The last six months have not gone well for Justin Trudeau. But he does have one large arrow in his quiver. Tom Walkom writes:
At 5.5 per cent, Canada’s unemployment rate is near historic lows. Inflation-adjusted wage rates are rising again and the stock market is rocking.
Even hard-hit Alberta is doing better.
While worrying signs are emerging about the future of the world economy overall, in North America, at least, things are fine.
Last week’s decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to goose the American economy by reducing interest rates marginally means the boom Canada’s largest trading partner now enjoys is virtually guaranteed to last at least another few months.
On the other hand, there has been much to disappoint:
Once in power, politicians almost invariably disappoint. Trudeau has been no exception. He broke one promise to reform the voting system. He broke another to balance the budget by 2019.
His attempts to curb global warming have satisfied few. On the one hand are those who find the government’s approach too timid. On the other are those who think his methods, such as imposing a carbon tax, are too draconian.
Trudeau argues that this shows the Liberals are hewing to the middle way. That’s one explanation. Another is that on this file he has managed to please no one.
The Liberal government has made significant efforts to help Indigenous people improve their lives. But so much remains to be done that these efforts have earned it little political credit.
As for Trudeau himself, the patina has faded. Canadians are no longer gaga over his star quality. Many, I suspect, are sick of it.
Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives are betting that Canadians are sick of Trudeau:
They present him as a self-absorbed dilettante, who is out of his depth in serious matters of state.
They focus on scandals, real and imagined — the SNC-Lavalin affair, the alleged attempt to silence critics of the government’s China policy, the holiday spent on the Aga Khan’s private island.
They calculate that if they can persuade enough disillusioned Liberal voters to abandon Trudeau, they will win.
And, rather than touting the economy, the Liberals are pointing to premiers like Doug Ford as a potentially dark future:
To that end, they are inventing bogeymen to tie Scheer to — such as former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Will it work? Stay tuned.
Image: The Toronto Star