Some of my favourite episodes over the weeks of covering Patriot Act have been the ones that blend hard-hitting facts and thought provoking discussions with a sharp wit bordering on offensive. Hasan Minhaj sharpens the knives for his latest episode of Patriot Act, this time with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the firing line.
With some nicely timed jokes and an eye-opening look at Canadian politics, Netflix’s latest episode glues all its facts and figures together through interspersed interview footage with Trudeau himself. After a playful opening, the upcoming elections in Canada see Hasan shine the spotlight on the current political landscape in America’s northern neighbours.
Riding high on a wave of good faith, the Canadian Prime Minister finds his popularity waiver during a scandal that threatens to overthrow the administration. From here, Hasan explains what happened, with an SNC scandal seeing his approval rates drop by almost half. Unlike in America, Canadian culture is very different, with an open policy to immigration and a much tougher stance on climate change.
However, Canada is currently undergoing a transitional period, mostly in Quebec with its controversial Secularism Act; something that feels like legalized discrimination, forcing women to remove burkas when working. From here, Hasan discusses the other issues plaguing Canada, including an arms deal with Saudi, explored through the humorous interview footage with Trudeau that sees him discuss the arms deal, and the mood drastically change to one that’s awkwardly contrived and cold.
Hasan then goes on to discuss the environment, including the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline. Despite bringing in plenty of jobs, the environment itself is also under strain with this. Unfortunately, more pipelines equal more oil production and despite plans to tackle climate change, Canada would fail to meet any of their climate goals if they stuck to this ideology. As the episode closes out, Hasan leaves things out on a really powerful statement; at some point political pragmatism has to reckon with the realities of climate change. It’s certainly a true fact and whether you believe climate change is man-made or not, you simply cannot deny the evidence that the planet is heating up.
While the episode itself doesn’t particularly showcase anything different compared to what we’ve seen before from Hasan, the editing and way this is all brought together, cleverly and cohesively joined through the Justin Trudeau interview, makes this a really clever episode and one that has a good pacing to it. Of course, all the usual celebrity comparisons and name-drops are here but Hasan’s jokes are brutal, especially when he mentions ethnicity. A good one this week, Patriot Act continues to impress with its latest episode.