by Graham Lane
Published by the Winnipeg Sun, November 24, 2017
Nanos regularly publishes polls indicating the electorate’s political preferences. Riding high since the 2015 federal election, with a 60% approval rating, Justin Trudeau is seen as having the attributes needed for being Prime Minister. The leaders of the other parties trail far behind. But, will the high regard many Canadians still have of Trudeau last and result in the re-election of the Liberals in 2019?
The second coming of a Trudeau being Prime Minister brought adulation from many, but growing concern from an increasing minority. Justin, young, personable, fluently bilingual, at ease before cameras and microphones, saved the federal Liberal party and doomed the NDP’s chance in 2015. Unlike his father Pierre, Justin is not an intellectual. He serves well as the lead singer, neither writing the music nor the lyrics for a diverse gender-balanced cabinet run by backroom ‘boys’ who do the heavy thinking.
The Canadian electorate were relatively satisfied with the financially-competent conservative Harper government, but disliked Harper himself. They assessed him as a rather dull control freak running a competent and disciplined regime. While Harper guided Canada safely through the global credit crisis and reduced taxes, the electorate were ready for a change.
For the first two years the electorate were mostly satisfied with Trudeau’s performance, which played out not only on a domestic stage but on a global one. The photos and sound clips of him seemed to so please Justin that it went to his head – he began lecturing the world, asserting that Canada, not the US, is the world’s Camelot.
Yet, through stumble after stumble, the wheels on his train began to squeal. To begin, while Trudeau promised a modest deficit, the spending spigots remained open and that promise went astray. Apparently his government doesn’t have a clue as to when the string of federal deficits will end: sounds like Justin’s dad, doesn’t it?
Paying Omar Khadr $10.5 million shocked Canadians. Captured by American forces in Iraq, kept and poorly treated in a cage by America for a decade, Canada properly liberated him, provided for his medical needs and keep, only to be sued. Justin followed up with another $30 million for three other victims of the terrorism scare. Canadians of all political leanings still don’t accept his ongoing opening of the treasury. Then came his carbon taxes, backdoor pipeline strangulation policies, and ‘wide open borders’. Weak border control allows walk-in immigrants, pushing properly vetted visa applicants to the back of the line. Blunders on conflict of interest, business taxes, and an odd NAFTA bargaining strategy followed.
In politics, the devil is in the details and Justin is not a details guy. While his dad wasn’t one either, he was very intelligent and wasn’t obsessed with political correctness. Pierre’s cabinet included his day’s brightest politicians. As to Justin, his cabinet resembles a mix of recycled politicians from long ago combined with too many newbies biased towards smiley face diversity not competence.
Unfortunately for Justin, the Trump world Canada now faces is one of falling U.S. taxes, cheaper energy prices, and tougher trade policies. Clueless, his advisors are pushing the opposite way.
With the polls suggesting a tighter race for the next federal election, Justin may end up a one-term PM.