Trudeau's travelling troubles

Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely

Published on February 8, 2017

Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely

Imagine a political leader who actually steps out of the confines of his government office and travels to meet the public in small town gatherings across the country.

Imagine reaching out and touching flesh with the public who elected you, kissing the babies and posing for pictures.

I'd suggest the prime minister might now want to stay a little closer to home on Parliament Hill to avoid such image-damaging confrontations in the future. Frank Likely, Frankly Speaking

What could possibly go wrong? Well, in the case of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, just about everything.

That imagine-making cross-Canada, town hall meeting tour has actually caused the prime minister's popularity to drop. It seems the prime minister's sunny ways work better from a distance.

A smile and a selfie weren't enough for the federal civil servants facing foreclosures because problems with the Phoenix system have left them without pay. They understood the prime minister and his colleagues in parliament are still getting their paycheques.

And it wasn't enough for the indigenous people’s leaders who wanted to know when they might get adequate housing and potable water in their communities as the government had promised.

The prime minister's empty platitudes, “That's a good question,”  “The government is working for all Canadians,” just did not cut it for the people who came out looking for answers to their real concerns. The PM might have told them, “I feel your pain,” but many just felt disdain and dismissal.

Perhaps Stephen Harper was onto something when he vetted the audience and its questions in advance.

I'd suggest the prime minister might now want to stay a little closer to home on Parliament Hill to avoid such image-damaging confrontations in the future.  

Oh, but then he would have to face questions about his abandoning the keystone promise of his election campaign, to enact electoral reform before the next federal election.

That's a fine corner you've backed yourself into Mr. Prime Minister.

 

Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.