FIt’s been a difficult couple of weeks for both Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Two scandals have garnered international headlines and put a negative dent in the country’s otherwise positive reputation.

But Canadians are no doubt hoping the world isn’t too quick to judge them by these missteps. Because, as the polls increasingly show, Trudeau no longer represents the average voter.

After first electing him 8 years ago, Canadians now seem keen to be rid of Trudeau and, in turn, be done with the screw ups that are causing the country so much frustration.
The first mess came when Trudeau publicly accused the government of India of orchestrating an extrajudicial killing on Canadian soil of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The accusations, made without any meaningful evidence, instantly caused a diplomatic firestorm. The countries pulled their respective diplomats and India has stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens.

While anything is possible when it comes to the murder, the view of Canadians is that Trudeau went about addressing it all the wrong way. India is the world’s largest democracy and a key partner for Canada on trade and immigration. You don’t want to be in their bad books.

The second big mess was the embarrassing affair of the Canadian Parliament giving an actual surviving Nazi soldier a warm standing ovation during Ukrainian President Zelensky’s visit. The Speaker of the House of Commons took responsibility for inviting the 98 year-old Nazi and resigned. But political observers doubt that the Prime Minister’s Office wasn’t also involved in vetting the guest list. It’s a massive blunder.

The incident has also dredged up questions around how many war criminals from the past Canada is in fact harbouring. It’s not a good look for the country.

Then there is the issue of Trudeau’s increasing “wokeness” and how there seems to be no far-left cause he won’t adopt. One current example is his embrace of transgender activism, and how it’s upsetting some of his former voting bloc.

The other week, there were well-attended parents rights protests across Canada opposing the teaching of gender ideology and transgender issues in the classroom. While the event attracted people of all backgrounds, it was organized by Muslim parents.

While a few protestors were filmed making anti-gay comments, the general sense was that attendees had legitimate concerns that an issue as serious as gender transitioning is being inappropriately pushed on impressionable young minds in Canadian schools.

My own elementary-aged children were given surveys at school last year that asked them if they were transgender and if they were familiar with trans practices such as penis tucking and breast binding. A lot of parents in Canada, including many gay and lesbian parents, believe that this just goes too far and the schools should drop the matter.

Politicians didn’t acknowledge these nuances though. Instead, the peaceful parents were vilified by many elected officials for creating a “hate” rally targeting LGBT people. This was a lie and a misrepresentation of what happened, but the political class ran with it.

“Transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia have no place in this country,” Trudeau said in a statement responding to the protests. “We strongly condemn this hate and its manifestations, and we stand united in support of 2SlGBTQI+ Canadians across the country – you are valid and you are valued.”

This upset a lot of Canadians. The Muslim Association of Canada – a former ally of Trudeau’s – wasn’t having any of it either. “We call on politicians and school boards, beginning with Prime Minister Trudeau, to retract their deeply inflammatory and divisive comments and issue an apology to the thousands of Canadian parents hurt by these comments,” the association said in a statement. They added that politicians “are setting a dangerous precedent of using their position of influence to unjustly demonize families, and alienate countless students.”

What’s happening here is what’s happened to Trudeau all too frequently in recent years: He loses support after going overboard backing the fringe elements of a “woke” issue.
“About two-thirds of Canadians believe that increased acceptance of transgender people is a sign of social progress,” prominent pollster Angus Reid wrote during the protests. “Yet a majority of these want to know about pronoun changes for their children. The attempt by some politicians to label these people as anti-trans is simply wrong.”

The problem isn’t that Trudeau holds progressive social views. Canadians by and large share this perspective, all across the political spectrum. There is no religious right in Canada in the same way there is in the United States. The conservative movement in Canada is largely based on economic conservatism and holds socially liberal views.

No, the problem is that Trudeau holds these views to the max and in the most obnoxious way possible. He is over-the-top in the way he talks about environmental issues, race issues and feminism. Trudeau then vilifies those who don’t share his views, which only alienates average people.

Trudeau famously did this during the pandemic, denouncing people who hadn’t yet taken the COVID-19 vaccines. “They don’t believe in science and progress and are very often misogynistic and racist,” he said on French television in December 2021. “This leads us, as a leader and as a country, to make a choice: Do we tolerate these people?”

A month later, he labelled Freedom Convoy protesters a “small fringe minority of people” with “unacceptable views”.

These antics have taken their toll on Trudeau’s popularity. The Liberal government that he heads up is less popular than it has ever been. The polling data indicates he’s going to be turfed from office, suffering a massive loss to the Conservatives in the next election.
It doesn’t matter the day of the week or the polling company doing the survey, the numbers consistently show that Canadians have truly soured on Trudeau.

In British Columbia, a province that typically leans liberal, one pollster had Trudeau’s Liberals in third place with a paltry 12% support. The Conservatives commanded a staggering 53%. An election isn’t expected for over a year and while it is possible for Trudeau to turn things around, the gears are already in motion for Trudeau to be pushed out by his own caucus. He’s become a liability to his own party.

There are now news stories about which Liberal cabinet ministers could jump in to replace Trudeau as Prime Minister. Elder statesmen from the Liberal fold are publicly musing that it’s time for Trudeau to step down. And the media, which usually gives Trudeau an easy ride, is publicly asking him at press conferences if and when he’ll resign.

Canadians know their country has taken a beating in the international press recently. The next time they go to vote, it looks like they’re going to let the world know these are Trudeau’s mistakes and he’s going to pay the price for it.


Anthony Furey is a long-time newspaper columnist and talk show host in Canada.