From “believe all women” to “well, except this one, this time.”
When Trudeau named his first cabinet, he was proud to underline the fact that half of the ministers were women. He labelled himself a feminist, “Because it’s 2015!”
That line was immediately memed to death.
Those words have come back to bite him.
The twin hit of Jody-Wilson Raybould’s testimony on SNC-Lavalin, where she said she faced political pressure from Trudeau and his team to delay the company’s going to trial, and the subsequent resignation of Jane Philpott, have put a serious dent in his professed feminism.
Had Trudeau not made the women on his team such a big focus and portrayed them as trustworthy in all circumstances, this controversy perhaps wouldn’t be seen through such a feminist lens.
Instead, it’s painted as the women in Trudeau’s cabinet standing up to him.
You can only profess believe women, promote women and support women when it serves you for so long.
By drawing attention to the women making up (now nearly) half his cabinet, patting himself on the back and saying things like, “when women speak up, we have a responsibility to listen to them and to believe them,” Trudeau has painted himself into a corner.
Based on his past positions, he would have no choice but to believe Wilson-Raybould. Instead, he dismissed her testimony as “her truth.”
It’s the same tone he took when accused of groping a reporter. He said that he did not remember any “negative interactions,” but, “I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced this differently.”
Trudeau is using women like pawns. Arranging them in positions of power and in the background at press conference. Defaulting to believing them first when it comes to allegations of impropriety towards his own MPs but as soon as he’s in the line of fire, their trustworthiness and value is diminished.
The reality is that women are no better or worse than men, not naturally more trustworthy or truthful. This is why cabinet appointments should made on merit alone.
And as Global News reporter Jill Bennett wisely pointed out, “There is no her/his/their/my/your truth. There is only *the* truth, as in what actually happened.”
Ada Slivinski is the Founder & Principal of Jam PR, a boutique agency focused on helping small businesses get big exposure. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org