Last week was a swashbuckling affair in Canada’s House of Commons. Justin Trudeau (son of Canada’s favourite statesman, Pierre Elliot Trudeau) called fellow Minister of Parliament Peter Kent a “piece of shit” during Question Period. The comment sparked some heated and sometimes hilarious discussion in social media, with the majority of the online world siding with Trudeau as reported by the National Post.
The comment was a publicity boon for Trudeau. Trudeau was mentioned over 1000 times on December 15th, two days after the incident. Mentions of Kent, who was already a hot topic of discussion after pulling Canada out of Kyoto during the climate talks in Durban, declined slightly.
Social media sentiment for Trudeau was twice as likely to be positive than negative, versus Kent whose sentiment ratio was the complete opposite. Trudeau’s name calling seemed to only enhance his appeal, presumably amongst some of his 102,044 followers on Twitter. Trudeau’s comments helped him acquire 1,759 followers since Dec 13, whereas Kent has added only two, bringing him a total of 1,238.
Positive support for Trudeau sounded like “I like Justin Trudeau even more” or “Suddenly I really like Justin Trudeau”. Comments about Trudeau’s facial hair wasn’t nearly as positive, with people remarking that it looks “scandalous” and “offensive” and “Justin Trudeau’s new pirate persona seems to have gotten the better of him today.” “Or Justin Trudeau is my favourite of the Three Musketeers.”
Kent sentiment was predominantly negative as people voiced their agreement with Trudeau’s point of view. Almost 40% of Kent discussion had little to do with Trudeau’s remarks, instead focusing on the government’s decision to withdraw Canada from the Kyoto Protocol with comments like ““#kyoto had the best intentions but would have killed the CDN economy. Congrats to Peter Kent for finally putting the kybosh on it. #cdnpoli” or “Harper’s lackey Peter Kent’s performance in withdrawing from Kyoto is totally abysmal.Canada continues its downward spiral to insignificance.”