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Drawn Off Topic: Comedian Jessica Holmes on Justin Trudeau (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

Drawn Off Topic: Comedian Jessica Holmes on Justin Trudeau

(Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

Drawn Off Topic

Comedian Jessica Holmes on Justin Trudeau Add to ...

Jessica Holmes has performed with Second City and the Royal Canadian Air Farce. As a “motivational comedian,” she will be speaking at the GoodLife Fitness Health and Wellness Leadership Summit in Toronto on Oct. 4 and at Pacific Place in Vancouver on Oct. 10.

What do you think of Justin Trudeau?

I’m a fan. I was a fan of his father. I respect everything that he stands for. His values are maybe more NDP than Liberal. I think he stands up for the little person, that he makes sure that everyone is heard.

Pardon my ignorance, but what are Justin Trudeau’s accomplishments in those regards? What is the substance?

[When the term ] “barbaric” as pertaining to immigrants was used, I know he was outraged and spoke up. That is a derogatory term to be used for people arriving in this country. I absolutely don’t mind that he is doing the boxing things. I found that weird – and I’m a comedian – but he is just a guy being a guy and I believe that, if he hadn’t had a father in the political sphere, he would probably be a bit more guarded. But [like] kids of entertainers, they just don’t care. His father was in the spotlight. He just takes it for granted and is not self-conscious.

Is Justin Trudeau a chip off the old block, or merely a sliver?

I loved Pierre Trudeau’s spin after he visited the Queen. It made him genuine and I felt he could be trusted more because he showed his true colours. I like that in a politician.

If he were Justin Carbonneau or Justin Marineau or anything but a Trudeau, would we be having this conversation?

I don’t think he would have the marquee value yet, no.

What are his accomplishments to date?

Maintaining the legacy of his father and keeping the values his father held alive. I have no clue if he has set out to purposely keep that legacy going. It is like the charm of the Kennedys. They get a mulligan.

Is Justin Trudeau too young to be prime minister?

I don’t feel he would be too young. In the ways that I have heard him speak, he is a very well-versed and intelligent person. His education is more art-based instead of political, but I know that, growing up, he was reading books and studying instead of sitting in front of the TV. Being prime minister is about having values reflecting Canadians and sticking to those values and making decisions according to that. While I do think you should have a great amount of life experience and education to be prime minister, he has enough of that.

On a charisma scale from 1 to 100, where does he rate?

I’d give him a 99.

Where does Stephen Harper rate?

I’d give him a 51.

Is charisma enough – or even necessary – in a leader?

It shouldn’t matter – but it does. Fact ought to be the only thing that matters. But charisma does. The reality of Twitter and photo ops are the kind of things that make people pay more attention to what he’s doing. He’s got a lot of charisma. [Charisma] went a long way to getting Barack Obama elected and I think it will go a long way to getting Justin Trudeau elected.

Michael Ignatieff had charisma. What happened?

I thought he did, too! I think there was a trust issue.

The knock on Justin Trudeau is that he lacks “gravitas.” Is gravitas overrated?

Hmm. He does get involved in the world, where he did that whole boxing thing. There is transparence. It makes people trust you and like you, but transparency also takes away from the gravitas.

Part of that shortfall of gravitas is his extravagant hair. Does Justin Trudeau have prime ministerial hair?

I say bring on the hair! Women like and trust a guy with that kind of hair.

The old template for a Canadian prime minister has been a middle-aged white guy in a suit, a lawyer or wealthy businessman. Has that served Canada well? Or could we use something different?

We are always open to something new and to change. What people need in a leader changes. Years ago, someone’s stand on whether or not we go to war would be the No. 1 factor. Now, the things that people care about are economic security. Society changes.

Well, given that the template for leader could be broken, who, in any sphere of endeavour, would you like to see as prime minister of Canada?

Oh. David Suzuki!

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