Two years, six months and 25 days.
That, according to the U.K. polling firm One Poll, is how long the average honeymoon lasts. They contacted 5,000 British couples a few years back, and determined that is when the proverbial bloom goes off the metaphorical rose. After 937 days, both sides “start to take each other for granted,” One Poll decreed. When you start to take each other for granted, apparently, the honeymoon is over.
In the Canadian political context, it’s hard to say when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s honeymoon will end. No one knows for sure, but it certainly seems durable, doesn’t it? Based upon a highly-scientific analysis of the political environment, however, we think the Trudeau Honeymoon™ is going to outlast Keith Richards, who has been beating the odds since Jesus was a little feller. As in, it will last forever.
That, at least, is what despairing Conservatives and New Democrats seem to think. Instead of raising questions about actual issues — you know, stuff like whether the City of Montreal should be permitted to DUMP EIGHT BILLION LITRES OF RAW SEWAGE INTO THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER — the opposition has given up. So sayeth B.C. NDP Kennedy Stewart: “There’s going to be quite a long honeymoon for Mr. Trudeau, and I think the public does not expect us to go out and…being intensely adversarial for the next little while.” Nothing to see here, show’s over, everyone move along, etc.
Instead of being the opposition, then, Conservatives and New Democrats have devoted themselves to being sucky, whiny babies. In opinion columns, in social media, and on call-in shows, Tories and Dippers have taken to whinging and mewling about how nice the media are being to the newly-minted Trudeau government, and how unfair it all is.
Perhaps forgetting that every major newspaper in Canada (save one) endorsed them in 2011 — and that every Postmedia newspaper did likewise in 2015 — Conservative partisans have determined that Trudeau is being treated with kid-gloves by the news media. Left-lib bias, Media Party, and blah, blah, blah. “If I see one more breathless media report about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau going trick-or-treating with his kids, or being greeted like a rock star by giddy civil servants, I’m going to be sick,” sniffed conservative columnist Luisa D’Amato. (Stock up on Tums, Luisa.)
Likewise Sun Media funny man Mike Strobel: “[Trudeau’s popularity] could plummet, of course, as soon as he royally screws up the country and Canadians snap out of their Trudeaumania II trance!” (When you awake from your trance, Mike, you will love your new Socialist Overlords.)
The party of previously-Angry Tom Mulcair, who — while declining to attack Trudeau themselves—are equally upset that nobody else will attack Trudeau. They’re a bit more discreet about it, though. Why? Well, after Toronto-Danforth NDP incumbent Craig Scott bleated on Facebook about the injustice of Trudeau’s win — and how Liberal MPs were “fundamentally lazy,” “passive,” arrogant,” and how the electoral system that previously worked quite well for him was “broken” — Scott was excoriated, coast to coast, for being the biggest sore loser of all time. Dippers took note, and resolved to suck on their sour grapes in private. But like the Tories, they’re similarly convinced that an unholy Liberal-Media alliance is at work, controlling events like the Bilderbergs and the Wizard of Oz, all rolled into one.
Sorry to disappoint, Reformatories and Dippers: there’s no conspiracy. It’s just a garden-variety political honeymoon. And everyone gets one, as you well know.
Take Stephen Harper, for example. His honeymoon was arguably the longest-lasting of any recent Canadian Prime Minister: he started off with a minority in 2006 — and got one again in 2008 — and then became sufficiently popular to win a whopping Parliamentary majority in 2011. His honeymoon, you can fairly say, lasted about half a decade.
So too various New Democrat luminaries. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley — who grieving New Democrats now regularly point to, as if she were a sort of latter-day Saint Elizabeth, sent to pacify their wounded souls — has had a honeymoon that is still going strong. Even after unveiling the most reviled Alberta budget in eons, Notley’s NDP remain ahead of all of their political opponents. And a September Angus Reid Group poll decreed that Notley was the second-most-popular Premier in the country (after Brad Wall, natch), with a 50 per cent approval rating — meaning her honeymoon has lasted at least a year.
Brokenhearted Conservatives and New Democrats should console themselves with this fact: everyone gets a honeymoon, pretty much. It matters not how disputatious and divisive things are at the end of the relationship — at the start, for most political leaders, it’s usually all sunshine and daisies. (And, apparently, sunny ways.)
So, this, too, is a fact about honeymoons: everyone deserves at least one in their lifetime.
And everyone eventually sees their honeymoon come to an ignominious end.