Tag Archives: Justin Trudeau

Is Canada heading for a coalition?

‘Lawn signs’ are being banged into front gardens across Canada with the 2019 Federal Election taking place on Monday (21st). With the polls close between the incumbent Liberals and the opposition Conservatives, and with neither looking likely to pull away, ‘The Hill’ could be a hung parliament. This would be truly historic as Canada has never previously had a formal coalition in Ottawa.

In recent weeks, the Liberals have pulled themselves level with the Conservatives after falling far behind the Tories in February. The polls suggest that the Liberals could win more seats than the Conservatives, but not enough to win an outright majority.

The role of the smaller parties will come to light here. The left-leaning New Democrats (NDP) are very much the third party but are closely followed by the regionalists in Quebec – the Bloc Quebecois. The Greens, who look set to pick up seats in the Liberal heartlands of the East, could also keep Trudeau in power. All of these parties have more in common with the Liberals than the Conservatives. If there is a hung parliament in Canada, it is more likely that Trudeau will remain at Sussex Drive, than Andrew Scheer.

Under Jagmeet Singh, the NDP have struggled to hit the heights of 2011, where under charismatic former leader Jack Layton, they pushed the Liberals into 3rd place. Singh won the Burnaby South by-election in February this year with an increased majority and will look to win similar ridings across British Columbia to advance from their 44 seats at the 2015 Federal Election. There is a lot of common ground between the NDP and the Liberals, and by winning in a similar number of seats (which is possible), they could help the Liberals over the line in October. With the election looking more and more like a two-horse race, it is entirely possible that the NDP will be squeezed even harder than in 2015. The election campaign hasn’t been easy for Singh, as several of his candidates have defected to the Green Party, believing they have a stronger chance of winning under the Green banner. Singh has said publicly that he could work with the Liberals in a coalition post-election.

The Green Party, under highly credible Elizabeth May, look set to gain seats in ‘Atlantic Canada’. They currently only hold 2 seats (out of 338), but in an election that is neck-and-neck, they could be kingmakers in Canada post-October 21st. Since 2015, the Greens have been on the march in regional elections, including in the April 2019 election in the province of Prince Edward Island, where the Greens beat the Liberals into third place. Like the NDP, there is common ground between the Liberals and Greens, and could work together in a coalition. One area of real opposition though, is the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, which the Liberals have ‘green lit’ for a new phase of construction. If scrapped, there are no hard barriers to a Liberal-Green deal.

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An Autumn election the Liberals should win

This autumn, there will be general election. It will pit liberalism against conservatism. It will dictate who will be in power for the next few years. No, I’m not talking about the UK (although it is highly likely too), I’m talking about Canada. 

Four years on from Trudeau’s barn-storming election result, Canadians will return to the polls to elect their new government. The polls see the Liberals neck-and-neck with the Conservatives, so the election in October should be an interesting one. 

The poster boy of progressive politics has had a difficult 2019, after enjoying a three-year honeymoon period. His Carbon Tax has fallen flat across many of the ‘Prairie’ provinces, and his plans for a Trans Mountain Pipeline have seen many critics question his promise to Indigenous people and the environment. He also appeared to throw two of his ministers, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, under the bus for the SNC-Lavalin affair. 

In spite of this, Canadians should focus on his enormous successes. One million new jobs since 2015, roll out of the Canadian Child Benefit, record investment in transit, banning single-use plastics, tax cuts for the middle class (paid for by the top 1%), legalising marijuana, a strengthened Canada Pension Plan, as well as trade agreements with trans-Pacific partners, Europe, and the US and Mexico (USMCA). Imagine we had had similar policies in the UK over the last 4 years!

While he’s still seen across the globe as a highly popular statesman, he has a struggle on his hands to get re-elected. Regional elections since then in Liberal strongholds, such as the Atlantic provinces, have seen the Liberals lose ground. However, when Canadians enter the poll stations for the Federal Election, they have the real question over who they think best represents them, Trudeau or Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer. 

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What the Liberal Democrats could learn from Obama, Sanders and Trudeau

Justin Trudeau by Canadian Pacific CCL FlickrAs a young American woman who has interned in the Canadian Parliament, volunteered for American campaigns and is now working in the British Parliament, it has been interesting following the 2015 British Parliamentary elections through a variety of lenses. The recent change of government in Canada and the ongoing presidential election in the United States seem worth unpacking, in order to delve into possible lessons which could be learned by Liberal Democrats from these other spaces.

I propose that there are lessons worth learning from two American Democrats, President Obama and Bernie Sanders, as well as Canada’s new Prime Minister Trudeau. For the former, the reasons may be self-evident. President Obama rose from a relatively unknown position into an incredibly influential presidency. For Bernie Sanders, it is worth understanding how another political outsider has once again come to challenge Hillary Clinton in her bid for the presidency. Though he will likely lose the primary, Mr. Sanders has been a formidable opponent from a stance that rarely would be noticed in the United States. With regards to the Canadian elections, I would like to explore the ways in which a party can move from a third-party position into a powerful government in the way the Liberals have done under Trudeau.

There are three characteristics which President Obama and Bernie Sanders have shared in their campaigns: they excel in grassroots organising, they offer clear messages of hope, and their platforms are cohesive. The first point, grassroots organising, is something which Liberal Democrats would benefit from greatly. Bringing staunch supporters out to volunteer in elections is a powerful force to reckon with, especially in university areas. In my home state, Ohio, both Obama and Sanders effectively coordinated university students to participate in the electoral process as vocal volunteers. From what I have seen, it seems that the Liberal Democrats could recruit a significant amount of volunteers from universities for the 2020 elections. This is a lesson sorely learned by the Liberal Democrats in the aftermath of the 2010 elections.  Understanding the implications of reversing stances on university tuition prices is a hard lesson, but it does offer a high incentive for maintaining consistency in the future.

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A morning at the White House

A frisson of expectation sweeps the crowd as the tannoy crackles to life and the announcer declares “Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States.” The honour guard comes to attention, the band strikes up Hail to the Chief and the most powerful leader in the world emerges. And when moments later, a black SUV sweeps round the drive and stops in front of the White House to deposit Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian Prime Minister… well, perhaps only a visit from the Queen herself would top Washington DC’s current level of excitement.

This was the scene on the South Lawn of the White House as President Barack Obama welcomed his Canadian counterpart to the capital of the United States yesterday. Clutching my ticket, I had joined the great and good of Washington in a line that stretched halfway round the block, excited to be part of the occasion. Three ID and security checks later and I was in.

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Embrace feminism, says Justin Trudeau. Lib Dems could learn from that.

It seems that every day there’s a new reason to admire Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Guardian has a report of a panel session in Davos where he said that everyone should embrace feminism. He said that a more diverse team makes better decisions in both politics and business.

I particularly liked the clip in the video in which he said that his wife had reminded him that he not only had to encourage his daughter into taking leadership roles, but also to talk to his sons about treating women properly.

He also said that he thinks there will be as big changes in attitudes to equality in the next 20 years as there has been in the last 40.

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LDVideo: The first day in office of a Liberal Prime Minister

This is not the stuff of far flung fantasy. This actually happened, this week, in Canada, to a Liberal Party that’s fought its way back from devastating election defeats.

Here are two things that you should watch and take heart from.

First of all, a 24 minute behind the scenes video filmed by CBC of Justin Trudeau’s first day in office. In parts it has the feel of an episode of The West Wing, but our absolute favourite moment is when he puts down the reporter for being disparaging about the Cabinet travelling on a bus, reminding him that this is how many Canadians get to work. Enjoy.

Secondly, his great response when asked why he’d produced a gender balanced Cabinet. “Because it’s 2015.” By half way through the second decade of the 21st century, you would expect equality and it’s great that he (and Nicola Sturgeon) have set such good examples while remembering that Nick Clegg couldn’t even put one woman in the UK Cabinet when he had the chance.

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A lesson for Tim Farron from Justin Trudeau?

Liberals around the world are cheered by the Canadian Liberals’ emphatic victory this week. There are many serious lessons we can learn from Justin Trudeau’s party, both in terms of grassroots organisation and messaging. Not for the Liberals any talk of “we’re not them and we’re not them so vote for us”. For months there was a clear message of #realchange. The Canadian Liberals are a bit like Liberal royalty. They can be pretty establishment, but they managed to show that they wanted to reform politics and Canadian society in a way that resonated with people.

This video from May this year shows how Trudeau was happy to step out of the normal space allotted to politicians. He took his kids to Comic Con in Ottawa, wearing a Superman t-shirt and talking about his lifelong enjoyment of the Superman series. It was fun, authentic and natural.




I guess it kind of helped that he didn’t look terribly unlike the movie version.

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+++Liberals sweep to power

The Liberal Party has swept to power, winning 184 seats out of 338, an overall majority of 30. The election platform included such policies as

  • Cutting income taxes for the middle-classes while increasing them for the wealthy
  • Running deficits for three years to pay for infrastructure spending
  • Doing more to address environmental concerns over the controversial Keystone oil pipeline
  • Taking more Syrian refugees; pulling out of bombing raids against Islamic State while bolstering training for Iraqi forces
  • Legalising marijuana
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A powerful message from Canada’s Liberal leader in response to Wednesday’s shootings

Canada flag License Some rights reserved by archer10 (Dennis)What would you want a liberal to say in the wake of shocking and violent events in your country? It must be something pretty close to Justin Trudeau’s words, full of dignity, wisdom and empathy.

Watch the video and see the excerpt below:

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The Independent View: Pierre Trudeau and the Just Society – lessons for Canadian liberals today

Canada flag License Some rights reserved by archer10 (Dennis)The general election expected to be held in Canada next year will be a decisive one for the Lib Dem’s Canadian counterpart, the Liberal Party of Canada, as it faces the prospect of returning to office after more than eight years in the political wilderness.

With a recent poll showing the governing Conservatives trailing behind the Liberals, the party’s leader Justin Trudeau stands a good chance of becoming the first Canadian Liberal prime minister since 2006.

However, if Justin Trudeau …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Liberal Party of Canada elects Justin Trudeau as leader

Canada’s Liberal Party has had its troubles in recent years. Two years ago they suffered the worst election result in their history, returning only 34 MPs and falling to an unprecedented third place behind the Conservative and New Democratic parties.

The Guardian reports that Justin Trudeau was elected the party’s leader with a massive majority. He attained 80% of the vote, a good start for somebody who needs to unify the party after years of infighting. His acceptance speech attempted to put those divisions behind the party:

I don’t care if you thought my father was great or arrogant,” Trudeau said.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 22nd Oct - 1:40am
    Sorry for typos, it is one forty am!
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 22nd Oct - 1:37am
    Can I say this. Despite being involved on a more cross party trajectory in recent years post coalition and referendum, despite regarding cross party involvement...
  • User AvatarPatrick 22nd Oct - 12:00am
    Also, I'm thinking that now that Dr Phillip Lee has been given the justice brief, he has a great opportunity to prove his liberal credentials,...
  • User AvatarPatrick 21st Oct - 11:53pm
    Till otherwise proven with appropriate references, I'm willing to give Dr Phillip Lee the benefit of the doubt. And if someone will issue references that...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Oct - 10:25pm
    Adding to Expats comment, in his latest twitter comment (and in a letter to The Times) two days ago, Dr Lee stated, Dr Phillip Lee...
  • User Avatarexpats 21st Oct - 9:54pm
    George Potter, I have no brief for Dr. Lee but everything I've read shows him IN FAVOUR of rehabilitation for prisoners rather than 'hard labour'......