Since Justin Trudeau’s election last year, there has been a general consensus that he would be unbeatable in the next election. Trudeau was such a contrast to Harper that he was the darling of the media and he could do no wrong. Even the simple act of taking a selfie with refugees rated front page coverage. “Sunny ways” was the motto for the future.
I am sure some potential Conservative leadership candidates took that into consideration when evaluating whether or not to run. As I pointed out back then, leadership candidates should be aiming to win the next election and they should be offering up policies that appeal to both the rural parts of the country and the urban areas where it is necessary to win if they want to form the next government. The Conservatives shouldn’t be even thinking about giving him a pass on 2019.
As we all know, a week can be a long time in politics. A year in a political mandate can feel like a lifetime. No government can control the issues that it will face either at home or on the world stage.
History has taught us that no one is unbeatable in the political arena. Surprises happen all the time. This was recently demonstrated south of our border. A few months ago who would have thought that Prime Minister Trudeau would be dealing with President Trump and not President Clinton. All governments have to face an on-going series of issues. All governments have to make decisions on these issues and each decision leaves part of the population feeling betrayed over a broken promise or disillusioned with the decision.
There are plenty of storm clouds on the horizon for the Trudeau government. There are issues requiring tough decisions that a few selfies will not provide him with enough cover nor will they help him to change the channel to better issues or allow for better optics.
His recent foot in mouth moment over his comments on Fidel Castro is just this past weekend’s storm cloud. We also have other storm clouds developing on the horizon:
· Political donations and Trudeau’s “cash for access”
· Decisions to be made on three pipeline proposals
· Buying more CF-18s when the head of the air force says it is not necessary
· Gag orders around the CF-18 purchase
· UN peace-keeping missions
· Our combat role against ISIL
· Climate change negotiations with the provinces
· Healthcare negotiations with the provinces
· Electoral reform
· Lack of action and funding on First Nations issues
· How to deal with the new administration in Washington
· The foolish comment about being willing to open up NAFTA
· The unraveling of trade talks
· The spiraling out of control debt, which eventually will have to be paid off by taxpayers including the middle class that Trudeau claims to be wanting to help
· The economy also remains the number one issue of concern for Canadians
And the list goes on.
All of these issues (and there will be many more before the next election) will offer opportunities for the opposition Conservatives and NDP to damage both the Liberal brand and Trudeau’s personal brand.
There will be plenty of opportunity for this government to stumble, not once but many times before the next election. No administration or Prime Minister is ever unbeatable and that is something both the Conservatives and NDP must keep in mind as their leadership contests move towards a conclusion.