Justin Trudeau is not your woke bae, he's just Joe Biden with abs: there's no policy so progressive that JT won't endorse it, provided that he never has to do anything to make good on that endorsement, which is how JT ended up being complicit in the #MuslimBan, making Canada's Patriot Act much worse, bailing out the Transcanada pipeline so in service to Alberta's filthy, planet-destroying tar sands, abandoning his promises for indigenous reconciliation, rescuing the giant Saudi arms deal, caving to Trump on NAFTA 2.0, and putting partisanship ahead of justice to get a corrupt, giant engineering company off the hook, throwing his indigenous Attorney General under the bus in order to preserve his relationship with a giant party donor.
Considered in that light, his multiple brown- and blackface incidents feel like the icing on a big, inedible cake.
It's hard to imagine that history will be kind to Trudeau's posterity -- after all, even Justin Trudeau took to the streets to march against Justin Trudeau's policies.
Yesterday, Canadians went to the polls to elect a new parliament and Prime Minister. They dealt a brutal blow to Trudeau and his Liberal Party, voting out twenty of his MPs. Meanwhile, the Tories -- who've been riven by internal divisions as the white nationalist wing of the party has tired of being rebuffed by the Tory's plutocrat power brokers and schismed, founding their own "People's Party" -- picked up 26 seats and narrowly won the popular vote.
The Liberals still have the largest block in Parliament, and will form a minority government, relying on the leftist New Democratic Party (who lost 15 seats) to supply the majorities they need to enact their agenda. This will act as a powerful check on Trudeau's politics of Clintonian sellout triangulation, with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh publicly declaring the cost of his support: "support for a national pharmacare plan, investments in housing, addressing student debt, lowering cell phone and internet bills, action on climate, and raising taxes on the wealthiest Canadians."
It will be interesting/terrifying to watch what happens next. The Bloc Quebecois gained 22 seats and now has 32 MPs (the Greens managed 3 MPs); the Bloc has a mixed bag of priorities and policies, including broad support for the provincial Parti Québécois's racist "religious symbol ban."
Meanwhile, the Liberal Party's internal power brokers -- who won every fight over the past 5 years to put party over country and appearance over substance -- are now going to be engaged in a high-stakes game of brinksmanship, demanding that the NDP support more-of-the-same neoliberal sellouts, dangling the threat of an election-triggering no-confidence vote and a possible Conservative majority.
Though Trudeau’s Liberals did reinvest funds that Harper’s Conservatives cut from Palestinian refugees, progressives quickly noticed how Trudeau and his government would go out of their way to attack Canadians who advocated for Palestinian rights. This was accompanied by robust diplomatic support for the policies of the right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, who was the antithesis of everything Trudeau was supposed to represent.
In region after region, Liberal foreign policy appeared to come out of the Harper playbook. This included Canada’s participation in a campaign to force regime change in oil-rich Venezuela and approving record weapons sales to a notorious human rights violator, Saudi Arabia, as it wages a brutal war in Yemen.
Even Trudeau’s feminist foreign policy seemed hollow.
What good did it do for Yemeni women whose communities are being destroyed with Canadian weapons, Palestinian women shot for protesting the blockade on Gaza or Venezuelan women impoverished by a Canadian-backed economic blockade?
Justin Trudeau: The good news - and bad - for Canada's PM [Jessica Murphy/BBC]
Justin Trudeau’s political setback: A surprise to the world, but not to Canada [Jeremy Wildeman/The Conversation]
(Image: Justin Trudeau promotional photo, Jean-Marc Carisse, CC BY, modified; Oil Covering a Beach - Black Sea Oil Spill 11/12/07, Marine Photobank, CC BY, modified)