It has been rough month for the federal Liberal government who have been coming under fire for their cash-for-access dinners, for their leader’s poorly conceived praise for Cuban strongman Fidel Castro, and for a new deal on carbon pricing that left Saskatchewan and Manitoba out in the cold.
It appears the honeymoon is truly over for the Trudeau government. The signs have been showing negative for quite awhile now, especially when you think back to the day in late October as members of the left-leaning Canadian Federation of Students turned their back on Prime Minister Trudeau over what they called his broken promises.
Another clue might have been when the Prime Minister’s pre-taped message was booed at the Grey Cup on November 27 in Toronto. You might have expected that in Calgary or Regina, but Toronto went solidly Liberal in the last election.
And a further indication was the heated reaction to the Prime Minister’s effusive praise of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro at the Francophonie summit on Nov. 26.
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President,” Trudeau said. “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.
“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.
Granted, Trudeau’s father had been Castro’s friend, and Castro attended Pierre Trudeau’s funeral as an honourary pallbearer. But there is a huge difference between a personal acquaintance with such a man, (which might warrant grandiose praise on that level), and Trudeau’s obligation as a head of state to make a more measured proclamation.
But more concerning for the Liberals than these gaffs, might be a general shift in the wind amongst the Canadian electorate itself.
What Canadians have seen these past 12 months is a Prime Minister who seems to be spending more time abroad than he does at home, and a Prime Minister more than happy to spend Canadian taxpayers’ dollars overseas on various expensive social pledges rather than on spurring home-grown, economic activity in Canada.
So far, Canadians have seen very little return on this steady outflow of hard earned and taxed capital. The domestic economic situation remains stagnant and the jobs’ numbers show only part time and casual workers being hired across the country; full time and high paying jobs are just not out there right now.
The economy is showing some signs of recovery; true. But Trudeau was elected on the promise of spending on infrastructure in Canada to put a jolt in the economy. One fails to see how imposing a national carbon tax, Trudeau’s one major, domestic, economic initiative to date, meets that very specific criteria.
Trudeau and the Liberals can still turn it around, but with each passing day Canadians are becoming less and less enraptured with the party, the man, and the lacklustre policies which intertwine with and underpin them both.