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EDITORIAL: We always want what we can’t have


You know what they say, be careful what you wish for.

At any rate, a lot of Canadians will get a kick out of Justin Trudeau getting his picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone – he didn’t even have to come up with a hit song.

Alongside that image of our prime minister leaning against a table, shirtsleeves rolled up, runs the headline, “Why can’t he be our president?”

That and the article inside are bound to run through some of the policies, social programs and philosophical outlooks that vary between Canada and the United States, and between a small ‘l’ liberal political thinker like Trudeau and the reactionary conservative politics of President Donald Trump.

First of all, we should acknowledge not all would agree with the pop-culture magazine’s glib assessment summed up in the headline. There are folks on this side of the border who do generally agree with the way Trump is going about things – and aren’t crazy about Trudeau.

And of course there are a substantial number of Americans who support their current leader, and who probably couldn’t care less what a publication like Rolling Stone has to say on the issue.

But worth noting is that this is a magazine that typically puts a rock star on the cover. That leaves us to surmise how much rock star status the magazine attributes to this particular politician. Of course, Trudeau has had his share of attention in mainstream press that focuses more so on looks and celebrity status.

And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as the journalism accompanying it also includes substance.

The Rolling Stone article does offer a look at differences between the two governments on topics such as health care, marijuana legalization and environmental policies. But to be fair, although Canada is backing international aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the current government also finds itself in a position of supporting continued gas and oil development. They all have more than one lobby to please.

That museful wish on the cover of the Rolling Stone does invite a person to wonder what it might be like if our two countries could switch leaders for a spell – just a spell, mind you. It could be a little like a reality TV show where a couple of families trade the moms for a week, you know, where one’s really fastidious, and like a drill sergeant and the other is a lot more chill.

It makes you wonder. We here in Canada watch, riveted with morbid fascination, as U.S. politicians debate whether to unravel the health care system so recently established by Barack Obama, bringing coverage to many who hadn’t been able to afford it.

A good, long contrast and comparison of differing policies or approaches to governing between the two countries would be a good exercise to understand them better, and also toward appreciating what we have or don’t have.

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