Lukewarm leadership all around

Weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

The SNC Lavalin scandal just seems to keep dragging on with one of the most notable developments being Jane Philpott resigning from cabinet. You’d think that between Jody Wilson Raybould’s testimony and both of them resigning from cabinet and continuous media coverage, it’d be untenable for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to continue regardless of whether you think what he did was fine or not.

Yet, despite having been largely unsuccessful in changing the topic with some announcements, he seems to just be trucking on. It seems like unless the voters abandon Trudeau and the Liberals, it’s hard to see him stepping down, barring any criminal charges. It’s hard to believe the Liberals would stick with Trudeau if he seemed no longer viable in an election that’s coming up fairly soon.

In that respect, if Trudeau is able to stay on as the leader of the Liberal party, if nothing else, it says a lot about Andrew Sheer’s and Jagmeet Singh’s leadership.

If we take a look at the recent Burnaby South byelection, it’s pretty gloomy for both of them. The Conservatives actually dropped from 28 per cent in 2015 to 22.5 per cent in that byelection, with the People’s Party eating up a sizable 10.6 per cent. On the NDP side of things, Singh’s election was celebrated by NDP but if you look at things more closely there are some worrying signs there too. The Liberals dropped by 10 per cent, from 36 to 26 but that still left them somewhat comfortably in second. Sure the NDP picked up four per cent, but that hardly seems like something to brag about when the Green Party, who took five per cent last time, didn’t field a candidate this time around, when the Liberal leader is involved in a federal scandal and when the local liberal candidate had to be replaced at the last minute. For comparison, in the last election, former NDP leader Tom Mulcair won his riding by 44 per cent, Trudeau won his by 52 per cent and Sheer by 45 per cent, those were all without one of the main parties involved in scandal.

Then you’ve still got to take into account Burnaby having some of the most vocal opposition to the Trans Mountain the Liberals have been pushing and you’ve got to wonder, how did the Liberals ever manage to hold on to 26 per cent?

Furthermore, the NDP lost Mulcair’s former seat, Outremont, in a byelection to the Liberals by 16 per cent.

Looking at the bigger picture, it appears as though that means we’re heading into a federal election where many voters are pretty lukewarm about all the leadership options.

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