Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday July 26, 2023
Justin Trudeau’s Waning Popularity and a Cabinet Shuffle
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gears up to announce a cabinet shuffle, it is evident that his popularity is dwindling among Canadians. Recent polls indicate that just two in five Canadians approve of Trudeau’s leadership, while slightly more than half express disapproval. While these numbers may still be favourable compared to some past prime ministers at similar stages in their careers, the signs of discontent within Trudeau’s own party are becoming increasingly apparent.
About half a dozen ministers will no longer hold their positions at the cabinet table after the upcoming shuffle, with three Toronto-area Liberal ministers, including the somewhat disastrous Omar Alghabra, having already announced their departure from the federal election race. This opens up opportunities for aspiring minds within the Liberal Party to anticipate Trudeau’s departure as Prime Minister and, in turn, aim for an elevation in their political careers.
The shuffle is rumoured to focus on the government’s economic priorities, including housing, and aims to shore up the cabinet ahead of the next election campaign. With Trudeau’s popularity at risk, the government also seeks to strengthen its key communicators on crucial issues.
The discontent within the Liberal Party is not entirely surprising. Senior government sources indicate that Trudeau’s almost eight years in power have been characterized by near-total loyalty from those within the PMO and the wider Liberal circle. However, recent leaks and damaging quotes to the media suggest that some party members are increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with Trudeau’s leadership. Partisan sources don’t typically resort to such actions without a sustained pattern of behaviour they cannot tolerate.
The signs of restlessness within the Liberal caucus are evident, with public bickering over various issues and indications that some ministers are already positioning themselves for leadership ambitions. Ministers like Chrystia Freeland, Anita Anand, François-Philippe Champagne, Mélanie Joly, and Dominic LeBlanc are among those patiently waiting for an opportunity to seize control of the Liberal leadership.
While Trudeau’s cult of personality has so far prevented obvious leadership threats from emerging, the situation might change as internal discontent grows. With approximately two-and-a-half years until the next federal election, this time frame may seem too long for an embattled party leader to survive once seeds of doubt and disaffection start to grow.
Trudeau’s future could be further complicated by the possibility of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s stance on the confidence-and-supply agreement. While there are accusations that Singh’s motives are purely political, it is intriguing to consider the reverse scenario—where Trudeau might be motivated to force an election before internal leadership threats fully bloom. Another election win, even a slim minority, could potentially buy him more time in office than running out the clock on his current term.
Ultimately, the political landscape can change rapidly, especially when internal fissures begin to emerge. If Trudeau is forced to fight within his own party, the Liberal house could get very messy indeed. As the cabinet shuffle approaches, all eyes will be on the Prime Minister and the ensuing developments within the Liberal Party. One thing is certain: Canadian politics is never short on surprises. (AI) From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro. If you’re creative, give illustration a try: