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.