On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to visit Fort McMurray where a catastrophic fire has devastated the city. Justin Trudeau will be surveying the damage in Fort McMurray this Friday. Trudeau announced the news regarding Fort McMurray in Parliament.
The wildfire, which started outside of Fort McMurray, continues to blaze across northeastern Alberta. Two wildfires around Fort McMurray have become one large blaze. According to The Globe and Mail, Premier Rachel Notley stated it will take weeks to formulate a plan to return Fort McMurray residents.
The Fort McMurray disaster has naturally resulted in scrutiny of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership abilities. Trudeau tweeted on May 3, “My thoughts are with people affected by the fire in Fort McMurray tonight. Stay safe and remember to follow evacuation orders.”
My thoughts are with people affected by the fire in Fort McMurray tonight. Stay safe and remember to follow evacuation orders. #ymmfire— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 3, 2016
Unlike other politicians, Justin Trudeau has experienced extra criticism for his social media activity. Justin Trudeau is often called out as the “selfie” Prime Minister. Most recently, Trudeau posted a response to both the United States and the United Kingdom about the 2016 Invictus Games. The video shows Justin Trudeau performing push-ups as a way to convey Canadian strength. “Oh hey, I just thought I’d show our friends in the U.S. and the U.K. how Canada brings it,” Justin Trudeau says at the beginning of the video. “Your Majesty, Prince Harry, President and Mrs. Obama, BOOM.”
Critics are using these posts to blast Justin Trudeau’s leadership style, especially during the natural disaster in Fort McMurray. Nine days after the fire began, Trudeau posted his plans on Twitter, tweeting, “Those fighting the Fort McMurray fires are heroes. The evacuees’ courage is an inspiration. I will be visiting the area on Friday.”
Some users accused Justin Trudeau of using Fort McMurray for a photo op. One tweet about Trudeau and Fort McMurray reads, “Now that the media is there eh, what a great time to show up for a photo op. Stay away, let the real people do their work.” That same user pointed out Trudeau’s delayed plans to visit Fort McMurray, tweeting, “Largest natural disaster in Canadian history and he doesn’t even show up to console evacuees in YEG since last week, why come now.”
Other users came to the defense of Justin Trudeau’s actions regarding Fort McMurray. “He’s doing what a politician should do. Support and stay out of the way. He’s not a fireman.” Trudeau has tweeted about Fort McMurray and shared support of Fort McMurray residents through regular postings.
Alongside news about Fort McMurray, documents show that Justin Trudeau’s recent trip to Washington cost taxpayers over $25,000 with an entourage of over 44 people. Those details do little to help Justin Trudeau shake his pampered celebrity image in the face of criticisms about Fort McMurray.
Criticism of Justin Trudeau’s handling of Fort McMurray is not limited to his social media presence. Trudeau rejected international offers of assistance for Fort McMurray. Countries including Russia and the United States have offered resources to help Trudeau battle the Fort McMurray blaze.
John Babcock, Trudeau’s spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, stated that all international offers for Fort McMurray were considered against existing requirements, according to CBC News. Justin Trudeau thanked the international community for their generosity towards Fort McMurray. Trudeau stated that there was no need for international assistance given the enormous help received from across the country.
Fort McMurray is located in the middle of the Athabasca oilsands. Many residents of Fort McMurray work in the oil industry, and as Justin Trudeau knows from his campaign, they are a hot button issue for environmentalists and indigenous groups as well. Justin Trudeau’s response to Fort McMurray will be a tricky political tightrope to walk.
[Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images]