Jul. 8, 2020

Trudeau viewed as a square peg in a round hole

The consensus, widespread in the political alumni club, and shared across the political spectrum is that Justin Trudeau must be kept away from the serious files.

Trudeau is fascinated by using the royal term “we” when he really means “I”. This use of a monarch’s phrasing (We are not amused.) is lost on generations unaware of Queen Victoria’s foibles.

That perception is hardly new. It’s pretty common among old Liberal hands to hear casual dismissal of the Trudeau crew, dismissal that could certainly be written off as sour grapes or curdled nostalgia. 

It seems that Trudeau is increasingly isolated. He is not far worse than his Liberal  predecessors, but he keeps getting caught in shady dealings which they largely avoided. His major sin in political circles is not acting unethically, but getting caught doing it.  

Remember Chretien’s sponsorship affair and the hapless Paul Martin who transformed it into a national scandal by calling an inquiry into the scheme. The Liberals paid a heavy price for internal bickering and Martin’s attempt at revenge.

Trudeau is in a pickle. He has the SNC-Lavalin and Mark Norman affairs in the background, and avoiding inquiries can be politically expensive as he now governs from a minority position. In addition, he is now facing his sixth ethics investigation, and has been found guilty twice. Once for his dealings with the Aga Khan and once for his interference in the SNC-Lavalin affair. He is facing a three-strikes verdict, which may not go well for him.

On the other hand, he built a large following with his daily cuckoo clock appearances announcing virus epidemic financial support which will get lost if he waits too long.

One other factor is at play. The Annual Financial Report for the year ending the previous March (2019-20) are normally released in mid-September. That could be controversial.

The fall session of parliament will be interesting, to say the least.

Also read Paul Wells' interview with Brian Mulroney HERE