11.14.2016 11:18 AM

Justin Trudeau: the last voice for sanity in the West?



When the Trump “presidency” begins in earnest, I expect this kind of support for Justin Trudeau to grow even more. He will be seen as a voice of sanity in the West.  He will be a bulwark against the chaos and hate that Trump will stir up.

As all of you know, I have never hesitated to critique Trudeau when I felt he deserved it.  But, after Tuesday, I thank God every evening – literally – that Justin Trudeau is running the place.  Last Tuesday has radically changed my perspective.

Soon enough, Trump will send the political pendulum swinging dramatically towards progressives like Trudeau.  Just watch.


  1. bluegreenblogger says:

    I was fairly distraught last week. Yes, we are all on a bonfire together, but then I thought about what happens as America’s alliances presumably start to unravel. The Campaign itself has effectively killed off any ‘soft power’ the United States enjoyed since WWII. America’s allies are not going to be toeing any Trump lines. We are so lucky, it is pure fluke that the exact right person with exactly the right skills to woo foreign powers leading a determinedly liberal Government should be freshly in power here. Trudeau can and will generate headlines everywhere if he stands up for liberal, and Liberal values. That is where soft power grows, when people want to be like you. In the meantime, some of our NATO allies share extremely real worries about Russia and the Arctic. Norway, possibly the UK, Denmark, Iceland, plus Sweden and Finland would an extremely useful alliance. It was mooted about an Arctic council, or working group for NATO including those plus the US, but the US did not want any independent ideas like that within NATO. Well that doesn’t matter any more, we need to have proper allies, whose interests are precisely aligned with ours. WE will have to spend a lot of money, but we clearly cannot trust NATO any more, no matter what words come from the President Elects mouth. We can buy Swedish subs, Korean ship hulls, and get our interceptors from someone other than General Dynamics or Boeing, etc. We are the country that enacted the LAST free trade deal in the World, with a Europe that will be desperate to underline their ability to do such deals. Our economy is on a par with Russia’s, around $2 trillion, and, like Russia, we will have food when everybody else is suffering droughts and rising sea levels. Lots of small nations would deal with us just for the headlines. Brexit is leaving Britons in a pickle, they can, and should turn to us for comfort, in the absence of a special relationship that turns out not to be special after all. It is not unmitigated gloom for Canada. There are tremendous opportunities. Just the nuclear buttons, death by climate, and random policies to worry about. Hm, they are biggies though.

    • redraven says:

      I’ll go along with everything you wrote as soon as Trudeau removes the need for food banks right across the country. until then take your military posturing and well you’ll find it … it’s where the light can’t get in.

      • bluegreenblogger says:

        OK, so you have several lifetimes of waiting around in front of you. Doing something might be more productive. If you do not mind, with your permission of course, I will still think about maybe surviving the decade.

  2. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Trump’s house of cards is based on the widely discredited trickle-down economics. When his electorate realizes that the tax cuts are simply another massive windfall for the rich, Trump’s administration will be in deep doo doo.

    People who don’t bathe in politics have been massively snowed. Trump is definitely not a traitor to his class. He simply isn’t sophisticated enough to follow the successful pathway of FDR.

  3. Luke says:

    It’s funny, in retrospect, all that stuff about Trudeau’s judgment and fitness to govern, and now this. I think Trudeau actually has pretty good judgment, and I too am very glad we’ve got him and not the likes of Trump/Leitch. Let’s hope things stay sane here. I want the Conservatives to select some real person for leader (Chong, Raitt, Obhrai?) Then we should be in a politically sane place whatever the next election’s outcome. At least domestically.

  4. Greyapple says:

    Umm….Warren, I don’t dispute your broader point that Trump will help Trudeau’s popularity, but given what just happened, I’d be wary of making arguments based on polls, especially if they tell you what you want to hear; or do you forget your daily posting of Clinton friendly polls in the run-up to last Tuesday, polls which proved to be utterly wrong.

  5. Charlie says:

    Yes, yes he is.

    Like him or hate him, Trudeau is now the only leader of the Western (english speaking) world who is at the helm of a stable political democracy.

    The UK is going through extraordinary turmoil following Brexit and is lead by an interim PM who has yet to face the electorate. Her party, and the Opposition, is essentially in chaos as they all try to figure out how the hell they’ll get through their own mess.

    The US: Well, Trump.

    Canada is by contrast a haven of political stability and an economy waiting to be invested in. If other countries are seeking to bolster relations with Western nations, then Canada is their safest bet.

    This has nothing to do with the partisan politics; if it were the Conservative party in power — we’d still look better than our Western kin. But Trudeau’s openness to progressive ideas and governance is something that looks really, really good in comparison to the isolationism that is permeating politics in the UK and US. Trump’s success actually provides our country with a tremendous opportunity to step out of the American shadow and take leadership on the international stage.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      You are absolutely correct, this is not the time for partisanship. This is Canada maybe in trouble from exogenous forces. The World suddenly seems far more dangerous, and we have to get it right, or down we go, squabbling away.

  6. Vancouverois says:

    Maybe that level of support will continue until the Conservatives and NDP actually select their new leaders. Until Canadians realize how many promises Trudeau has broken, or made without any intention of actually keeping them. Until we realize that the promise to run only *modest* deficits of ten billion for the first year, and working toward a balanced budget in time for 2019, was a shameless lie.

    Of course, given how accurate polls were about Clinton winning the Presidency, maybe these polls aren’t so accurate anyway.

    • Matt says:

      While I agree these polls need to be taken with a grain of salt until the CPC and NDP have elected new leaders, regarding accuracy, they were pretty darn close to the final result in the last week or so of the October 2015 election

  7. rumleyfips says:

    After the weekend you have to wonder where Trump is bound. By accepting same sex marriage and abortion ( maybe in another state ) , he is alienating the evangelical right who held their noses and voted for him. Accepting the importance of parts of Obamacare and appointing Prebus are red flags to the Freedom caucus, the Tea Party and Paul Ryan . Alt right racist will not be pleased about the lack of a wall and the walkback of the deportation rhetoric. Let me know if there are any supporters Trump has not insulted.

  8. redraven says:

    camera 3. now
    give your heads a shake. had you stopped navel gazing for ten minutes you could have looked our way at some point in the last two years but NOoooooooooooooo you had to do it your way. We just got rid of a Trump who stunk the place up for ten years and nearly shoved the country through the Fargo woodchipper. His leftovers are starting to crawl out from the dirt beneath the shine and the same old BS is starting up all over again and the clickbaiting press is broadcasting their every utterance as gospel. I don’t think Canadians will “get fooled again” unless the new boss is ten times worse than the old boss which would be almost Trump like. So look at what we did ten years ago and then do the opposite.
    Great White North

  9. PJH says:

    I’m curious about the TPP……it seems its dead in the water in the US……. I thought we were going to have a national debate about it(after the news about the trade agreement was sprung on us by our former Conservative govt after months of secret negotiations)……
    I’m hoping M. Trudeau will be true to his word on this promise……

  10. monkey says:

    In the short-term agree, but long-term that is hard to say. If the Tories chose someone like Raitt or Chong, the difference between them and Trump will be large enough his negatives probably won’t have too much impact. Lets remember Bush was just as hated in 2006 and it didn’t stop Harper from winning despite the fact the Liberals tried to tie him to Bush. Off course if they chose Leitch or Blaney whole different story. I think Trudeau’s real challenge is how will he deal with the next recession (which we will have before the next election due to the length of time since the last one). If we go through it better than most, he will be unstoppable, if it is worse he is trouble. I do agree though as one of the few progressives in the Western world remaining it does look good for him. If the NDP and Tories are smart, the NDP would chose one who is good at picking apart his weaknesses while the Tories would chose someone like Chong or Raitt.

  11. monkey says:

    On a global level less sure as well as I think for conservatives in Canada at least on the provincial level things look more promising than the federal level. Alberta and Ontario definitely could swing right in the next provincial elections although far from certain. Of the G7 countries I don’t really see a strong progressive swing in the next four years.

    France – They have a progressive government that is wildly unpopular so its really do the swing to the centre-right (hopefully) or hard right (hopefully not). The best outcome there is Alain Juppe wins the Republicains nomination and is elected president as he is fairly centrist like Merkel. Sarkozy is more right wing and Le Pen is their version of Trump.

    Germany – The main progressive alternative, SPD is the current junior partner of the governing coalition so they will only comeback when they spend a term outside of government while the smaller parties are not strong enough to threaten either. Probably another grand coalition and perhaps maybe either the Greens or FDP might join on.

    Italy – They have a progressive government and with it being in trouble it looks like the populist five star movement could win there. Although to be fair the Five Star Movement is on most issues actually fairly progressive but they are in favour of pulling out of the Euro, but not EU.

    Japan – Abe is quite popular and the opposition is in disarray so nothing there.

    UK – That is probably of the G7 where there is the biggest potential for progressive gains, but only if the Labour Party dumps Jeremy Corbyn and finds a more moderate younger candidate. If Corbyn leads them into the next election, the Tories will win an even bigger landslide.

    US – If Trump is half as bad as we think, I wouldn’t be too surprised if you see a strong progressive swing over the next four years.

    • FlyingSquirrel says:

      Broadly, I think two things have gone wrong for the center-left.

      (1) When the center-left and center-right both embraced neoliberalism, they sacrificed many of the mechanisms by which they could use government policy to improve people’s lives, hence the frequent problem of center-left parties whose leaders and ideas seem bland, milquetoast-y, and uninspiring. Skilled communicators like Obama, Trudeau, Tony Blair, and Jack Layton can work around this. Even Kevin Rudd seemed to make his square geekiness a virtue for a while. But the current center-left agenda isn’t inspiring or transformative enough on its own for more pedestrian communicators like Hillary Clinton, Ed Miliband, and Julia Gillard to turn into a winning formula. (To her credit, Gillard pushed through carbon pricing, but the controversy over how it was done and party infighting sunk her.) This then opens the door for right-wing nativists to argue that immigration, political correctness, etc. are the real culprits.

      (2) For people who speak the language of inclusion and diversity, it seems like we kind of suck at coalition-building. As an American, I often envy Canadians for your abillity to elect center-left governments despite the presence of at least two-and-a-half progressive parties in the mix (the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc). But Britain’s left seems to be in full “Judean People’s Front vs. People’s Front of Judea” mode between the pro- and anti-Corbyn Labour factions, the Lib Dems, the Greens, and the various left-leaning regional parties. In Germany in 2005, the left-of-center parties actually had a majority of seats, and the SPD formed a “grand coalition” with Merkel rather than an SPD-Green-Die Linke coalition. Spain probably could have had a Socialist-Podemos coalition if they’d picked up some of the votes that went to left-leaning regional nationalist parties. I’m sure Canadians don’t need me to tell them about the failed coalition of 2008. By contrast, one of the bright spots for the left, in Portugal, occurred because the Socialists – who came in second – formed a coalition with other left-of-center parties to outvote the center-right.

      But the left does seem to be on its back heels at the moment. Canada, Portugal, Sweden, and maybe Iceland depending on what coalition emerges from their recent election seem to be the only long-established democracies to have pulled off a successful left turn lately. There’s Greece, but Tsipras and SYRIZA were forced into a major retreat on their attempts to end austerity.

      • monkey says:

        Actually in Europe you do have a fair number of grand coalitions surprisingly with parties on both sides of the spectrum. In the case of Germany, while its true the majority in the Reichstag is on the left, more voters voted for parties on the right than left last election. The reason the left got more seats is both the FDP and AfD fell just short of the 5% minimum threshold whereas the Greens and Left crossed it. Another reason for a grand coalition is in most European countries you have what are called cordon sanitaires, which is you don’t form coalitions with extreme parties on either end and the left is considered too extreme as is the AfD. Also Italy and Austria are both led by progressive centre-left leaders although they have a junior centre-right partner. In Finland, Belgium, and Ireland, the governing parties are by and large centrists so not too dissimilar to our Liberals although perhaps maybe more in line with the Liberals of the 90s under Chretien/Martin than Justin Trudeau.

        I think the big problem with the centre-left is varied depending on the country. In the US its mainly low turnout as the demographics progressives are strongest amongst often don’t vote whereas the groups the right are strongest amongst generally do. In addition the distribution of progressives also is unhelpful as they tend to be heavily concentrated in a few large coastal cities while the minority elsewhere.

        In Europe, there has always been a strong nationalist element who has been able to do a good job of tapping into anti-immigration feelings and Euroscepticism and since the left traditionally does better amongst working class than more affluent, the right wing populists have hurt those on the left more than right. Also Europe contrary to popular opinion hasn’t always been that left wing, rather they tend to be quite reactionary and swing to one end after a disaster. It was post WWII that saw the strong left wing swing in Europe, but they’ve never managed to appeal to future generations. Most left wing parties in Europe are largely controlled by older people with few younger ones.

        • FlyingSquirrel says:

          I know about the grand coalitions, though that almost seems to be the status quo in Austria as opposed to a “move to the left.” And I forgot to mention Italy. Regarding Germany, I was really thinking more of the 2005 election. The combined percentages for the party list vote were 51% for the Social Democrats, Greens, and Die Linke, and 45% for the CDU/CSU and the Free Democrats. But the SPD still went into coalition as Merkel’s junior partner. I get why they thought they had to do that again in 2013, but that sort of brings me back to my other point about the center-left being kind of ineffectual and too close to neoliberalism. I don’t know if the Social Democrats tried to get Merkel or Schauble to ease up on the austerity agenda, but if they did, they evidently didn’t have much luck.

          In the U.S. the high concentration of support is definitely a problem – in addition to the electoral college, it makes it harder for Democrats to win majorities in the House and Senate. But again, that may have arisen partly because of the relatively weak stance on pocketbook issues. If you’re a cultural conservative and an economic populist, the Democratic agenda may not have that much to offer you if you aren’t the type to pay too much attention to policy detail and you aren’t enrolled in Obamacare, and many of the prominent Democratic politicians probably remind you of the snooty city slickers who make fun of you for not being as “sophisticated” as they are (or at least think they are). The center-left agenda on jobs can’t just be about training people to get IT, finance, and public sector jobs in big cities – it has to find ways to revitalize smaller communities without selling out on coal and oil.

  12. Daryl gordon says:

    Trump’s election is the first step in stopping environmental zealots from forcing energy corporations to curtail new developments. The majority of people in the developed world are suffering from energy poverty and governments throughout the world are mostly running large deficits.

    The December elections in Europe are expected to result in right wing party’s taking control. France, Holland, and Germany are next.

    Trudeau will be forced to move to the right just to stay competitive with US energy policy. A year into a Trump administration will put Trudeau into reelection mode. His opponent the PC party will be running on similar issues to Trump, plus climate sceptic label won’t fly anymore with people who can’t afford high energy prices.

    Trudeau can’t afford to keep the largest asset (oilsands) he has undeveloped and landlocked while racking up massive deficits. Pipeline protesters don’t add to the GDP. Poor first nations and other struggling Canadians want to be taken care of ahead of refugees, windmills and social engineering.

    The Trump victory is the start of a wave. Canada is a small economy and the US is our largest importer so it’s not viable to be uncompetitive re carbon pricing.

    People vote with their wallets after all.

    • monkey says:

      While the right is doing quite well in the three countries you mentioned, France is the only one I could actually see them forming government the difficulties are as follows

      France: while Marine Le Pen while likely make the second round, there is a good chance much like 2002 the left will show up and hold their noses up and vote for the centre-right just to keep her out. That is what happened in the past regional elections last year. And even if she does win, her party holds zero seats in the national assembly, so while they will undoubtedly gain some, the chances of them winning a majority are pretty far fetched. More likely you will have no majority in the national assembly and instead a split of gauche (left), droits (right), and autres (others which will be all the single issue and extremist parties on both ends).

      Germany: The AfD is polling around 15% so enough to win seats, but the other parties can easily form a coalition to keep them out which I suspect they will.

      Netherlands: Geert Wilders could very well come first in the popular vote, but he won’t get anywhere near 50% (note in the Netherlands no party has cracked the 30% mark in over 25 years) and with pretty much every party ruling out working with him, I suspect you will have negotiations lasting several months and either the other parties gang up to keep him out or another election takes place.

      Nonetheless in all three a centre-right government does seem far more realistic than a centre-left one however so whatever comes out probably won’t be like Trump, but will probably be closer to the Harper government than Trudeau government in ideology of those three countries.

      • FlyingSquirrel says:

        I’d be less worried about the far-right actually taking over any of those countries as non-far-right parties feeling like they need to pander to anti-immigrant sentiment.

        One interesting thing is that the anti-establishment “action” seems to be more on the left in countries that implemented EU austerity measures – maybe that made voters more likely to connect their anxieties to capitalism and government economic policies than immigration. Ireland, Spain, and Portugal have no organized far-right parties with any real standing as far as I know, while alternative left-wing parties like Sinn Fein and Podemos have gained ground. Greece has Golden Dawn, but SYRIZA were still the main beneficiaries of the austerity fallout. In Italy, the anti-establishment populist vote seems split between Northern League and their southern allies and Five Star Movement (who, if not traditionally “left-wing,” don’t really seem to fit the bill of “right-wing” either).

  13. Curt says:

    Hi Warren,
    In my opinion, I think your logic is flawed.
    If you have problems with one person, and another person comes along who causes greater problems for you, then that doesn’t make the first person any better. Oh shoot. Maybe your logic works with Montreal and Toronto hockey teams.

  14. S says:

    I’d say thats a caracature of Justin’s father, Pierre who passed away several years ago. Looks nothing like his son who favours his mother.

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