Our neighbors to the north have long been considered our political betters (although this former Canadian will refute that until the day she dies). Perhaps it is just the stereotype we have in our minds about Canadians being overly polite. It is hard to imagine their political scene being as contentious as ours.
The election of Justin Trudeau was greeted with Obama-like fanfare and excitement; and much like Obama his popularity has waned as his leadership and promises became more and more questionable over the years. Canadians are currently deep in the throes of liberal-driven controversial issues like gender identity and hate/free speech in a way that is only beginning here in the U.S. As a result, the Canadian electorate seems as though it has begun to punch back a little. Could Canada be headed for a Trump-style shift?
A fascinating long-form essay in the Catholic publication Crisis Magazine examines the current political landscape in Canada and posits that Canadians may be close to the end of their rope when it comes to the nation liberal policies has created. It’s a long read but well worth the time.
James Porter Craig begins his essay by pointing out how the tide has been changing in recent elections and political coverage.
The political landscape in Canada is rapidly changing. In addition to the conservative governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, there is a blue wave sweeping across the Dominion. Right-of-center parties are gaining more and more ground: Doug Ford in Ontario last year; Jason Kenney’s recent win in Alberta; Blaine Higgs in New Brunswick; François Legault in Quebec; and most recently, Dennis King in Prince Edward Island. In 2015, by contrast, most of the provinces from the east to the west coast were left-leaning, excluding Saskatchewan. Federally, the situation seems similar. The approval rating of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, has dropped significantly in the past few months—dropping several percentage points lower than U.S. President Donald Trump.
In August of last year, the Liberals enjoyed a 12 percent lead over the opposition Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), led by Andrew Scheer. However, according to a Leger poll from April 28 of this year, the CPCs received 40 percent of the Canadian vote, as opposed to the Liberals who got 27 percent—a significant shift from last August, where the Liberals had 39 percent and the Conservatives 27 percent. This indicates the general discontent of many Canadians with the ruling party. Interestingly, the federal CPC has raised more money than any party in Canadian history for a first quarter. Moreover, they doubled the Liberal’s total. It seems Canadians are ready for a change.
He goes on to point out that while liberal ideology still polls quite high among the college educated in Canada, most of those people have long been out of touch with the real-world applications of their high-minded ideas. Craig points to the Lindsey Shepherd case as an example of how far the irrational ideology of the academic set in Canada has gone. This is just one of many frightening examples.
Craig notes that even Canada’s mainstream media seems to have turned on Golden Boy Trudeau. Why? Scandals and a lack of transparency, he says.
Why the apparent change of heart throughout Canada? Well, Trudeau and his Liberal Party have been involved in a political scandal with the Quebec-based engineering firm SNC Lavalin. This corporation employs roughly 9,000 Canadians and 50,000 people worldwide; it provides engineering, procurement, and construction services. The turmoil began when conservative Stephen Harper was prime minister. The company has faced numerous charges since 2012 because of multiple allegations of bribing foreign officials. In 2015, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police criminally charged SNC for allegedly bribing the Libyan Government with $47.7M and subsequently defrauding it of $129.8M. The case has been ongoing ever since.
The Globe and Mail first made the story public this February with allegations of political interference and of possible obstruction of justice by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).The former justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, alleged she was consistently harassed by the PMO in order to accept a prosecution agreement (which permits a company to avoid a criminal trial). Raybould, Gerald Butts, the former Principal Secretary to Trudeau, and Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council, all testified at Justice Committee hearings. Raybould maintained her position while members of the PMO reiterated that no undue pressure had been administered or laws broken. The main motivation, according to the Liberal Party, was to save jobs, and they claimed that the situation arose based on a series of misunderstandings. The Liberals depend on Quebec to maintain a majority government in parliament.
Americans have the view (thanks to a lazy media) that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the most loved, effective and genuine political leader a nation could hope to have. When one talks to Canadians outside of the legacy media a far different picture emerges.
Some have seen it as one gaffe after another. It appears to many that he is more concerned with taking selfies than properly running the country. Moreover, he is incorrigible and runs through a predictable script like someone who suffers from ideological possession. The case has been made that he is arguably the worst PM in the history of Canada. The polls clearly indicate that Canadians no longer tolerate Trudeau’s behavior. He epitomizes in equal measure ignorance, arrogance, incompetence, and corruption. He is a bona fide relativist and self-proclaimed champion of feminism who dismisses sexual misconduct allegations and removes two of the most powerful women in the country from the Liberal caucus. He champions the environment with the imposition of a carbon tax, yet leaves a greater carbon footprint with a family vacation than the average Canadian would in a year. He is indeed postmodernism’s poster boy.
And of course the biggest reaction on both sides of the border has come in the face of the newest fad of “gender identity”, particularly how it is being forced down the throats of citizens despite none of it being backed up by science, biology or human history. This is perhaps the most important issue when it comes to political division, because it steps on the necks of so many basic rights – free speech, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and women’s rights. It is the most heated battlefield exactly because in order to thrive it requires the dissolution of some of the most basic building blocks of a free and prosperous society. This may be the one leap Canadians just can’t complete.
Gender ideology is corrosive and usurps everything in its path. Countless health professionals are bowing down to this politically correct insanity due to fear of reprisal. Activists have demonized lesbian academics such as Camille Paglia (who even identifies as transgender herself) and legendary athletes such as Martina Navratilova for daring to speak against the absurdity of allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports just because they identify as women. Women always seem to be on the losing end; transgender women are breaking world records in powerlifting. Some radical feminists have begun to push back against this transgender ideology when it comes to transgender women (i.e., men) going to prison with women because of growing instances of rape.
Craig writes that just like Americans, Canadians are “increasingly divided over broad issues” like gender identity, free speech environmentalism, immigration and abortion. The mainstream media (both ours and theirs) makes it sound like Canadians have been peacefully settled on all these issues for decades. Craig points out they are from it, and a seismic shift may be building.
Canadian elections will happen this October and while Craig posits that they “will likely help push back against these irrational and pernicious ideologies” politics alone won’t change hearts and minds. It will take a renewed reliance on reason, faith and love to push back against the extremist policies of the Canadian Left.
As with our own elections in 2016, anything can happen. While we should be loathe to lean too heavily on polling and predictions the Canadian political field is definitely experiencing some kind of shift, and it will be very interesting to see how it all pans out next fall.