Canadians couldn’t help but feel pride when the international media went ga-ga over Justin Trudeau after his election in 2015. But recently the world media have turned on him. A Washington Post article that is getting reprinted as far away as New Zealand quotes pollster David Coletto saying “When you have foreign media like CNN and BBC making fun of our prime minister, that was jarring for some people and made people question whether he was the best person for the job.” The article questions whether the Canadian love affair with Trudeau is over. The Daily Mail published a lengthy photo essay that suggested, “even before Trudeau made a twit of himself in India, his critics had been warning against the global adulation he was generating. The ‘Selfie PM’ isn’t just a preening, smug show-off ‘more interested in perfecting his pout than his policies’, they said, he’s also a hypocrite who repeatedly reneges on pledges.” If Stephen Harper can survive the photo of himself in a cowboy hat and leather vest, then perhaps Trudeau will be able to live down his extended costume party in India which had the Indian media snickering. Quoting the Daily Mail, “from the gaudy costumes straight out of a Bollywood wedding to the toe-curling burst of Bhangra dancing, it was a state visit India would rather forget.” It makes one wonder how it would play in Canada if Prime Minister Modi of India emerged from a plane in Ottawa sporting a Dudley Do Right Mountie costume.
There was a full house last month at a memorial service for Marion Tucker (nee Nicolle), who died last month after a lengthy illness. All who gathered remembered Marion’s sparking warmth and down-to-earth sense of humor. Her passing brought together a diverse crowd of old friends, dating back to the gang that gathered at the old round table at Mellows which in the early 1980’s was conveniently located (some would say too conveniently) across the street from the old CHCH newsroom at 67 Caroline Street. Later, the same entourage decamped to the last iteration of the Hamilton Press Club in the basement of the old Football Hall of Fame. For a time, Marion was President of the Press Club, perhaps the most thankless volunteer job ever devised. Marion, who was the business manager of a creative design shop that she and her then husband Rob Challe operated, literally knew everybody. She hobnobbed easily with them all—print journalists, PR flacks, news anchors, nobility (Sir Derek Hart-Dyke the 9th baronet at Lullingstone) and the politicians, lawyers and hangers-on who made up the regulars. Marion was a close friend and frequent houseguest of the Pat Quinns. Marion and Rob were among the early investors in Hess Village, setting up shop in a Victorian house on George Street. Marion was a leader in the Hess Village business community serving many terms on the Hess Village sub committee appointed by City Council. An unforgettable image of Marion was her tooling around in her black Alfa-Romeo Spider convertible, sporting sunglasses and her trademark platinum hair. She was a constant ray of sunshine and a loyal friend to all who knew her.