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KAS Canada/Annika Weikinnis

Country Reports

Worst poll results since 2015: Justin Trudeau becomes a burden for his party

Canada's Conservatives are riding a mood high

The dissatisfaction of the Canadian population with their governing party and its leader has reached new depths. There seems to be no end in sight to the Liberals' 15-month slide. The popularity of both the party and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has steadily declined, and the latest results of opinion polls by Canada's leading institutes are not likely to reassure the Liberals' worried base. At the same time, the Conservatives (CPC) under their charismatic leader Pierre Poilievre are basking in poll results that currently even suggest that a majority government for the party, which has remained in opposition since 2015, is possible.

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Justin Trudeau, it seems at the moment, is not capable of learning. Like so many top politicians before him, he has missed the moment for a glorious exit. Just a year ago, he publicly insisted that he wanted to and would be the one to lead his party into the next election campaign. Quite a few people suspected a certain arrogance behind this, that after Scheer and O'Toole, Poilievre would now be the third conservative challenger to be "cleared". From today's perspective, that has become a good deal less likely. For Trudeau, therefore, there is little cause for hope at the moment, but also in the medium term. In the run-up to a recent retreat of his own parliamentary caucus in the House of Commons, some MPs - quite unusually for the Liberals - for the first time even openly criticized the party leadership for having allowed the Conservative Poilievre, as a result of a lack of counterattacks, to take his personal and his party's poll ratings to hitherto unknown heights and to stabilize them there, while the numbers for the Liberals quickly fell into the demoscopic hole and, according to the opinion of pollsters, this trend threatens to become permanent in a way that is fatal for the party. Some particularly courageous Liberal MPs, talking to journalists, voiced the theory, which seems almost subversive for the "Grits", that Justin Trudeau might not be the right leader (anymore) for the next House of Commons elections. Unexpectedly, however, the question of Justin Trudeau's political legacy is already on the table now. And it is currently completely open whether he will be able to experience and shape it as an asset or a burden to his party.

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Dr. Norbert Eschborn


Director KAS Office Canada +1-613-422-4300


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