[Wente] Trudeau's lack of gravity could allow Liberal election hopes to float up and away

[Wente] Trudeau’s lack of gravity could allow Liberal election hopes to float up and away

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[Globe and Mail] Justin Trudeau may face a surprisingly tough election fight this year. His worst problem is not the winsome dimples of Andrew Scheer (a man few of us would recognize if we bumped into him). His problem is that after three years of exposure, the charm has worn thin. He is often glib. He strikes a lot of voters as fatuous and superficial. He’s smart enough, but it’s a mean old world out there and people understandably wonder if he’s up to the challenges that Canada is facing. He can’t make tough choices. Instead, he tells us we can have it all – pipelines along with carbon taxes, and substantial deficits which he swears are being spent on good investments. Not everyone is buying it.

VIDEO: [Rebel] Media commentary suggests Albertans who don’t like Trudeau are probably deplorables

The disenchantment with Mr. Trudeau has driven his party’s popularity down to about 36 per cent in the polls – only two points ahead of the Conservatives, as noted by UBC professor Richard Johnston.Mr. Trudeau’s own approval rating is lower than U.S. President Donald Trump’s. A new Nik Nanos poll says that 35 per cent of Canadians approve of the Trudeau government’s performance – about the same percentage who approved of Stephen Harper’s performance in 2014.

My hunch is that Mr. Trudeau will win. But he does have weak spots. Here are the biggest ones.

Alone in the world. Canada may never have been so isolated as we are today, former diplomat Lawrence Herman argued in the Globe. Mr. Trudeau’s initial foreign-policy goal was to declare to the world that Canada was back and punching above its weight again. Instead, we’re the ones taking the beating. Our Saudi Arabia relations, for example, were fractured by a Chrystia Freeland tweet. We are now also on the outs with Russia, China and India, and even our relationship with the United States is troubled.

And most recently, in what appears to be retaliation for our arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou , the Chinese are planning a retrial for convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Lloyd Schellenberg. One possible penalty: execution. It’s a brutal world out there. And with so many of our foreign relationships in tatters, Mr. Trudeau is going to have to find a better way forward than lecturing about his favourite subject – gender.

Fractured at home. Western alienation is nothing new, but this time it’s serious. According to an Ipsos poll, only 18 per cent of Albertans believe that “the views of Western Canada are adequately represented in Ottawa,” and many are upset because Quebec gets billions in equalization payments and they don’t. Many of their grievances are legitimate. Mr. Trudeau promised Albertans a “social licence” to build pipelines, in exchange for carbon taxes. Trouble is, they got the taxes but not the pipelines.

This article continues at [Globe and Mail] Why Trudeau might lose

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