OPINION: Scandal Threatens Trudeau's Electoral Prospects
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced a steep plunge in popularity.
Former-Attorney General and Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould accused Trudeau of pressuring her to negotiate a deal with SNC- Lavalin, a Canadian company charged with corruption, and of punishing her refusal by transferring her to a less influential ministry, Foreign Policy reports.
Trudeau denied applying pressure and stressed that he simply suggested looking for alternatives to taking the company to trial. “SNC- Lavalin is a company that employs nine thousand Canadians across this country [...] but they are also a company facing serious criminal charges,” he stated. “The context is a tough one, with potential job losses in the thousands.”
The question remains, how much will the scandal affect Trudeau’s prospects for re-election in the October general election?
Given that Trudeau ran on a platform of transparency, the scandal has likely weakened his electoral position, prompting voters to see his opponents as alternatives. According to City News, 41 percent of Canadians had a positive view of Trudeau while 39 percent had a negative view before the scandal broke. Afterwards, the numbers flipped to 33 percent positive and 47 percent negative.
However, Trudeau’s brand and the erosion of trust between him and his constituents may not be beyond repair, and it is impossible to argue with certainty that the scandal will cost him the election.
According to the CEO of Abacus Data, David Coletto, the scandal might not invalidate Trudeau’s political future. Most Canadians know about the controversy, but not many continue to follow closely. Coletto argues that “this whole affair has perhaps now brought Mr. Trudeau back to earth. He is now a mere mortal in terms of a politician’s perspective.”
Trudeau’s future is threatened, but not doomed. He might have lost his halo, but not necessarily his re-election.