I Am A Canadian Liberal And I Am Not With Him

"Trudeau knows how to manipulate."

On the radio yesterday morning, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, addressed the nation from the funeral for the Muslim victims who had fallen to a recent terrorist massacre in Quebec. His voice sounded solemn and candid, powered with justice. I could picture his eyes welling with tears, sparkling, as handsome as usual, as genuine as ever.

I was once empowered by his appearance, especially during the 2015 federal election when the Harper government was poised to win. Trudeau represented change, the future of Canada, and its returning to what Canada truly means after Harper’s 11 years. With so much disdain for the direction Harper’s government had taken the country, people were mobilized, voting together with the promise from three of the then opposition parties, the Liberals, the NDP, and the Greens, that electoral reform would take place and 2015 would be the last federal election under the first-pass-the-post system.

Sadly, now the promise is broken by the once hopeful that carried the hope of so many. The enthusiasm of voting together to prevent a split vote has faded away.

The broken promise scares me deeply. I am a Chinese immigrant and I am a homosexual, a minority within a minority. In 2019, the Conservatives will have a good chance to regain power, given the seismic shift towards nationalism and white supremacy in the western world from Europe to America. While there is a possibility under the proportional representation system that the Conservatives would still form the government, I believe our Canadian demographic, a more diversified and moderate mosaic society than the Amercians’, is able to prevent it from achieving majority control, which it did in 2011 with only 39.6 per cent of the popular vote. But if the populist elements were to propel a candidate to the Conservative leadership, would we not be at risk of a government like Donald Trump’s? Scrapping the electoral reform and ignoring the importance of the issue may backfire for Justin Trudeau and hurt all progressive-minded people, giving rise to greater division in Canada and eventually scapegoating and violence.

As Canadian comedian Ali Hassan once said, Canada is equally racist and we just know how to hide. Trudeau is good at deceiving and knows how to manipulate.

I have been a Liberal supporter and have voted for the Liberal Party every time I exercised my voting right, even though my votes have always gone to the defeated candidate. Yet I cherish my right to vote. In my home country of China, I only cast a ballot once in a city representative election when I was in University. But it was not really an election: no campaigns and scarce information about the candidates. It was merely for show and nobody seemed to care. Coming from my background, the right to vote feels empowering, people are able to decide the future of the nation.

In many respects, democracy works in Canada – it is not fraught with corruption or violence as it is in so many “democratic” countries. Yet it is still not perfect. In 2015, Trudeau himself declared that our democracy is broken. This message, it seemed, resonated with the majority of the population, helping him to a surprisingly sound win.

I have watched this Liberal government and I had been disappointed time and time again by our Prime Minister even before the electoral reform was scrapped. The promise was the last straw, and the straw was blown away. My disappointments were not from his continued policies in many areas, including pipeline and oil sand development, from the previous Conservative government. Even though I care for our environment dearly, I am no activist. I understand when he said that the country needs the jobs created by the energy sector, and it takes generations to phase out the oil industry.

My disappointment comes from his entitlement, secrecy, and hypocrisy. When our southern neighbours say, I wish Trudeau were our president, I ask, is Trudeau really what you think he is, school teacher, ski instructor, modest, earnest and fun?

As Canadian comedian Ali Hassan once said, Canada is equally racist and we just know how to hide. Trudeau is good at deceiving and knows how to manipulate.

Maybe I still secretly have hope for him, just like the Green Party leader Elizabeth May. Perhaps one morning he will have a change of heart, like the way he changed his heart a few days ago. But we know it won’t happen, unless we make our voices loud and clear.