Leaders have problems

Canadians became tired with 10 years of (former prime minister) Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party rule in 2015, and elected the Liberal Party with a majority government headed by Justin Trudeau.

With little parliamentary experience, but a fresh face with a young wife at his side, Trudeau’s great advantage was name recognition. (His father) Pierre Elliot Trudeau was prime minister for more than 15 years, during a period spanning 1968 to1984.

His eldest son's photogenic looks drew admiring crowds around the globe. Justin Trudeau relished the attention, but he turned out to be “all hat and no cattle”, as they say in Texas, with his achievements never stellar by any stretch of the imagination.

He had an inability to admit mistakes and a propensity to stray far away from telling the truth, but still managed to win minority governments in 2019 and 2021, taking advantage of the Conservative Party's revolving door to their leader’s office.

Trudeau's leadership has been plagued by many scandals, with the federal ethics commissioner finding him guilty of repeated breaches. There has been gross mismanagement and overspending of government funds on personal vacations, hotel stays, etc.

The next scheduled election date is Oct. 20 2025, and Trudeau’s political survival looks tenuous.

But the vainglorious Trudeau is not the only politician facing problems, as government leaders often suffer the same fate as sports managers who are shown the door when their team hits a bad patch.

In the U.K., with one of the oldest legislatures in the world, there were three prime ministers in a six-week period in 2022, all from the same political party. In Pakistan, Oxford-educated (former) prime minister Imran Khan was a superstar cricketing hero before entering politics. But he now fights for re-election from his jail cell. He was removed from office and found guilty of leaking state secrets, selling state gifts and marrying his third wife too soon after her divorce, all charges that look more than a tad dubious.

With the U.S. presidential election less than nine months away, leaders of both parties there have more than a few dubious distinctions themselves. The Democratic Party choice is 81 year old (incumbent Joe Biden), who looks way past his “best before date.” The Republican Party (nomination frontrunner Donald Trump) is just three years younger, and facing 91criminal indictments.

Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev was re-elected on Feb. 7 with 92% of the vote. He has been in power for more than 20 years, having succeeded his father, who became president after the USSR dissolved in 1991.

These few examples prove democracy is a messy process and politicians are really nothing more than entertainers. We should never take them, or ourselves, too seriously.

Only the smartest politicians know how to react when being run out of town. They get to the front of the crowd, and make it look like a parade.

Bernie Smith

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