When Rolling Stone writer Stephen Rodrick stepped into a Justin Trudeau press conferences, he was startled by the stark differences between the politics in Ottawa and those of our neighbours to the south. And why wouldn’t he be? Our young, bold and insanely photogenic PM is the antithesis of Donald Trump, and their respective policies follow suit: Trudeau is pro-choice; Trump wants to defund Planned Parenthood. Trudeau admitted to lighting up after becoming an MP; Trump views weed pretty much the same way as that “this is your brain on drugs” commercial from the ’90s. You get the idea.
In fine Canadian form, Trudeau speaks politely to Rodrick about the general badassery of our country, what it’s like to live in the shadow of his PM dad, and, more briefly, some of his plans for policy on the environment and NATO. Here are five things we learned about JT from his cover story.
Trudeau was the class clown in high school
His classmate Marc Miller told Rolling Stone that one time, Trudeau showed up to school juggling on a unicycle. Apparently, he used to attend parties and pretend to throw himself down the nearest flight of stairs, just for laughs. This penchant for humour has seeped into his work as PM, wherein he has crashed a pre-prom and publicly apologized for his past (hideous) goatee.
He isn’t afraid to disagree with Trump, but he treads lightly
Trudeau is only 45—he’s our second-youngest Prime Minister—and his missteps are often cited as proof of his immaturity. That said, he seems to have an extremely sensible grasp on what his relationship with Trump needs to be: diplomatic. “Obviously, I disagree [with Trump] on a whole bunch, […]” Trudeau told Rodrick, “but we also have a constructive working relationship, and me going out of my way to insult the guy or overreact or jump at everything he says we might disagree with is not having a constructive relationship.”
That boxing match was no stroke of luck
Trudeau’s victory in the ring against politician Patrick Brazeau was strategic, a play for the press meant to showcase Trudeau’s strength, physical and otherwise. “I wanted someone who be a good foil, and we stumbled upon the scrappy tough-guy senator from an Indigenous community,” Trudeau told Rolling Stone. “He fit the bill, […] I saw it as the right kind of narrative, the right story to tell.”
When it comes to fossil fuels, he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place—and he knows it
Trudeau emphatically supports the Paris Agreement, which aims to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to slow climate change. At the same time, the Canadian economy relies on the Alberta oil sands: “One of the things that we have to realize is we cannot get off gas, we cannot get off oil, fossil fuels tomorrow—it’s going to take a few decades,” Trudeau said. “Maybe we can shorten it, but there’s going to have to be a transition time.”