22 May, 2022


Triumphant Trudeau

By Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

The year 2015 was eventful for both Sri Lanka and Canada. Both countries elected new leaders to take the nations forward, hopefully. The eventual winners were up against formidable contenders. The new winners promised radical departures from the status quo. Maithripala Sirisena and his combined coalition promulgated a manifesto titled “A compassionate “Maithri” governance” dubbed in the vernacular as Yahapalanaya. The immediate aftermath of this incredible victory enthroning President Maithripala Sirisena was conspicuously palpable.

Let’s digress for a minute from the subject matter. Students of Marketing study what’s known as a Brand Promise? It’s a crucial, significant and vital element of a Brand. It’s all about experiences  and benefits associated with a product in its current and prospective consumers’ minds. Best brands deliver on their brand promise. It’s the holistic and superlative performance of the brand that determines its success and sustainability. Consumers develop expectations for the brand. They sincerely trust that the brand will deliver on those expectations. Good brands follow through on their commitments to consumers. There’s nothing that erodes confidence in a brand (or a leader) quite like undelivered promises.

This principal is universal and widely applicable for ethical mind capture as an essential prerequisite for Sales and Marketing. This is how the process of conveying and convincing takes shape in the actual dynamics of Business, more specifically Marketing. In the last couple of decades politicians have increasingly resorted to Marketing and necessarily so. Not all candidates are marketable yet most try. Just as Brand Apple has a certain brand promise so did brand JFK, JR, Obama and Trudeau.

In Sri Lanka the letters JR may be considered a powerful brand, for sure I do. Some may disagree vehemently. In my opinion it had and still has high Brand recognition and promise. Not just local but global brand recognition. He was our first president- The right honorable JR Jayewardene. The old fox had unique brand attributes. He was bold, courageous with a vision. He wanted to reintegrate Sri Lanka with the evolving world fraternity after years of self-imposed isolation.

His international standing was established. To get an audience with President Ronald Reagan as an equal and engage with him intimately was a definite first at that time. Exchanging sharp wits with repartees in the White House lawn completes the story. This was JR. His connection with the then Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher was even stronger. The liberal international trade he envisioned worked for Sri Lanka and the legacy continues. No doubt the bloke was a polarizing figure. He earned the ire and vilification of some, nonetheless his credentials were indisputable. In retrospect and after five more Executive Presidents his positives far outweigh the negatives.

Forty three year old Justin Trudeau son of famous former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau became Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister in October of 2015. The Trudeau Brand resonates extremely well within Canada, if I may add, with a twinge of symphonic romance. His iconic father bequeathed an enviable a legacy. I dare say it’s entrenched and is rendered virtually unsurpassable.

The senior Trudeau painstakingly instilled true Canadian values which we present Canadians cherish. Freedom, equality, inclusiveness, respect for cultural differences, commitment to social justice, compromise and co-existence, sponsoring refugees are values that are sacrosanct. None dare fiddle with it.

In which country would you see the Prime Minister taking time off to be at the Airport welcoming refugees? Well! it happens in Canada. He Justin Trudeau established the most diverse cabinet Canada has ever seen. It had 15 men and 15 women. They were from the minorities, first nations and former refugees. Justin famously said “A cabinet that looks like Canada” Does the Sri Lankan cabinet truly represent Sri Lanka? This is a question I keep asking myself despite its Jumbo size.

This is not an attempt to lash at Sri Lanka. My make-up is Sri Lankan and that’s my country of birth. This can never be taken away. I eat and drink Sri Lankan even though I live in Canada. Even my dreams are made in Sri Lanka.

Like most Sri Lankan expatriates we are opposed to the blatant opportunism, demagoguery, pseudo-melodrama, profligacy, corruption, obfuscation and the rest that goes with it. In the recent years we have witnessed more of the same. We are opposed to attempts by some politicians to distort facts and make a mockery of the general public’s intelligence and integrity. This becomes very clear when one pays close attention to rhetoric emanating from both sides of the aisle – “Apiwa Gonata andanna epa”

Serving people is a monumental trust. Even if we can have 10% of the 225 strong Sri Lankan parliament understand and support this noble concept we could achieve remarkable things for Sri Lanka. All is not lost. We hope President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister will be able to march forward and countenance all impediments and achieve their noble objectives of communal harmony and economic prosperity.

Mr. Justin Trudeau openly promised to end a decade of divisive politics spearheaded by veteran senior politician and then incumbent Stephan Joseph Harper. He vowed to unite Canadians and embrace diversity. His campaign took flight on a promise of “Real Change”. His eventual triumph reverberated all across Canada.

The period of Mr. Harper was doubtless indelibly divisive. He rapidly and boldly took Canada where no Prime Minister in living history had taken the nation. It was a freighting rollercoaster if you were a Muslim. He exploited the slightest aberration within and outside to optimally further his agenda with alacrity.

Mr. Harper relentlessly labored to instill deliberate distortions of the Muslim faith. Islamism was his favorite, unjustly extending a suffix for purposes of pure mischief. Did he have any idea how Muslims felt at these repugnant misrepresentations?

The writer being a student of Islam failed to comprehend any of these allegations and distortions. They were nothing but existential western constructs to which he appended his unique Harper Brand. The binary language peaked during and before the election. It was fraught with anxiety and trepidation. Finally sanity prevailed and providence too had its role.

The near ten year Harparist rule heralded a sharp turn to the right. A liberal nation committed to peacekeeping suddenly let lose in uncharted waters. She was suddenly negotiating turbulent waters not knowing why she was put there in the first place. Canada callously withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, opted out of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and over-zealously supported the rogue state of Israel in the face of prima-facia evidence of grotesque human rights abuse.

Canada had always postulated a balanced approach in the thorny Middle East conflict. A safe state for Palestinians and the s Israeli’s is what she always maintained. All of this had a major shift under Harper. Suddenly Harper was head over heels in love with Israel, this made him virtually blind.

Mr. Harper abandoned the country’s cherished traditions of international diplomacy. He made wedge politics a fine art. He confused and conflated the issue of the Muslim hijab for petty political reasons. He’s definitely destined to go down in history as the only Prime Minister to have conducted uninterrupted and serious research on Islamic wardrobes.

In Sri Lanka too it was quite a historical shift. It was the first time an incumbent President lost a presidential election. A war winning president dethroned. Absolute bewilderment reigned. President Sirisena swept to power principally on a platform of good governance – Yahapalanaya. Minorities voted en-masse for Maithripala Sirisena. Certain experts held the view if not for minorities Maithripala Sirisena would have lost. There is lot of truth in this analysis though vehemently denied by the establishment. This is understandable.

Muslims became victims of electoral strategy in Sri Lanka. This was another first for Sri Lanka. Four Muslims were killed and scores injured and extensive damage caused to property during violence in the south. It was triggered by a militant Buddhist organization receiving tacit patronage and succor from the regime. They were an integral part of the aggrandized political outfit of the Rajapaksa clan.

Sri Lankan democracy had been fed with such toxicity in the name of freedom and free speech. A leader upon being perceived as minority friendly would automatically plummet in rankings. Isn’t this an unhealthy trend that makes democracy exclusive? It seems survival in Sri Lankan politics is linked to quick and drastic decisions regardless of consequences. The politically vulnerable and immature had no choice but to embrace this oddity or perish.

Isn’t this a gross distortion of democracy? Unalloyed fodder for future pseudo ultra-nationalists harboring political ambitions to make their entry with a far destructive ideology. It seems this kind of pernicious ideology has become invisible export items for Sri Lanka. Donald Trump the contemporary proselytized apostle of neo-fascism is all over the media today brandishing this kind of “Made in Sri Lanka” evil. Who knew Donald Trump of all people would sport a “Made in Sri Lanka” tag?

Mahinda Rajapaksa the hero who defeated “Tamil separatism” had to align conspicuously with the Sinhalese at the detriment of letting down the minorities. He costumed trappings, paraphernalia, rhetoric and behavior consistent for a Sinhalese reinforcement and renaissance. Never were the Muslims of Sri Lanka more seriously jolted. They were openly threatened. Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered it in grand Hollywood style, reminiscent of the blockbuster “Dirty Harry” where Clint Eastwood utters the famous line “Do I feel lucky”.

Does this make Mahinda Rajapaksa a racist? Does Stephan Harper become a racist for all his ill-founded propensities? Absolutely not. These were nothing but unfortunate happenings of a misguided people. Moments of absolute and shameful weakness. Despite repeated red flashing conveying danger and ill-boding, the heedless go ahead with execution due to uncontrollable political inebriation. Besides, the pernicious embrace of the devil was simply too much.

Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Stephan Harper could have extended their political life significantly, especially the former. He was a war winning hero, let not anyone take that from him. If only these gentleman had insight, essentially derived from authentic scriptural exegesis, such wisdom would have shed light on the priceless values of inclusiveness, compassion and accommodation and a wholly different outcome envisaged. Siddhartha Gautama and Jesus son of Mary did their jobs without a blemish, the apostles erred.

History has it that Sri Lanka had witnessed dubious electoral theatrics before. Full blown Pukka Sahibs were squeezed into national attire overnight with well-defined political objectives. Those that unconscionably relegated Queen’s English as a means of political blueprint to appeal and appease strategic segments of a demography for nothing but petty political mileage. The result – we created a work force struggling to communicate well in English when it was most needed. Let’s not forget two youth uprisings had a common trapping of dispossession attached to their call.

The above bespeaks volumes of misplaced values of our leaders and their cheap contortions of democracy for self-serving purposes. I am painfully reminded of a witty statement of the great English play-write George Bernard Shaw who once said “Democracy is government of the fools, for the fools, by the fools”

In Montreal Prime Minister elect Justin Trudeau said in October 2015 “I will be the prime minister of all Canadians,”  after winning a historic Liberal majority government.​ He further said “We beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together”. These words still echo in my ears. Words of a true leader.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party was trailing third place 11 weeks before the election. A sudden ground swell galvanized the people. The Liberal Party won 184 of Parliament’s 338 seats in the general election. Justin Trudeau also said “Tonight Canada is becoming the country it was before… Most of all we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less”

The Trudeau political legacy is pregnant with nostalgia and romance. Pierre Elliott Trudeau the incumbent’s father valiantly strived to bring in policies of bilingualism, multiculturalism and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that are considered not only core Canadian values but monumental socio-legal rights unique and exclusive to Canada and Canadians. I honestly know not of any country that enjoys better and guaranteed freedom and protection on planet earth.

Sri Lanka is at a pivotal point in history. A new constitution is being crafted and legal eagles of every hue are chipping in. For those connected, concerned and the general laity it would be wholly worthwhile to take a serious look at the “Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms”

The Trudeau name resonates with benign immortality not just in Canada but throughout the Americas and beyond. Sri Lanka may benefit from Trudeau seniors vision and philosophy vis a vis racial harmony and pluralism. Pierre Elliot Trudeau famously said “In Canada there are two official languages, but no official culture” He also said “Bilingualism is not an imposition on the citizens but an imposition on the state.” Regarding separatism he said “I am trying to put Quebec in its place and the place of Quebec is in Canada.” “You just cannot cut a country in two anymore than you can cut a human being in two. If you do, you do not have two human beings; you have a corpse.”

Insha Allah we want to preserve and protect Canada and our new leader. He is a true representative of the people, such people need to be protected at all cost. We the people are relieved that the true soul and identity of Canada had been reclaimed. Trudeau’s triumph is the peoples triumph.

There is the west, then there is the rest and there is Canada.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Get a life mate. I don’t think you even understand what you have written.

    • 2

      Don’t aimlessly hurl pebbles. Be specific and you may receive a response

  • 2

    You forgot to say that the gender balanced cabinet of 30 only, for a nation of 33 Million, and the second largest land mass, has many immigrants, and that ‘multiculturalism’ is truly practiced.
    And, that there is hardly any corruption & even senators are prosecuted for false ‘travel claims’.
    That police have a supervisory body of laymen and are prosecuted for deaths of civilians in encounters with the public.
    That the state funded health & social care services are the best in the world.
    Your grouse with Harper’s action against muslim cultural practices, and hijab are understandable.


  • 2

    It was only after he won the elections, Justin Trudeau came into worldwide prominence. Is it true that before elections he promised to take in 25,000 Iraq and Syrian refugees, and after winning, he increased it by another 10,000? If that is true, then that is truly saying something about his generosity, kindness and compassion to fellow human beings, irrespective of their many differences. Sign of a truly great leader in the making. That pledge and action by itself, has to be the greatest challenge, and becomes a momentous task to undertake soon after winning general elections, despite the many more important tasks at hand that required his immediate attention. That meritorious act itself will hold him in good stead for the rest of his term and beyond. Truly inspiring stuff.

    Comparatively, what are we doing in our nick of the woods, with Gnanasara the menace, finally getting an audition with the President and poisoning his mind with imagined threats of Muslim subversion and ISIS infiltration, based on happenings in other parts of the world. Then he immediately follows up with his own theory of Tamil and Muslim invasion of Sinhalese settlement camps in Bogusweva. After-all he seriously considers himself to be the country’s self appointed Police Chief to monitor and resolve issues ‘gung-ho’ style. The police in all its bristling hierarchy have been made impotent when it comes to arrests of the saffron kind, the justice system is a meek and salutary when it comes to dealing with these blokes effectively. Muslims still live in fear in this country despite the promises by the new government to reign in the terror. They have already paid with their lives (4) the last time around, and it looks like that may not be enough to satisfy these mad monks. We must be truly be the debacle of Asia.

    • 2

      Nishthar Idroos RE; Trumphant Treaud and Marwan Comment

      1. “Is it true that before elections he promised to take in 25,000 Iraq and Syrian refugees, and after winning, he increased it by another 10,000? If that is true, then that is truly saying something about his generosity, kindness and compassion to fellow human beings, irrespective of their many differences”

      Because it is practically a secular state with humanist values. A good case for why states should be secular and humanist, instead of being shackled by religious dogma.

      2. “Comparatively, what are we doing in our nick of the woods, with Gnanasara the menace, finally getting an audition with the President and poisoning his mind with imagined threats of Muslim subversion and ISIS infiltration, based on happenings in other parts of the world.”

      a) Poisoning the Mind Yes. Yes. That is what Mara does. That is what BBS and Ganasara does. BBS and Mara are evils the President had to deal with. Remember the battle Mara had with Buddha? Know the Jaya Mangala Gatha?

      b) Threats of Muslim subversion by the Iblis-Satan-Wahhabies and their Clones is real. The Devil, Satan. Iblis following the Wahhabies and their clones have already infiltrated the Sri Lankan Muslims, misled them, and caused damage to the Sufi Muslims of Sri Lanka. Now they are trying to cause damage to the Shia Muslims of Sri Lanka. The so-called Moderate Muslims are not protesting and passive.

      Only BBS seems to be doing something. Unfortunately, BBS,as stupid they are, is attacking and painting All Muslims with a wide brush.

      So, the BBS and Sinhala Buddhist credibility is damaged.

      Now Sinhala Buddhists are equated to BBS and therefore Terrorists.

      Now Muslims are equated to Wahhabies and their Clones, ISIS, Salafies etc.and therefore Terrorists.

      BBS, Wahhabies and ISIS. Strange bedfellows indeed!

      They are funded by Norway, Israel, Fundamentalist Christian West, Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other undesirables.

      Russia, India and China are sitting on the sidelines and wondering what are these idiots doing? Do they want to sell weapons or control resources?

  • 4

    Thanks. well said
    I just retirned from Toronto after Meeting my Tamil canadians and some Ministers of the new canadian government.During the last two decades I have witnessed canadian multi-culturalism and hospitality etc.
    as you have said, we of Sri Lanka can learn a lot from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    • 0

      YOu are a well known LTTE – supporter looking for homeland in Sri lanka. SO, why don’t you try to do the same, that you want to do for Sri lanka, do to Britain or France ?

      Sri lanka has an established culture and it is written for over 2500 years. Tamils are recent migrants in Sri lanka and they, particularly christian Tamils, want to change it to a multicultural one. Canada is a new country, even though natives are there and european canada wants to build a new culture.

      what do you think about the existing culture in Sri lanka.

      Should they sacrifice it because the new immigrants are a powerful force and the majority culture in Sri lanka is owned by a regional as well as world minority ?.

  • 4

    Please speak for yourself and don’t use the term WE as if you are representing all the Lankans living in Canada. What has Trudeau done so far? He loaded the Cabinet with inexperienced people to promote his Muslim-friendly agenda and as of now all the government resources are diverted towards settling 25,000 Syrian refugees while the Canadian dollar is down to 70 cents of the US dollar. Canada hasn’t been invited for a very important security conference of the western allies fighting the ISIS. This is a massive blow to Trudeau government. This is not all. Wait for more disaster. It is obvious where Maithripala who got only 40 per cent of the Sinhala Buddhist votes is heading.

    • 2

      Well said. Now there is a decline in his popularity.

    • 2

      Hi, Banda, how are you doing? I beg to differ with you Sir, WE represent a major section to whom I speak. I think Trudeau is a blessing for Canada. Tyrants and Saints come in pairs, the world witnessed more tyrants in the last couple of decades. In this context when a good man becomes a ruler we first thank the one above and celebrate. You for sure will hear more about this man Trudeau in time to come. You’re right the types who love to hate him amongst his own brethren are many. By the way, he is not Muslim friendly but Canadian friendly. When the actual terrorists who created ISIS do nothing in the face of a deluge of refugees roaming the world those with a heart must respond. It’s not in her (Canada) to be heartless. I don’t think I should respond to your question on Economics because you are either an idiot or escapee from a madhouse for not knowing the answer.

  • 4

    Very informative and truthful article. Thank you Nishthar.

    New Canadian PM Justin is young but a sincere and un-spoilt one. Hope he keeps that asset intact and all Canadians give him the best support they can. He’s inexperienced, can make mistakes but guy is sincere and seems honest, unlike Harper.

    Prez Maithri and PM Ranil have lots of experience ‘politicking’- good, bad and ugly..
    None of them have done anything patriotic or commendable so far. Both seems slimy and capable cheaters, just buying time and dragging things. Trying to please all at the same time, walking a tight rope, unsure about their political future, unable do anything constructive. They are also playing a different game of Lanka-Le politics at the expense of minorities. All these lankan politicians are the same. They never change, they don’t know democracy or multiculturalism or how to run a government efficiently.
    These pukka sahibs have destroyed every good things we had and just ruining the once proud nation. Now they are suddenly proud of their “Sinha-Le” crap animal descent and tomorrow what else ? ! Some guys have nothing better to do in Sinha-Le Lanka.

    The so called Yahapalanaya goverbnent of the day is still carefully (?) crawling and safeguarding the culprits, criminals, thugs…afraid of MR gang capturing power and spending sleepless nights. Very unpredictable and tricky situation continuing there. Canada and Canadian politics are far ahead of these local political ‘Bandits’. Looks like they are waiting for the Sinha-Le to bring about change and prosperity for this cursed land of lazy card board lions. What a joke !

  • 1

    A good piece Nishthar.

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