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The headline says one thing. The article itself says another: “Like the leaders that came before him, Trudeau had an honest week. He uttered five false claims, on par with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, two fewer than Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and one more than Paul, and stretched the truth six times. When considering the leaders’ “dishonesty density” — their rate of false claims by speaking time — Trudeau was the most truthful of a fairly evenly matched bunch.

“Because he’s the incumbent, Trudeau is arguably treated with more scrutiny than any other leader, and last week he repeatedly faced tough questions about his past six years in office. When Trudeau got in trouble with the facts, it was often a product of him overstating his record, or searching to explain his government’s lack of success on past promises…In total, I found five false claims in 248 minutes of public appearances. I also deemed six separate claims to be a stretch, meaning the claim is broadly true but was misleading in the specific context in which Trudeau said it.

That works out to a “dishonesty density” of about one false claim every 50 minutes, with every repeated falsehood counting once for each time it was said. For reference, O’Toole’s dishonesty density was one false claim every 30 minutes, Singh’s was one every 46 minutes, and Paul’s was one every 47 minutes.”

The job of a headline writer is to grab our attention.

As the headline is the most read part of the piece it can be and often is misleading. That’s why it is important to read the copy.

The conclusion I come to after reading the article: is that he is the best of the batch.

Watching how Trudeau is governing himself during this campaign I get a glimpse of how he is governing the country.

He is governing himself very well.

Many of us are are seeing that.–Reg Hartt

“I will vote Liberal on Sept. 20 for many reasons — national child care, mandatory vaccination, climate change prep — but the main one is Mu. It’s the latest COVID-19 variant moving in. The Star ran a story headlined “Just how worried should we be about reports that it could be vaccine-resistant?”

“I always resent headlines asking how worried we should be. “You’re asking me? Extremely and frantically worried, I guess. Don’t you know? If you don’t, it must be worse than I thought. Oh, we should never have had children. Instead of face masks, we should be thinking head bags.” And so on.

“And that was the only question that mattered as I watched that staged, dim-witted pointless federal election debate Thursday night. Which of these three, Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole or Jagmeet Singh, would I most trust to protect me and my family against Mu?

“Moo? Mew? Em-You? How worried should we be that we don’t know how to pronounce it? The other new variants are Eta, Iota, and Kappa but Mu sounds like someone’s name which is scarier.

“Who can cope with Mu? Trudeau. As for why he called an early election, he told the Star editorial board that he has big aims, not baby steps in this remarkable era. I also wonder if he thinks we’ll still be in pandemic paralysis in 2025 and you can’t manage that kind of horror with a minority government. Too disorganized.

“I want the House of Commons back in full. We can’t have a country run at half-speed with half-measures for another three years. We need actual debates, not coded sniping with opponents you might have to be secret friends with later in a possible coalition.

“Jagmeet Singh means well, particularly on issues he cares about. But those don’t seem to include gun control and national child care, both issues of particular interest to women. Singh shows passing interest in women — our economic progress was historically devastated by lockdown — and says all the standard things. But we don’t really rate with him.

“That said, we don’t rate at all with O’Toole. Capt. O’Toole — it does not serve him well to keep mentioning his time in the military — has a daycare plan: it encourages women to stay home to raise their children, dependent on a spouse or a part-time job.

“Women’s lives have always been precarious, but they still want to join men in this huge dangerous world. Capt. O’Toole doesn’t grasp that, in the same way that he says casually that young women in New Brunswick have access to abortion. Not if they don’t have money up front for the province’s only abortion clinic, they don’t. Not if they value their privacy while finding a modern doctor and a co-operative hospital.

“I don’t think O’Toole can imagine being a young woman, particularly not a desperate one. She is foreign to him. Joe Biden could imagine it easily; women are half the nation. Successful politicians have to be able to stand in someone else’s shoes, even of those they detest or find dreary.

“O’Toole empathizes with oil industry workers, but not in a way that is useful to them, retraining them for green jobs. Equally he wants herd immunity through vaccination but won’t order his own caucus to get vaccinated. As Trudeau says of O’Toole, he’s not a leader. He can’t even tell his own MPs to go public on their vaccinations.

“As for the debate, what was the Greens’ Annamie Paul even doing there? She told Trudeau he wasn’t a feminist because three women had left his caucus. Paul only had three MPs in total. Two are women; one is silent and the other left for the Liberals to escape Paul, who will fail to win her pet riding for the third time.

“All I want to hear about from the Greens is green energy, Prairie drought, flood prevention, limiting air travel, O’Toole planning to humiliate Canada by breaking its word on emissions targets. But no, personal attacks on Trudeau’s best quality, that he is a friend to women.

“The debate format was insulting. As one columnist tweeted, “Voters ask pointed, specific platform questions and leaders reply with broad generalizations. Maybe it’s crazy, but a lot of people don’t care about the horse race and want actual policy.” Canadians turned on their screens to see leaders offer Twitter-sized general remarks and a moderator offering opinions that cast a slur on Quebecers while stopping Trudeau and O’Toole from arguing face to face. We want them to argue.

“It was cartoonish. It was a stage play. The most impressive people onscreen were distant voters with questions but there wasn’t time for full answers, Singh’s waistcoat won the night; nobody else could carry it off without looking pompous. O’Toole seems old-fashioned, indeed older than his years, which helps secure the base he does not need to secure.

“Trudeau is the prime minister. He could have yelled to be heard but chose not to. I got the impression he was thinking about Mu boosters in 2022 and waiting for this game show to end so he could get on with governing.”–Heather Mallick


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