Gerard Pelletier, a close friend of Pierre Trudeau, one of the longest lasting Canadian prime ministers, once wrote me a personal letter that said the media lacks imagination. As the former Editor of La Presse, one of the largest circulation newspapers in Canada at the time he would have known.
That is more history but what is not is how the media have conflated Pierre Trudeau’s son’s visit to an idyllic island in the Bahamas with being a scandal. It was where the current Canadian Prime Minister was hosted by the Ismaili prince who has extensive influence with leaders around the world and with charities to help the poor.
The implication by the media was that this zillionaire, Mr.Khan might get benefits from the Canadian government by hosting the Canadian government head on his personal island. This is poppycock in that if anyone is helped, it would be possibly and likely indirectly, Canadian government development programmes looking for quality partnerships funds for Third World projects.
Because that is possibly the highest priority of the Agha Khan. Besides, any projects the Aga Khan might want funded by the Canadian government has to go through a gauntlet of bureaucrats and certainly now the media’s scrutiny.
In fact because of all this overblown media on Mr. Trudeau’s visit to the Bahamas, one could argue that the Aga Khan and the foundation connected to him might at least temporarily go into reverse mode of disconnecting to any (proposed) Canadian government projects, especially ones of interest to the prime minister.
The media, especially the political and news ones including how it deals with Trump or any leader for that matter are generally looking to get audience numbers as a top priority. When the news cycle in low, which can be often in “dull” Canada, they will find something. No doubt to hit the emotional buttons of things like envy and fear as they are preferred as negative emotion emanation sells.
After all many Canadians cannot afford any decent holidays abroad even if a good number can. Seeing or thinking of Mr.Trudeau basking in the the Bahamian sun with luxury and the rich and famous may be too much for some as they slosh through the slush at minus 45 degrees.
The Prime Minister does not even need the Aga Khan’s money, now or in the future like the way Brian Mulroney had to in the past go scraping around for it, re the Schreiber affair. The Trudeau’s are hugely rich. Mr. Trudeau certainly has no interest in doing the Hillary Clinton Foundation, money printing, “Ponzi” scheme. Mr. Trudeau is also in general, a well intentioned leader interested in helping the underprivileged irrespective of what one might think about his policy and intellectual depth and ideological orientation.
More likely, the built in high security of the Aga Khan Bahamas estate and secluded privacy helped to protect him in the very dangerous world and hopefully, as a bonus with some savings to the taxpayer including the short free helicopter ride provided as a courtesy. He may have even picked up invaluable advice from this highly influential leader in one part of the “Arc of Crisis” from Pakistan to North Africa. This is an area of incredible importance to western and even Canadian security.
For me, I have no particular interest in hob-knobbing with the rich and powerful simply for social and PR sake. I have seen enough of them and so has Mr.Trudeau. However, some are with distinct knowledge and usefulness like Prince Khan to a Canadian prime minister and the country.
What we have to acknowledge is that while Mr.Trudeau was on vacation, he was further building a useful network for the country and getting likely sage advice.
Canadian taxpayers, nor the media should not complain or at least not do too much of it. But then that might show some imagination and defeat the insightful thesis of Mr.Pelletier whose words may be ringing in Mr.Trudeau’s ears. That is after listening to all the histrionics from those in the media about the potential for serious conflicts of interest from his short holiday. One that was earned and gave him respite from his very busy schedule.