From “freshness” to “flabby management”, disillusionment Justin Trudeau

The parallel is almost too obvious, despite the 17 years that separate them. Since Wednesday evening, Justin Trudeau has welcomed Gabriel Attal, his French counterpart and his reflection. When he arrived at the head of the Canadian government nine years ago, the leader of the Liberal Party carried his image of a “handsome guy” snowboard instructor everywhere. “He embodied an idea of ​​beauty, of freshness at the start,” says Yannick Dufresne, associate professor of political science at Laval University, who also draws a parallel with the expectations generated by the election of Emmanuel Macron.

But already at the head of a minority government since 2019, Justin Trudeau is in difficulty in the polls as a new election approaches. “It is increasingly associated with flabby management,” summarizes Yannick Dufresne, particularly in the economic field. However, Justin Trudeau could boast of a first assessment more than acceptable. By 2019, the country’s unemployment rate had fallen to 5%. He had also, faithful to his promises, increased the level of family allowances and lowered taxes for the middle classes. All at the expense of the budget balance.

“Justinflation”, the opposite side of an open policy

The head of the Canadian government is multiplying promises and spending, to the point that “journalists are making bets on the level of debt,” smiles the associate professor of political science. But Trudeau’s policies are not a laughing matter for everyone. First, on the right, these expenses are the perfect opportunity to attack inflation, ironically renamed “justinflation”. On the provincial side, it’s also a mess. Quebec does not appreciate that the federal government “meddles in provincial jurisdictions such as health, and there are tensions over migration,” notes Yannick Dufresne. In the west, the nationalization of oil by Trudeau senior, in power in the 1970s and 1980s, has not been forgotten.

Furthermore, Justin Trudeau relies heavily on multiculturalism in Canada, the trademark of his party. “No one questions his commitment to the indigenous question,” illustrates Yannick Dufresne, while children’s graves near former boarding schools have been discovered. But here too, the cursor is sometimes pushed too far. Behind the asylum granted to Pakistani Asia Bibi, Canada has opened its borders to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees or migrants pushed back by Donald Trump. In public opinion, “people are starting to make a link between this massive immigration and the rise in housing prices in big cities,” explains the political science researcher, while emphasizing that it “is not a question of a xenophobic turn”, but of “questions of economic policy”.

“Cynicism” has taken precedence over ideals

Another major subject that is even more telling: the environment. “Justin Trudeau made a big move by recruiting Steven Guilbeault as Minister of Environment and Climate Change,” recognizes Yannick Dufresne. But the former campaign director of Greenpeace Quebec has his hands tied. “No one questions the government’s environmental values, but as soon as we get to something concrete, things get stuck. » In 2018, the federal government bought an oil pipeline from the Kinder Morgan company to allow its expansion, at the expense of indigenous communities and the local opposition.

While promising to invest “every dollar generated in the energy transition”, as Reporterre reminds us. Pollute now to delay the transition, going against the ecological emergency. In a country whose economy relies largely on the exploitation of oil but which suffers greatly from global warming, between melting ice and forest fires, the subject is above all a “source of cynicism”.

“After nine years, his government is worn out,” summarizes Yannick Dufresne. Justin Trudeau has kept the image of a “smooth talker, idealist”, who “surprisingly maintains his young image” but “we have the impression that he is not in charge”. “There is a lack of leadership, a flabby side,” insists the professor of political science. Even within his party, Justin Trudeau is also contested. But we are now “too close to the election to change”. Until the end, the Canadian Prime Minister thus seems condemned to suffer.

source site