The World Today for September 20, 2021



King of the Mountain

When Canadians go to the polls on September 20, they will have had a mere 36 days to decide who should be their next prime minister.

The current holder of that esteemed office, Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party, called for the election in August – two years before his term would have ended – perhaps because he felt he’d done a good job in handling his country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, his popularity sank, as the New York Times wrote.

Recently, the Liberals have recovered, as Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. But there’s little doubt that Trudeau is fighting for political survival.

Canadians are among the most vaccinated people in the world. Nearly 80 percent of the nation’s adults have received shots. As the Washington Post explained, however, many voters viewed the snap election as an opportunistic politician’s power grab.

“The Liberals likely called the election thinking that they would be able to run on their pandemic record, bask in a vaccination halo and get ahead of the post-stimulus economic adjustment,” Canadian pollster Nik Nanos told Bloomberg. “That’s out the door now.”

Two years ago, when Canada last held parliamentary elections, the Liberal Party won only enough votes to form a minority government. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic, revelations of two centuries of abuse and mistreatment in residential schools for Indigenous kids, worries over sky-high living and healthcare costs and concerns about climate change have prompted Canadians to demand action and improvements, reported the BBC.

Housing costs are absurd in parts of the country. Al Jazeera interviewed a construction worker who earned $100,000 a year, for example, as he was waiting in line at a food bank. The worker was moving his family from his two-bedroom apartment in the Parkdale district of Toronto to a cheaper neighborhood. As the Guardian wrote, gentrification is transforming diverse and gritty Parkdale into a destination for hipsters and yuppies.

Trudeau’s primary rival, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole, is making the election a referendum on the prime minister. Describing Trudeau as “privileged, entitled and always looking out for number one,” O’Toole makes a point of mentioning that the prime minister is the son of ex-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who served in the seventies and early eighties, wrote CTV News.

According to Maclean’s, a respected Canadian news magazine, O’Toole looked good at a recent debate, where his main job was not to scare anyone with harsh rhetoric. Attacks from New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh on Trudeau didn’t help the prime minister, either, the magazine noted.

Trudeau is a survivor. But every king of the mountain eventually comes down.

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