Justin Trudeau has become a punching bag. Despite his third straight electoral victory, he is seriously injured, critics say, so much so that he will be locked in an exit door in a few years.
Don’t bank on that. As history savvy knows, Mr Trudeau’s hatred is not out of the ordinary. After many years in office, almost every prime minister has found himself the target of suffering. Goods have piled up, promises have been broken, blatant mistakes have been made.
For Stephen Harper, the condemnation was so intense that it was described as “Harper Derangement Syndrome”. After two major electoral victories, Brian Mulroney was discredited. So was John Dieffenbaker. Jean Chrétien was beaten not so much by the press as by his own party, which rebelled against him. Pierre Trudeau was despised by the giants.
As with others, much of the anger aimed at Justin Trudeau is justified, much of it knee-jerk bias.
He had a close-up view of the mistreatment by his father. One characteristic shared by him with them is tenacity. He is not likely to succumb to pressures and lets the haters out to take him out. While not haunted, as many leaders are, and he appears to be by hubris.
He is only 49 years old and has only been there for six years and has no successor. Unless coerced, men of his age do not give up the immense power of the prime ministership. He has a progressive policy vision to implement, for the haters and behind them is his Liberal Party.
Why won’t the party return him? Despite not getting a majority and securing a pathetic popular vote, Mr Trudeau defeated his nearest rival by 40 seats. He extended his mandate by leaving other leaders fighting for their jobs or losing them. He gave life to the People’s Party, which is fine for his party because it divides authority.
As for most of the anger that comes his way, Mr. Trudeau only has himself to curse. Critics have corrected Tofino Beach for his moral transgressions, his overcentralization of power, his charming personal style, his bone-headed, tone-deaf maneuvers such as his National Truth Day and Reconciliation Holiday.
But a bigger frame has to be prepared. Historians will not pay much attention to scandals such as Bad Time Holidays and We Charity. They will see how they tackled the toughest challenges.
Along with the pandemic, he faced the most deadly crisis to hit this country in ages. Opponents also give him some credit for obtaining Canadians with a lower death rate than other developed countries. The fourth wave is not his job. Vaccine refusers are to blame, as well as conservatives such as Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
Huge Challenge No. 2 is the growing existential crisis of climate change. Being one of the first to introduce a strong tax on carbon, he took a significant step in countering it.
The third biggest threat was facing Canada’s worst US president ever. Mr Trudeau remained steadfast, brushing off the mad king’s provocations and securing trade relations.
Politically, Justin Trudeau’s three-and-zero record (his father was four and one) is highlighted by the extraordinary feat of saving the party from third-place oblivion to No. 1 with his 2015 victory.
All that said, record and hate are not the same. Barring a few big setbacks – he’s playing with fire on debt and losses – the record is what he wants to pursue. By winning again, he became the only Liberal leader to win four times in succession.
They need to imagine that if they do, they may be confronted by Mr. Trump again. The demigod has been biting a rout for a return to power, so much so that he wanted to announce his candidacy last week, only to be denied by advisers.
Some of his support has been eroded, but not enough, due to political constraints, denying him his party’s nomination.
The alternate universe, reality-sharing show This Man Has Made of Endurance. January 6 has not intimidated followers, nor threatens to repeat that day, nor are their clearly fraudulent claims of winning the election.
He just recently lost a recount in the state of Arizona. No problem. Yet another insider, his former press secretary Stephanie Grisham, has just released a tell-all book detailing just how recklessly cocky he is. No problem.
Health problems or legal problems could block them, as Mr Trudeau would certainly expect. If not, he could become the most powerful man in the world again, setting the stage, God help us, for more bedlam, madness and rebellion.
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