Justin Trudeau is just bursting to call an election. Most, if not all, of his advisors are pressuring him to do so. It would come as soon as this summer if the prime minister thought he could get away with it. It will almost certainly come this fall.
The numbers are clearly on his side. If an election were to be called in the next few months, it is hard to see how a Trudeau Government can be defeated and, indeed, the prospect of a majority government giving them another four years of almost limitless power is well within reach.
The big question, then, is why?
Justin Trudeau is very likely the least qualified person to become prime minister in Canada’s history. Prior to entering politics, he had little to no experience in the real world related to public service or to corporate or community endeavours. He led a privileged life with few responsibilities. Were it not for his last name and the legacy of his father, he would never have made it anywhere near the national stage. Most people, when they think about it, will know that.
So why, with a history of chaos, scandal, misogyny, and generationally crippling free spending during the past almost six years, is Justin Trudeau poised to win a third term as prime minister of Canada?
For one thing, and sadly, there appears to be no real alternative.
The Bloc Québécois will never form a government outside of Quebec. The New Democrats, although growing because of Liberal mismanagement, are too far to the left for many Canadians and, in any event, the Grits have moved into much of their traditional territory. At the federal level at least, the Green Party is fractured and irrelevant.
That leaves the Conservatives, the party that should be most able to provide an effective governing alternative to the Liberals, but all they seem to have been able to accomplish lately is to shoot themselves in their collective feet.
I happen to believe that Erin O’Toole is well-qualified to be prime minister of Canada. I believe he would do a much better job than the current incumbent. But he will never get there until the party he leads moves into the twenty-first century and recognizes the priorities that are important to modern Canadians.
A recent Conservative Party convention refused to enshrine into their constitution the reality of climate change, something their leader had urged them to do, and something that any fool knows is a matter of prime importance for this generation and for those to come.
Most recently, more than half of the Conservative caucus in Ottawa voted against a motion to ban conversion therapy, a process intended to change the sexuality of people who are not heterosexual. Whatever one’s views around matters related to same-sex issues, to believe that some form of therapy can fundamentally change people from who they really are—to even believe that is a reasonable approach—simply suggests to me an ignorance and total lack of understanding. Anyone who would not welcome such an approach to their own sexuality should think seriously about that.
Again, Erin O’Toole was not one of those people, but if he ever wants to be prime minister he needs to lay down the law with his caucus. He talks about a big tent, but a big tent is no good if it is full of holes. Conservatives should learn from the Liberals about party discipline. It will never be more important than it is now.
Conservatives have a lot to offer Canadians, especially when it comes to saving this country from the endless spending and debt that can lead to an inability to sustain economic well-being and eventually to an inability to provide needed social programs to Canadians. On these issues, most Conservatives are on the same page and these, plus urgent emerging matters such as climate change, are what they need to focus on if they ever want to see government again. That is a tall order for an election that will likely be held before Thanksgiving.
Another reason that I believe Justin Trudeau is on the cusp of a majority government is that many of us, over recent years, have become somewhat immune to the truth. Facts seem less and less important than the agenda. Both politicians and the mainstream media, with their own agendas and their own set of facts, are responsible for this. Fake news and “alternate” facts are creeping into the new norm. We have seen it in the United States and we are seeing it here.
Former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella cut to the chase recently when he wrote, “Indifference to the law, disregard of democratic norms, arrogance and casual corruption: the Trudeau people share more in common with the Trump people than you’d think.”
Indeed, think about that. Think about the contempt of Parliament, the pillar of any democracy, not once, but four times. The prime minister has labelled Parliament as dysfunctional and a place of obstructionism. He may be right, but he fails to mention that it is his total disdain for and ignoring of that body that is the cause.
Think about the misogyny and disregard for the law. Just one example of this, as one wag opined: “Trudeau is the first prime minister in history to dispose of an attorney general for not being corrupt.”
Think about the prime minister, almost six years in power, ignoring well-known and blatant sexual harassment and abuse in the Canadian military.
Think about the untendered government contracts to his friends, one of whom was in his wedding party.
Think about the so-called independent Senate he created with so much fanfare, and then recently appointed two well-known Liberals to that body to tighten his control there.
Really now, who does that sound like? To some degree, I believe that the persona of Justin Trudeau has hijacked the Liberal Party in the same manner that the persona of Donald Trump has hijacked the Republican Party in the United States. I find that concerning.
One thing that I do agree with Prime Minister Trudeau about is that this Canada Day, which we will celebrate on Thursday, should also be a time of reflection. Of course, we should reflect on our past, we should not erase it, we should not ignore it, we should learn from it, and we should recognize those who have been negatively affected by it.
It is also important to reflect how far we have come in other more positive ways as a country, still one of the best in the world, and to think about what is essential for our future. Those elements of who we are and who we aspire to be are important too.
I, for one, will not be talked in to being ashamed of being Canadian. I fully acknowledge where we have fallen short. I believe we should not cover it up. But I am far more interested in building this country up than I am in tearing it down.
That is why I will celebrate Canada Day on Thursday. I hope you will too.
Hugh Mackenzie has held elected office as a trustee on the Muskoka Board of Education, a Huntsville councillor, a District councillor, and mayor of Huntsville. He has also served as chairman of the District Muskoka and as chief of staff to former premier of Ontario, Frank Miller.
Hugh has served on a number of provincial, federal and local boards, including chair of the Ontario Health Disciplines Board, vice-chair of the Ontario Family Health Network, vice-chair of the Ontario Election Finance Commission, and board member of Roy Thomson Hall, the National Theatre School of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Canada. Locally, he has served as president of the Huntsville Rotary Club, chair of Huntsville District Memorial Hospital, chair of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, president of Huntsville Festival of the Arts, and board member of Community Living Huntsville.
In business, Hugh Mackenzie has a background in radio and newspaper publishing. He was also a founding partner and CEO of Enterprise Canada, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm established in 1986.
Currently Hugh is president of C3 Digital Media Inc. and enjoys writing commentary for Huntsville Doppler.
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