Monday, November 06, 2023

Post Trudeau

Justin Trudeau is in trouble. But so are the other leaders of Canada's three major parties. Michael Harris writes:

Canadians are getting the picture: none of the major leaders can be taken at their word. 

Canadians know that things are not as rosy as the Liberal government claims, not as bad as the Conservative Party complains, and not as easily solved as the NDP naively declares. 

So we have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7? Groceries and gasoline are still way too expensive.  Increasing competitiveness in the grocery business won’t change that in a hurry. Message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: free heat pumps are not the answer to the anger in the land.

So the carbon levy is too onerous and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre wants to “axe the tax?” Poorly timed sloganeering after a summer of massive wild fires and floods across the country. Making polluting free again doesn’t deal with climate change. Message to Poilievre: time to get a coherent policy on this existential file, and put aside the “apple a day” politics.

So NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wants to drop the GST for all home heating, not just oil? Here’s the rub. That would seriously reduce federal revenues at exactly the time the NDP is pushing for more social spending. Fighting climate change aside—and that is a huge aside—how is reducing government revenues while shelling out major money on a national pharmacare program fiscally responsible?

Still, Trudeau is in the public's crosshairs. Pierre Poilievre has been very successful at putting him there:

Poilievre has skillfully focused the general grumpiness in the country on a single person: Trudeau.  Everything is broken, and it is all Trudeau’s fault. 

At least that is the mantra. It has been an undeniable hit at the political box office. The polls not only have the Liberals looking at the Conservative vapour trail as it zooms ahead of the government in public popularity. Not only do Canadians apparently dislike their former prince of politics, a majority of them would like Trudeau to resign before they get a chance to give him the boot. 

Poilievre has been so successful in scapegoating Trudeau for all that is wrong in the Canadian universe that even Liberals are getting nervous that the current leader may be about to lead them over a cliff. 

But what would happen if Trudeau exited from the stage? Harris suggests a couple of people who might replace him:

What would happen, for example, if someone like Sean Fraser became Liberal leader before the next election? 

Fraser is articulate in both English and French, impressive on his feet, and without the peronsal baggage that is dragging down Trudeau. He has also performed credibly in one of the toughest portfolios a minister can draw: housing. It is also worth remembering that Fraser pulled off the monumental feat of ending the MacKay family dynasty’s Conservative hold on the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova.

And what would happen if the Liberals chose an estimable new leader from outside caucus, someone like Mark Carney?

Unlike Fraser, or anyone else drawn from caucus, Carney could not be criticized as a Trudeau cabinet minister who propped up all the dubious policies and would serve up more of the same. Carney would start with a clean political slate. 

Carney would also be uniquely qualified to deal with what the Conservatives themselves insist is a pressing priority: Canada’s burgeoning national debt. Who would Canadians want in charge of that process: Kid Bitcoin, or the former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England?

Who knows what will happen? Stay tuned.

Image: VICE


Anonymous said...

Trudeau is toxic. I don't understand why his caucus doesn't tell him to leave and don't come back.


Owen Gray said...

It sounds like they're beginning to move in that direction, GDN.

Cap said...

No point in replacing Trudeau with one of his ministers - it didn't work for Mulroney, Chretien or McGuinty. Whoever takes over will be tarred with the same brush. Carney's the only one who may be viable, but I don't think he's got the common touch and the party dry rot has really set in. Brace yourself for PP government.

Owen Gray said...

PP will be a disaster, Cap.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be interesting to have someone with the vision of building what the country needs for the next 100 plus years? If we can't use cars, we need a transportation system. There is no way to get anywhere in the west without a car. We sold the railways, and the buses went bust, and no one seems to have noticed, or gives a care. Do we need a national environmental force? You bet we do - fire prevention and mitigation, fire fighting, flooding mitigation, moving people out of harm's way, and lodging all over to house a couple of thousand people at the drop of a hat. Hey, what about some public housing? If anyone seriously wants immigrants, they need a place to live. And they need a doctor, and a nurse, and a public transportation system so not everyone goes to Toronto. And frankly, the Liberals are going to lose a lot of women voters to conservatives if they don't seriously take a look at the effect that self id is having on women's rights, sports, healthcare, children's health. With a major policy change like that, it needs to be examined again and adjusted, just like the legalization of pot was adjusted. Women might not vote conservative, but they may just stay home. I'd be interested to see what Carney says. RH

Owen Gray said...

Very few leaders have a sense of vision that is both wide and deep, RH. Time will tell if Carney is such a person.

Trailblazer said...

Trudeau has the world vision of the privileged as does his wannabee successor Poilievre.
Why o why do we put out future in the hands of such out of touch people?


Owen Gray said...

Good question, TB. I confess that I don't have an answer.

Northern PoV said...

The old Atomic Doomsday Clock should have a new twin: The Environment Doomsday Clock.
Both are dangerously close to midnight and the new twin seems to have unstoppable momentum.

Electing Lil'PP here in Canada (thanks to a 18 month CSIS/media/polling putsch) would mean returning to our polite version of civic vandalism here in Canada. On a global-existential level it would make virtually no difference. (Ironically, given the success of the Notley/Trudeau greenwashing vs Harper's fossil-fuel failures, it may even help a bit at this scale.)

Meanwhile, a second tRrump regime would spell ugly domestic disaster in the USA with likely spill-over damage here.

Barring some 'positive Black Swan' (either technological or social) the Environment Doomsday Clock will hit midnight sooner (in a few decades) or later (in a few centuries),
threatening human survival. The chance of survival approaches zero if we precede and hasten the environmental collapse with a nuclear war.

More irony: On an existential-global level another confused tRump regime could be a blessing as the Dems are much more organized, coherent and pro-active around their warmongering and a tRump-ruled USA would likely be riven with internal conflict.

Owen Gray said...

That's not a hopeful outlook, PoV.

jrkrideau said...

Carney has no political experience. Might he be a slightly improved version of Ignatief?

Somehow, I suspect PP's rating will take a dip if the Libs & NDP start a bit of messaging on the carbon tax---there goes the youth vote. Then there is the trucker convoy. Humm how many ways can you describe someone who supported people advocating overthrowing the government?

I think PP has been getting something of a free ride. He has a lot of vulnerabilities.

Come to think of it, Doug has the Greenbelt scandal hanging over him and the Auditor-General is starting a new inquiry into the Ontario Science Centre/Ontario Place whatever.

Danielle Smith is starting to look really really cray and the UPC AGM was a gift from heaven for the Libs and NPP. I have seen the AGM described as a trucker convoy reunion not a UCP AGM.


The Liberals need to seriously clean up their act and Jagmeet, well, something, something, , something.

Those numbers don't look good for either party but if they really are based on numbers reported it is not clear to me that the N-sizes are useful at a riding level. In the end it is not the aggregate vote that counts but how it breaks down by poll.

Still if I were the Liberals or NDP I would be a trifle worried.

Owen Gray said...

For any government that's been around for more than eight years, fatigue is a problem, jrk. Liberals should worry about voters simply being tired of them. Incidentally, a few posts back -- the one titled The Best People -- I answered your comment but I missed publishing it. I have rectified that problem and I apologize.

Northern PoV said...

“Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it."

"Are you saying we shouldn't hope?"

"I'm saying we should remove the carrot and walk forward with our eyes open!”
― Margaret Weis

Owen Gray said...

To be realistic, PoV, you don't have to deny hope.