William Shakespeare's Justin Trudeau

Act Two, Scene One

William Shakespeare's Justin Trudeau

It occurred to me last night that Canada’s perpetually embarrassing Prime Minster is living out the plot of a Shakespeare play.

The first act has just finished, and now we have, willingly or not, taken our seats for the beginning of the second act. And it promises to be as full of twists and turns as any of the Bard’s histories of the Plantagenet Kings.

In the first act, we witnessed the ascent of the handsome and promising young king, a man pre-ordained to reign over a people hopeful that their sunny view of their promised land would be reflected in his leadership. A great many speeches of optimism and praise are made, such as:

The presence of a king engenders love amongst his subjects, and his royal friends.

But the smirk on Trudeau’s face suggests he knows what has really placed him on the throne:

If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me.

Still, his people place great faith in him, and through much of the first act, they stay loyal:

A substitute shines brightly as a king until a king be by, and then his state empties itself, as dot an inland brook into the main of the waters.

But Trudeau is gradually revealed as a flawed king, and his hubris endangers his reign as the first act draws to a close, as he faces an election he may not win:

The color of the king doth come and go, between his purpose and his conscience, like heralds ‘twixt two dreadful battles set: His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.

The strain begins to tell, as he stumbles from one gaffe to another:

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Some Canadians are embarrassed by his dress-up acts and celebrity follies:

Is this the government of Britain’s Isle, and this the royalty of Albion’s King?

Some of the king’s own counsellors rebel publicly against his high-handedness:

Th’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.

Some of his supporters are left questioning their faith in him. Even the outside world’s fawning admiration for his star quality begins to dim. It begins to look as if he will lose his majority, and will be lucky to retain power at all:

Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak when power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly.

But the encircled king rallies. He snatches a Pyrrhic victory from the jaws of defeat. He retains power, but now the question becomes, as the second act begins, has he been humbled? Has Trudeau learned his lesson?

Boundless intemperance in nature is a tyranny. It hath been th’ ultimate emptying of the happy throne, and the fall of many kings.

A tone-deaf Speech from the Throne reveals little has changed:

Here I and sorrows sit: Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

But Trudeau retains his confidence, acting as if he has retained his majority rather than suffered a humbling near-defeat:

My crown is in my heart, not on my head: not decked with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen: my crown is called content, a crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.

While he dallies with an aggressive China, he’s caught mocking the President of his most powerful ally, revealing once again why so many have doubted his judgement. But with the only people who would stand up to him now gone from cabinet, he is surrounded by sycophants:

They do not abuse the king that flatter him. For flattery is the bellows blows up sin; the thing that which is flattered, but a spark to which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing.

As unemployment numbers suggest more trouble on the horizon, the wily Duke of Scheer bides his time, awaiting another chance to unseat the king. Hence, the stage is set for the third act, and Trudeau’s inevitable tragedy:

Time’s glory is to command contending kings, to unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.

While I can’t be sure how this one ends, I’ve seen enough Shakespeare to give it a damned good guess. Burnham Wood is about to come to Dunsinane.

Grant Patterson
Grant Patterson
Read next: New Mexico—It's like a State, like All the Others!
Grant Patterson

Grant is a retired law enforcement officer and native of Vancouver, BC. He has also lived in Brazil. He has written twelve books. In 2018, two of them were shortlisted for the 2018 Wattys Awards.

See all posts by Grant Patterson