Election Outlook 2019Wounded by his own sword

Wounded by his own sword

Wounded by his own sword
Photo credit: Adam Scotti

Justin Trudeau was elected for the wrong reasons and, if defeated, he will be defeated for the wrong reasons as well.

Elections are not about the future, but an opportunity for the voters to express a judgment on their Prime Ministers; policies, unfortunately, are not part of that judgement. 

Stephen Harper was not defeated because of his economic record or foreign policies. He was defeated because the opposition, and the media, succeeded in painting him as anti-immigrant and not ‘close’ to the Canadian people. Having known Mr. Harper personally, I know that this he is not true but, in politics, truth is not important. What counts is what voters believe and Harper’s campaign couldn’t remove (I believe they didn’t even try) that false perception. And, as someone said, in politics perception is reality.

Let’s face it, in 2015 Justin Trudeau, two months before the elections, was only the leader of the third party with the NDP and the Conservatives leading the fight for the final victory. It was the collapse of the NDP and the strategic vote to stop Stephen Harper’s Conservatives that brought Trudeau to the top. He was elected only because he was in the right place at the right time.

This time Trudeau might lose the election but, he too, for the wrong reasons. What he did is serious and not to be easily condoned, but I don’t believe he is a racist. At the most he was a young, silver spooned narcissist, full of himself, drama teacher. But voters knew that even in 2015, I don’t understand the media’s uproar four years later when he has proven to be exactly what everybody knew then. 

He is not a racist, just as Harper was not anti-immigrants but, for the voters, and the media (conventional and social) it is much easier to focus on a picture or in a stupid statement that someone in the campaign might make, then explaining policies that few understand and nobody want to hear.

In four years, Trudeau’s foreign policies have seriously damaged the image of Canada everywhere. He has accomplished the unenviable record of worsening Canada’s relationship with the most economically powerful countries in the World. China is only the most important, but our relationship with India has never been that bad, Russia doesn’t even consider us other than when we challenge them in the North Pole, and Saudi Arabia at the best ignores us. The only relationship that seems to be acceptable is the one with the United States, meaning with President Trump who considers Trudeau his pet project. Ironically, Trudeau was considered, at home and abroad, the anti-Trump par excellence.

In Canada things are not better.

He has strained the provincial-federal relationship, he has done nothing, aside from some photo-op with some refugees, to strengthen up our immigration system with him talking like Mother Theresa but acting like Donald Trump. The separatist movement was dead in Québec four years ago, now he is in recovery room. He worsened our relationship with the Western Provinces, not to mention his unacceptable handling of the important SNC-Lavalin issue.

Furthermore, Trudeau failed to deliver in three of his important promises that were heralded during his campaign: justice for the Aboriginal, promotion of women and openness and integrity in his government’s affairs.

With one issue, the SNC-Lavalin, he betrayed all three of them. His government’s transparency is foggier that a car windshield after a long ride in a muddy road, while aboriginals and women have been used only for the photo op.

Ironically, a government that has based its popularity on gimmicks and photo-op, risks losing the elections because of some photo-ops (India trip, Joshua Boyle) and gimmicks (black or brownfaces).

Again, he might lose the next election for the wrong reasons, just as he undeservedly won them four years ago.

Angelo Persichilli is a former political columnist for the Toronto Star, an editor of the Italian language newspaper Corriere Canadese and a producer of multilingual newscasts on OMNI Television. He also served as director of communications for former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2011-2012.

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