Nearly one year and five months after the 2015 Canadian federal election, Justin Trudeau’s government may have reached its final straw, at least among progressives.
After months of promising, both on the campaign trail and in House, to change the way Canadians vote, the Canadian prime minister dropped another campaign promise by modifying his new Minister of Democratic Institutions’ mandate.
The Twitter backlash to Trudeau’s decision was fierce. #CdnPoli and #ERRE streams swelled with activity that same day, filled with disappointed and frustrated sentiment. One individual even went as far as cutting his Liberal Party membership card in half, citing the betrayal of “Progressive Canadians.”
— Francis Santiago (@frantiago_) February 2, 2017
The promise break comes at a critical moment for Trudeau, following controversial pipeline approvals, a cash-for-access scandal and the sale of Canadian-made light armored vehicles to known human rights violator Saudi Arabia.
The latter decision, a kick in the face to Canadian human rights advocates, came as a surprise for some. The deal, initially given the OK by the preceding Conservative government and approved by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, contradicts everything Canadians stand for. Saudi Arabia has an atrocious human rights record, routinely quelling uprisings, oppressing women, jailing political activists and beheading or lashing them in public squares. The Saudi military and National Guard, whose main objective is to secure the dominance of the royal family, used LAVs to shut down peaceful protests in Bahrain in 2011.
While progressive Americans faced with a Trump presidency are lauding Trudeau and his publicized left-leaning stances, a majority of Canadians are losing confidence in the true progressive substance of their government. While Trudeau has earned the respect of many for admitting thousands of refugees and promoting human rights rhetorically, now, more than ever, is the time for intellectual and political integrity. It is time to call out the ones we cheered for when they’re wrong.