Markham, ON. 22 Dec 2021.
The 44th parliament had just concluded. I’m not a fan of Justin Trudeau. I know, I know, it’s hardly surprising that a card-carrying member of a political party running against Mr. Trudeau’s party doesn’t have a high opinion of him, but hear me out. I feel there’s a very strong case to be made that Justin Trudeau is genuinely a poor choice as our national leader: we can see that, on the grounds, he simply does not have the interests of his constituents at heart. This may be a bold claim, but it’s one I certainly feel comfortable making. Trudeau’s recent track record has been less than stellar, both in terms of the promises he’s made and the mistakes he’s made. Let’s examine that, shall we?
Leadership isn’t Easy, So Let’s Talk Promises
It’s easy to point at an elected leader and say that they have let us down; that they haven’t fulfilled their promises. It’s easy to lose perspective; politicians make many promises, and not all of these promises are fulfilled. Some promises can’t be fulfilled. So, for the sake of perspective, let’s take a look at the numbers for a moment.
Let’s be fair to Trudeau; for the most part, he keeps his promises. Tracking the promises made over the course of his last two parliaments, polimeter.org notes that 45% of Trudeau’s promises were delivered upon, with a further 27% being “partially broken,” and a meagre 27% being fully broken. It’s not an amazing track record, not even as good as his predecessor’s 2011-2015 tenure, but isn't it still an OK track record? This isn’t, however, the whole story.
Eagle-eyed viewers of polimeter’s tracker may note that the graph dramatically changes when looking at the 43rd Parliament specifically. How many of those promises were broken? Nearly half. A whopping 48% of Trudeau’s promises from 2019 have either gone unaddressed or fallen through. Not a great trend, especially seeing as this would have been the 43rd Parliament’s halfway point if not for the election. So, can I say that Trudeau doesn’t keep his promises as a rule? No, but I can certainly say that his recent track record is not encouraging.
Promises are One Thing, Actions are Another
Of course, we shouldn’t be judging a Prime Minister purely by the number of promises they keep. Stephen Harper kept 77% of the promises his party made while they were in power in the 41st Parliament. However, that doesn’t mean that Harper was a good Prime Minister. His go-to tactic, when it came to driving our nation in the direction he wanted, was to slam the brakes, and that didn’t do our nation any good. Trudeau is no stranger to public indiscretions either, and there’s a variety of uncomfortable humbugs we can pick from to assess his worth as a leader. For the sake of argument, let’s pick two.
Trudeau-related corruption? The SNC-Lavalin and Jody Wilson-Raybould cases.
Let’s start with SNC-Lavalin. A run-of-the-mill corruption case, which nevertheless ended up costing us an attorney general, two cabinet ministers, and a good chunk of our national self-respect. Mr. Trudeau framed his poor conduct in this case as an attempt to preserve Canadian jobs, but given that his response effectively forced a woman out of hers, I find that hard to believe. As a point of fact, he was asking the then-attorney general of Canada to hash out a remediation agreement for SNC-Lavalin, a company accused of bribery and fraud.
Simply put, the company wanted to pay a financial penalty rather than face actual criminal charges, and the Trudeau government had hammered out a framework within the Criminal Code for just such an action in 2018. Of course, it isn’t actually Trudeau’s call whether a company is even eligible for remediation. Hence Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s exit from her position. If I took Mr. Trudeau at his word, then at best I’d see this as a politician willing to bow to the whims of corporations in the face of a threat. That said, I’m not sure how much trust I can put in Trudeau.
Is Trudeau’s trustworthy? Travelling to Tofino Fiasco on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
I don’t think anything demonstrates the worth of Trudeau’s promises more than the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Quite frankly it says a lot about our Prime Minister that despite his campaign promises, despite his assertions of the progressive values of his cabinet, he decided that it would be appropriate to head to Tofino on a day that should have been dedicated to addressing Canada’s colonialist history. For what it’s worth, his itinerary said he was in Ottawa and in “private meetings.” Not to mention that he turned down a First Nation’s invitation to visit their community and went on a vacation instead.
As a heart-on-the-sleeve humanitarian, this bothers me. I can’t think of many things that are more disgraceful than a politician holding up a noble cause in order to gather clout, only to slip away to the beach when the opportunity came. Trudeau should have stayed, he should have met with Indigenous leaders publicly, and he should have done his job properly. He did not. He did an apology tour after the fact, and that was it.
So, Trudeau is not trustworthy, what can be done?
I don’t think it’s enough to simply wait until 2025 (or whenever the election is called) to vote Mr. Trudeau out. Mr. Trudeau needs to be held to account. It needs to be made clear that the people of Canada do not trust him. Perhaps we have reached the end of the scandals we have to expect from him. Perhaps not. Certainly, his recent track record has been less than stellar, and the mistakes he’s made are unacceptable for someone of his office.
To my readers, I advise the following; keep up to date on the news, and write to your MP when you see anything that you would like to change, rally your neighbours and visit your MP’s office. Your voice matters, and it is important that you let your disapproval be known.
Hopefully our next Prime Minister will not be so disappointing.