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Trudeau's Record Shows He's Not a Leader

07/14/2015 12:39 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 05:59 EDT
Melissa Laforge via Getty Images
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Justin Trudeau speaks as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, 2013

Justin Trudeau is simply not qualified for the job of prime minister. That's the argument of the first hard-hitting book that looks at Justin Trudeau's record as leader of the Liberal Party, The Dauphin: The Truth about Justin Trudeau [disclosure: I share a publisher Paul Tuns].

Canadians will head to the polls in less than 100 days to determine which party's plan they most agree with. While all three parties have charted their respective courses and given ample evidence of how they will attempt to define the election, the book's author, Paul Tuns, argues that Trudeau simply is not up to the job. However, it would be a mistake at this point to label Trudeau as an "unbearably light" one-trick-pony whose only idea is to legalize marijuana. Indeed, Trudeau has made public proclamations on many other policies -- it's just that those policies aren't that good, are not well thought through, and Trudeau offers little detail when asked.

There's a reason the Conservatives have targeted Trudeau for being "just in over his head" or "just not ready," and why the New Democrats remind voters that being prime minister is not "an entry-level job" -- it resonates with voters to believe that Justin Trudeau was basically anointed into his leadership position by a party desperate for a saviour, and the best saviour at the time was someone with a famous last name. Perhaps any one single gaffe could have been dismissed as a mistake, but the volume of complaints and problems under Trudeau's leadership demonstrates something much worse:

  • Trudeau's near constant screw ups have resulted in countless apologies and "clarifications" that make it clear that either Trudeau likes to make immature "jokes" about sensitive issues, or that he doesn't understand the topic he was discussing in the first place.
  • He laughably promises "open nominations," despite the fact that nearly a dozen Liberal nominations have been called into question for direct interference by Liberal officials or Trudeau himself. That includes an Ottawa nomination where the police were called in to elect Trudeau's preferred candidate.
  • Trudeau made a total of $1.3 million between 2006 and 2009 for giving motivational speeches. He would continue this work even after he was elected as a Member of Parliament.
  • He claims to want to help the middle class, yet can't define who the middle class is.
  • He complained that the Conservatives were supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression and invasion (Trudeau claimed it was for nothing more than "domestic political advancement"), but would not articulate what he would do differently.
  • He complained the Conservatives were not investing enough money in infrastructure, but would not say exactly where the Conservatives' infrastructure budget should have gone.
  • He famously said that "growing the economy" would mean the "budget will balance itself," but would not offer specifics on how he would grow the economy.
  • He has no policy on oil pipelines, whether they should or should not be used, and where they should go. Trudeau supports projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline, but blames the Conservative government for the American delay in approving or denying the project. He opposes other projects, often finding a way to blame the Conservatives.
  • As a self-proclaimed environmentalist, he railed against "the capitalist machine" but but has since toned down his rhetoric to attempt to appear more moderate.
  • He makes vague claims that Canada should develop its resources sustainably and responsibly, but will not say what he would change about the Conservatives' current approach.
  • He has continually supported a carbon tax, the same proposal that defeated former Liberal leaders Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. He has made it part of the Liberals' 2015 platform.
  • He has eliminated conscience votes for his current Members of Parliament, telling them and prospective candidates that they all must be in favour of abortion. This drew heavy criticism from Trudeau's own Catholic church, including a call for Trudeau to be kicked out of the church for going against his faith.
  • He has mocked women with a sexist "Ladies' Night" that proposed "tough" questions like "what's your favourite virtue?" and "who are your real-life heroes?" When he was asked a real question (which country besides Canada do you most admire?) by a woman who wasn't there for Trudeau's nice hair, Trudeau infamously quipped China, "because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to turn the economy around on a dime."
  • He says putting criminals in jail is being "dumb on crime," but would not give a Liberal plan to better rehabilitate criminals. He says he would consider repealing mandatory minimum sentences and the mandatory victims' surcharge, which is used to help support victims of crime.
  • He initially voted to keep the long-gun registry, but has since downplayed his support for the failed policy, claiming he would not bring it back if given the chance.
  • He initially voted to increase penalties for individuals using drugs, including marijuana, but since becoming leader has championed marijuana legalization as one of his core policies.

Voters are beginning to weigh their options for this fall's federal election. With a leader like Justin Trudeau, it's no wonder that voters are increasingly passing over the Liberals and moving to the Conservatives or New Democrats. But hey, maybe come November Trudeau can join disgraced former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Dalton McGuinty with a cushy speaking gig at Harvard.

Daniel Dickin is the author of Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record.

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