Since Donald Trump’s inauguration most Americans and many of our fellow global citizens have taken their need for new, noble and sometimes Instagram-worthy world leaders to a desperate level. I say desperate because as a Canadian I have watched most of the world swoon over our pompous Prime Minister in ways I could only call misguided or inappropriate at best. The reason for that? Because, like most Canadians, I knew all too well that the facade would fade and Justin Trudeau’s ability to hang on to that selfie-perfect smile and his father’s legacy would one day falter.
Sure enough, it did.
While most of the world deals with Trump fatigue, Canadians have been watching our own government scandal unfold, albeit in a more subtle, probably even boring manner. It’s just the Canadian way.
I’m not going to bog everyone down with all of the details (click on the links if you feel the need to add to your soured opinion of our broken democracy); basically our PM and his Liberal party were corrupted by a big lobbyist from the very beginning of their campaign for the prime minister’s gig. And just like in good old Trump fashion, our very own Canadian Cover Boy has gone from Trudeau the Titan of Tolerance and Prince of the People back to the tantrum-loving, petulant, trust-fund-baby we all knew him to be. His overpriced soapbox caved with help from a secret tape recording. Yes, that recording may not be strictly legal, but that’s hardly the point. What’s on the recording cannot be disputed, and yet our Prince has lied and deflected like the frat-boy fraud he is.
You see, a French engineering firm called SNC-Lavalin was in hot water because it bribed the son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which is a violation of Canadian Law. To try and fix this problem, it lobbied heavily in Trudeau’s libs and has been a large campaign contributor to the party since 2015. Fast forward to when Jody Wilson-Rayboud, our federal attorney general (basically she’s the big boss of all things law enforcement) refused to go along with Trudeau’s “suggestion” of going easy on his SNC-Lavalin buddies.
Well, you can guess what happened next.
So, Trudeau who claims to be the great feminist leader of the free world, fired the woman who was the first ever Indigenous Canadian to become the federal attorney general, and then demoted her. Four days later she resigned. If that wasn’t the icing on the cake, others began to resign or ‘retire’ early and claims were made that our PM was a hot-head who pressured and bullied many of his staff if they disagreed with him. Wilson-Rayboud alleged that the head of SNC-Lavalin, the company being criminally prosecuted, actually threatened her job as attorney general if she didn’t do as she was told.
Of course, long story short, Trudeau denied it and then the recording was produced in dramatic fashion for all to hear.
Andrew Scheer, the Mike-Pence-Wannabe Leader of the United Conservative Party (and leader of the Canadian Opposition) was on the offensive immediately. Trudeau responded by trying to lie his way out again, and when that didn’t work he threatened to sue Scheer for libel.
You can’t make this shit up, people. Also, don’t laugh, it’s happened before with our former dictator-in-waiting Stephen Harper.
Of course Trudeau called the recording “unconscionable” and even ousted Wilson-Raybould and now-Independent MP Jane Philpott (she resigned from her seat as well) from the Liberal Party during caucus. I guess trying to stop a corrupt company’s prosecution is okay but hitting the record button on your phone is not. Duly noted.
Your eyes might be glazing by now at the mundane facts of this story( thanks to Trump’s talent for desensitizing the public against anything newsworthy), but what the PM and his Liberals have forgotten is that the relevance of this scandal isn’t just about corruption and greed within politics or respect in the workplace. It’s also about jobs. And not the “jobs” Trudeau keeps saying are the reason he did what he did.
You see, Western Canada has long held the bitter affirmation that it doesn’t matter to Ottawa like Quebec and Ontario do. And it’s issues like these that constantly confirm our belief. So, months away from an election, Trudeau has managed to alienate and insult Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia with his handling of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project and the lack of transparency his government has shown with its purchase of the project. Add to the fact that Trudeau’s insistence that entire SNC-Lavalin affair was for the sake of keeping jobs (a mere 9,000 jobs for the entire country if we pretend he isn’t just talking about his friends in Quebec) while he rolls out a Carbon Tax that will affect the entire country, locally and globally on an economic scale. All while people in the West have been suffering from an oil crash that decimated jobs and impacted local economies as well as the rest of the country, whether they like it or not.
We may want to be “eco-friendly,” but it’s pretty hard to do that while you’re fighting to keep your home and your kids fed while working minimum-wage jobs and paying $169.9/litre for your gas. If you want to do a quick calculation to put the money in perspective, go here. But please be seated when you read the results! It will knock you on your ass.
Since Trudeau took office, Albertans and the rest of the west have long been disappointed and/or outright blamed him for the problems they faced since the 2105/2016 recession due to the 2014 oil fall out. Thousands of people are still unemployed or work multiple jobs with wages that don’t even cover their mortgages. The federal government’s lack of help and the debacle with the pipeline project has caused frustration and feelings of abandonment to climb.
Sound familiar? It sure resembles Trumpian hypocrisy and double standards. Our Prime Minister has let Western Canada flail without much federal help while buying a pipeline with taxpayer money and then creating a carbon tax that will cost us even more to live every day. He has the gall to bully Cabinet members then deny and lie about corruption and scandal. When that doesn’t work, he states with such passion that the private company with a minuscule effect on Canada’s job market or economy really, really needed to keep their jobs.
Also, did I mention that Quebec is the province that receives the most money in “equalization payments” from the Feds? The logistics behind the equalization don’t seem to matter , it’s just another reason for Western Canadians to feel slighted (again) in their time of need.
Sorry ’bout your luck, people. You’re living in the wrong provinces.
Just like old times, eh Justin? Your father would be proud.
With the country embroiled in divisive politics, a struggling economy, a recent and ongoing canola crisis for approximately 43,000 farmers due to sanctions placed by China, and a number that reaches well in to the hundreds of thousands that tells of lost jobs directly related to the oil industry (many of them permanently), Trudeau faces a backlash wherever he turns up on his own “town hall” circuit. And with a forecast of 12,000 more people out of work for 2019 due to the oil/gas crisis, this one-time superhero of the citizens is beginning to look a lot like a charlatan in a nice suit. He may be better looking than Trump and he may not “grab em by the pussy,” but he sure as hell hides a misogynistic, self-entitled hypocrite underneath that smug smile.
Of course, our other political party options might not be much better. Let’s hope we care about this election year and our right to vote more than we care about our beloved hockey playoffs.