With loud cheers and dance music, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his entrance on stage at an election meeting in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, Canada, last week. He laughs at the audience of about 2,000 followers. The crowd sings "Trudeau, Trudeau!" And " another four years!"
"Although we have achieved much, we have only just begun," the Prime Minister exclaims during a brief speech. "We have more work to do, but we will do the job!"
Whether the 47-year-old Trudeau will get the chance is the big question in the parliamentary elections held in Canada on Monday. Because despite his image as a political world star, his liberal party has a significant loss in opinion polls. Voters are considering turning their backs on Trudeau, perhaps the Canadian prime minister with the biggest international fame in the country's history, after a term in office.
"There really is a backlash," said Drew Fagan, professor at the Monk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy of the University of Toronto. "It is as if the population thinks it has gone too far in its support in 201
Trudeau, who this year was hurt by a scandal of corruption and the publication of old photos of him in blackface, his support has been steadily diminishing, especially among progressive voters. They are turning to smaller left-wing parties such as the Greens and the Social Democratic NDP. As a result, Trudeau is struggling for his political life against his greatest opponent, the relatively inexperienced leader of the conservative, forty-year-old Andrew Scheer.
That the mediagenic Trudeau may lose from the rather colorless neoconservative Scheer is a surprise to both friend and foe. The Prime Minister, who unexpectedly came to power four years ago with a large majority in the House, has since made a worldwide name as a progressive icon. He presented a cabinet with an energetic drive, half of which consisted of women. "Because it's 2015," he said laconically.
Donald Trump's 2016 election victory made Trudeau a figure of openness and tolerance, a champion of the liberal world order. He appeared on the cover of Vogue and Rolling Stone . The American Monthly Magazine wondered, "Why can't he be our president?"
The fiery enthusiasm for Trudeau, called "Trudeaumania", after the idolatrous hype that his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau fell in 1968, has since cooled down. Because with power in his hands, Trudeau turned out not to be a progressive revolutionary, but a moderate centrist. He did what his liberal party did in much of Canadian history: managing the vast and diverse country with a pragmatic course to the left, in an attempt to accommodate as many people as possible.
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For many of his voters, it was not the "real change" that Trudeau intended. They believe that the prime minister did not meet expectations. "If you set the bar high, it's easy not to face it," says Fagan. "It was such a positive voice about him in 2015, and in some cases the promises were so exaggerated that it makes sense that dissatisfaction arose."
The Left Feels Cheated
Four years ago, Trudeau, including many young people, felt cheated. It began with Trudeau's broken promise to reform the Canadian electoral system. Many Canadians believe that the system of British constituencies is unfair. In 2015, when the Liberals were in a historic position, Trudeau rushed to replace it with a form of proportional representation. But in 2017, when he was ruled by a majority, he abandoned the complicated task, to many irritants. "He exaggerated the extent to which he could introduce reforms in the country," Fagan estimates.
On climate issues – an important theme of the campaign – he disappointed the progressive voters. On the one hand, his government introduced a carbon tax for tax pollution on the way to the climate targets in the Paris Agreement. But on the other hand, Trudeau nationalized a controversial pipeline project for bull sand oil.
The image as a feminist
The image of Trudeau as a feminist was buckled. He was praised for his appointment by Jody Wilson-Raybould, a woman of indigenous descent, to the Justice Department. She came out this year with accusations that the prime minister had pushed her behind the scenes to refrain from prosecuting a large Montreal engineering firm for charges of corruption (Trudeau says he wanted to protect jobs in Quebec, where his constituency
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The scandal made a troublesome impression of old-fashioned dirty-hands politics, contrary to Trudeau's promise to do otherwise. But Wilson-Raybould's departure also undermined the image of his government's inclusiveness. " Diversity means more than taking a photo with these people in your closet, "says Denise Balkissoon, columnist for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail ." It means listening to them, taking their opinions seriously and integrate them into the way you run the country. I think it was difficult for him. "
Another area where Trudeau, according to the left voters, m ice failure was to improve the living conditions of the indigenous population. The Prime Minister promised a fresh start. He launched a national investigation into the murder and disappearance of indigenous women and invested in drinking water facilities for poor reserves. But recently, his government appealed against a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Authority that the Canadian government must pay billions of dollars in compensation to domestic children and their families for inadequate child care. It put very bad blood on it.
All in all, Trudeau, with his often flaming policy, did not make a convincing impression on all his voters. According to Balkissoon, he did not make a single big bomb, but "thousands of sticks" threatened to become politically deadly. "It seems that in many areas he said what he thought a progressive candidate would say, but didn't really act," she estimates. "I think in some cases it's about good intentions without follow-up, and in others it's just things he said."
Traveling Fashion Show
In addition, Trudeau generated Canadians on the world stage several times. During a trip to India 2018, he created replacement shame by repeatedly showing up in traditional Indian clothing with his family, as if it were a traveling fashion show. "Some Canadians came to the conclusion that we needed someone more serious," says Fagan.
Perhaps even more damaging are the photos that came out last month from Trudeau in dark make-up, adorned as the Arabian fairy-tale prince Aladdin during a dressed ball 2001 at a private school in Vancouver, where he was teaching at the time. Although he has apologized, and many voters believe that youth unemployment should not be prosecuted retroactively, it is a very painful revelation for a leader who is internationally acclaimed for his tolerance and support for diversity.
wings for the campaign of Jagmeet Singh, leader of the new Democratic Party (NDP), a small left opposition party. 40-year-old Singh, a Sikh wearing a turban, responded by speaking authentically about the barriers that minorities in Canada face. He began a steady rise in voting. Ironically, this made progress, largely at the expense of supporting Trudeau, a victory for Scheer and the conservative probabilities. It is unlikely that one of the two major parties will achieve majority in the House.
At the Mississauga rally, Trudeau's supporters hope he will succeed. "He has a broad vision and stands up for all Canadians, not just people born here," said Sahir Zamir, who emigrated to Canada from Pakistan in the 1990s. He says he doesn't like the " brownface " issue. "No one is perfect. He can still win."
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on October 21, 2019