Trudeau Is Blowing His Party's Second Chance

May 18th, 2019 | RR

Canadians decided to give the Liberal Party a second chance in 2015, but Justin Trudeau is blowing it. After a devastating corruption scandal that involved an advertising program in Quebec that ended up funnelling money back to the Liberal Party in several illegal ways, the Liberal  Party was left reeling from its own, self-inflicted beating in 2006. From there, the party elected a series of aloof, arrogant and out-of-touch leaders who made the damage worse. With no hope left after the 2011 election, which saw the NDP replace the Liberal Party as the official opposition, Liberals had one last trick up their sleeve to win back Canadians. That trick was Justin Trudeau, but after nearly four years of the same old corruption, Canadians are seeing the party's true colours rise back up to the surface. 

Stephane Dion was a disaster. Michael Ignatieff was a disaster. Justin Trudeau is a disaster. Canadians gave the corrupt old Liberals a second chance in the last federal election, but in return, Justin Trudeau is giving them a whole new series of corruption scandals that make the Sponsorship Scandal look like a normal day at the park. First, the Trudeau government tried to kill a naval ship-building deal in order to rewrite and award a new contract to its friends at Irving Shipbuilding. That whole fiasco came to light from the Mark Norman Affair, which was yet another act of impropriety by the Trudeau government. 

Admiral Mark Norman was charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking documents, particularly pertaining to the above ship-building deal. The RCMP investigation into his alleged leak was purportedly influenced by Justin Trudeau himself, but we'll never know for sure how the whole thing unfolded. 

Mark Norman's trial was supposed to begin in August, just a couple of months before the next federal election. The trial would have likely dragged on into October and become the focus of unwanted media attention, particularly regarding some backdoor dealings involving the Trudeau government. When lawyers for Mark Norman's defence requested documents from the Trudeau government, the Trudeau government stonewalled and refused to hand them over. Clearly, there was something in those documents they didn't want Canadians to see and within a month or two, charges against Mark Norman were mysteriously stayed, citing "new information". 

Go figure. No trial during an election. How convenient for the Trudeau government. 

Suddenly, Mark Norman is innocent. However, it's being alleged that Justin Trudeau went out of his way to destroy Mark Norman, but when it became clear that the media and Norman's lawyers weren't about to let the trial unfold quietly, someone, somewhere put the whole thing to rest. It was strangely convenient for the Trudeau government, considering the upcoming Mark Norman trial was being referred to as Justin Trudeau's very own Mike Duffy Affair by journalists and reporters who just received a massive $600M bribe from the Liberals.  

Ouch. The bribe didn't work. The details of the whole Mark Norman Affair were way too tantalizing and juicy for journalists to ignore. No one was willing to just let it slide, not Conservatives either. The opportunities provided to journalists and Conservatives by the whole Mark Norman Affair was a career booster. Any new information a journalist could uncover would most definitely lead to a higher profile, credibility and a better future in the field. For Conservatives, the whole affair is an opportunity to win votes. The Mark Norman Affair was turning out to be a big win for everyone but Justin Trudeau. Hence, the quickest way to end it was to drop all charges and hope for amnesia to set in. 

How about that SNC-Lavalin scandal? Same story. The details are way too juicy to ignore, no matter how much bribe money the Trudeau government can offer. The whole scandal is starting to fade, but poll numbers aren't showing a quick recovery for Justin Trudeau or his party. Even the Nanos weekly tracker is showing a decline that doesn't seem to be rebounding quickly, if at all. I still think the rebound will happen, especially after Trudeau starts to campaign, but this slump seems less temporary and harder to ignore than I had expected. Without question, Justin Trudeau has damaged his own brand and possibly blown the second chance his party was given by voters. 

"The details of the whole Mark Norman Affair were way too tantalizing and juicy..."

Since the end of February, Nanos has been showing a consistent slump for the Liberal Party with Andrew Scheer's Conservatives ahead. The Nanos margins are never very high for Conservatives, even when other polls contradict the results, so seeing a sustained slump for Liberals in a Nanos tracker is significant. 

Even Nick Nanos sees gloom. 

Other polls are even less generous to Liberals. An Angus Reid poll from April 30th shows the Liberals at 25%, with Conservatives in majority territory. A poll from Campaign Research shows the Liberals at 31% and the Conservatives at 35%. 

On May 10th, though, the Liberals sank to 29% for the first time in the weekly Nanos tracker. If these numbers stick until October, Justin Trudeau won't be prime minister. With even a Liberal leaning pollster predicting the worst, it looks like Canadians are having some buyer's remorse.

The Liberal promises of more transparency, better ethics and a trustworthy government are all but a fart in the wind. The poll numbers are consistent enough to show that Canadians aren't necessarily willing to give the Liberals a third chance. If the latest Green Party wins and surges in polls across Canada are any indication, it looks like Canadians are still left-wing at heart, but the Liberal Party just isn't giving them what they want. Instead, Canadians are abandoning both the NDP and Liberals in favour of something new and exotic. Canada hasn't ever had a Green government, nor has any province. PEI came close to electing a Green government, while slapping the provincial Liberals down into third place. It was historic and unprecedented, but it was also a possible sign of things to come. The federal Greens now have two seats following a by-election in BC and their national poll numbers are breaking records. 

If Justin Trudeau is accomplishing anything, it might be the diversification of Canada's left-wing. For Conservatives, that's a good thing. A divided left is already a problem for Liberals when the NDP surges, so a Green surge putting the party into relevancy is probably the Liberal Party's worst nightmare. It won't just be the NDP that Liberals have to worry about, they'll have a second rival on the left if this Green Party surge keeps going. 

If all of this holds and the Trudeau government does fall in October, I can't see the party ever making another comeback. This was it. This was the party's second chance to prove it isn't the corrupt, malignant party Canadians thought it was in 2006. Both the Greens and NDP will capitalize on the party's losses and make it more difficult for them to re-emerge. Justin Trudeau was the Liberal Party's last hope, but he blew it. 

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