JIM WARREN: Justin Trudeau deserves another shot - here’s why

Justin Trudeau is the best candidate for Prime Minister in the 2019 federal election and deserves to be re-elected on October 21st.

I have met Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, and Jagmeet Singh and have spent various amounts of time with each of them. I just met Scheer this past week at the Sun editorial board.

While I believe all three are committed to public service and genuinely want what’s best for Canada, the country would be best served with Trudeau as Prime Minister.

Andrew Scheer refused to release the Conservative costed plan before the debates. It is insulting to voters and it is difficult to seriously consider his plan for Canada when he plays peek-a-boo with public policy.

I also believe throughout his time as the opposition leader he has demonstrated extremely poor political judgment.

Scheer endorsed Brexit. Then he doubled down on his endorsement. Another head-scratcher was Scheer’s decision to pull support for our NAFTA negotiating team at the critical final stage of reaching a deal. To be Prime Minister, you need a better political antenna.

It’s also fair to question the lack of transparency regarding his past. His work history as an insurance agent, uncertainty about which university he graduated from and his American citizenship have all undermined his moral authority to attack Trudeau.

You can’t mislead people about who you are when your main attack is saying someone is not as advertised.

What must be most frustrating for Conservatives is that in comparison to the Liberals and NDP, their party has the most qualified candidates to be Prime Minister – Rona Ambrose, Lisa Raitt, Erin O’Toole, Peter MacKay – but they currently do not have the right guy at the right time.

As for Jagmeet Singh, he is incredibly charming and friendly. He is very likeable.

But Singh didn’t do his homework in opposition. He didn’t recruit enough quality candidates. He didn’t put in place a strong organization. He didn’t do enough fundraising.

The price of entry to be Prime Minister is to show you can run your party before you run the country and he didn’t do it. He should perform well enough that there will be a role in opposition for Singh and he will live to fight another day.

Singh would be reckless with the economy, reckless with Trump and he should not be Prime Minister.

Justin Trudeau is not perfect, and he has made mistakes. But when you look at the economy, there is much to be positive about.

Trudeau led a bipartisan effort to get a new NAFTA signed as well as other trade deals to diversify the economy.

Direct foreign investment is up. There is a regional disparity in our economy that needs to be addressed, but this is a global problem, not a Trudeau problem.

On climate change, Trudeau does not have the perfect plan but it is better than the others and a step in the right direction. We need to do more.

Also, I live in downtown Toronto, so I like the Liberal plan on gun control.

Trudeau is the modern Canadian prime minister. He attends pride parades and places importance on being inclusive. He has been effective in dealing with the biggest threat to our economy – Donald Trump.

Trudeau has performed well on the world stage. Keeping our Prime Minister would provide stability in a sea of insanity globally in 2020.

Lastly, there are not many votes to be gained by properly dealing with Indigenous people. You can’t fix all the problems created in hundreds of years in a four-year mandate. But Trudeau has made progress and tackled many issues in the Indigenous community – and he will do more with a second term.

With a week to go in a very close race, anything can happen. But on October 21, I believe Justin Trudeau should be re-elected Prime Minister.
Trudeau will still be PM on Oct. 22
By: Peter McKenna
Posted: 10/12/2019 4:00 AM | Comments: 22

It’s hard to argue with a straight face that anything worthwhile came out of the Oct. 7 gong show of a leaders debate. But there was one kernel of truth that deserves to be unpacked.

In the prescient words of Green party Leader Elizabeth May, "At this point, Mr. Scheer, with all due respect, you’re not going to be prime minister." She went on to add, pointedly: "The question is going to be, on seat count, if we have Mr. Trudeau in a minority or Mr. Trudeau in a majority." In addition to being the best pure debater on the stage that night, May is absolutely correct in her electoral prognostication.

While the election polls show a tight race between the Justin Trudeau Liberals and the Andrew Scheer Conservatives, those numbers don’t tell the full story. The hard truth is that Scheer — given all the hits that the federal Liberal campaign has absorbed — should be at least 10 points ahead in the polls. The fact that he is not at this stage spells very bad news for the federal Conservatives.

Because of the electoral map in Canada, no federal political party can form a government without garnering a significant number of seats in Ontario (with 121 electoral districts) and Quebec (with 78 ridings). And according to Nik Nanos, arguably the best pollster in the country, the federal Conservatives are trailing the Liberals in both provinces by nine points. If these numbers hold — and the Grits can retain their current seat totals in the 905 area code region and fortress Toronto — it will be exceedingly difficult to dislodge the governing Liberals.

In Quebec, the electoral fortunes of the NDP are in even worse shape than those of the Conservatives. The election polls now have the N-Dippers in fifth place overall — even behind the struggling Green party. As a result, the party could see every single one of its 14 seats in Quebec change hands, most likely to the Bloc Québécois or the Liberals.

The hard reality is that the Conservatives, in order to have any shot at forming government, need the NDP party under Jagmeet Singh to have a substantial resurgence in the polls. And while Singh did have a decent performance in the English-language debate, it doesn’t appear to be enough to boost the party’s sagging public support. That, I’m afraid, is another major body blow to Scheer’s campaign fortunes.

Moreover, most of Scheer’s polling support is concentrated in the Prairie provinces, especially Alberta and Saskatchewan. But the problem is that the combined seat totals for these two provinces only amounts to 48. And all the Liberals have to do in British Columbia (with 42 ridings) is to hang on to most of their current seats in order to retain their grip on political power.

In Atlantic Canada, it is highly unlikely that the federal Liberals will be able hold onto all 32 districts in the region. It’s just not going to happen. But the problem again for Scheer is that the best that he can hope for right now is to pick up a few seats in New Brunswick and two or three in Nova Scotia.

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More importantly, Scheer faces another significant electoral obstacle when it comes to the overall seat totals. He’s in a very weak position if the final outcome on Oct. 21 is a hung Parliament — with no party claiming an outright majority of seats.

Even if the Liberals and the Conservatives have roughly the same number of elected MPs, Scheer will be hard-pressed to find any willing coalition partners. It will be far easier for the Trudeau Liberals to find common cause with one or two of the other smaller parties.

Clearly, the Conservatives’ hard-line position on climate change will necessarily hobble Scheer’s coalition-building chances. There is just no way that the NDP or the Greens (or even Bloc MPs) could join forces in a minority government, given Scheer’s objectionable stance on the climate crisis.

It’s hard, really, to put your finger on why Scheer is not on the cusp of becoming Canada’s 24th prime minister. But I suspect that it does have something to do with the claim, rightly or wrongly, that voters are troubled by his "Harper-lite" tendencies and behaviour.

So fortunately or unfortunately, Trudeau is still going to be Canada’s prime minister on Oct. 22. The only thing in doubt right now — as Elizabeth May deftly observed — is whether Trudeau will lead a minority or a majority government.

Peter McKenna is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

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