Sorry seems to the hardest word, Elton John sung in one of his many classic songs from the 1970s.
That might have been the case for Pierre Trudeau and spot on for U.S. President Donald Trump but it's completely wrong when it comes to Justin Trudeau.
Not only does he apologize all the time for everything, he seems to relish staring into the camera, lowering his voice and purring a heartfelt sorry.
On one hand, it's refreshing to hear politicians admit they made a mistake and take responsibility for their words and their actions. Most politicians avoid apologies out of fear of being seen as weak, even though countless studies show that leaders - in politics, in business or in the household - are revered when they hold themselves accountable, when they are harder on themselves than they are on their subordinates when errors and omissions are made.
Yet there are missing ingredients to the now numerous Trudeau apologies that call into question their sincerity.
For starters, he always says sorry late and under duress. Unless the public outcry reaches a certain volume, Trudeau does not fess up. His first instinct, as shown time and again from blackface and the Aga Khan to SNC-Lavalin and now the WE charity, is to deny, deflect and/or ignore. Before the apology comes a litany of excuses about good intentions and momentary lapses of judgment. Only after those avenues are fully exhausted does the apology come.
Taken on their own, each sorry seems authentic.
Taken with the earlier efforts to explain everything away, each sorry seems disingenuous.
Taken with all of the previous apologies and all of the previous efforts to explain it all away, Trudeau sounds increasingly fake and manipulative. Each new apology appears to be that he's sorry he got caught and his true regret is having to apologize.
So which is worse - blaming others, refusing responsibility and maintaining the same behaviour, like Trump, or saying sorry, taking responsibility but maintaining the same behaviour, like Trudeau?
American voters will get to show on the first Tuesday of November what they think of Trump's leadership style.
Here in Canada, however, voters appear to be accepting Trudeau at his word, at least for now.
That's likely because Trudeau is in the same place Stephen Harper created for himself a decade ago. Canadians never saw Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff as prime ministers in waiting. Jack Layton looked promising but then he died. Harper's hold on power only evaporated when both Trudeau and Tom Mulcair offered a legitimate alternative (and voters clearly indicated in 2015 which of those two men they liked better).
In last year's election, Trudeau held on to power (it would have been another majority if the Bloc hadn't resurrected itself in Quebec) because voters weren't ready to roll the dice on either Andrew Scheer or Jagmeet Singh.
In other words, federal voters have shown a willingness to stick with the least worst option until something better comes along.
Down south, Joe Biden appears poised to become the next American president not because he's universally loved and adored but because Americans seem to increasingly see him as a safer choice than the current Oval Office occupant.
Here in Canada, if neither Singh and the next Conservative leader are able to offer a legitimate alternative to Trudeau whenever the next election rolls around, expect more earnest apologies for years to come.
"I'm sorry and I take full responsibility," he will purr each time.
The household cat never changes its stripes and is only nice enough often enough to its owners in order to keep being fed and watered regularly.
This prime minister is one cool cat.
— Editor-in-chief Neil Godbout