Justin Trudeau may not last long as Liberal leader, political scientist says

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      Prospects of a Liberal victory are wilting fast in this scorching summer leading up to the fall federal election.

      With federal Liberals languishing behind Conservatives and New Democrats in surveys, it may be a fair question to ask what’s next for party leader Justin Trudeau.

      The answer depends on where Liberals find themselves after the ballots are counted, according to Peter Prontzos, an instructor at Langara’s department of history, Latin and political science.

      If Liberals end up third like they did in 2011, Prontzos said that may signal the end of Trudeau’s career as leader of the party.

      “He is smart enough to know, okay, he’s had his chance,” Prontzos told the Straight in a phone interview.

      If Liberals retake their old status as Official Opposition, the Vancouver-area academic who ran twice for federal and provincial New Democrats said that Trudeau may likely stay on and get another crack at restoring the Liberal glory.

      “Obviously, things can turn around,” said Prontzos, although he also noted that the chances of an upsurge don’t look promising.

      For that, Trudeau is mostly to blame, according to the Langara instructor.

      “There was a lot of rush to support when Trudeau became leader because of his name, his youth, and all that sort of thing,” he said. “It’s probably fair to say that Liberals have been somewhat disappointed in that their original push seems to have fizzled out.”

      Prontzos believes although Conservative attacks had a “little bit of effect in lowering his popularity”, the effect of this advertising is “not a whole lot”.

      “He hasn’t come up with a vision for the party, for one thing. He hasn’t galvanized people like his father,” Prontzos said.

      Prontzos added that Trudeau also made several missteps along the way, the most serious of which was his support for the anti-terrorism legislation Bill C-51 brought in by the Conservatives.

      “The fact that he said, ‘We don’t like Bill C-51. It’s a dangerous threat to Canadian civil liberties but I will support it and then change it when you elect me if and when you elect me’, that doesn’t show leadership at all,” Prontzos said.



      Dave A Pasin

      Jul 28, 2015 at 11:45am

      I suspect you could actually subtitle this column paraphrasing Samuel Clemons "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated".

      Comments by a 2x failed NDP candidate hardly count as objective and accurate given the fluid state of Canadian politics. I would suggest comments regarding issues related to the accuracy of polling would be a far more poignant story.

      Mulcair may be the flavour of the week during a hot, dry, Summer, but I would suggest as we head into Fall and the general public start to actually take notice (not just the political junkies and "perpetually aware") the NDP leader, his actions, comments, policies and candidates will come under increasing scrutiny that will yield some surprises and knock him and his party back. Trudeau is the easy target now, Harper the perpetual target and Mulcair has skated. Let see his meddle as he becomes the target and gets the hard questions.

      It's way to early to write any leader or his party off at present. In politics a day is forever, a week is an eon and a month is eternity.

      I suspect you will see a large tightening up as we move into fall and the public and media pick up their scrutiny. I wouldn't be crowning the NDP just yet.... see Adrian Dix and BCNDP for details.

      John Abbott

      Jul 28, 2015 at 12:09pm

      Words from two time failed dipper and, we are supposed to believe this?


      Jul 28, 2015 at 12:14pm

      Even if all Tudeau does is double or even triple the seat count for the federal Liberals, this would be a win for him. In a minority government situation (the most likely outcome on Oct. 19) he will hold the balance of power no matter which of the other two parties win a plurality. My guess is that he'll be around for a while yet.


      Jul 28, 2015 at 1:08pm

      The intent of this article was to reinforce the recent poll results showing the Liberals in third place and to take it a few steps further. What happens if Trudeau comes in third in the actual election? What happens if he comes in second? You could cast similar scenarios for Mulcair and Harper but the polls right now show them both ahead of the Liberals. So the author is probably right in terms of what will likely happen with Trudeau in a given scenario but it is premature speculation designed to throw the liberals off balance and cast doubt about their electoral prospects in hopes that some liberal leaning voters will instead vote for Mulcair. That's politics and the Liberals would not be immune to doing the same thing to the NDP.

      Rod Croskery

      Jul 28, 2015 at 1:13pm

      Pretty well anybody can get published nowadays if he feeds the current narrative in the media that Trudeau is toast and Mulcair can't do anything wrong, but Harper is crafty.

      Try questioning Mulcair or suggesting Harper has made a series of stupid moves, though, or that Trudeau's sitting comfortably in third place waiting for the back stretch. No, that doesn't fit the narrative, so it gets ignored.

      Eve Adams was apparently a mistake, though Soudas may have paid her way. Bill C-51 contains totalitarian elements and Liberal voters have moved to the NDP as a result. But remember the other Trudeau: before Canada's Charter of Rights he gave us the totalitarian War Measures Act. When Justin Trudeau said he'd change Bill C-51, he meant it.

      Don't write JT off just yet. He'll surprise his opponents in the debates.


      Jul 28, 2015 at 1:15pm

      Justin's support for the Harper terror bill, C-51, is only part of his problem.
      What was Justin thinking when he welcomed lifelong right wing Conservative Eve Adams into the Liberal caucus?
      For Justin to say he is a progressive and will "do politics differently" and then make those two "unforced errors" is amazing.
      I hope he sticks around to lead the third place Liberals.


      Jul 28, 2015 at 1:32pm

      Justin is a media driven candidate - they created him out of whole cloth because of his daddy's name. Once they could no longer cover up is inadequacies they switched to Mulcair; any lefty will do -- He isn't long for this job; In Ontario,Trudeau has been supplanted by Premier Wynn who seems to be running the federal Liberal campaign, here, in his stead - she is using lots of provincial money, her public service/union buddies to launch attack after attack on Harper; she can count on the media to propagate the attacks while ignoring her corruption. If she succeeds in Ontario and he looses elsewhere, little Justin will be in real trouble; Comrade Wynn will want his job next!


      Jul 28, 2015 at 1:35pm

      It's mid summer NDP-31%, CPC 31%,,Libs-26% . The NDP needs to tell Canadians how many former Separatists are running under its banner. How and when will they hold constitutional talks on abolishing the Senate, what is special status for Quebec, and when will the Repeal the Clarity Act. Also how many elections did Harper lose 1 and stay on as Leader, J.Layton lost 4 elections and stay on as Leader.

      John C.

      Jul 28, 2015 at 1:41pm

      The free ride Mulcair and the NationalDisasterParty have gotten this past few months has been a tactical failure for the Cons. It may have impacted the Liberal numbers but many of us blue Liberals won't go back to Harper this election regardless. The result has been an upswing in the NDP poll numbers. Now that the gloves are off, and the Liberals are within margins of error in many of the polls, declaring the election results final, which this author and failed NDP candidate want to do, is juvenile. I don't believe that when the real costs of the NDP platform, their Quebec separatist leanings, their non position on the senate, and their lack of credible candidates that could fill the economic portfolios, there will be a certain correction in their polling.

      Wilson Gray

      Jul 28, 2015 at 1:41pm

      Justin Trudeau has been defined by the CPC "Just Not Ready" attack ad that is running non-stop on all TV networks. It's sinking in like a meme is supposed sink into the subconscious mind.... and together with the other Justin debacles he is now political dead meat.

      What is really damaging to Justin's leadership is his political failures caused by bad strategy from his senior advisor Gerald Butts. This creates divisions within the Liberal party faithful and will affect the volunteer campaigners who may just stay home. Bill C-51 and Eve Adams debacle has shaken party confidence in his novice leadership.

      Justin must display leadership qualities by shaking up his campaign team which means heads must roll and new heads must be found. Otherwise Liberal candidates will jettison Justin and just campaign under the Liberal brand.... because the LPC is not only leaderless, it's politically headless too. Grim .....