The link between Justin Trudeau's allegations, his political survival and 'near-unprecedented' rates of disapproval : The Tribune India

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The link between Justin Trudeau's allegations, his political survival and 'near-unprecedented' rates of disapproval

Trudeau’s existing woes--high housing/living cost, inflation and ‘rising popularity’ of political rival Pierre Poilievre

The link between Justin Trudeau's allegations, his political survival and 'near-unprecedented' rates of disapproval

Justin Trudeau. Reuters

Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, September 19

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is currently facing “near-unprecedented” rates of disapproval due to high housing and living cost, inflation and related issues in his country, according to reports.

Recently, a survey by Abacus Data, a Canada based “full-service market and public opinion research agency” found that millennials were “nearly twice as likely to vote Conservative as Liberal”. Meanwhile, as per the Angus Reid Institute, Trudeau currently has an “approval rating of 33 per cent against a disapproval rating of 63 per cent.”

Angus Reid Institute is a “national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to enhance and encourage better understanding of issues and trends affecting economic, social, governance, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and foreign policy in Canada and its world”, according to its website.

Ground reports suggest that Trudeau has been as “unpopular only once before, in a brief period in February 2020 when he was blamed for a series of anti-pipeline rail and border blockades”.

Situation is changing

Unaffordable housing and rising cost of living has led young people to believe that opposition Conservatives were more capable of solving their issues than Liberals—the party Trudeau belongs to.

Observers say Trudeau may have fuelled economic growth and plugged gaps in the labour market by ramping up immigration but new arrivals are also straining public services and contributing to “overheating” of the economy.

And it is not as if those arriving in the land of their dreams are in any better situation.

As the country deals with high inflation and a housing crisis, overseas students, including from India, are the worst hit.

According to polls, “Rising cost of living is by far the number one issue for Canadians under 40.”

Earlier, it was environment and climate change.

Apart from offsetting the effects of aging population, the rise in population is coming at an economic cost.

Rising popularity of Pierre Poilievre

This is not all. According to experts, the popularity of Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre is climbing making him “Canadians’ top choice for PM”.

“Poilievre is the favourite to win the country’s next election. His party is streaming ahead harnessing existing concerns like high inflation, rising interest rates and the escalating cost of home ownership in the country.

“Trudeau also faced substantial flak from his opponents over the frosty treatment he received in India during the recent G-20 summit. His supporters are unhappy over India ticking him off on the Khalistan issue. This could be among the reasons for his allegation about the Indian government and the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” they add.

Heading a minority government, Trudeau needs the support of NDP headed by Jagmeet Singh ‘Jimmy’ Dhaliwal to survive.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) won 24 seats in 2021, making it critical for the survival of the Trudeau government. This may be among the reasons why Trudeau cannot afford to antagonise “someone who is a known Khalistani supporter”, say observers.

New chill in India-Canada relations

After a “pause” on the Early Progress Trade Agreement or EPTA in August, the Justin Trudeau Government has indefinitely postponed a trade mission to India scheduled for October.

The already-frosty relations due to his "soft corner for Khalistani supporters" received more setback after Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat following Trudeau's allegations that the Indian government may have had links with the killing of Nijjar.

India retaliated by summoning the Canadian High Commissioner and expelling a senior diplomat.

Rejecting Trudeau's remarks and the statement by his Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie while expelling an Indian diplomat as “absurd and motivated”, sources say the Canadian PM made similar allegations during his brief “pull-aside” meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the margins of the G20 on September 10.

"The allegations were completely rejected. However, Trudeau had made up his mind to go ballistic against India while he was held up in India after his special aircraft developed a technical snag," they add.

Stranded in India, Trudeau receives flak from opposition back home

Trudeau, along with son Xavier and his country’s delegation, remained stranded in India for two days following the technical glitch which resulted in much criticism and controversy for him back home over the “crumbling state’ infrastructure” of the country.

Trudeau’s main opponent, leader of the Conservative Party Pierre Poilievre, posted on X: “Now Trudeau gets to experience the same flight delays he has imposed on Canadians through his mismanagement of federal airports.”

The fact is, just like his last visit, Trudeau's 2023 visit was also more about the state of his relationship with India.

"PM Modi’s frosty handshake when he met for a pull-aside with Trudeau was also noticed back home as compared to the warmth he showed while meeting other leaders," observers say.

Trudeau was also not spotted at the President’s gala dinner.

The fact is PM Modi and his Canadian counterpart did not hold a formal bilateral meeting during the G-20.

Rather, in his talks with Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 summit, PM Modi conveyed to Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.

The 2023 G20 visit was a reminder of his highly forgettable first official visit to India in 2018 when he received a similar cold-shoulder from PM Modi. Accompanied by his family, Trudeau was received by a junior minister when he landed in New Delhi.

Trudeau and Khalistan

In the past couple of months, major anti-India incidents involving Khalistani separatists have been reported in Canada.

Even while Trudeau was in India for the G20 summit, Khalistani secessionists held a ‘referendum’ in Surrey.

Trudeau has seemingly not taken any strong action against what is now being called by observers as “new resurgence of Khalistani activism” in Canada—the most popular country for migration from India, especially from Punjab.

India did not appreciate Trudeau’s near dismissal of Khalistani separatist activity by stating during media interaction during G20 that it was a “small group” of people and that Ontario would continue to safeguard “freedom of expression”.

“Obviously, Canada will always defend freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, peaceful protest. That’s something that’s extremely important to us. At the same time, we are always there to prevent violence, to push back against hatred.

“It’s important to remember that the actions of the few do not represent the entire community or Canada,” he told the media in India.

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#Canada #Inflation #Justin Trudeau

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