Over the summer when he first called Monday's snap election, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expected to trample the Conservative opposition, and possibly even cement the Liberals' first majority government since the beginning of his reign.
Trudeau had hoped that his handling of the pandemic might help him gain a political leg up. But one month later, the picture is looking very different. The polls are extremely close, and it's possible that thea Conservatives might upset the Liberals. At the very least, it's looking virtually certain that the Liberals will only manage to securie another minority government in coalition with the NDP and the greens, leaving them effectively right where they started, with the public frustrated over what would then prove to have been a monumental waste of time and resources, according to Bloomberg.
Source: the New Republic
As the campaign enters its last frantic weekend, there are many seats considered a "toss-up” by various pollsters, suggesting the election could go down to the wire.
Source: The New Republic
With Trudeau terrified of the election slipping away, he came out swinging on Thursday and Friday, attacking his main rival, Conservative leader Erin O'Toole. Trudeau has tried to pitch himself as the better leader on COVID issues, but O'Toole has generated unexpected levels of popularity by insisting that rapid testing is a preferable policy course to vaccine mandates, which Trudeau has implicitly backed.
O'Toole has also successfully slammed Trudeau as a hypocrite for calling an election in the middle of a pandemic.
"Mr. Trudeau called an election that's costing us $600 million rather than keeping the Delta variant from spreading, rather than actually working together."
Despite his recent success in the polls, O'Toole is still a political obscurity in the US. So, in an attempt to familiarize its readers with the potential next leader of Canada, Bloomberg has published a piece on O'Toole trying to explain his appeal to voters.
According to sources quoted in the report, one of O'Toole's most formidable attributes is that he's boring - unlike the flashy political scion whose boyish (and some might say, Fidel Castro-esque) looks have made him a darling of the international press (while enduring constant criticisms of being all surface and little substance), O'Toole is basically the anti-Trudeau. A stolid public servant who achieved his position via hard work, not via birthright.
O'Toole has used this rhetoric as an effective cudgel.
"Every Canadian has met a Justin Trudeau in their lives - privileged, entitled and always looking out for number one," O’Toole said this week near Ottawa, summing up his campaign message. "He was looking out for number one when he called this expensive and unnecessary election in the middle of a pandemic. That’s not leadership, that’s self-interest. And it’s Justin Trudeau through and through."
"The one big positive thing about Erin O’Toole is what you see is what you get, privately and publicly," said Ashton Arsenault, vice president at Crestview Strategy in Ottawa. "There’s no difference between the two and I don’t think you can say that about everybody in the political universe."
In six weeks, Trudeau's lead has eroded from a 6 point lead to a statistical dead heat.
One of the most bizarre contrasts between O'Toole and Trudeau is their appearance. O'Toole is actually a year younger than the PM. But his thinning white hair give him the air of a dad, not a man-boy.
The suburbs around Canada’s biggest city, known by their area code, 905, are the main electoral battleground. It’s also O’Toole home turf. Although he was born in Montreal, O’Toole grew up near Toronto and has served as the member of parliament for Durham since 2012.