One Mistake Justin Trudeau Made Addressing the Toronto Van Attack

The day after a scary and unprecedented attack on innocent people which garnered international attention, the Prime Minister of Canada gave an address on the matter. He did a fine job in communicating and maintaining the solidarity that the people of Toronto operate by. Trudeau made an effort to thank those who helped the victims of this van attack, both emergency personnel and regular civilians. He continued to mention the great calm with which emergency personnel responded in an effort to mitigate the situation. 

So what was missing from his address? It seems like he said all the right things to maintain solidarity and limit fear in the people of Toronto. One can argue that there is an inherent strength in unifying the public, calming them, and rewarding the efforts of that day’s heroes. However, a leader must never overlook the possibility of future attacks of this caliber affecting his people. There was an evident lack of expression of anger that many Torontonians feel towards the perpetrator and anyone thinking of doing the same. 

Sometimes It Is Good to Acknowledge Disgust

The lack of forceful commentary against the perpetrator of such attacks leaves room for criticism. This attack was a malicious attempt at taking human lives, and should be detested at once. The leader of a population which has been affected by a mass murderer needs to always be in tune with the disgust his people feel towards the events that have transpired. Trudeau’s approach in calming his people is good, but his lack of authority and show of strength against the nature of this attack and its perpetrator is difficult to justify. 

Attacks such as this should be attacked in their own right. In his address, Trudeau should have expressed the anger that the victim’s family and friends, as well as the people of Toronto feel towards the perpetrator of this attack. The city of Toronto and its people were attacked, and are now both victims of a violent, fear-inducing act of brutality. Anyone thinking of doing the same should be discouraged with not only the calmness and unity of the people of Toronto, but the realization of the anger and strength its people have towards anyone who dares to commit such acts of brutality. 

What We Would Have Advised Trudeau Say 

Justin Trudeau would have been more effective in his address if he took a strong stance against the perpetrator as well as anyone planning to do the same. Perpetrators should have fear instilled in them with threats of the harshest punishments that the law allows. They should grow to fear law enforcement in your city, rather than develop a want to test how calm and brave it can maintain itself to be. 

Showing anger as a leader is not a weakness when it is absolutely warranted. If your people are angry with the events that have transpired, and if there was a clear person in the wrong (which there obviously was in this case), you need to channel your people’s anger in the address that you give. The perpetrator needs to be talked about like the animal that he presented himself to be. People who take inspiration from him should have fear running through their veins for even thinking of participating in such cowardly acts. 

If you find yourself in the position of responding to a tragic event such as this, make sure to be in tune with the anger those you represent feel. Express that anger in a show of strength against your common enemy, and do everything in your power to discourage the repeating of a tragic instance. 

Book Recommendation: 

The Self-Aware Leader: Discovering Your Blind Spots to Reach Your Ministry Potential


Featured Image Attribution: 

Description Justin Trudeau with Enrique Peña Nieto in Lima, Peru (JCH_3020)
Author Presidencia de la República Mexicana
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image extraction process This file has been extracted from another file: Justin Trudeau with Enrique Peña Nieto in Lima, Peru – 2018 (41507133581).jpg original file


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