Canada: PM Justin Trudeau/2

Written by  //  October 23, 2019  //  Canada, Government & Governance  //  Comments Off on Canada: PM Justin Trudeau/2

Canada: PM Justin Trudeau
Canada Politics 2019 elections

Richard French: He won. Now Justin Trudeau has to do better
The first requirement for a prime minister in a Westminster system is to keep his cabinet and his caucus together, all more or less united and pulling in more or less the same direction. But our Prime Minister apparently does not talk to his colleagues; they have to deal with his staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, who apparently protect him from being unduly involved in his own government, even while they engage in the detailed policing of ministers and MPs’ speech and behaviour.
Whether one considers the SNC-Lavalin affair a matter of corruption or simply the product of a well-meaning but clumsy attempt to protect employment, it clearly establishes one sobering conclusion: the Prime Minister is out of touch with his colleagues, his government and his own staff.
In his defence before the ethics commissioner, he pleads ignorance of his underlings’ actions and, indeed, of the progress of the file in general. It is not, apparently, his fault if they were too keen in pursuing his objectives. Instead of their falling on their swords, he pushes them. So he just did not know. Another thing he apparently did not know is exactly how damaging such an admission is.
Advisers can palliate lack of substantive knowledge. High political office involves such a diversity of issues that no one can master any significant proportion of them. We pay our politicians to take expert advice and decide how to reconcile it with a myriad of other factors they must legitimately consider, certainly including public opinion, the global environment, the legislature, the caucus and so on.
Minority government means Trudeau has ‘some on-the-job learning’ to do, says columnist
PM’s skills better suited to majority government, but now that’s flipped: Susan Delacourt
(CBC The Current) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a hill to climb in his second term because his political skills are more suited to running a majority government, says political commentator Susan Delacourt.
“All his skills are as a majority prime minister. He is a celebrity. He could, you know, travel the world. He could go out and do various town halls. He could lead the caucus on his coattails. That has flipped upside down now. He has to learn about caucus management, which we’ve known is a weakness for him. He has to like the House of Commons or at least stay there more than he has. He didn’t like it in opposition. He doesn’t like it in government. But the House of Commons is where his power lies and he has to quietly make deals with people. And that’s not been his strength to date. So he says that he is a learner. He’s going to be doing some on the job learning in the next weeks and months.”
MARIE VASTEL: Yes, I agree. His approach to government has not necessarily been to build bridges, I guess, with the other parties. We’ve seen him be maybe a bit moralizing at times, and I think that will be the biggest challenge in the short term. I would suggest getting on the phone, building relationships with the other leaders because he does need to govern … more than a year or 18 months. And he is going to have to agree with some of them on some issues and not continue to act as though his platform is the best and the other ones are all awful. He’s going to have to find common ground with either the NDP or the Bloc, even though he has criticised them a lot during the campaign.”

21 September
Aaron Wherry: Champion of diversity or high-profile hypocrite? Who is Justin Trudeau, anyway?
All human beings contain contradictions – but when politicians undermine their own images, they pay a price
(CBC) There’s probably nothing in the Canadian political strategy textbooks about how to pivot away from blackface.
Justin Trudeau and his campaign are trying, though, as they must. He addressed the photos and video that emerged this week at length Thursday afternoon. What was supposed to be a Liberal rally on Thursday night was turned into a town hall that permitted Trudeau to talk about his failings, but also some other issues. On Friday morning, Trudeau made a new campaign commitment to implement further restrictions on firearms.
Trudeau, more than any other politician, understands the power of an image. And this week’s images might persist as reason to question who Trudeau is, or to frame a narrative about what kind of leader he really is. … In Magnetic North — a short biography authored by Alan Hustak in 2017 — one person describes Trudeau the high schooler as “a bit of an attention seeker” who “knew the reaction he could provoke,” but also someone who knew himself and was “extremely sensitive to what was going on around him.” But Trudeau has said he could be shy and he has been described as a natural introvert.

11 September
Patriquin: Justin Trudeau’s greatest strength is his rivals’ weakness
The Liberals are sitting pretty in Quebec, an important hedge for the party against potential losses in neighbouring Ontario.

10 September
The Trans Mountain pipeline, the court decision and the fate of Justin Trudeau
(Globe & Mail editorial) Appeals are on and Ottawa’s lawyers can step up. Several Indigenous groups allege the do-over was hurried and Ottawa ignored important issues; the federal government will get the opportunity to demonstrate that was not the case.
A decision could come by year’s end. If Trans Mountain is delayed again, it will rank among the biggest failures of Mr. Trudeau’s term in office.
But that’s for the future. In October, voters will render their verdict on Mr. Trudeau before they find out whether Ottawa’s second swing at the pipeline is successful, or is heading into extra, extra innings.

23 August
Two Takes on Justin Trudeau’s Time as Prime Minister
(NYT) October’s federal election has brought with it two books by journalists that look at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first four years in office, the forces that influenced and shaped him and his prospects. Likely to the relief of both publishers, while the books survey the same subject, they are very different in their approaches.
That’s likely a product of the authors’ different backgrounds. John Ivison, the author of “Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister” (Signal McClelland & Stewart) is a columnist for The National Post. It’s his job to offer opinions, and neither he nor the opinion pages of his newspaper are known fans of Mr. Trudeau and his Liberal Party. …
Aaron Wherry, who now works for the C.B.C. and who previously wrote for Maclean’s, is a reporter, not an opinion writer. And he takes a neutral, if not skeptical, approach to the prime minister in “Promise and Peril: Justin Trudeau in Power” (HarperCollins).
While Mr. Ivison had just a single, hour-long interview with Mr. Trudeau specifically for his book, he has interviewed him several times in the past. But the prime minister gave Mr. Wherry an exceptional amount of access. So although Mr. Wherry also interviewed Mr. Trudeau’s friends and foes, many sections of the book are the prime minister himself discussing his successes and failures in direct quotes much longer than what other forms of journalism permit.

22 August
Justin Trudeau: the rise and fall of a political brand
Thanks to his clever use of social media, he was dubbed the first prime minister of the Instagram age – but after four years in power, cracks in his image have started to show.
By Ashifa Kassam
(The Guardian) Like Barack Obama, Trudeau seemed to understand better than other politicians how to adapt the old ideas of political marketeering to the new realities of social media. He was a master of the viral video clip or poignant photo that seemed to express the worthiness of his government and the virtue of his politics. … “I think he’s probably the best national leader since Ronald Reagan at projecting a certain image,” says Warren Kinsella, a former Liberal strategist.
Trudeau has championed a vision of Canada as a nation friendly to allies, open to immigrants and just to its people. According to this image, Canada is a paragon of progressivism in an era marked by strains of authoritarian populism – as if crossing the border that separates Canada from Donald Trump’s US means travelling through a political looking-glass. And yet, Trudeau was never exactly anti-populist: he cultivated an impression that he both serves the masses and is adored by them.
Ironically, but perhaps inevitably, Trudeau’s efforts to depict himself in this way have now helped to set the stage for his potential unmaking. Some of the policies enacted by Trudeau’s government have made his political identity seem hollow, even disingenuous. Compounding this has been the ongoing fallout from the most significant controversy of his tenure: Canada’s ethics watchdog recently found that Trudeau broke the country’s conflict of interest law in the hopes of allowing a giant engineering and construction firm to avoid a corruption trial.
Far from the progressive, transparent government that Trudeau sold to Canadians and the global media, the scandal suggests that, like previous Canadian governments, Trudeau’s administration remains in thrall to the “Laurentian consensus” – the web of political, business and intellectual elites in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal whose collective name is a nod to eastern Canada’s mighty St Lawrence river. Ahead of a federal election in October, Trudeau’s approval ratings have plunged from a high of 65% in 2016 to about 32% in July, leaving him vulnerable to becoming the first Canadian prime minister since the 1930s to lose a bid for re-election after winning only one majority mandate.

18 May
A Battered but Unbowed Justin Trudeau Vows to Stay the Course in Canada
By Ian Austen
(NYT) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has a simple strategy for winning re-election: Ignore the plummeting polls, defend his record and push back against detractors.
Despite months of criticism over his handling of a corporate criminal case and treatment of a female cabinet minister — and continuing pressure over his environmental and energy policies — he is not paring back or changing course.
As he looked back on a winter that turned him from front-runner to underdog, Mr. Trudeau predicted that by October the nation’s political focus will have returned to what he called “the big things, whether it’s environment or climate or growth for the middle class.”
With Trudeau’s leadership under fire, Liberals try to regroup before October
The SNC-Lavalin affair helped turn the party’s best political asset — the prime minister — into a burden
(CBC) Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015 in part because he changed the way many Canadians felt about politics. But if Trudeau is going to be reelected in 2019, party insiders admit he needs to change the way many Canadians feel about him now.
Federal and provincial Liberals who spoke to CBC News concede what was unthinkable just months ago — that in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin controversy, Trudeau’s leadership has gone from one of the party’s greatest strengths to one of its biggest liabilities
It’s even an issue in Atlantic Canada, the region the party swept in 2015. Provincial candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador — where the Liberals were reduced to a minority government on Thursday — were surprised at the amount of anti-Trudeau sentiment they encountered while going door-to-door.
The Liberal climate plan is an important part of that. But there is a deep recognition in party circles that talking about climate change alone won’t be nearly enough to save the government.
Many Liberals acknowledge that the Conservatives have smartly tapped into the issue of affordability and economic anxiety. This was reflected in the Ontario Liberal caucus’s ranking of platform priorities, leaked to CBC News, that put personal financial security ahead of climate and reconciliation. At the top of the Ontario MPs’ list was a national pharmacare plan, which is certain to be a centrepiece of the Liberal platform.
But a platform can only work if the leader can sell it. There is a hope among senior Liberals who spoke to CBC News — both elected officials and political staff — that a busy slate of international travel over the next few months can help rehabilitate Trudeau’s reputation as a leader.
… The theory is that turning the election into a choice between Scheer’s agenda and Trudeau’s favours the Liberals. But if the election becomes a referendum on Trudeau alone, it favours the Conservatives. … But to get there, multiple Liberal insiders say they need to improve the performance of the Prime Minister’s Office as well. The hope is that the recent addition of Ben Chin as a senior adviser will add some urgency to the PMO’s communications and issues-management efforts — work that some Liberals say needs to accelerate from a think-tank’s pace to war-room speed.
In the party’s plus column, Liberals like to point to a solid party infrastructure that ought to serve them well in the upcoming campaign. The appointment of Jeremy Broadhurst as campaign director has rallied some Liberals who have grown disillusioned during recent months.

14 May
Trudeau leaves House before MPs unanimously pass motion apologizing to Mark Norman
The House of Commons apologized Tuesday to Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and his family for what they endured over the course of his breach-of-trust case, which collapsed last week.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan were absent.

12 May
Coyne: Justin Trudeau has become the problem with the Liberal brand
“He’s revealed himself to be a much more conventional, calculating, cynical, “power” politician than perhaps people had appreciated in 2015.” (video)

10 May
Norman lawyer Marie Henein did incalculable damage to the Trudeau brand
Henein put on a piece of political theatre that was as understated as it was devastating. She flayed the prime minister without ever mentioning his name
By Richard Warnica
(National Post) For more than 30 minutes, she performed in the truest sense. She put on a piece of political theatre — complete with shrugs, half smiles and quiet asides — that was as understated as it was devastating.
In front of the assembled Ottawa press corps, Henein flayed the prime minister without ever mentioning his name. She never said the words “SNC-Lavalin,” either even as she linked her client’s case, indelibly, to that festering scandal.
Henein was speaking to reporters Wednesday after the charges against her client, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, were stayed in a surprise court appearance. The prosecutor told the court that, after reviewing new evidence, the Crown no longer felt it had a reasonable chance of obtaining a conviction in the case

8 May

8 May
Trudeau’s former top adviser to help companies on climate change risks
Gerald Butts is taking on a new role with a New York-based global consulting firm, helping it to build a new practice advising clients on risks related to climate change.
Butts says helping the Eurasia Group establish a “geopolitics of climate” practice is one of what he calls a “small number of exciting projects” he’s working on, but it’s not a permanent new job at this point.
Butts resigned as Trudeau’s principal secretary in March, amid the furor over the SNC-Lavalin affair.
The Eurasia Group, founded in 1998 by Ian Bremmer, touts itself as the first consulting firm “devoted exclusively to helping investors and business decision-makers understand the impact of politics on the risks and opportunities in foreign markets.”
The new practice aims to advise companies on how best to adapt to those changes.

7 May
Andrew Coyne: Canadians have fallen desperately out of love with Justin Trudeau
The problem seems less to do with any one incident than with a slowly cementing impression: of a leader who talks a good game but does not deliver
The latest Angus Reid poll gives him an astonishing net approval rating of minus 39 (28 per cent approval, 67 per cent disapproval). It isn’t that there is any great wave of enthusiasm for his rivals: among party leaders, only the Green Party’s Elizabeth May enjoys a positive net approval rating. But none excites anywhere near such antipathy.
There is of course still time to turn things around. Campaigns matter, and much can happen even before the campaign. But as much can happen that hurts the Liberal cause as helps. The simmering dispute with China, with Canadian lives on the line; the unfinished business over NAFTA, with the renegotiated treaty no closer to approval by the U.S. Congress than it was seven months ago; the trial this summer of Vice Admiral Mark Norman, whose defence alleges political interference in a police investigation, raising echoes of the SNC-Lavalin affair — all these threaten to disrupt any Liberal recovery strategy.
Free trade was a big idea that polarized opinion, with the Mulroney Conservatives owning one side of the debate. Is there a big, polarizing idea the Liberals can own? Or will they inevitably have to share it with three other parties on the left?

Comments are closed.