Vastavam web: Canadians are electing a new Parliament on Monday after a tight election campaign that has raised the threat of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being knocked from power after one term. The 47-year-old Trudeau channeled the star power of his father, the liberal icon and late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, when he won in 2015 but a combination of scandal and high expectations have damaged his prospects.
Polls indicate Trudeau’s Liberal Party could lose to the rival Conservatives, or perhaps win but still fail to get a majority of seats in Parliament and have to rely on an opposition party to remain in power. Not in 84 years has a first-term Canadian prime minister with a parliamentary majority lost a bid for re-election.
Trudeau reasserted liberalism in 2015 after almost 10 years of Conservative Party government in Canada, but he is one of the few remaining progressive leaders in the world. He has been viewed as a beacon for liberals in the Trump era, even appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine under the headline “Why Can’t He Be Our President?” Perhaps sensing Trudeau is in trouble, Barack Obama made an unprecedented endorsement by a former American president in urging Canadians to re-elect Trudeau and saying the world needs his progressive leadership now.
But old photos of Trudeau in blackface and brownface surfaced last month, casting doubt on his judgment. Trudeau also was hurt by a scandal that erupted this year when his former attorney general said he pressured her to halt the prosecution of a Quebec company. Trudeau has said he was standing up for jobs, but the damage gave a boost to the Conservative Party led by Andrew Scheer. No party is expected to get a majority of Parliament’s 338 seats, so a shaky alliance may be needed to pass legislation.