Justin Trudeau looked terrible … and I’m not just referring to his growing “Che Guevara” appearance (minus only the beret and camouflage garb).
He also looked, and sounded terrible, as a leader, as a politician, as a witness during his appearance before the Commons Finance Committee over the now-abandoned “WE” Canada Student Service Grant.
You can get a good summary of details of the mess here:
So I won’t go into all the sordid details, disappointments, deceptions and disgraces here.
Trudeau and the Liberals just looked terrible in so many ways.
But voters, especially financially “benefitting” voters, have notoriously short …. and forgiving memories!
So depending on three things: the Ethics Commissioner’s degree of condemnation, progress in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic; and, most importantly, the results of polling the Liberals will be doing over the next several weeks … I believe Trudeau is still maneuvering for a possible federal election this Fall.
Just look at the signs:
Trudeau did not HAVE to appear before the finance committee: he volunteered to face the heat, the disdain, the ridicule, the condemnations etc. … even did a “mea culpa” (of sorts).
To avoid facing persistent and mounting Opposition and public demands he do so, and knowing if he had refused to appear, how bad that could be played, especially during an election campaign, even next year! Opposition GOLD in any debates; but now he can tell voters he DID face the music, he DID apologize and he DID learn (again?) from his “mistakes”.
By the way, if you wonder why Trudeau refused to detail out loud ANY figures of amounts paid to family members as part of the “WE” debacle, despite several attempts by the Opposition to get him to do so: he didn’t want to serve up audio/visual “clips” for use in campaign ads of the Liberal leader saying how much is mother, brother etc. were handed in cash/expenses.
Quotes of “I apologize” or “I’m sorry” are much less usable by the Opposition.
Now Trudeau is pressing on with what sure look like more pre-election goodies … on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars already handed out.
Just after his Finance Committee hearing, the Prime Minister announced his government will spend BILLIONS more to extend the Covid Business Rental subsidy program, and also extend/expand CERB coverage for workers, transitioning it into Employment Insurance coverage after CERB expires, even handing out cash to voters … oops, I mean workers … who would not normally qualify for EI coverage.
I believe most Canadians support that spending: benefitting themselves; or knowing family and friends who do; and, understanding the community need to support those suffering through the pandemic.
Something Trudeau could try to take advantage of in a Fall election.
Blog readers will recall that, at the beginning of June, I first predicted Trudeau will hold a Fall election, rather than wait until next year. (http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/watch-for-trudeau-and-horgan-to-call-early-elections/).
Other media types predicted a Fall election weeks after I did, but several have since backed off, citing the “WE” fiasco.
I get it; I understand.
BUT IF the Ethics Commissioner’s findings are not insurmountable, if Covid remains well contained and the polls stay favourable, Trudeau and his Liberal strategists are still keeping the Fall option open … wide open.
And what better sign than if Trudeau soon shuffles his Cabinet: a tried and true way for leaders to push political scandals behind, get rid of or at least shift around Ministers responsible for, or tagged to take the blame for problems, embarrassments and satisfy public demands for “action”.
Remember, despite all the “WE” revelations, condemnations etc. public polling last week showed Trudeau/Liberals are STILL preferred by many Canadians to govern the country.
You can read a summary here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-we-controversy-polls-1.5666287
And don’t forget: the Conservatives will just be beginning “rebuilding” with a new leader this month; the NDP have a leader already rejected once by most voters; and a testy, embarrassed Bloc Quebecois leader is under a cloud over alleged sexual misconduct.
Why would Trudeau wait for the Opposition parties to strengthen?
If the report of the Ethics Commissioner offers “survivable” chastisement(s); if the Covid numbers continue to be good and the crisis remains fairly well-handled; and, the Liberals’ own polling over the next several weeks holds up, watch for Trudeau to: invite, taunt, challenge and pressure the Opposition to defeat his minority government and force an election this Fall.
And despite all their blustering, if they don’t bite to “defeat” Trudeau’s minority in the Commons … knowing their own weaknesses right now and seeing the polls as well … don’t put it past Trudeau to react to their constant critiques with a “Let the people decide!” excuse to visit the Governor General and ASK for an election to restore “confidence” in his government.
Although I doubt he’ll mention it: I’m sure he’d also like to do it BEFORE all the BILLIONS of dollars in Covid spending have to be addressed, somehow, next fiscal year.
Happy BC Day!
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