Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given Canadians many reasons to doubt his competence to lead a G7 country. Generally his foibles seem superficial and relatively harmless, like the “Mr. Dress-up” tour of India. But some of his public comments and policy choices are starting to cause real harm. Perhaps the worst of these is the January 2017 #WelcomeToCanada tweet inviting refugee claimants from everywhere – including Donald Trump’s America – to Canada. Now the country faces an escalating invasion of asylum seekers illegally crossing the border from the U.S. at a rate of hundreds per day. Processing the tens of thousands of claims and accommodating their needs is overwhelming government resources and creating serious security risks. All this, contends Candice Malcolm, is a consequence of Trudeau’s reckless and vain attempt to position himself as the “anti-Trump”.
Author: Candice Malcolm
As prime minister, Stephen Harper’s international speeches were often peppered with tough talk about “punching above our weight” and “restoring Canada’s status and influence” on the world stage. From the war in Afghanistan to unequivocal support for Israel to calling out Vladimir Putin to fighting Islamist terrorism, there was scant diplomatic nuance in Harper foreign policy. The moral clarity was refreshing and revolutionary, writes Candice Malcolm. But now “Canada’s back” under Justin Trudeau, in its traditional guise as an “honest broker” and “helpful fixer”, and Malcolm suspects the mullahs in Iran are as pleased as the bureaucrats at Foreign Affairs.
A decade ago Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney calculated that the old Liberal model for electoral success in Canada was broken. Economic and political power had shifted from Ontario and Quebec to the West and to the fast-growing populations of new immigrants in suburban ridings across the country. They developed a message aimed at those voters and it helped win three successive elections, culminating in the big 2011 majority where over 40 percent of new Canadians voted Conservative. No other centre-right party in the world has pulled this off. Can the Conservatives do it again in 2015, when the European refugee crisis has become a campaign issue, and the Tories are being cast as insensitive to immigrants? Candice Malcolm weighs the odds.