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10 March, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Scandal hurts Trudeau’s image as polls loom

AFP, Ottawa

ustin Trudeau rose to power in Canada as a champion of feminism and indigenous rights, quickly earning him golden boy status at home and abroad as a progressive leader.

But a major political scandal that sparked the resignation of two of his ministers—both women, one indigenous—has tarnished his image just seven months before national elections.

Pundits say the 47-year-old premier faces a tough battle just to stay in office, with the latest polls showing his Liberals trailing the Conservatives for the first time.

For weeks, Trudeau’s government has been rocked by accusations of meddling in the criminal prosecution of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, which was charged with corruption over alleged bribes paid to secure contracts in Libya.

His attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who said she experienced “consistent and sustained” political pressure to shield the company from a trial, stepped down.

Budget minister Jane Philpott followed suit, as did longtime Trudeau friend and top aide Gerry Butts. On Thursday, Trudeau addressed the allegations head-on, telling reporters in Ottawa that he had learned “lessons” from the crisis—but denying any wrongdoing.

For the opposition, that wasn’t enough. On Friday, they renewed their calls for Trudeau to resign.

“Trudeau is facing a serious crisis of confidence in his leadership,” said Stephanie Chouinard, a politics professor at the Royal Military College of Canada.

“Seeing not one, but two members of his cabinet slamming the door like that, it’s unheard of for many years in Canada and it augurs very badly for him ahead of the October elections.”

The Liberals built their brand around the handsome young Trudeau, a one-time bartender and snowboard instructor with Hollywood good looks and a father who was widely admired when he served as premier.

Trudeau brought rock star energy to the job, and his brand of progressive politics—he made bold statements on climate action, legalized cannabis and helped refugees make a new life in Canada.

The Liberals’ 2015 victory marked the return of the party, which had governed for most of the last century before being relegated to third-place status in a 2006 ballot. Trudeau was hailed.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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