JayAcinda Ardern’s surprise resignation last week has raised fresh questions about the future of Justin Trudeau, another celebrity with status The liberal prime minister, whose popularity has waned in recent months.
Ardern has drawn praise and criticism for her decision to step down ahead of the October general election as Labor prepares to seek a third term amid bleak electoral prospects.
Her decision has fueled speculation that Ardern’s blunt assessment that she “doesn’t have enough gas in the tank” to run in another election will affect how Canada’s Trudeau views his own legacy.
“[He’s] Very close to his Ardern moment, the moment when he runs away or runs away again, and he can still pull out and get his constituents, his cabinet and his caucus to applaud more people,” a columnist for CTV News said in ” Very familiar” draws parallels with the rise and fall of New Zealand’s leaders.
Trudeau is expected to remain in power until 2025 under an agreement with the left-wing New Democrats known as the Confidence and Supply Agreement. The prime minister, who has led the Liberal Party for the past decade, has made clear he fully intends to stand for his fourth federal election in the coming years.
But after Trudeau narrowly won in 2021, support for his government has declined. The Liberals are trailing rival Conservatives, with opinion polls suggesting they will lose their parliamentary majority if an election is called soon. A new book by former finance minister Bill Morneau, who left after a public spat with the prime minister, scathingly criticized Trudeau’s management style and questioned his competence on key policy issues.
But experts warn that the prime minister’s biggest problem is himself.
“Trudeau has wonderful charisma and warmth and the ability to express and connect with others. He’s very good at reading a room and taking the pulse of something else. That’s his superpower. But he has a blind spot: himself. Especially It’s when it comes to good judgment about your own behavior,” said Lori Turnbull, dean of Dalhousie University’s School of Public Administration.
The prime minister has been at the center of growing controversies during his time in power – a misjudged trip to India, some ethics breaches and an ill-advised trip to a beach resort during the country’s first-ever recognized past national holiday Abuse of indigenous peoples.
“What he needs is someone who can talk to him honestly and say, ‘Prime Minister, this is a terrible idea. You can’t do that. Because of his blind spots, he has to trust that other people are his eyes,'” Turnbull said. And pointed out that Trudeau’s closest advisers are still college friends. “And I’m not sure he has that.”
After taking control of a battered party in 2013, Trudeau has been the dominant figure in the Liberal Party with no clear successor emerging. His deputy prime minister and finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, was at one point considered a possible replacement, and she was rumored to be more interested in a senior NATO role.
But Éric Grenier, a pollster at Writ, said Trudeau had recovered from a similar slump in popularity, noting that most of the prime minister’s most embarrassing public missteps occurred when the party was at its most popular, not when it was popular in the polls. When the investigation was struggling.
“He’s still very competitive, and he tends to poll very well compared to his own party. The Liberals agree with him very much now, so an average replacement candidate might not actually do any better than Trudeau OK,” he said.
The previous resignations in Canadian political history — including Trudeau’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau — came when the party faced big losses or infighting.
“If the next election is about bringing the tired old Liberal government out of misery, he won’t be a good candidate. But if it’s about where the Conservatives are going to take the country? Then he’s in a much better position, Grenier said, noting that Trudeau is “competitive” and has taken a more combative approach to rival Pierre Poirier in recent weeks.
Unlike his predecessor Stephen Harper, Trudeau is widely regarded as a political leader who likes most to spend his time on the campaign trail and meeting with voters, where he can often stir up large crowds.
“Trudeau draws a lot of energy from the people, and it feels like he’s on the campaign trail, and if there’s no energy, he’ll see it and know his time is up,” Grenier said. “But by then, it will be too late.”