From 'freshness' to 'flabby management', Justin Trudeau's disappointment

From 'freshness' to 'flabby management', Justin Trudeau's disappointment

The resemblance is almost too obvious, despite the 17 years separating them. Since Wednesday evening, Justin Trudeau has received and reflected on his French counterpart, Gabriel Attal. When the Liberal Party leader became prime minister of Canada nine years ago, his “handsome guy” figure-skating instructor image was everywhere. “He embodied the idea of ​​beauty and freshness in the beginning,” says Yannick Dufresne, assistant professor of political science at Laval University, who also draws parallels with the expectations generated by the election of Emmanuel Macron.

But Justin Trudeau, who has already headed a minority government since 2019, is facing difficulty in the polls as new elections approach. “It is increasingly associated with lax management,” sums up Yannick Dufresne, especially in the economic sphere. However, Justin Trudeau can boast of First evaluation More than acceptable. By 2019, the country's unemployment rate had fallen to 5%. True to his promises, he also increased the level of family benefits and reduced taxes for the middle classes. All of this is at the expense of the budget balance.

“Inflation offsetting,” is the opposite side of open policy

The Canadian Prime Minister is doubling promises and spending, to the point that “journalists are betting on the level of debt,” smiles the associate professor of political science. But Trudeau's policies are no laughing matter for everyone. First, on the right, these expenditures represent the perfect opportunity to attack inflation, which has ironically been renamed “fair inflation.” On the regional side, there is also chaos. Yannick Dufresne points out that Quebec does not appreciate that the federal government is “interfering in provincial jurisdictions such as health, and there are tensions over immigration.” In the West, the nationalization of oil by Trudeau Sr., who took power in the 1970s and 1980s, has not been forgotten.

Furthermore, Justin Trudeau relies heavily on Canada's multiculturalism, a hallmark of his party. “No one questions his commitment to the indigenous question,” explains Yannick Dufresne, while children's graves were discovered near former boarding schools. But here too, the pointer is sometimes pushed too far. Beyond asylum granted to Pakistani Asia Bibi, Canada has opened its borders to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees or immigrants expelled by Donald Trump. In public opinion, “people began to associate this mass migration with the rise in housing prices in big cities,” explains the political scientist, stressing that it is “not about a xenophobic turn,” but rather about “issues of economic policy.”

“Cynicism” takes precedence over ideals

Another major topic is even more important: the environment. “Justin Trudeau has made a big step by appointing Stephen Guilbault as Minister of Environment and Climate Change,” admits Yannick Dufresne. But the former campaign director of Greenpeace Quebec is handcuffed. “No one questions the government's environmental values, but once we get to something concrete, things get stuck.” In 2018, the federal government bought an oil pipeline from Kinder Morgan to allow its expansion, at the expense of indigenous communities and local opposition.

While he promised to invest “every dollar generated in the energy transition,” As a reporter reminds us. Pollute now to delay the transition, which is contrary to an environmental emergency. In a country whose economy is largely based on oil exploitation but which suffers greatly from global warming, between melting ice and forest fires, the issue is above all a “source of ridicule.”

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“After nine years, his government is exhausted,” sums up Yannick Dufresne. Justin Trudeau has maintained the image of a “smooth, perfect speaker” who “surprisingly maintains his youthful image” but “we get the impression he's not in charge.” The political science professor insists that “there is a lack of leadership, and a flabby side.” Even within his own party, Justin Trudeau is also in contention. But now we are “too close to the election to change.” Until the end, the Canadian Prime Minister seems doomed to suffer.

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