By: Surjit Singh Flora
The Trudeau minority government could seek dissolution in coming days or weeks. It will be pretty tempting for them to do so. They are, after all, ahead in the polls and could well regain their majority.
There are other reasons. They are at the two-year point in their current mandate, and minority governments typically don’t run much longer. The ramping up of the vaccine program, Covid benefits for Canadians and an anticipated end to the pandemic would also likely bolster their prospects.
Trudeau and the Liberals want to strike while the iron is hot — but calling a general election could also backfire. Forcing people to the polls before the pandemic is under control could upset voters and change the outcome. Also, as we’ve seen in Canada and the U.S., polls don’t always tell the true story.
The Conservatives are also spoiling for a fight, even being down in the polls; they can’t afford to be seen propping up a government they roundly criticize. The NDP and B.Q. are not in a strong position in the polls or finances and probably won’t support such an initiative.
Trudeau has been campaigning for months. His indecent impatience to hit the hustings is understandable, given the Liberals’ stable lead in the polls. Being in a minority position and relying on Opposition votes isn’t ideal for any government that has little interest in compromise.
Trudeau seems to think he can win. He wants a majority, but with the NDP or Bloc voting with him constantly, he can do whatever he pretty much wants. All PMs want a majority, and he wants to get it before we wake up to a late summer with very little social interaction with the U.S. and going back to business as usual.
There is probably no country in the world where everyone dislikes or likes their leader. Trudeau is probably the middle of the pack. He well represents the recent trend of leaders whose party is never likely to achieve a majority of the votes cast. If memory serves me well, the last was Brian Mulroney. But even with Mulroney, the honeymoon didn’t last. By the time he finished his second term, he was one of the least popular PMs in Canadian history, and he was directly responsible for his party being destroyed at the polls and almost wiped off the electoral map.
It’s hard to evaluate Justin Trudeau while he’s still in power, but if he wins the next majority, he’ll have cemented himself a place in Canadian politics as one of the ones who won three elections. That would place him well above any recent politician, including Harper, Mulroney, Martin and others. Meanwhile, Trudeau’s father and Jean Chretien remained popular long after they left politics. In fact, his father was the longest serving, 15 years in total.
If Canada goes to the polls tomorrow, Trudeau’s Liberals would be virtually guaranteed to form the government again. Trudeau, personally, might not be the first pick for all Canadians, but he’s the first pick of more than any other leader by a long shot. The ones who dislike him are too few in number and spread their dislike across other leaders. You can’t imagine, for example, the current Conservatives not reserving equal vitriol for Jagmeet or Annamie Paul, should they, by some absurdist cosmic prank, become PM.
I shudder to think of the treatment Paul would get from the Conservative base as a Black, Jewish woman of colour who keeps her hair cropped short. Of course, her leadership is now under review, and she may be turfed, having had one of only three Green MPs sensibly cross the floor and not holding a seat herself. The long wooden daggers are out for Annamie. But I digress.
As the regional assessment shows, it’s only Alberta where there are absurd levels of anti-Liberal sentiment. They are thrashing through the death throes of the fossil fuel dinosaur industry they love, so the degree of Conservative grievance there is off the charts. Many in the province, and certainly a majority of the Conservatives there, hate Trudeau for his father’s NEP — something that they are clamouring for now, incidentally, not that they would ever be able to understand that.
Personally, I think Trudeau’s doing just fine in an absurdly difficult period, with COVID, Trump, NAFTA, China, the recovery from the Great Recession, climate change, ad hominem Jody Wilson-Raybould comments and Canadians’ relationship with First Nations people, Muslim attacks and other challenges of racism, all making leadership difficult over the six years of his time in the PM hot seat.
There are huge issues in Canada that require resolution and commitment to solve. Some of these issues are not top of mind or ‘sexy’ but are crucial to the health and democracy of Canada and have been neglected by previous governments and this one as well.
There also seems to be little competent or viable opposition to the current government. The NDP under Jagmeet Singh’s leadership have impressed but are a long way from forming government. As for the Conservatives or the Bloc, Canadians are not impressed with the current trend of finding or creating negative press on every government statement and action instead of presenting constructive and alternative approaches to problems and plans. The current trend from the political right to inflame divisions among the population through exaggeration and disinformation is a concern and not an attractive strategy for achieving political office in Canada.
Then again Trudeau is a shallow virtue signalling facade who pretends to be a feminist and a protector of the native population but is neither. He leans so far to the left he has outflanked the traditional self-proclaimed socialist parties so far; they don’t know which way to turn anymore. He has apologized for historical issues (viewed in retrospect through the eyes of a woke voter) so many times we have lost count.
His B-grade acting skills come in handy as he enjoys dressing up in everything from Blackface to a Chief’s headdress. Conversely, he never apologizes for his own screw-ups. He has broken more ethical rules than any other leader in Canadian history. He is well on his way to outspending most of the leaders that have proceeded him combined.
Trudeau is now busy throwing more of the public’s money around as an election approaches, to ensure all his government dependents remember where their bread is buttered. He has no opposition, so he can win again; it’s four more years.