Canada’s Justin Trudeau faces a test for his progressive agenda

OTTAWA — In the aftermath of a third consecutive election victory, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, once the golden boy of liberal politics in the world, has an increasingly narrow window to overcome the damage done to his image and adopt policies that would make Canada a progressive world leader.

His Liberal Party’s share of the popular vote has steadily declined, and minority governments in Canada, which Mr. Trudeau will lead knowing his government can be defeated at any time if enough opposition parties cooperate to do so. , have historically lasted around 18 to 24 months. That wouldn’t leave Mr. Trudeau much time to implement a progressive agenda that includes reducing greenhouse gases, improving relations with Indigenous peoples, and nationally subsidized child care.

Economists and political analysts say the continuation of these measures must also be balanced with Canada’s spending cuts after aggressive fiscal policies put in place at the start of the pandemic to stabilize the economy.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to stay in office after an early election. He spoke to his supporters as television networks projected a narrow victory for his Liberal party, which hoped for a stronger majority. (Video posted September 21) Photo: Eric Bolte / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

An accumulation of missteps, including Mr. Trudeau’s decision to go to a beach last week for a holiday honoring Indigenous Canadians, has raised questions about his commitment to the causes he has championed . Many analysts predict that he will not lead his Liberal Party after 2025, the next time an election is due under Canadian law.

Mr. Trudeau got down to business in earnest on Wednesday, fulfilling some of his election promises by deploying warrants requiring government employees and future air and rail travelers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Bureaucrats and travelers will be required to provide proof of vaccination by the end of the month, and government employees who fail to comply face suspension without pay.

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Last month’s victory made Mr. Trudeau the seventh prime minister in the country’s history to win at least three elections; his father, Pierre Trudeau, served four terms between 1968 and 1984 and is widely regarded as one of the most influential leaders in Canadian history.

Once Angela Merkel officially steps down as German Chancellor, Justin Trudeau will be the longest-serving leader among the Group of Seven countries.

Yet the Trudeau-led Liberal Party won last month with the lowest share of the popular vote in Canadian electoral history, with 32.6% support. Mr. Trudeau’s 2015 Liberals won nearly 40% of the national vote, followed by 33.1% in the 2019 victory. The 2021 vote was the second election in a row leaving Mr. Trudeau at the head of a minority government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Liberal Party celebration in Montreal on September 21 with his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and their children.


Photo:

christinne muschi / Reuters

Voters elected lawmakers to Parliament “with a mandate to do big and ambitious progressive things for Canadians.” I can’t wait to get in, ”Trudeau said last week, not to mention his own political future.

A spokesperson for the Liberal Party who answered questions about Mr. Trudeau’s image last month said Canadians viewed the Prime Minister and his progressive platform positively during the election campaign.

Trudeau’s Liberal Party came to power in 2015 with the help of young voters, ending nearly a decade of Tory rule. Months later, he was touted as one of the biggest names at World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Switzerland, where he touted the benefits of parity and gender diversity while taking selfies. with attendees and celebrities including U2 singer Bono. In 2017, Mr. Trudeau made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with the question, “Why can’t he be our president?”

But Mr Trudeau’s superstar image has faded in recent years, overshadowed by a lack of progress on some of his policies, particularly those to fight climate change, and several damaging scandals which critics say have undermined her sincerity on issues such as advocating for women in the workplace, combating racism and addressing inequalities among Indigenous communities in Canada.

In 2019, Mr. Trudeau apologized after images of him wearing a black or brown face appeared three times, including in 2001 when he was a teacher at a private school in Vancouver. Mr. Trudeau said he recognized his actions were racist and that he had hurt people who shouldn’t have to face intolerance and discrimination.

The prime minister has also been reprimanded twice by the country’s ethics watchdog, once for spending a vacation with his family on an island in the Bahamas owned by the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Muslims Ismaili Shiites, and another for trying to pressure his then justice minister to help a Montreal company avoid a criminal trial for corruption and fraud. A third ethics investigation last year, which focused on the links between Mr. Trudeau’s family and a youth charity that won government contracts, found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Mr Trudeau apologized for not allowing his trip to the Aga Khan Island with the ethics watchdog and for failing to recuse cabinet decisions involving the charity , who had paid the Prime Minister’s mother and brother for speaking engagements. He said he accepted responsibility for the fallout from efforts to help SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.,

although he said he would not apologize for trying to protect jobs in the Montreal area.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks on a beach in Tofino, British Columbia on October 1. He later said that traveling on vacation in honor of Indigenous Canadians was a mistake.


Photo:

global news / Reuters

Last week, Trudeau chose to take a beach vacation to Canada’s west coast on the same day the country marked an inaugural holiday to honor Indigenous Canadians forced to attend residential schools in Canada, including children who died while in institutions. This decision offended some groups and members of the public.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada said it was “shocked and dismayed” that Mr. Trudeau used the day for a vacation.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau said he regretted his decision to go to the beach. “Traveling was a mistake,” he said. He said he apologized to the leader of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community near Kamloops, British Columbia, who twice invited him to a ceremony. Mr. Trudeau said he would visit the Kamloops community in the coming weeks.

Indigenous issues have become a particularly sensitive issue in Canada, after communities including Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc identified more than 1,000 anonymous graves near former government-funded schools for Indigenous children earlier this year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau escorted Elder Levinia Brown on the eve of Canada’s first National Truth and Reconciliation Day in Ottawa on September 29.


Photo:

Blair Gable / Reuters

With his Liberal Party barely a majority in Parliament, Mr. Trudeau will have to lean on the left-wing New Democratic Party, which, like the Liberals led by Trudeau, believes that a great government can play a positive role in society. Its leader, Jagmeet Singh, now enjoys some of the popularity with young voters that Trudeau once had. Mr. Singh, a practicing Sikh, is known for his skillful use of social media, including TikTok videos of him skateboarding or showing viewers how he ties up his long hair.

Singh pointed out that NDP support is conditional on increasing Liberal health spending, possibly with a plan to subsidize prescription drugs for those without coverage, and increasing taxes on top earners. and the most profitable companies in the country.

Trudeau said he was determined to work with other political parties in Parliament whose political interests align with the Liberals. He said he plans to recall the House of Commons this fall and plans to appoint a new cabinet this month, Chrystia Freeland, a close ally, remaining deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Write to Paul Vieira at [email protected] and Kim Mackrael at [email protected]

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