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Maxed Out: Dear Trudeau, it’s not you, it’s me (actually, it’s you)

'Why now? Why not. It’s 2023. Sorry, couldn’t resist.'

Dear Justin,

Like your famous father, I went for a walk. I wish it had been a walk in the snow like his was all those years ago, but we seem to be having one of those years again where the arrival of snow is keeping us in suspense. Never a good thing when you live in a ski resort.

Anyway, snow or no snow, I decided you shouldn’t run for Prime Minister again when the wheel comes around in October 2025. Your time is up. You’ve disappointed too many people too many times and, frankly, shown a real inability to continue in the job.

So, this is quits. I’m done with you. I hope you don’t take it too badly. After all, it’s probably not you; it’s me.

Why now? Why not. It’s 2023. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I’ve been willing to turn a blind eye to your porkies, both big and small, for the past eight years. I’ve swallowed bile at your inability to tackle tough issues while I watched you cave to short-sighted gain and play the power politics game. I’ve supported you when I wished there was an alternative.

And I’ve breathed sighs of relief when, one after another, your party defeated—okay, “defeated” probably isn’t the right word—when your party squeaked out another term in government as opposed to the bozos running against you.

First there was the stinking old fish, Stephen Harper. Ironically, another PM who stayed too long in the job. Remember him? You should. It was your only true victory over the opposition. But then, Harper probably could have been defeated if the Liberals had run Brigette DePape (the former Senate page who famously disrupted a 2011 Throne speech in protest) as leader against him. She was more responsible for bringing him down—and changing the face of the nation’s stop signs—than you were.

Then you donned your dark face and conjured a genie out of Aladdin’s lamp to whip, who was it? Oh yeah, Andrew Scheer... who got more votes but fewer seats in 2019. His defeat almost made me forgive you for walking, nay, running away from your Sunny Ways promise after the 2015 electoral win to make it the last election under the first-past-the-post system. You remember, don’t you? The first really big, bold promise you set fire to. You were keen on a ranked ballot system and everyone else preferred proportional representation. Oh well, I guess the ends justified the means, assuming that’s ever really the case.

Less than two years later, you called a snap election. During the pandemic. What was that about? You have your own walk in the snow? Or just fired up a bowl of something wonky? The face of opposition was different: Erin O’Toole. The result was the same, except you got even less of the popular vote than in 2019 and, a year later, entered your confidence-and-supply agreement with Jagmeet Singh to prop up your minority government.

And even that agreement saw its early fissure this week.

You spent much of your first term hiding behind “commitments” made by the former government to justify your actions. Most egregiously, you used that excuse, proven later to be false, to continue sales of armoured vehicles to the Saudis for the sake of a handful of jobs in Ontario, a place you desperately needed votes.

You’ve dangled a national pharmacare plan in front of us since 2019, happily watching while we danced around like kittens chasing a piece of yarn always just out of reach. Your NDP partners pushed the point recently and you dangled it in front of us again. For a spendthrift like you, even the cost of this shouldn’t be a barrier, since study after study has come to the same conclusion: such a plan would save money spent on health-care in the long run.

And as for spending, you’ve been telling us since 2015 a balanced budget was just around the corner. While I’m not a balanced budget harpy, I’d be happier to see the financial hole the country is digging itself into not get so deep so fast.

Until now, it could be argued your biggest failure was one of hubris. You have miserably failed to pay heed to the threshold task every leader must undertake... and so few actually do. You have completely punted on grooming a successor. Your unwillingness to do so has left the party as vulnerable as the late, unlamented Progressive Conservative party was when Brian Mulroney handed Kim Campbell a stinking bag of poop and bid her good luck in the next election.

For a long time, it seemed you might have been grooming Chrystia Freeland for the job. She’s smart, hard-working, dedicated and, at this point, tainted, having spent too long carrying the load for you. Pity that.

And now Mark Carney’s making noise and being touted for your job. Hard to tell how that might play out, but first blush brings back uncomfortable memories of the un-electable Michael Ignatieff. Mike was an historian; Mark’s an economist. While many see his time as governor of the Bank of Canada as a good thing—especially in light of your own grasp of finances—many will see it as baggage.

All that aside, Justin—and acknowledging if there were an election tomorrow, I’d vote for my current Liberal MP, Patrick Weiler, based on the hard work and good decision-making he’s brought to the job so far—the precipitating cause of my breakup with you is your blatant pandering to the handful of seats from Atlantic Canada you’re currently holding and likely to lose anyway in the next election.

Yeah, buddy, you talked a good game on the environment. On climate change. But you gave even that away for a few votes in heating oil land. In one incredibly dumb move, you struck the death knell for carbon pricing in Canada and handed the opposition the biggest gift they could ever imagine getting: Leverage.

So much for the argument the carbon tax was neutral because of the rebates people received. So much for your green creds, caving on the worst possible form of home heating fuel. Hell, you might as well have given them tax credits to switch to burning coal.

In one move you’ve not only made the unspeakable leader of the opposition look good, you’ve given every premier west of Atlantic Canada a club to beat you with. Over and over again.

There’s still two years before an election has to take place. I don’t think that’s enough time for any new Liberal leader to plaster over the damage you’ve caused. I know it’s not enough time for me to start to grapple with a world where the Orange Monster is back in charge down south and PP is the PM up here.

You know, on second thought, it is you, not me