Today, Canada elects a new parliament. What was supposed to be a formality for Canada’s uber progressive poster boy Justin Trudeau, might turn out to be Canada’s first one-term tenure of a Prime Minister since the 1930s, as his party is currently trailing in the polls. His fall from grace is based on having failed to satisfy impeccable standards he seemingly set for everyone but himself.
With momentum and optimism, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office four years ago after his decisive election victory. A long reign had been predicted. Today, Trudeau might not maintain his mandate. His party is currently slightly behind the opposition conservatives and their top candidate Andrew Scheer at 31 to 32 per cent.
The election victory of Trudeau in 2015 was supposed to be a turning point; he was set to lead the country socio-politically into the modern age. His vision: Canada needed to become more feminist, more ecological and surely even more multicultural. Over were the oppressive, conservative days of predecessor Stephen Harper, who simply was lacking the necessary “wokeness” to appeal to Canada’s millennials. Trudeau’s campaign promises of legalising marijuana, establishing Cabinet parity, as well as his pledge to increase relations with the indigenous peoples of Canada, on the other hand, seemed like a paradigm shift towards a better world and a higher moral ground.
One could even argue that Trudeau won the US election in 2016. With Donald Trump in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Trudeau’s political style and his worldview made Canada the morally supreme entity on the continent.
Four years later, things have changed, and the election campaign has been unexpectedly tricky at best. The reasons for it are self-inflicted. First, Trudeau violated the country’s ethics laws when he urged his attorney general not to prosecute an engineering company in a conflict of interest case. Two ministers resigned in protest. Trudeau did not apologise until an ethics committee reprimanded him two months ago.
A few weeks ago, almost 20-year-old photos appeared on which Trudeau wears the infamous “brownface”, which is rightfully considered as racist. Worse yet, when asked how many of these pictures he had taken, he was not able to say. It was not just a scratch but rather a deep cut in Canada’s white knight’s armour and an utter PR disaster.
Nonetheless, his policies may be considered successful by some, certainly in progressive circles. Canada’s unemployment rate decreased from seven to five and a half per cent during his tenure, helping the economy to create over one million new jobs. The CETA trade agreement with the EU is also in force for the time being, which should be highly beneficial for the country in the long run. Child support has been raised, taxes for the middle class have been lowered. Moreover, he fulfilled his promise of legalising marijuana and regulated euthanasia by law. One of his signatures promises, the reform of the electoral system, Trudeau did not facilitate, however.
Trudeau has been trying to highlight his accomplishments during the election circle. Naturally, Trudeau emphasises the millennial’s favourite topic: the climate. However, Canada is not just Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton. The people who live out in the beautiful countryside of Canada have had other concerns. The Conservatives, fairly cognizant of it, have not wasted a second always to attack Trudeau’s carbon tax. Scheer has already promised its abolition, as he deems it “job-destroying”.
The Mr perfect aura is gone, and even if he stayed in office, it might be hard for him moving forward, to preach his idealistic visions while attempting to turn Canadians into moralists. Trudeau had never been as popular in Canada as he has been portrayed, however, the fact that the incumbent Prime Minister now struggles to defeat an equally semi-unpopular conservative candidate decisively sums up Trudeau’s downfall perfectly.
If Trudeau wins, his desire for redemption will likely end up in more detrimental policies and an even more pronounced rift in society. It is what his base seeks to see. The rest of the country, however, does not. Whatever the outcome of this election will be, Trudeau has already lost.