(By: Brendan Sylvia)
Three major events this past week gave Conservatives hope and Liberals doubt.
It’s President Trump’s White House Now
On Friday, Donald J. Trump was officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Immediately following the Oath of Office, President Trump delivered an inaugural address in which he plainly denounced the policies of his predecessors while offering a drastically different vision for America moving forward.
The newly minted commander-in-chief spoke of securing the border, eradicating islamic terrorism from the face of the earth and improving America’s inner-cities. President Trump’s tone was consistent with his campaign message as he repeatedly denounced the political elite and emphasized returning government control back to the people.
The rest of the day’s celebrations included the traditional Inaugural Parade, Freedom Ball and Military Ball. In between the day’s events, the President sat down in the Oval office for the first time to sign a bill into law that will allow General James Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defence. Additionally, an executive order to begin scaling back the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was also signed into law.
The President appears intent on progressing his agenda at a rapid pace. To Republican delight and Democrat horror, it may not be long before Trump replaces Obama’s legacy with his own.
Kevin O’Leary Walks Onto Centre Stage
The businessman and former CBC reality TV star had been teasing his audience for months before finally announcing his candidacy in the Conservative leadership race this past week.
Already, O’Leary has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump, though he brings an entirely different message to Canadian politics. The businessman is focusing on fixing the country’s slowing economy, rampant tax increases and tough job situation.
Some have pointed out that O’Leary has spent much of his recent time residing in the United States, as well as been involved in several failed business ventures, both of which pose challenges to his candidacy.
In order to win the Conservative leadership, a candidate must sign up many new members and consolidate support among existing members in order to receive as many votes as possible. O’Leary’s late entrance into the race and limited ability to speak French means he must rely on his celebrity status to help him catch up to those who have already began their campaigns.
Despite these difficulties, O’Leary senses opportunity in the fact that plenty of Conservatives are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Trudeau’s management of the economy, and the general Canadian voting population may feel the same way by 2019.
Trudeau’s Listening Tour Kicks-Off With Embarrassment
It was supposed to be an image boosting PR move, but the Prime Minister’s listening tour has quickly sent his team into crisis management mode after a number of political gaffes during week one.
First up… Peterborough, where Trudeau remarked that he would like to phase out the country’s oil sands. While this might be an environmentalists dream, it poses a number of problems for much of the country, namely the thousands who rely on working in oil to collect a paycheque and feed their families. As can be imagined, many Albertans are not having it.
Next… In response to an immigration question during a Dartmouth, N.S. townhall, Trudeau claimed he was uniquely positioned to comment on immigration policy because his maternal grandfather had immigrated from Scotland.
His remark in full:
“I’m a 10th- or 11th-generation Canadian on one of my sides but my maternal grandfather was born in Scotland so I do have some idea of the challenges it takes to come to Canada and has took over the sweep of history of Canada.”
Finally… Back in Peterborough, a non-response to a single mother concerned about the carbon tax who is struggling to pay her bills.
The outcomes of this past week may be passed off as a fluke, but given that all of these events have been a long time in the making, there’s always the possibility that it’s indicative of a change in North America’s political tides.