Trudeau could lose power in Canada’s election Monday

Rob Gillies
Associated Press

Toronto – Ian Bremmer remembers the first time he met Justin Trudeau, at the annual gathering of elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Bremmer, a prominent foreign policy expert, said Canada’s party at the world economic forum is usually “the sleepiest thing you could do.” It is typically held at a second-tier hotel, and if you go, it’s because you’re on the way someplace else. But in early 2016, Canada’s new leader, tall and trim, the son of the liberal icon and late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, arrived.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“It was insane. Everyone wanted to be there. He was the superstar on the global stage that year. The idea that a Canadian prime minister would have that kind of impact and star power was insane,” said Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group. “He’s still considered one of the good guys, one of the globalists. But let’s face it, his star has diminished.”

Polls show Trudeau could lose to his Conservative Party rival in national elections on Monday or fail to win a majority of seats in Parliament and have to rely on an opposition party to remain in power.

A combination of scandal and high expectations has damaged his prospects.

Last month, photos of Trudeau in blackface and brownface when he was younger surfaced, casting doubt on his judgment. And he was tarnished by a scandal that erupted earlier this year, when his former attorney general said he pressured her to halt the prosecution of a Quebec company. Trudeau has said he was standing up for jobs.

Trudeau’s opponent, Andrew Scheer, is a career politician described by those in his own party as bland, a possible antidote for those tired of Trudeau’s flash. Scheer, 40, calls Trudeau a phony who can’t even recall how many times he has worn blackface. He is promising to scrap the national carbon tax and cut government spending, including foreign aid, by 25 percent.

But he, too, has had a bumpy ride. He has been criticized for embellishing his resume and for holding dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship.