Justin Trudeau’s Spotify playlist is not nearly politically correct enough

TrudeauThe CBC informs that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has released his official Prime Minister’s Summer Playlist on Spotify. And I am deeply offended by it.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s playlist, while undoubtably well-intentioned, nevertheless fails to live up to his progressive reputation. While much effort has clearly been exerted to ensure the prime minister is seen to only enjoy music aligned with the values that have made Canada such a fair, diverse, and inclusive nation, I nevertheless believe a strong case can be made that the PM’s list is deeply problematic on a number of levels. Progressive Canadians should think twice before listening.

Where to begin…

Of the prime minister’s 39 approved songs, only 24 (61.5%) are the creations of Canadian artists. Most subversively, there are seven songs by Americans, the very sorts of cultural imperialists who the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission established quotas to protect Canadians from. I find it grossly irresponsible for the prime minister to be encouraging the listening of non-Canadian music like Dire Straits, and particularly American music like Gary Jules’ “Mad World.”

Likewise, I find the prime minister’s attempts to ensure the Canadian artists adequately acknowledge the various regions of Canada to be sloppy at best. Most glaringly, only four of the 24 Canadian artists are from Quebec (Cœur de Pirate, Pierre Lapointe, Charlotte Cardin, and Adam Cohen), and only three of those four sing in the French language. This 16.7% representation of artists for a province representing 22.9% of the Canadian population (according to Statistics Canada) is frankly inexcusable, as is the deeply disrespectful underrepresentation of one of Canada’s two official languages.

The rest of the geographic distribution is no less troubling. 12 of the 24 artists are from Ontario, meaning a full half of the prime minister’s Canadian favored musicians are from a province that only comprises 38.5% of the country’s population. Placed in this context, the five western Canadian artists and three Atlantic Canadian artists feel like polite afterthoughts at best.

Most appalling of all, however, Mr. Trudeau’s bungled efforts to recognize the diversity of contemporary Canada is nothing short of a disaster. Only six of the 24 Canadian artists are female, indicating that the prime minister’s Spotify playlist remains yet one more “old boys club” to which women need not apply. Only three of the Canadian artists are people of color, and only one is a woman of color. There are no indigenous artists at all. I thought it was 2017, Mr. Prime Minister. This regressive playlist would have raised eyebrows in 1986.

Canadians, and indeed progressives around the world, look to Justin Trudeau to be a beacon of liberal inclusion and openness in an often cruel and intolerant world. It is disappointing that the PM has once again failed to live up to the high standards he has set for himself.


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