According to the weather forecast, there is going to be snow in Ottawa in the next week and it is time for Justin Trudeau to take a long walk in it.
It’s been coming for a while. After almost eight years as Prime Minister of Canada, the shine has worn off. It’s been a pretty good run. Not every Prime Minister has been in office for that long. But it is time for Justin Trudeau to exit stage left.
Two years ago, who would have believed that Pierre Poilievre would be as popular a federal leader, and perhaps even more so than Justin Trudeau? And who would have believed consistent polling across Canada that says if an election were held today, the Conservatives would win a solid majority government? Yet, there it is.
Certainly, if they can’t manage to force an election earlier, Conservatives would love to have Justin Trudeau remain as Liberal leader when it is required in 2025. I wonder though whether the Liberal establishment would. They are pretty good at seeing the writing on the wall.
Polls across Canada are showing that the federal Liberals are in freefall. At most, they have a little more than a year and a half to reverse that, and while anything in politics is possible, history would show that is a very hard row to hoe, especially with the current leadership.
One of the latest national polls, this one by Abacus, contains some pretty sobering information. 23% of Canadians believe that Canada is headed in the right direction. 61% think it is off on the wrong track. 84% of Canadians want a change in government. Of these, 43% would vote for the Conservatives, 18% for the Liberals and 9% for the NDP and 30% don’t know how they would vote. According to the Abacas poll, Conservatives lead the Liberals by 16 points and perhaps more importantly, they are ahead in every age group.
Clearly, Justin Trudeau is past his best-before date as Prime Minister. Canada, in my view, is no better off than it was before he took office. Of course, some good things have been accomplished during this time, and of course, some of the issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic have been beyond his control. But things are really shaky now.
Our national debt has never been higher and, as one economist has said, is coming close to “exploding”. Whether our country is more divided now than it has been in the past is perhaps debatable, but certainly, this Prime Minister has done nothing to promote unity.
As for the critical issue of climate change, what identifiable progress has actually been made? Much has been said about the carbon tax and carbon reduction, but if it is so effective, why is the Prime Minister playing politics with it by letting some parts of Canada off the hook, but not others?
Then there is the matter of our position on the international stage, a position that is, in my view, directly related to our economic and trade opportunities and our ability to have a meaningful influence on crucial global affairs. Sadly, I am one of those who believe that Justin Trudeau has lost the respect of many world leaders and that consequently, Canada’s voice has become irrelevant under his watch.
As an example, Justin Trudeau’s leadership related to the Gaza Strip Hamas government’s terrorist attack on Israel, unlike many other national leaders, has been wishy-washy at best. Sometimes you just can’t have it both ways. Yes, he has condemned the terrorist attack on Israel that started this war, but he has also lectured Israel, saying their actions are hurting peace prospects. He must know, as most leaders do, that there can be no peace there as long as the mantra of Hamas is to kill every living Jew in the Middle East, and beyond.
In contrast to Trudeau’s statements on the Israeli/Hamas war, Pierre Poilievre, Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition said this: “Hamas is a terrorist death cult determined to maximize the death and suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis in violation of international law by using human shields and hospitals to shelter its terrorists.” Not so wishy-washy there.
Trudeau’s fence sitting prompted this direct response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “It is not Israel that is deliberately attacking civilians, but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst hours since the holocaust”. And there you have it, yet another country not too happy with Canada.
It must be pretty clear by now that Justin Trudeau has lost the support of the majority of Canadians. It is time for him to go. If he insists on staying as Prime Minister for much longer, the next election will not be a horse race. The Conservatives will win hand down. Horse races in my view are always better for democracy. It is better for people to make choices based on who they want to win, rather than who they want to lose.
If the Liberals are to have a new leader and time to make a mark of their own before the next election, that leadership race needs to take place relatively soon. I am sure the Liberal elite know it and Justin Trudeau must know it as well.
New leaders can bring fresh ideas forward and voters can decide which are the most appropriate for Canada. As well, the winner will know that they got there on merit and not simply because the other guy wasn’t liked.
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 of Muskoka and as chief of staff to former premier of Ontario, Frank Miller.
Hugh has also 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., the parent company of Doppler Online, and he enjoys writing commentary for Huntsville Doppler.
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