Canadian 'dopers, how serious is all this about Justin Trudeau?

Ok, so, full confession here…I didn’t know anything about this until I saw this CNN article earlier. Sorry Canadian 'dopers, the only thing about Canada I really was paying attention too was the situation with Huawei, the CFO Meng Wanzhou and the extradition of said person, the arrest of two Canadians on trumped up charges in China, and the Chinese reaction. I didn’t even know Trudeau was in trouble, nor the Liberal party in Canada.

So, just going to cut and paste some things from the article, then ask my questions:

(CNN)First there was the secretive trip to the Bahamas in 2016 when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family rode in a helicopter owned by the Aga Khan, the billionaire and Ismaili Muslim spiritual leader whose organization has received hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian federal grants to advance its work overseas.

Then, some three years later, the Trudeau government was found to have pressured then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to spare SNC Lavalin, one of Canada’s largest engineering companies, from prosecution for bribing Libyan officials in return for lucrative government contracts between 2001 and 2011.

After the Canadian ethics commissioner said Trudeau had violated federal conflict of interest rules, he said, “I assume responsibility for everything that happened in my office.” He added, “We recognize the way this happened shouldn’t have happened,” but said his government was acting in the interest of the national economy.

Ultimately, Trudeau lost two star female cabinet ministers (they resigned) — including the first indigenous woman to become minister of justice — and the scandal almost cost his Liberal Party’s hold on power.

Now the charismatic G7 leader has a different problem on his hands. It not only threatens to deal a fatal blow to the once impenetrable Trudeau brand, it also casts unwelcome scrutiny on his immediate family and on an international charity juggernaut with links to Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and several other well-known celebrities and leaders.

The latest imbroglio is related to the government contract handed to the WE Charity to run a $660 million program for students unable to find summer work due to Covid-19.

Ok, so my questions are…how serious is all of this? Has this been a big thing in Canada, or is this just something CNN is bringing up? Canadian 'dopers, does this change anything about your feelings for the Trudeau government? Will this cause a shift in politics (I guess to the Conservative Party of Canada, or maybe one of the others?)? What will the fall out of this be, if any?

It’s a minority government so an election can be, theoretically, triggered at any vote of no confidence (plus the Liberals are hurting from public fatigue). However, on the other hand, Trudeau’s handling of he covid crisis adds legitimacy to him and the Tories are in a completely disarray from having undergone a recent coup d’etat (with the party jackals sacrificing and devouring their uninspiring leader), and the other opposition parties having yet to recover funds to their war chests (third/forth parties always recover funds slower then the wealthy Libs/Cons).

In general,Canadians tend to stick with a party or leader until the corruption makes us sick of them. The Liberals will weather their scandals til Trudeau gets bogged down enough for the other parties (in unison) to taste blood.

According to the poll numbers the Grits are puling 39.7% (40% being the traditional guaranteed, safe-bet, a-ok, greenlight signal to trigger an election and win a majority). If these numbers hold, Trudeau would be a fool not to try triggering an election whenever this pandemic wraps up.

Not that serious. Unfortunately, Canadians are accustomed to small scandals of this sort.

Canada has three parties - the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives. There exist international scales that subjectively score parties from very left wing (-10) to very right wing (+10). By that measure, all of Canada’s parties are moderate. All broadly agree, in fact, on health care, foreign policy and somewhat liberal social values. The NDP prefers taxing business and more social programs, and might be -3. The Liberals are broader based and might be -1. The Conservatives sometimes favour fewer handouts, smaller budgets and thus are not always preferred by somewhat influential unions. They might be a +1. There are social conservatives, of course, but the party has largely conceded that they cannot win elections with overly strong views. In Canada, the Prime Minister and immediate advisors hold much of the de facto power due to fairly rigid party discipline.

No one really cares that the PM has influential friends. Most Canadians are socially liberal and many are economic conservatives. The scandal regarding trying to influence the Justice Minister was moderately concerning since they are meant to be independent, but fulfill a dual role which means they furnish political advice. I personally prefer two separate positions. This current scandal looks pretty shabby, but nepotism and helping ones buddies are nothing new in Canadian politics. Trudeau had built a lot of goodwill with competent handling of the Coronavirus. This somewhat undermines that. And for nothing. But his overall position is still strong, and one waits to see if a new Conservative leader will challenge that.

It is clear Canadian and Chinese relations need reconsideration, but Canada is a moderate player. They’ll likely wait for the US November elections.

(The above post is necessarily simplified, but fairly accurate. Quebec has its own parties that emphasize regional interests, which often differ slightly from elsewhere. The West and Maritime East have their own concerns but regional parties have not always done well. Farmers and rural areas tend to be more conservative. Cities tend to be more liberal and NDP. Canadians tend to tire of governments with time, in many provinces the Liberals and Conservatives trade power; occasionally the NDP gets a chance. Canadians, especially younger ones, are becoming a little more environmentally conscientious and there is also a Green Party).

The incident has been front page news for a few days. The government has delayed inquiries. Is there outrage? It’s fair to call it muted. Columnists are complaining there should be outrage. The WE Charity has done some good work and is “going back to its roots”. Its reputation has suffered since they may have made an unsolicited proposal to the PM. Or not. We don’t really know. There was no competitive bidding, and it isn’t that easy to believe experienced civil servants would do what was vaguely claimed. Still, it seems to have cost the Liberals relatively little in the polls. People like Justin and feel the Liberals have done well on coronavirus and what could be expected in US relations. People are less happy with debts and China but may not be convinced other parties would be that different. The Conservatives are electing a new leader so will have an opportunity to prove otherwise.

Still a Trudeau fan here so I may be biased, but it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. The hypothesis that tries to make it a big deal is the “last straw” principle": first, there was the SNC Lavalin influence scandal (Trudeau response: “Sorry about that”), then the brownface picture (a non-issue, IMHO) – (Trudeau response: “Sorry about that”), and now the WE charity thing (Trudeau response: “Sorry about that”). It’s not that it’s such a big deal, AFAIK, it’s that there’s a limited number of times that you can keep saying “sorry” without the public starting to expect that they’ll be hearing it a lot more.

My take on it is it image over substance. The Conservatives bandy about the $900M price tag for the entire program instead of the $19M in fees WE could have collected. Unfortunately it doesn’t smell good and he should have recused himself as should’ve Bill Morneau (the Finance minister whose daughter is a contract employee at WE).

The Liberal Party has pretty much always been the party of petty little scandals like these, so yet another petty little scandal is completely unsurprising.

When I first started voting, the Progressive Conservative Party was a reasonable alternative to the Liberals, so the pattern became alternating between Libs and PCs as government whenever the level of scandal exceeded some threshold.

The problem now is, that threshold has become much, much higher, because the modern Conservative Party no longer looks like a reasonable alternative. They’re in the middle of another leadership race, and for the last 20 years or so, it seems like every time they choose a new leader, the party gets worse. Harper was finally too much for me, and I don’t see any way a person better than Harper can win the leadership these days. I tried joining the party to vote in such a person last time, and we ended up in a coin flip choice between Scheer and Bernier.

So, do I accept the usual Liberal Scandals, or do I endorse ever more insane Conservative leadership?

Scandal it is!

The Aga Khan vacation and the WE charity thing make Trudeau look out of touch, IMO. The SNC-Lavalin scandal was more serious, but shamelessly trying to curry favour in Quebec is a fun pastime for all Canadian political parties (niqabs, anyone?) and I personally don’t have a problem with deferred prosecution agreements.

I agree 100% that in and of itself, it’s not that big a deal, but to me the bigger issue is the lack of judgement he (and the government) continue to have.

The SNC scandal was a very big deal and happened very recently. Forcing out a high profile cabinet minister because she wouldn’t look the other way on a criminal scandal for the sake of Quebec “economy” (aka votes) was outrageous.

To then go down the bad ethics path again so soon after is pathetic.

Also agree that the whole black face scandal was a real non-issue except for one fact: his claim he “didn’t recall” it (and in fact he’d done it more than once). Perhaps I’m different than he is, but I can recall with absolute certainty the number of times I’ve have ever done blackface: zero, (let alone several times). It strikes me that in this case he was hoping it would not be picked up in the media and just blow over.

As far as apologizing goes: On the Netflix series “Patriot Act” Hasan Minhaj does an interview with him and as part of it does a kind of a super-cut of Trudeau publicly apologizing for various things since he came into power. The apologizing is a good thing but the number of tikes he’s had to apologize is frankly embarrassing and cringeworthy.

I think the overall difference is that Trudeau supporters see each of these as a isolated instances and each minor and forgivable. Non-supporters see these as a very disturbing consistent pattern of behaviour that shows a leader who is clueless about ethics because he thinks the established rules don’t apply to him and his party.

But as the saying goes: In a democracy, you get exactly the government you deserve.

In fact the contract would likely have been for +$40 Million CDN.
From CNN:

On Thursday, Bardish Chagger, the minister of diversity and inclusion and youth, revealed that WE could have received a maximum of about $32 million [USD] for its role in administering the program

The $19 Million was minimum and the the number bandied about by the Liberals to downplay the magnitude and trivialize it to Canadians.

Those comments are fair. But ultimately, Canadians will decide if the Conservatives (or another party) would do better. The two Conservative candidates are experienced and competent, but also uninspiring and have not yet expressed dramatically different ideas. Coronavirus was initially handled well in Canada, and this has looked good for both Trudeau and Ontario PC leader Doug Ford, who I have considerably more respect for now (although not starting from a massive surplus).

It’s a big deal in Western Canada, where we wouldn’t cross the street to spit on the Trudeau name. The Liberals have traditionally been the party of Ontario and points east, and the attitudes you’re seeing in this thread speak to that - Trudeau being thoroughly corrupt, spineless, and more incompetent than not just doesn’t seem to bother Eastern Canadians.

That said, we don’t want the too-far-right Conservatives to take over from the corrupt Liberals, either. I voted for the NDP in the last election, and I will in the next one, too, assuming they don’t lose their minds and select an odious person like Scheer for their leader.

Also, in my opinion, scandals are a big deal, and politicians caught red-handed like PM Trudeau has been multiple times should resign and slink away in disgrace.

I think a fundamental reason our neighbours to the South have the Cheeto Toddler running their country right now is because people have become indifferent to political scandals.

Was the Aga Khan scandal worthy of Trudeau stepping down? Maybe not, but it sure was tone deaf.

The SNC Lavalin scandal should have toppled the government. Handing SNC all that work was unconscionable, but then turning around and chasing Wilson-Raybould and Philpott out of cabinet because they wouldn’t play ball was even worse. Lucky for them, they had to run against Andrew Scheer, who is a piece of human garbage with no redeeming qualities and less personality, in last year’s election. If the Conservatives had a non-loathsome leader, that election would have been a gimme, in my opinion, especially after the mid-election blackface scandal. But Scheer sucks SO much most Canadians (myself included) couldn’t stomach the thought of letting him run the country.

The WE Charity scandal, in my opinion, is less severe than the SNC scandal, but after all the other scandals, this should be showing people that this is a person unworthy of our nation’s highest office. Instead people are just shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Well, at least he’s really man-pretty!”

This shouldn’t even be a question. If you have a major scandal, you should be out on your ear. So Trudeau should have been gone awhile ago. And Scheer too. But they’re not because we’ve become comfortable with political scandal, which makes it almost inevitable that we’ll be okay with a dirty Doug Ford-type getting elected to the PM’s office, sooner or later.

The west thinks it’s a big deal, but other than a coiple of ridings in BC, there are no federal liberals in the west. So, we have no real power to change things.

The collapse of the federal conservatives and the terrible leadership of Scheer guarantees Trudeau’s safety. People in the East would vote for a used puck bag before they’d punt Trudeau in favor of a conservative minority.

Did you not even follow the October election?

Libs: 33.12%
Cons: 34.34%

Blame the system not “eastern voters” for Scheer’s failure there.

I read that the NDP in British Columbia have experienced a big surge. It’s probably multifactorial, including BC-Alberta and environmental issues. But this might be a contributing factor, not sure how big.

Canadian media also has strong ties to the Federal Conservatives such as postmedia news owned by Paul Godfrey a former Conservative MP. Trudeau can’t take a dump without the “stench” of scandal permeating the political winds in this country.