When Justin Harper’s “sun dress” was announced, a lot of people thought it was just another example of the prime minister’s vanity and political grandstanding.
But the idea that the prime minster wanted to look like a sun dress was not just an idea that was just tossed around.
The idea that Justin Trudeau wanted to wear a sun-drenched turtleneck that would make him look like he was swimming in the ocean was a reality, and the prime ministers office knew it.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that Trudeau’s office confirmed that the plan was actually a reality.
As it turned out, Trudeau’s “sunny jacket” would not only be a huge success in Canada, it would also provide an example of how to make a good government work.
When the sun sets, it’s easy to look down on Canada and think it’s a bunch of idiots who live in a bubble and are not paying enough attention to the world around them.
But that’s exactly the problem Canada has with its leaders.
We need to stop viewing the world as an insular, monocultural collection of self-absorbed nerds and focus on the issues facing our country.
We need to be willing to acknowledge that the rest of the world is watching and listening, and is paying attention.
That’s what Trudeau did on his first day in office.
He took on a very difficult problem, the global threat posed by climate change, and he took it seriously.
When he spoke in his inaugural speech, he said: “The world will not survive without action on climate change.
I believe we are the only ones who can do this.”
The fact that Canada’s first climate change action plan, launched in September 2016, had the support of more than a dozen countries, including the United States, was a huge moment.
It’s important to remember that it was not simply a first step.
It was a full-on, well-funded plan, designed to meet the very real threat posed to Canada by climate disruption.
And it was well received by Canadians.
A poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) for CBC News in April 2017 found that more than half of Canadians (54 per cent) said that their government had a positive attitude towards climate change and that Canadians were more optimistic about the global economy in general.
The first Trudeau government also launched the Global Challenge for Sustainable Development, which brought together the United Nations, major corporations and philanthropists to address the issue of climate change by creating a $1 trillion fund to help countries adapt to climate change-related impacts.
In addition to the fund, it also established a new, dedicated program to accelerate economic growth in developing countries.
This is where Trudeau’s new, ambitious plan really shines.
First, the plan addresses a global crisis that is a direct threat to our way of life and future.
Second, the fund gives the Trudeau government the opportunity to be seen as a leader in a sector that already has an enormous impact on the country.
Third, and most importantly, the government is taking a proactive approach to address a real, real problem that is affecting Canadians, by investing in the clean energy sector, which could provide the clean and green jobs that have been so hard to find in other sectors of the economy.
We don’t need a government that wants to look silly.
We just need a prime minister who is serious about the job.
And when Justin Trudeau has the chance to prove that, it will be a positive and lasting change.
Adam Shaw is a senior policy adviser at the Angus Deaton Institute.
He was formerly a senior adviser to the prime ministerial press secretary.