As we wind down the year, it’s traditional that the prime minister sits down with various media types to talk about the government’s accomplishments and its political future.
In a series of such interviews, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau downplayed many of the missteps that his government made in the past year and boldly predicted that the Liberals’ positive messaging would carry them to victory over a Conservative Party that he suggests has resorted to wedge politics, pitting one group against another.
Frankly, it does seem that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is dipping into the Donald Trump and Doug Ford playbook on hot-button issues like immigration and the environment, and the ever-popular right-wing tactic of attacking the media for having the temerity to critique those policies.
And, while many Canadians find that kind of politics reprehensible, the chilling reality is that the Trumps and the Fords got elected playing that game, so it’s no surprise that Scheer is jumping on that bandwagon.
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If the prime minister wants to hang on to government next year, he needs to acknowledge that 2018 was not a good year for his government and many of the wounds it suffered were self-inflicted.
It’s not unusual for the popularity of any government to ebb and flow, but the prime minister must realize that, heading into an election year, channelling Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s “sunny ways” mantra won’t be enough; it has a lot of work to do to win the hearts and minds of Canadian voters again.