Justin Trudeau’s Slippery Slide

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• In USA & World, People,

​Last month, the approval rating for Justin Trudeau dropped below 50% for the first time since his Liberal Party’s election in 2015.

49% of Canadians now disapprove of Trudeau’s performance. 46% still approve. 4% don’t know.

Trudeau’s approval ratings hit a high of 65% in September of 2016. They have been slowly and steadily falling since then.

Among age groups, Trudeau still polls at 56% approval in the 18-34 age bracket, 45% for voters in the 35-54 bracket and 40% for those 55 and over.

The semi-good news for Trudeau’s Liberals is that his approval ratings are still higher than the Conservatives (36%) and the New Democrats (39%). The bad news is that Trudeau’s disapproval rating is also higher, with more Canadians saying it is “time for a change” (46%) than say he should be re-elected (32%).

Wow. It seems like only yesterday (2017) that Justin Trudeau made the cover of Rolling Stone, which unabashedly asked, “Why Can’t He Be Our President?”

However, Rolling Stone also featured an adorable cover photo of Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a few years before, so the cachet of having your picture on the cover of Rolling Stone may have lost some of its allure. Particularly since Editor Jann Wenner recently admitted to sexually molesting another man.

Trudeau’s Liberal Party assumed power after 9 years of relatively quiet and responsible governance by the Conservatives under Stephen Harper. Trudeau inherited a scandal-free government with a balanced budget.

By 2015, the Canadian economy was steadily improving, despite the collapse of world oil prices to below $50 a barrel. Our housing market dipped a bit after the 2008 meltdown, but not nearly as much as in the United States. And it quickly rebounded, with double digit increases in home values being the norm rather than the exception.

But people were tired of Stephen Harper. Canadians longed for something new and exciting. With his telegenic persona and broad name recognition inherited from his famous father, Justin Trudeau was a perfect political fit for an electorate that preferred style over substance.

Like President Trump, Trudeau continues to be dogged with ethics questions that are mostly fluff.

Trudeau’s critics drone on about his 2016 visit to the Aga Kahn’s private island. Trudeau admits it was a freebie vacation, courtesy of a billionaire who does business with the Canadian government. Big deal. In the real world, it’s called a perk.

Trudeau’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, is a multi-millionaire; but who in politics isn’t these days? Morneau continues to be pilloried in Parliament and the media for not following ethics “rules” regarding reporting of private income, even though he was assured by the ethics commissioner that he was following those rules at the time.

Nothing will come of these charges, except to prove, once again, that liberalism is the political sanctification of envy.

Last year, Trudeau tried to secure a trade deal with China. He failed. Not much political fallout though because trade is not a particularly sexy issue. Besides, Canadians have never had it so good, economically.

The Canadian press (Toronto Sun) was much more interested in covering Trudeau’s choice of socks—which featured yellow rubber ducks—when the prime minister made his recent visit to the World Economic Summit in Davos. Other than a few photo ops, Trudeau accomplished nothing and left the Swiss gaggle of 1%-ers to spend their face time with President Trump.

Unlike his libidinous father, Justin Trudeau has a deserved Obamaesque image. Lovely wife (his first) and three nice children. Good for him.

Unfortunately, Canadian politicians from all parties have had a rough time lately with sexual harassment claims. Here are just a few….

Trudeau’s Sports and Persons with Disabilities Minister had to resign last week amid charges of sexual harassment. Liberal minister Kent Hehr, a quadriplegic confined to a wheel chair, is accused of making a lewd statement to a female staffer a few years ago. Hehr allegedly called her “yummy.”

Global News reports that Hehr suffered “a seizure” at his home in Calgary last week. I wonder if the stress of being charged with a career-destroying sexual offense had anything to do with the “seizure.” Sounds to me like “seizure” could be NewsSpeak for heart palpitations due to anxiety over unproved charges of sexual impropriety.

When the public is preoccupied with Dr. Phil politics, some important issues are ignored. Like abortion.

Trudeau’s Liberals now require that organizations applying for government grants to hire summer students must attest that their core mandate is in line with the government’s position on “reproductive rights.” In their determination to force their abortion views on those who may disagree, applicants must check a box confirming their acquiescence to the new rule or they can’t submit the application.

In other words, any organization that does not agree with the Trudeau government’s wholehearted support for unfettered abortion at any stage of pregnancy need not apply.

The right to an abortion is not granted in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada has no Roe v. Wade. Trudeau should review the Charter. After all, it was his father who championed the document as Prime Minister in 1982. Historians have given Trudeau the Elder much credit for its passage.

Canadians are hardly unanimous in their support for partial-birth abortion or sex selection procedures that allow girls to be terminated for the sin of being girls.

But let’s face it: in the end, it’s all about the money. In Washington state and elsewhere, sex selection clinics are good business.

Blaine, Bellingham and Seattle have a steady source of clients from Vancouver, B.C. that do not want to put up with long Canadian wait times for ultrasounds. This has been going on for years. Are we ready to deal with the resulting societal imbalance from an unnatural predominance of men? See Huffington Post story.

Maybe it’s Justin Trudeau’s arrogance that is driving his poll numbers down. Or his flippant disregard for the real issues, like his refusal to accept that Canadians who hold views different from him—and his Liberal caucus—should be ineligible for public funds. Funds to which they, as taxpayers, contribute.

Love and anger are potent motivators in both life and politics.

Two years ago, many Canadians felt the love. The fact that the love may now be turning to anger should come as no surprise to Justin Trudeau.

Update - July 6, 2018: The fallout from the Liberal’s “attestation clause” continues…..what was dismissed as “kerfuffle” by Justin Trudeau in January has now become a significant issue as the Liberal’s poll numbers continue to fall.


About John Lesow

Closed Account • Member since Mar 21, 2008

Comments by Readers

Steve Harris

Feb 03, 2018

Thank you for the article John, very thought-provoking and pertinent to current issues on both sides of the 49th parallel. 



Dick Conoboy

Feb 05, 2018


That is a very badly photo-shoped image of Trudeau that is making its rounds on Reddit, Twitter, et. al.  Thought you might want to know.  Not sure what the point is.



John Lesow

Feb 05, 2018

Of course I know.

When discussing politics, a little levity is always welcome, don’t you agree ?


Bill McCallum

Feb 08, 2018


Justin Trudeau did not inherit a scandal-free government.

Following are some of the more prominent Stephen Harper scandals from the Toronto Star.

SENATE APPOINTMENTS: The Senate has been the source of Harper’s most damaging scandal, one that goes to the heart of his office. Nigel Wright, Harper’s chief of staff resigned when it became public he cut a $90,000 cheque to cover Senator Mike Duffy’s questionable expense claims.

ELECTION SCANDALS: The Conservatives have found themselves at the centre of multiple investigations over their election activities.

MAXIME BERNIER: He was forced to resign as foreign affairs minister after it was revealed that he had left classified NATO documents at girlfriend’s home, she had reported past ties to biker gangs.

AFGHANISTAN: Detainees taken captive by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and transferred to local authorities were almost certainly being tortured and abused. The issue escalated into a political crisis when the Conservatives refused to release documents on the issue and prorogued Parliament in December, 2009, shutting down the parliamentary committee that was probing the abuse allegations.

G8 FUNDING: In the lead up to the 2010 G8 meeting in Huntsville, senior cabinet minister Tony Clement personally directed a $50-million “legacy” fund, funneling millions in infrastructure to his Muskoka riding. A subsequent investigation by the auditor general showed funds were doled out with no bureaucratic oversight or paper trails.



John Lesow

Feb 08, 2018

Bill,   you’re a good Editor.  I will agree to “relatively scandal-free”. 

However, no government, particularly after 9 years in office, is completely scandal-free;  real or imagined.

SENATE APPOINTMENTS:  Senator Mike Duffy was exonerated over his “questionable” expense claims years ago.  But not after years of investigation at considerable expense to the Canadian taxpayer and Senator Duffy’s health.

 If this is the “most damaging scandal”,  then I  stand by my original characterization that  the “scandals” in the Trudeau government are fluff and that nothing will come of them.    Just as they did not affect the Harper government. 

Over a year has passed and the opposition Conservatives continue to grill Trudeau during Question Period over the referenced  Aga Kahn vacation “scandal”.   Even though most Canadian news outlets and opinion makers are now in agreement that they should abandon these frivolous charges and get on with the business of government.  Enough already.

ELECTION SCANDALS:   Specifics?  All governments have “election scandals”.  Name me one that does not.  And very few governments are turned out, even if the charges are proven.  Canada certainly does not rise to a level of  scandalous election conduct that would warrant a vote of non-confidence and an immediate change of government.   Joe Clark was defeated by a non-confidence vote  in 1980, but that was on a budget question, not a scandal.   Strictly a political vote along party lines.   But  the NC vote did give Pierre Trudeau another shot as Prime Minister and a boost to his political fortunes at the time….

MAXINE BERNIER:   Sounds a bit like the time that John Podesta left his phone in the cab with all that important political  info on it.   Politicians are human.   And forgetful, too.  At least Bernier resigned.  Podesta never even admitted he did anything wrong.  

AFGHANISTAN:  Take heart.  Justin Trudeau’s Liberals just agreed to a $10.5 million dollar taxpayer payout to a Canadian Omar Khadr for the complicity of Canadian officials in his detention and torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Big payday for Omar, who is looking remarkably fit and happy these days.

Unfortunately, Canada’s Veteran’s are not as fortunate.  Trudeau is reneging on his campaign pledge to “ensure that no Veteran has to fight the government for the support and the compensation they have earned”.   His reason:  Vets are asking ” more than the government can give right now”.

 G8 FUNDING:   Sounds like a typical case of sloppy  political accounting.  Was anyone charged or indicted? Anyone go to prison?   Sorry,  I did a search of Conservative MP Tony Clement and find no references to the “legacy fund” or any recommendation from the Auditor General.   It did not seem to be a big issue a decade ago and even less so now. 


John Lesow

Feb 11, 2018

Rasmussen poll,  released on February 8,  reported President Trump’s approval rating is 48% vs. 50% disapproval.

Nearly identical to Prime Minister Trudeau’s numbers from the Angus Reid (Canadian) poll taken in December…


Dianne Foster

Feb 26, 2018

Too bad the only truly progressive potential leader was Jack Layton, of the NDP.   A crusader against fossil fuels, against corporate “free trade” deals,  for fair taxation and equity for natives.   Unlike Trudeau and other neoliberals who camoflage themselves in fake cultural issues like women’s reproductive rights in order to mask their support for the 1%,  he was the real deal.   Trudeau is the Canadian equivilent of the Obama/Clinton wing of the U.S. Democratic party.   Mr. Tar Sands/Cold Warrier has limited vision and scope.  But as in so many contests,   he was the “lesser of evils.”


John Lesow

Mar 23, 2018

Update:   In a March 22 column titled,  “Liberals have opened up a new front in a culture war they may come to regret”, National Affairs writer Chantal Hebert  reports about the requirement that applicants for summer jobs grants attest that their core mandate respects abortion rights…..

“On Monday in the House of Commons, veteran NDP  MP David Christopherson broke ranks with his caucus to support a Conservative motion denouncing the attestation. He believes it is an afforont to the right to lawful dissent.  Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also feels the government overreached”. 

Hebert is  a veteran journalist and frequent commentator on Canadian prime time television programs like The National.   Her closing remarks:  

“Many of the voters who supported the Liberals in the last election did so in the belief that they were getting rid of a Conservative government that let its idealogical compass dictate its every move.  Almost three years into the Trudeau mandate, more than a few of them are starting to wonder whether they have actually traded up to an even more ideologically driven government”.

An Angus Reid poll released on March 19, 2018  reports:

The passage of time appears to have done nothing to soothe Canadian voters irritated with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since his highly criticized passage to India last month.  This, combined with a simmering unease among the electorate over the federal government’s deficit spending has, for the first time, driven Trudeau’s disapproval rating north of 50%”

The Canadian election is still 18 months away.  And polls are only as good as the day they are taken. 

But Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives have a shot at governance that few would have predicted just a few months ago. 








Dianne Foster

Mar 23, 2018

Same old story.   Voters get to choose between near right and far right.    Never progressive.   The world needs a “great leap forward”,   not tinkering.


John Lesow

Mar 27, 2018

Update:  March 26, 2018

In a story titled;  “Liberals’ effort to blackmail churches over abortion opposition backfires”,  Columnist Andrew Coyne writes:

“The Canada Summer Jobs controversy has moved many of those who support the status quo to concede that people have a right to dissent from it.  Even if abortion were defined in law as a right, the oddity of upholding that right by trampling other’s rights—to conscience, to speech—has been widely observed:  It is not against the law to oppose a law.  Indeed, the attestation requirement (for the Summer Jobs Program) is almost certainly unconstitutional.  “

Coyne continues:  If you want to know how the Liberals managed to turn a 20 -point lead in the polls into a five-point decline in a little more than a year, a good place to start is their apparently sincere belief that they could blackmail the country’s churches into dropping their opposition to abortion”. 

More than two months after controversy about the Summer Jobs attestation requirement was dismissed by Justin Trudeau as a “kerfuffle”,  he is learning that many Canadians consider abortion a serious issue and don’t want the government to act as their moral conscience.  Particularly  by withholding taxpayer subsidies for groups that do not fit the Liberal party’s policy on “abortion rights”.