It is easy to jump on the bandwagon of bashing Justin Trudeau, but unfortunately for the federal Liberal Party strategists who are the faceless, nameless people actually running the country, the current prime minister is giving critics the keys and open back gate to that wagon.
And it isn’t his fault really. I mean, his father was one of the most prolific, if not controversial, prime ministers in Canadian history, certainly in the modern era. But, as a politician or at least a figurehead representative for what the federal Liberal hierarchy wants, one wonders if Justin has what it takes to even get the message out other than having the right last name.
When he is put in situations where he doesn’t have a prepared speech or is surrounded by 100 per cent Liberal supporters, he has on too many occasions looked shaky. Not what you would expect from a leader of a country, which for the Liberal hierarchy is disastrous going into a federal election.
This goes beyond his initial calling card just before he was first elected of taking selfies with everyone and him selling his charm and charisma to the public. After more news conferences and the handling of complex and difficult situations, the charming, fun loving nice guy shtick doesn't work.
Now, even relatively straightforward announcements are becoming fiascoes.
On June 10, Trudeau announced the federal government will ban single-use plastics by 2021. This include plates, cutlery, and balloon sticks to name a few. No more straws, plastic forks, stir sticks etc. It will cause a lot of financial discomfort as plastic is cheap for restaurants, fruit and soft drink producers and is convenient for the public.
Until someone figures out a replacement for plastic, there will be confusion and inconsistency. One fast food chain (which uses two letters in its name), is lauding the fact it has paper-based straws. That's all nice except that while one pushes these recycled paper straws through the plastic top of the cup which is made of paper that is either coated with plastic or wax - neither of which can be recycled, there is a ton of non-biodegradable items heading for landfills and sadly to large waterbodies.
A strong voice is needed.
While the carbon tax is generally despised and can be easily argued it is simply a money grab, at the very, very least, it is an acknowledgment the environment is within the realm of the collective consciousness of politicians.
While the merits and the motivations for the environmental initiative can be questioned and debated (i.e. the federal Green Party has 14 per cent support in Atlantic Canada normally a Liberal stronghold according to a recent poll), it is a complex, complicated and contentious issue which needs some forethought and strong leadership. Voters have to know leaders have a firm grasp of the situation and a plan in place.
However, Trudeau's June 10th news conference announcing the "drinking straw ban" brought up a rather glaring issue.
Trudeau latest gaff when it comes to the single serve plastic issue and his explanation is one of those times where critics will be having a field day. At a news conference June 10 at the Gault Nature Reserve of McGill University, a reporter asked the question of what the prime minister and his family does in order to cut back on plastics’ use. Simple enough, but obviously one he was not prepared to answer.
His response was went like this: ““We…uh…uh…we have recently switched to drinking water bottles out of…water out of when we have uh bottles out of uh plastic, sorry, away from plastic towards uh paper — like drink box water bottles sort of things,” he replied.
Trudeau repeatedly has shown that is on the spot, off the cuff remarks are not his forte.
The white (plastic) elephant in the room is the glaring problem for the federal strategists about how Trudeau can think on his feet. Before, the federal Liberal strategist would send the charming Trudeau to smooth over any situations which voters didn't like. Now, their spokesperson AKA. the leader of the country... is getting chastised for sounding anything but a leader. Now Trudeau gets criticized for HIS domestic and global policies; HIS direction; HIS global negotiating ability and HIS ability to handling cabinet; HIS putting Canada into major debt etc.
What does all of this mean? It means a fast approaching federal election campaign where the Opposition Parties will be hiring extra editors and researchers to dig up every political gaff, controversy (Trans Canada Pipeline, SNC-Lavalin-Jody Wilson-Raybould, debt, embarrassing vacation to India) — every misquote, misspoke, mistake over the past few years.
These mistakes and bumbling situations will wash up on shore for Liberal critics like many of those hunks of ugly plastic the government is trying to eliminate.