This week, the G20 meeting in Argentina has dominated news headlines.
The gathering usually yields some pretty impressive policy proposals and agreements. But above all, the meeting is an opportunity for politicians to grandstand and stir some political drama.
TL;DR On Sunday, Trudeau took to Twitter to commit $50 million to a cause supported by comedian Trevor Noah. Many people took issue with the manner with which Trudeau made the announcement.
On Friday, for example, Trudeau met with the presidents of the United States and Mexico to sign the new North American trade pact, called the USMCA or CUSMA, depending on whom you ask.
It was a largely symbolic meeting. Legislative bodies in all three countries will have to ratify the trade agreement before most of its provisions take effect.
But it was Justin Trudeau who stole the spotlight. The prime minister made use of the already-symbolic gesture to publicly undermine president Trump.
While the PM's actions drew initial praise, a political blunder yesterday, on the most public of stages, has thwarted whatever progress he made in the public opinion.
On Sunday, Trudeau took to Twitter to commit fifty million dollars to an education initiative supported by comedian Trevor Noah.
To be clear, this is a noble and necessary cause.
But it was the manner in which Trudeau made this announcement that has drawn widespread criticism.
Hey @Trevornoah - thanks for everything you’re doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can’t be with you - but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women & girls around the world? Work for you? Let’s do it.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 2, 2018
Many interpreted the Tweet as an inappropriate attempt to win the favour of a celebrity, according to CTV.
Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, unsurprisingly, led the charge:
Making Twitter announcements to impress celebrities and avoid the accountability of Parliament and Canadians is no way to govern. If this was planned weeks ago, it should have been debated in Parliament weeks ago as part of the budget, not sprung on us in a Tweet to a celebrity. https://t.co/gJo2UTWgKS— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) December 3, 2018
But some also pointed out that the shorthand and casual language of social media was not the right medium to pledge such a huge sum of money to such an important cause.
The announcement seems like a trivial and flippant quip to a friend rather than a substantial commitment.
On Twitter, Canadians were vocal about their disapproval:
Not a good platform for announcing major spending when Veterans are being ignored.— Absinthe (@Absinthglass) December 3, 2018
This is totally unacceptable. With Alberta and the country in a huge economic crisis, to be flippantly throwing $50M around is just sickening. He will pay come next election.— crabby old gal (@SueStorvik) December 3, 2018
Is that how much a guest appearance on his show costs?— Wesley (@wesley_davidson) December 3, 2018
Unfortunately, this latest incident will likely colour the entire trip and overshadow the Canadian delegation's other accomplishments at the G20 meeting.