, 06.17.2019 04:55 AM

My latest: Trudeau’s enemy

Justin Trudeau needs an enemy.

In politics, you always do. Someone you can demonize. Someone you can warn voters about. Someone who suggests to voters that, while you may be imperfect, your enemy is far, far worse.

In politics, having the right enemy is more important than having the right friends. For voters, the devil one knows is always preferable to the devil one doesn’t.

For months, then, Justin Trudeau has been casting about for an enemy. He knows he is deeply unpopular – a Forum Research poll released this week found that 56 disapprove of his performance, with only 34 per cent approving – so he needs to act quickly. The election is just over 100 days away, give or take.

The Liberal leader’s task: find someone who is less popular than him. But who?

For a while, Trudeau attempted to convince Canadians that Andrew Scheer was a cross-burning, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, red-necked lunatic. He’ll ban abortion, gay marriage and hold midnight rallies at 24 Sussex with Faith Goldy, Trudeau insinuated.

Except: Scheer said he won’t do any of those things, and polls indicate Canadians tend to believe him. Hell, Trudeau’s own Liberal caucus doesn’t even believe it – selfsame Liberal caucus having voted to instal Scheer in the Speaker’s chair, a few years back.

In his commercials, Scheer celebrates his blandness, his ordinariness. As he lopes around the hockey rinks of the nation, Timmie’s in hand, Scheer repeats his mantra: “I’m Blandy Andy, and I’m boring. You can count on me to do nothing radical. Go back to sleep.”

As Bill Davis memorably observed, eons ago: bland works. It’s working for Andrew Scheer.

So, who now to demonize, Prime Minister Chewbacca Socks? NDP leader Jagmeet Singh? That’s a waste of firepower. Singh, likeable as he is, is going nowhere fast.

Same with the People Party’s Gauleiter, Maxime Bernier. Trudeau doesn’t want to demonize Bernier – he wants him to do better, and chip away at Scheer’s lead in the polls. But Bernier has gone full alt-Right, and thereby consigned himself to the margins of Canadian politics, and the dustbin of history.

The Green Party’s Elizabeth May, meanwhile, is a worthier target: the aforementioned Forum Research poll has determined that May is the most popular leader in Canadian politics, with voters approving of her by a factor of two to one.

Her party, meanwhile, has reached a truly historic benchmark: Forum found that the Green Party of Canada is now actually tied with the New Democrats, at 13 per cent apiece. Many expect the nascent Greens to eclipse the Dippers in coming weeks.

Trudeau hasn’t attacked May – yet. But he has been, ahem, liberally swiping her policies to halt her momentum. His single-use plastic announcement, which made the wetsuit-and-jetski-era Stockwell Day sound perfectly Churchillian, was a disaster. It became the stuff of memes – and future attack ads – instantly.

All of it was motivated solely by Trudeau’s desperation to staunch the loss of Liberal support to the Greens. It is unlikely to work, because May is simply seen as more credible on the environment than Trudeau.

So, who to attack? The answer is obvious: the Mango Mussolini. Donald Trump is deeply disliked by Canadians from East to West, old to young, Left to Right. There is nothing that unifies Canadians more than anti-Trump sentiment.

But Trudeau has spent three years cravenly sucking up to the Unpresident, with nothing to show for it. It’s too late to do a volte-face now.

So who is left to demonize? Who, truly, is Justin Trudeau’s worst enemy? Who should he blame before he blames anyone else?

It’s the guy you spot in the bathroom mirror every morning, Justin.

It’s you.

12 Comments

  1. “But Trudeau has spent three years cravenly sucking up to the Unpresident, with nothing to show for it.”

    He eventually got the steele and aluminum traffs removed with only trivial conditions and renegotiated NAFTA with only minor compromises (That may never go into effect).

    • Ronald Benn says:

      Minor, as in we need the US’ prior written permission, that may be unreasonably withheld, to sign any free trade agreement? Say with the UK, post-Brexit? You consider surrendering our sovereignty as minor? What do you consider major?

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Ronald,

        How Freeland could have accepted that is beyond me. Somebody needs to be thrown under the bus on this one.

    • whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

      The conditions are not trivial. Trudeau and Freeland surrendered out ability to retaliate effectively if the tariffs are re-imposed (can’t target agricultural goods no more), and the conditions are also a-quota-by-another-name, since any increase in exports in Canada is likely to be called a surge, triggering re-imposition.

      The Trudeau and mainstream media narrative of the deal was a carefully crafted PR exercise to not make it look like surrender.

  2. Full Retired Rambo says:

    Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land? However, in the rebooted version of this fairy tale the mirror is his cult of true believers.

  3. Steve T says:

    Excellent and accurate analysis, but my faith in the Canadian voter is somewhat limited, given prior experiences and current conversations.

    It never ceases to amaze me, as to the narrow lens through which many voters see the world. They hone-in on extremely limited issues, and make that the entire basis for their voting decision.

    I often wonder if we should have intelligence tests for voting: if you can’t discuss 5 top news stories off the top of your head (and they can’t include celebrity or sports topics), and explain the basic principles of how an economy functions, then you don’t get to vote.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “I often wonder if we should have intelligence tests for voting:”

      Me too. Name the three major political parties in Canada and where they sit on the political spectrum. Define majority/minority government. What is the function of the Senate? Stuff like that…

    • Peter says:

      and explain the basic principles of how an economy functions

      That would certainly disenfranchise a lot of economists. Just ask them.

      This called epistocracy and it’s a horrible and dangerous idea. It used to be associated with parts of the right, but today we’re starting to see more of it from progressives and soi disantexperts frustrated to near-madness by repeated electoral losses. Political life is not a problem-solving college seminar and the case for democracy is not that it guarantees the wisest policy choices, but that, pace Churchill, all the alternatives are so much worse. Besides, just reflect on how many disasters the “best and the brightest” have led us into in the past.

      Why in the world would someone whose passion is sports or the arts or science or charity defer to political wonks just because the latter score higher on high school civics tests?

    • Chris Prowse says:

      The politicians should have to pass a test to run. The USA wouldn’t have 45 and Ontario wouldn’t have Ford. Leave the voters alone.

    • whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

      When Genius Failed

      “The book tells the story of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), an American hedge fund which commanded more than $100 billion in assets at its height. Among LTCM’s principals were several former university professors, including two Nobel Prize-winning economists.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Genius_Failed

      Also the global economic crisis of a decade ago, which was LTM squared.

  4. the real Sean says:

    Truth. Law. Integrity. Competence. Feminism. Reconciliation. Democracy. Fiscal Responsibility. Environment. These are the enemies of the Justin Trudeau government.

  5. Today is a good day: I get to add a new maxim to Dad’s. Frank M. O’Dowd said everything’s bullshit. My contribution: everything is basically winging it. And if you don’t believe me, just ask your average money-centre bank or hedge fund.

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