Third, for those who take the Bible seriously, the Apostle Paul directs “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). It’s difficult to pray regularly for someone without developing a mind-set of praying with respect for the person in “high position,” regardless of agreement or disagreement about what that person does with the position. In addition to prayerful respect for Mr. Trudeau, Scripture compels us to acknowledge he is made in the image of God as much as any of the rest of us are (Genesis 1:27). People generally, and leaders in particular, are due respect.

I admit my own failure to consistently hold to this simple 1, 2, 3 standard.

During the 2019 election, I was unsettled by what I perceived as insincerity in the disconnection between the Liberal Party’s environmental posturing and its practices. Arguing taxpayers get more back in carbon price rebates than they pay in carbon taxes highlighted what a vehicle owner pays at the pump. It did not address additional costs for farms, food production, transportation for all goods, and the GST/HST charged on top of the carbon tax.

Flying two campaign planes and buying carbon offsets does not reduce emissions. It pays a financial penalty for them. The day Mr. Trudeau made a campaign announcement on environmental policy at a lakefront from behind a podium that had Green Party green signage instead of Liberal Party red was the day I started writing furiously about this apparent hypocrisy. I wrote a scathing article. Thankfully, my submission to Convivium was declined, with the explanation that it did not meet the benchmark for being balanced, factual, and respectful.

There’s a figure of speech used in politics that, lamentably, is drawn from a tragedy of religious extremism. Jim Jones was an American cult leader who led his followers to establish a commune in Guyana. There, in 1978, at Jones’ unquestionable decree 918 people – over 300 of them children – committed mass suicide by drinking a cyanide-laced powdered drink mix. Beware swallowing the Kool-Aid of personal or partisan passion that views political competitors as enemy combatants, evil and without potential for good in themselves or their policy proposals simply because they are in another camp. That’s poison to the mind and soul.

The candidate who applied for the nomination in Papineau did fail to disclose a history of wearing blackface and a publicly reported incident of groping a female journalist. He said he learned his lesson.

The first-term Prime Minister left unfulfilled four years later his promises of electoral reform, small deficits, a balanced budget, ending boil-water advisories on First Nations’ reserves, and transparency in government. Broken promises are part of the basis on which almost all elected politicians are evaluated in subsequent elections.

Shifting statements on SNC-Lavalin and his use of blackface, or using another party’s signature hue for an announcement vis-à-vis that other party’s raison d’être, don’t make Mr. Trudeau an evil person. They are questionable behaviour.

As a Christian, I am exhorted not to allow such behaviour to transform my mind, my attitude, or the character of my writing about Mr. Trudeau or others. I was reminded of that when beckoned back to balance, facts and respect. I’m grateful.

I hope this article pays it forward.

Yes, editorial policies at most publications permit or require respectful use of last name only after initial use of full name, positional identification, or an opening Mr. The key is respectful.

Over the last year, Prime Minister Trudeau has led a government dealing with life-threatening health situations for Canadians that has required an extraordinary degree of cooperation with provincial and territorial leaders. Mr. Trudeau has been at the federal helm, navigating the uncertainties of governing in a minority Parliament while being disconnected from the usual face-to-face gatherings with caucus members and constituents.

You or I might disagree with how he has handled policy commitments, Parliament, and pandemic measures over the last year, but Justin Trudeau is the person Canadians elected to high position. He bears the responsibility. Not you. Not me. Mr. Trudeau is due both my earned and unearned respect, whether commenting in support or criticism of his behaviour.

That’s why Mr. Trudeau. And Mr. O’Toole, Monsieur Blanchet and Mr. Singh as well.