Trudeau and Canada run out of big ideas despite victory

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When American journalist Lincoln Steffens returned from a trip to the newly formed Soviet Union in 1919, he said: “I saw the future, and it works!

Speaking at a United Nations conference last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed that, despite all the devastation caused by COVID-19, governments have an extraordinary chance to make the future work.

But an election later, Trudeau’s prospects for genuine change look as promising as those of the Soviet Union.

When American journalist Lincoln Steffens returned from a trip to the newly formed Soviet Union in 1919, he said: “I saw the future, and it works!

Speaking at a United Nations conference last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed that, despite all the devastation caused by COVID-19, governments have an extraordinary chance to make the future work.

But an election later, Trudeau’s prospects for genuine change look as promising as those of the Soviet Union.

“This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” Trudeau said in September 2020. “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reinvent economic systems that truly respond to global challenges like the extreme poverty, inequality and climate change. Waking up Tuesday morning, the Canadian leader found that resetting is more difficult than he had imagined.

While the mail-in ballots are still being counted, Trudeau came out of a particularly acrimonious federal election looking worse for wear but with a virtually identical House of Commons. Trudeau’s Liberal Party appears to have won just one additional seat, possibly two, which means it still chairs a minority parliament and will have to rely on other parties to rule.

His campaign, and the decidedly status quo results he has achieved with it, are a grim glimpse into the likely future of progressives who seek to “build back better” – a mantra Trudeau repeated often during the campaign. The slogan has become fashionable for like-minded leaders around the world, including US President Joe Biden.

The past two years have been difficult for Canada. While it fared much better than the United States during the pandemic, it has nevertheless recorded thousands of deaths in its long-term care homes. Some provinces have been seen back and forth between partially open and fully locked. The province of Quebec suffered a five month curfew, under penalty of heavy fines for violations, while Ontario briefly experienced a police state to keep people inside. Canadians are exhausted and frustrated in many ways.

Trudeau also often seemed out of gas. From the outset of the campaign, the Prime Minister and his Liberal Party seemed not to know exactly what they were asking voters to help them achieve. But it was not for lack of problems – the ones that are set to get worse for everyone, not just for Canadians.

Like many hot spots around the world, Canada’s west coast has been devastated by a series of unusually intense wildfires. Terrifying footage from the town of Lytton, British Columbia, showed the community essentially burnt to the ground. The heat wave that started the fires killed 570 people in the province, making it the deadliest weather event in Canadian history.

But Trudeau’s climate policy is largely a continuation of his record to date – he embarked on the campaign by promising to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions targets from 40 to 45 percent, a target slightly more ambitious but inferior to its more left-wing competitors such as the New Democrats and the Green Party. He faces criticism for buying a pipeline to prevent oil from flowing out of the sands of Alberta.

Despite the vow of a vibrant, inequality-obsessed green recovery, Trudeau’s platform did not offer much that would significantly change the economic status quo. Despite a raging housing crisis, Trudeau continues to promise demand incentives likely to widen the affordability gap. It promises substantial new funds to expand access to child care services across the country, designed to address the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on women in the workforce, but it will not be. fully operational for another five years.

Trudeau could count on NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to try to concoct a more stable government or to push through more progressive legislation in Parliament, but his style to date has been to rule alone, relying on the support of other parties on a case-by-case basis. case, which is often acrimonious and difficult.

The post-pandemic period – or almost post-pandemic or post-post-pandemic or just waiting for the next wave – has been envisioned by many on the left as a time of change and big ideas. But there has been little of that from tired voters and tired parties. There were few big ideas coming from Trudeau’s centrist Liberals. Perhaps its saving grace was that there was even less heat emanating from its main competitors: the Conservative Party and the center-left New Democratic Party. The two parties seemed ready to eat away at Trudeau’s electoral base, only to fall back into the last days of the campaign.

While it’s difficult to determine what rebuilding better actually means, it certainly hasn’t been helped by a vocal group of protesters who have opposed all manner of public health measures, lockdowns, mask warrants and vaccine passports.

Trudeau embarked on the campaign by swearing that he would demand that all public servants be vaccinated and that the vaccination would be required to fly or train at home or abroad.

These measures were widely popular but sparked a series of intense protests that erupted across the country and even marked the events of his campaign. In one of the most tense moments of the campaign, Trudeau was pelted with stones by an angry protester – who was, in fact, an organizer of the far-right People’s Party, led by nationalist politician Maxime Bernier.

Fury did not represent much on election day: the People’s Party won only 5% of the vote nationally, a few points more than two years earlier.

But Bernier and his band of disgruntled voters made life more difficult for everyone nonetheless. Trudeau was forced to constantly respond to discontent, even if it was vastly overrated, and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole likely bleeded the voices of the People’s Party and was forced to constantly revisit the compounded issue of vaccination warrants. by the fact that he refused to say even how many of his candidates were vaccinated.

Even Singh was taken aback, heckled by passersby during his campaign events as a “communist” on a regular basis.

These protesters may be a tiny minority, but they represent a bubbling stream of anger that may be more widespread. Their conspiracy theories of Trudeau’s “big reset” – which revolves around an international conspiracy led by George Soros or a globalist United Nations conspiracy – may reflect a broader belief among voters more conservative than the United Nations. t is not the time for risky businesses.

Of course, Trudeau is being dragged exactly the other way around by those increasingly concerned about the climate crisis, the lingering problems facing Indigenous peoples, and deepening poverty. For them, his big reset can’t come soon enough.

It was a murderous campaign for a once cherished leader of the liberal international order. There is no guarantee that he will be able to remain at the head of his party and prime minister or that he will want to.

If he does, he’ll either have to put meat on the bones of that ‘build back better’ slogan or ditch the idea of ​​a big reset in favor of more bread and butter issues.


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