney - another son of privilege who had the good sense to go into a field of work that suits his talents.