Remember when Justin Trudeau was the new, liberal golden boy of international politics? He’s been somewhat pushed off the stage by Emmanuel Macron in recent years, but following his Liberal Party’s stunning election victory in 2015, he was on top of the world. He’s also made a habit of verbally crossing swords with President Trump from time to time, just to keep his liberal bona fides in proper order. His approval ratings in the Great White North have traditionally been well above water.
That may be coming to an end, however. Canada’s next federal elections are coming up in October of this year and almost all the news for Trudeau has been bad lately. While it hasn’t surfaced on American cable news networks very often, the Prime Minister is in hot water over an emerging corruption scandal that has opponents calling for his resignation. It’s alleged that Trudeau pressured his former Attorney General to drop corruption charges against a major construction company and quietly pursue a settlement agreement instead.
All bets are now off about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s political survival.
An ethics scandal has plunged Canada’s government into disarray, with the prime minister himself facing unprecedented political peril.
A flood of new details allege Trudeau and several senior government officials repeatedly pressured his former attorney general to drop corruption charges against a large construction company and reach a settlement agreement. Trudeau’s political opponents sent police a letter Thursday requesting an investigation and called for Trudeau’s resignation.
“He can no longer, and in good standing with a clear conscience, lead this nation,” said Conservative Andrew Scheer, who hopes to replace Trudeau.
This may sound like small potatoes compared to the regular cornucopia of scandals we get in the United States, but the details are fairly stunning. When the allegation of interfering with the Attorney General’s office first emerged, Trudeau’s team flatly denied there had been any such involvement. But this week, the former Attorney General in question, Jody Wilson-Raybould, provided testimony and notes from meetings and phone calls detailing the conversations she’d had with the Prime Minister’s staff and even Trudeau himself.
Compounding matters is the fact that the company, SNC-Lavalin, is a major employer in Quebec where Trudeau is a member of Parliament. The AG testified that Trudeau himself had reminded her that there was an election coming up in Quebec and this would look very bad. Wilson-Raybould was then demoted by the PM and replaced by a new official from Trudeau’s home province.
All of this adds up to a story that’s taking much of the bloom off of Trudeau’s rose. The polling was already showing him in a tight race before the AG’s testimony and now it’s shaping up to be even worse. We should also keep in mind that the Canadians haven’t traditionally been shy about swapping out the party in power. Prior to the Liberal Party’s sweeping victory in 2015, the Conservative Party held a solid majority of their own following the 2011 elections under Stephen Harper. And the way things are going, the Conservatives may be on the rise once again.