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.