KINSELLA: Trudeau has a decade as prime minister and nothing to show for it
April 16 2023
Re-printed without permission
Ten years: That’s how long Justin Trudeau has been leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. It’s not as long as his father was leader (16), or Jean Chretien (13). But a decade as leader of the most successful political machine in Western democracy, and Prime Minister of Canada for most of it: That’s not bad.
But Trudeau isn’t satisfied. He wants a majority, but he can’t get one. He doesn’t need a poll to tell him that he is no longer as popular as he once was, gracing the front page of Rolling Stone magazine, and being feted like a rock star around the world.
He need only show up in public somewhere — anywhere — and he will get a taste of the distain in which he is held. The hate, too, because some of it is actual hate.
I have worked for a prime minister, and I can tell you that a good way of determining a prime minister’s unpopularity is to count the number of RCMP officers in his or her security detail. And Justin Trudeau’s security detail is enormous, a virtual army. There’s a reason for that.
If you were to try and be objective, and sit down and try and write up 10 major achievements of Justin Trudeau in the past decade, you would not get to 10. You wouldn’t. There simply haven’t been that many.
You might suggest that he did well during the COVID pandemic, until you remember that he got us vaccines much later than any of our allies. You might also suggest that he repaired frayed relationships with the provinces — until you remember that the Liberal brand has been effectively wiped out provincially, from coast to coast to coast.
You might even want to suggest that Quebec separatism has remained dormant during Trudeau’s tenure — until you recall that Western alienation is at an all-time high, and Quebec has been placated only because Trudeau has given it everything a separatist could possibly desire.
So, a top 10 list of achievements isn’t really possible. But a list of his top 10 failures over the past decade? That’s a lot easier to put together.
There’s been the scandals, from the Aga Khan to SNC-Lavalin to the WE “charity” to, now, allegedly covering up Chinese election interference and the venal Trudeau Foundation. There’s been $6,000-a-night hotel rooms. There’s been revelations about black face and groping women and surfing on a day set aside for reconciliation with Indigenous people.
It’s been bad. Really bad.
Before all of the bad things happened, at the start of his tenure, legendary Liberal MP Dennis Mills and some others — a couple premiers, some senators, some Liberal luminaries — approached me to urge me to run under Trudeau’s Liberal banner in a Toronto-area riding.
I thought about it. I met with the local riding association, who seemed like nice people. But then I went to an event downtown, where Chrystia Freeland and Bill Morneau were on stage, were prostrating themselves to Gerald Butts and Katie Telford. They sounded like supplicants, not future cabinet ministers.
It revolted me. And I knew what it meant. Unlike Jean Chretien and unlike Dalton McGuinty, both of whom I had been proud to support, Trudeau’s Liberal Party would concentrate power in the hands of a few unelected children in PMO, and pay no heed to the voices of Members of Parliament — nor to the people who those Members of Parliament represent.
And that’s exactly what has happened. Liberal Party of Canada isn’t a political party anymore. It is, as Trudeau and Telford and Butts freely admit, a “movement.”
Political parties are bottom-up. Movements, like the cults that they so closely resemble, are top-down.
Inevitably, cults die off when the faults of the cult leader are exposed for all to see. And that is what has happened to Justin Trudeau’s movement: It has failed, and it is failing, because of him.
Ten years in, Justin Trudeau may still be leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Yes.
But after 10 years, he is also this: One of the worst prime ministers this country has ever had.