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Safest Hope?

Posted in View Point

Published on September 19, 2019 with No Comments

After winning an historic victory four year ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the highest stakes when the voters vote for the new federal government in October. 2015, was a come from behind victory for him and seeking a second mandate is more like a referendum on him. It may not be an easy ride for him this time and the road to Ottawa could be a bumpier ride for Prime Minister and his Liberal party. Voters are ready to access his performance against the promises he made four years back. He has kept a number of key promises – from legalising recreational cannabis to bringing in a means-tested child benefit programme. At the same time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to fulfill on some major commitments.  A promise to overhaul of Canada’s electoral system couldn’t take off and to overhaul the procedure of selection of senators just remained limited to discussions.  The pledge to balance the budget this year has been broken.

Also Prime Minister Trudeau has been found to have broken federal ethics and his ratings have gone down since he assumed the office. Prime Minister Trudeau was in centre of controversy by taking a tropical vacation to the island owned by the Aga Khan, the philanthropist and spiritual leader, in 2016. His trip to India caused many heart burns. The family went all out in Indian outfits to win over India on a tour that was classified as “light on formal business.” The tour ended when an alleged Canadian Sikh separatist was invited to official events. Then the Liberal government was hit by the SNC-Lavalin affair.  A  political catastrophe related to attempts to pressure a former attorney general to cut a deal for a firm facing a corruption trial, which tarnished Prime Minister Trudeau’s personal imprint on the minds of Canadians, who supported him all out four years back. He has also faced criticism for buying a C$4.5bn oil pipeline to help ensure its expansion and for not cancelling a controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

And in the latest discomfiture while in Quebec, the residents pushed him to discuss his stance on the province’s controversial secularism law. Trudeau told reporters he opposes the law because he does not believe a free society should be “limiting fundamental rights or allowing discrimination to happen,” but added that, for now at least, a Liberal government would not get involved in a legal challenge to the legislation because it wouldn’t be productive. His stance has been seen as a one which is against the general wish of the Quebeckers, and he may have done more damage to his party chances there than winning over few multicultural votes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still has an edge over his rivals. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was once considered as a best shot unseating the prime minister,  but the 40-year-old is still a relative unknown after winning the party’s leadership vote by a whisker in 2017 and still has a lot of ground to cover within his party and Canadians at large. It would be interesting to watch if Conservative leader Andrew Scheer can cut offer unique offerings to Canadians and get ample attention.  This will also be the first federal campaign for the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, 40, who took the helm of the left-leaning party two years ago. NDP has been struggling to raise funds, a third of his caucus has chosen not to run again, and the party has been slow to announce a full slate of candidates. With 13 would be candidates from New Brunswick defecting to Green Party as they feel that acceptability of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh would not be there.  In Quebec, the separatist Bloc Quebecois also has a new leader, Yves-Francois Blanchet, 54, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May, 65, is running in her fourth general election, with nothing much to offer. Maxime Bernier who left Conservative party to form his own political outfit may not be a great challenger.

Overall Prime Minister Trudeau still appears to be a safest best.

 

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