Supporters have rushed to defend Justin Trudeau after a series of high-profile gaffes.

Earlier this month the Liberal leader was widely criticized for hosting a “ladies’ night” fundraiser; the accompanying advertisement featuring questions such as “What’s your favourite virtue?” and “Who are your real life heroes?” was denounced as sexist. However, Trudeau’s supporters feel the controversy has been overblown.

Feminists for Trudeau member Lisa Winotte called the backlash against the ad “ridiculous,” stating, “All these interest groups who know nothing about women’s issues are purporting to speak for us. The fact is, feminists have spent years debating which virtue is most important to the modern woman.  Patience, temperance, modesty – there are so many options and no clear answers. It was tremendously brave of Trudeau to take such a hot-button issue and bring it to the forefront of political discussion.”

“Frankly,” she added, “I’m pretty sure Canadian women have been waiting a long time for such an accomplished man to come along and settle the debate for us.”

Sexism accusations weren’t the only quibbles Trudeau had to contend with. At the same event, Trudeau stated that he admired China’s “basic dictatorship” which allows them to “actually turn their economy around on a dime and say we need to go green, we need to start, you know investing in solar.”

Unsurprisingly, media outlets picked up on this and accused Trudeau of supporting totalitarianism, an interpretation that left democracy activist Paul Inland frustrated. “They’re taking the whole quotation out of context. All he was saying is that dictatorships speed up the decision-making process. Yes, civil rights are important privileges, but Canadians would be much better off if we could just let go of our materialistic desires and accept some mild censorship, corruption, and unlawful persecution for the greater good. Sadly, anyone who even suggests that is considered a ‘radical.’”

Citizens for a Greener World President Chad Dumas also confirmed the accuracy of Trudeau’s statement. “China has been making great strides in environmental sustainability. In fact, last January Beijing only exceeded the air pollution threshold nineteen times. It was perfectly safe for people to leave their homes for the other twelve days. With results like that, who wouldn’t want a basic dictatorship?”

Trudeau supporter Valerie Smythe says that Trudeau is helping dispel apathy in young voters. Completely uninterested in politics before his election as Liberal leader, Trudeau inspired her to become involved. “He’s brought a sense of hope and optimism into politics. I don’t see why his opinion on random policy issues makes any difference in the big picture.”

There is a consensus that Canadians need to stop fixating on such trivial problems such as the economy, and civil liberties, and focus on more important issues facing our country. We can no longer distract ourselves with such minutia until we have decided as a nation, once and for all, what our favourite virtue is.

Originally published in The Fulcrum as “The Tomato: ‘Judge Trudeau by his youth, not words,” November 21, 2013. Disclaimer – Satire.

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