In one way or another, all love stories end – often badly. At least in politics.
In 2015, when he became prime minister with a solid majority at age 43, Justin Trudeau was celebrated as the reincarnation of former United States President John F. Kennedy – young, dynamic and charismatic.
Much of the international press, especially the starry-eyed New York Times, swooned, praising the Trudeau-led government as “emerging as a moral leader of the free world.”
This is heady for a large, “boring” and largely anonymous country that craves attention and approval.
Many Canadians were also won over. Trudeau was the “progressive” antidote to a worn-out Conservative administration that seemed to revel in its insensitivity – led for nearly a decade by the definition of dour bureaucrat, Stephen Harper.
But Trudeau is discovering, like all other prime ministers, that, given the inexorable cycle of politics, governments – Liberal or Conservative – have a natural life expectancy.
Trudeau is entering his eighth year in power. The predictable, telltale signs of atrophy are evident, except, of course, in dedicated supporters.
Enthusiasm has waned. Fractures appeared. Scandal – real or fabricated – began to dominate public discourse. Familiarity breeds pride and contempt. Fatigue has become synonymous with “brand”. Popularity turned to animosity. Change now seems almost inevitable.
In response, Trudeau has engaged in the same futile ploys designed to arrest his sharp slide in the once-reassuring polls and persuade Canadians that there is still life and fight in him and his restive colleagues.
So Trudeau reshuffled his cabinet, expelling corrosive underperformers and promoting ambitious and, no doubt, grateful backbenchers ready to prove to the wounded prime minister that they have the right things.
Yet beyond fleeting observation of Ottawa’s incestuous and insular orbit of pundits and career columnists, the new arrangements had no impact on Trudeau’s rapid fortunes.
Instead, concern – which I suspect has recently morphed into fear – among Liberal MPs has sparked leaks lamenting the prime minister’s surprising apathy in the face of Conservative Leader Pierre’s typically rabid rhetorical assault Poilievre, aiming not only to question Trudeau’s empathy for “struggling Canadians but, shamefully, his loyalty to the country he serves.
Loyal readers of this column know very well my antipathy towards young Trudeau. The idea that a stunt-prone dolphin was intent, like Kennedy, on breaking stubborn conventions and pursuing a transformative agenda as prime minister was an idiotic mirage.
Like Kennedy, Trudeau has been, with the exception of some performative tinkering, a staunch supporter and defender of the economic and foreign policy establishment and the status quo.
A self-styled “champion” of climate “action,” Trudeau bought a broken oil pipeline for 4.5 billion Canadian dollars ($3.3 billion). Suspected as a “champion” of human rights and the “rules-based international order,” Trudeau offered diplomatic cover and comfort to the apartheid regime in Israel and attempted, with the help of his insurrectionist friends to Brazil, to install a malleable system. puppet in Venezuela.
As the supposed “champion” of the plight of “ordinary” Canadians, Trudeau has allowed predatory corporate monopolists to continue to reap extraordinary profits while the gap between the richest and the other, much less fortunate, 99 percent widens. is dug.
Trudeau has faced a worried caucus recently, concerned about the ominous prospect of losing power and their jobs. A chastised Trudeau came out of “please do something to save our vulnerable skins” party “retreat” to announce he would summon grocery chain CEOs to a meeting in Ottawa and issue the ultimatum next: lower the prices, or I might – one way or another – put a small, momentary damper on your obscene profits.
It was Trudeau Jr’s limp and late variation of the famous warning uttered in 1970 by his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau: “Look at me. »
In Trudeau’s simplistic calculus, the solution to systemic inequalities not only tolerated, but entrenched by a succession of Liberal and Conservative prime ministers doing as you are told is a harsh lesson from a teacher turned prime minister delivered in the office main.
Yes, that should do it.
If anyone needed further proof of Trudeau’s lack of seriousness and the fact that his “revitalized” cabinet quickly found itself running out of what one might charitably call “ideas” to tackle to the heavy financial burdens that too many Canadians endure every day, I am lost.
Trudeau’s insipid response to widespread hardship partly explains the undeniable exhaustion that embodies a struggling government whose sell-by date expired after the last federal election in 2021 when the Liberals, through sordid parochial interests, secured another majority and failed.
Trudeau should have followed his father’s sensible example and taken a contemplative walk in the snow and realized that his time was up and the baton must be passed.
Still, I don’t blame Trudeau for the understandable toll that governing during a raging, disorienting pandemic and the sad end of a long marriage must have taken on the mind and body.
And at the instigation of rage-addicted provocateur Poilievre, Trudeau was assaulted – there is no other word – with a torrent of bile by a roving mob of vulgar, flag-waving, MAGA-infected wannabes. the conspiracy that, like their crude standard-bearer, abandoned civility for profanity long ago.
Trudeau apparently intends to run in the next federal election, scheduled for 2025. He hopes, as I understand it, that this time, combined with a stumble or two on the part of a Poilievre in full swing, will reverse his sad political fortunes.
Meanwhile, Trudeau and Poilievre will try to persuade Canadians that they stand with “everyone” and “every woman” under siege.
It’s a familiar pantomime. Poilievre pretends to be worried about the workers. If elected, this clever, anti-reason, anti-science and anti-union charlatan will abandon, in a rapid and happy course, the people he claims, with the seriousness of a sickening valedictorian, to cherish. in her calcified breast.
Poilievre is a younger, slightly smoother facsimile of Ontario Conservative Premier Doug Ford, who verified his “fake” populist credentials by walking back a sincere and hopeful promise to protect thousands of acres of prized land. farmland and forests of voracious developers.
Ford’s obedient minions have sold off public land in secret deals to six hand-picked real estate investors and friends, who stand to pocket billions, while the “buck-a-beer” prime minister insists the fact that he was unaware of the romantic agreements made at chici dinners.
Poilievre will follow the same cynical model because that’s what “fiscal” conservatives do in their fanatical pursuit of “privatization”: enrich the rich at the expense of “everyone” and distracted “everyone.”
Soon, Canadians will be asked to choose between two vacuous and pedestrian politicians.
Woe to Canada, indeed.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.