Within days, Canadians will go to the urns and decide the fate of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose reign has lasted a decade.
The Conservative Party leader has implemented his vision of Canada: increased defence spending, a focus on traditional family values, reconfiguration of immigration policy, tax cuts, smaller government, and a strong commitment to protecting Canadians from terrorists.
The electorate has had some 40 years to get acquainted with Justin Trudeau. Yet, voters are still deciphering the Liberal Party leader’s moral compass. What kind of Prime Minister would he be?
The electorate can decipher a party leader's priorities by observing their conspicuous conduct and strategic silences more so than their words. Actions matter the most. Silences speak volumes. And talk is cheap.
Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau showed his true colours when he honoured a commitment to Vancouver's Gay Pride Parade over the all-important first electoral news cycle. When the writ dropped in August, Trudeau was noticeably absent from the airwaves -- on a cross-country flight to attend the celebration of British Columbia's LGBT community.
"I made a promise to the half a million British Columbians who will be celebrating Pride this afternoon, celebrating Canada's diversity." Trudeau explained.
Next, Trudeau gave lip service to Syrian refugees by suggesting Canada accept 25,000 of them ‘immediately’. Weeks later, Trudeau upped the ante: he said he'd consider airlifting Syrian refugees to fulfill his promise by January 2016. That tight time commitment informs a would-be Liberal refugee policy.
Trudeau argued against placing a ban on the niqab at citizenship ceremonies when he defended the pair of Muslim women who sought to keep themselves covered at the moment they ascend to Canadian citizenship. What better way to project adherence to women’s issues than to defend a woman’s right to choose? Trudeau lamented the lack of women on the debate stage, citing his daughter’s objections as the inspiration for this sudden sensitivity to gender equality. But the Liberal platform offers timid policies on issues such as protecting existing abortion rights, and giving elite women an equal chance at federal appointments. Whether struggling single moms will see that kind of “hand up” is unclear.
When a handful of convicted criminals received federal notice that their citizenship would be revoked, including a Canadian-born terrorist, Mr. Trudeau jumped to the convicted terrorists’ defense:
"[...] The Liberal Party believes that terrorists should get to keep their Canadian citizenship," Trudeau said. "Because I do. And I'm willing to take on anyone who disagrees with that."
Ever the defender of his famous father, Trudeau brandishes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when mining ethnic votes. To Liberals, the Charter is a fetish point of reference for upholding LGBT Rainbow Rights, protecting religious prerogatives or defending convicted criminals.
All the grandstanding about minority rights fades to radio silence for one demographic: Justin Trudeau defended the Charter rights of convicted terrorists ahead of innocent Afro-Canadians.
Trudeau's Liberals recruited the champion of carding, former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, to represent the party in Scarborough, ON. The controversial police practice of 'randomly' stopping dark-skinned citizens who are not crime suspects has come under scrutiny. First Nations leaders have also decried the racist practice.
Trudeau’s tacit endorsement of this Charter violation flies in the face of the ‘Just Society’ his famous father stood for. In the dying days of the electoral campaign, some erudite liberal-minded leaders have read Trudeau’s deafening silence as a betrayal.
PM Trudeau 2.0 might ride the coattails of his father’s minority-friendly legacy into 24 Sussex, but he hasn’t fooled everyone. There isn’t a niqab large enough to conceal the pandering princeling’s indifference towards the lives of those most vulnerable to civil rights abuses.