Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trumpism Moves North

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Justin -- or as he is known these days in Washington -- Joe Trudeau's visit with Donald Trump went pretty well. On the surface, it looks like the prime minister didn't yield any ground. But, Susan Delacourt writes, Trumpism is moving north:

A new, international “trust index” released today contained some troubling news for the prime minister and his Liberal brand: Canadians’ trust in government has eroded profoundly since Trudeau took power 15 months ago.

Edelman, the public-relations firm that compiles the annual index, has put Canada into the “distruster” nation category for the first time in the 17-year history of the global survey. “Distrusters” are nations in which most people express distrust in their civic institutions.

The evidence? According to the index, one in two Canadians fears that newcomers to the country are “damaging our economy and national culture.” A full 80 per cent agreed that elites were “out of touch” with regular people and 40 per cent agreed that they were being unfairly denied access to the education and opportunities they needed to get ahead.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents — 61 per cent — said they didn’t have confidence in the country’s leaders to address the challenges facing the nation.

The virus has gone global and has found ready hosts in people like Kevin O'Leary and Kellie Leitch. Delacourt warns:

Trump isn’t Trudeau’s real problem. What threatens Trudeau’s government is the populist discontent that brought Trump to power. These new numbers confirm that Canada isn’t isolated from trends seen south of the border.

But it’s the speed of the downturn that’s especially remarkable. Trust in government has slipped from 53 per cent to 43 per cent since last year’s index. Trust in the media has similarly plummeted — from 55 per cent last year to 45 per cent this year. The decline in public trust in business and non-governmental organizations was less sharp: business went from 56 per cent trust in 2016 to 50 per cent in 2017, and NGOs fell only two percentage points, from 61 to 59 per cent.

Lisa Kimmel, president and CEO of Edelman Canada, said on Tuesday they had expected to see some erosion of trust in government as Canada moved farther away from the heady, 2015 “change” rhetoric — but they “just didn’t anticipate it would be that dramatic.”

Justin is in Brussels today talking up CETA. But he'd better keep his eye on the public and civic health challenges that lie ahead here at home.



Lorne said...

These are worrying times, Owen. The trust numbers are not likely to improve with Trudeau and his much vaunted CETA deal now 98% a fait accompli:

Rene said...

While it's a catchy phrase to say that "Trumpism Moves North" I don't agree that our growing lack of confidence in both our federal and provincial governments is an American import, and that it has much to do with Mr. Trump. Federally, it did not start with the Trudeau government either - although it might seem that way. Because we lost confidence in Mr. Harper, we voted him out of power by a huge majority. If "Trumpism" represents a kind of spreading virus, I think it's completely wrong to suggest it originated in the USA. It was here long before Mr. Trump's election. If Canadians are beginning to lose faith in Mr. Trudeau, I would argue that to this point it's far more the fault of his government, than to some spreading virus.

Dana said...

Transferring tax credits is probably the surest method of dismantling confederation. Once that happens there's no more validity to the Constitution or the Charter than there is to an expired drivers licence and the real fun can begin.

But why not? If civilization is going to collapse anyway why not go out in a glorious blaze of humanity's most enduring characteristic - destructive stupidity.

Owen Gray said...

Exactly, Lorne. The lesson here is that when ordinary folks come to believe they've been played for suckers, they can easily turn to worse con men.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Rene, that what's happening pre-dates both Trump and Trudeau. But, as Victor Hugo wrote, "There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come." Even if it's a bad idea.

Owen Gray said...

Stupidity is its own curse, Dana. That's a lesson we never seem to learn.

The Mound of Sound said...

This provides unwelcome confirmation to a piece I wrote yesterday about Justin Trudeau undermining democracy in Canada. It appears we're entering late stage neoliberalism, locked into a failed system that the political caste remains intent on perpetuating. Justin Trudeau's political thinking is stuck somewhere in the 80s or 90s. He came to power on promises to take Canada forward into a new political paradigm only to renege on his promises, one by one, and leave us stuck in the same rut of the previous regime. Of course Canadians are disaffected. Why would they not be?

I hope that by 2019 the newly disaffected Canadian voter will have had time to discover that populism is the sort of discontent that can be quickly exploited by even greater charlatans with false promises and hollow ideology. Civilization has a rich history of these things.

Owen Gray said...

The sad truth is, Mound, that this is nothing new. And, when citizens get angry enough, they storm the Bastille.

Kirby Evans said...

Obviously distrust in politicians and the media predates Trump or Trudeau. However, I agree with Mound concerning the terrible weight of responsibility that rests squarely on Trudeau's shoulder for the sudden and dramatic increase in Canada. Trudeau's lie concerning electoral reform is the single biggest event in Canadian politics in my lifetime that injects cynicism and mistrusts directly into the veins of Canadian voters. There have been lots of terrible examples in the recent past from Harper's broken promise concerning income trusts, to the Duffy scandal, to Chretien's total failure concerning the so-called "red book." But surely no other single event can compare to Trudeau's big lie about electoral reform. Perhaps it is so pronounced because Canadians so overwhelming want some kind of reform, or perhaps it is because millennials are so in favour of reform and this is such a huge hit for the confidence of millennials in the political leaders. Either way, Trudeau made a rightwing "populist" government a lot more likely with this one decision.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Kirby. Trudeau said he was not going to practice the politics of cynicism. Electoral reform was a big promise. That promise won him lots of votes. Breaking that promise fuels the very cynicism he attacked.

the salamander said...

.. obviously a very stimulating issue, Owen.. thanks..

Without seeming to veer off topic I would raise an issue or two.. that could shock Electoral Law to its very core & perhaps, save the day re electoral reform. If Justin Trudeau announced, his Liberal Party would no longer appoint a party whip, nor dictate riding representatives.. the Country named Canada might head slowly back toward responsible & responsive representation from sea to sea to sea..

We could also do away with that archaic prorogue pretension, and the Queen's representative aka the Governor General. Senators could be elected on merit. And farces like the Energy Board could be challenged at any time. Hell, we know British Columbia's legislature has not 'sat' in what? 210 days? That's either a lockout or a prorogue with a subsequent election. What? Is there a new rule, allowing provincial premiers to just call 'time out' ? Triple delete government & get right down to fund raising?

Canada is due for massive bureaucratic & governmental revamping. Stripdown and complete sandblasting.. We cannot get a coastal patrol vessel built, outfit our meagre armed forces, or look after our disabled or injured Vets. We take them to court instead. We cannot pay our civil servants in a consistant or timely manner. Are our former MP's getting their monthly pension deposits.. You betcha..

Owen Gray said...

For thirty-five years, salamander, our politicians have been taking a wrecking ball to government. They said we paid too much for government. And they made we didn't get a government.