(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
This was a very bad year for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 2018 got off to a rocky start, and everything went downhill from there.
In early January, news broke that the federal ethics commissioner had found Trudeau guilty of breaking conflict of interest laws by going on a free vacation to a billionaire’s private island.
Trudeau become the first PM in history to be found guilty of breaking Canada’s ethics laws. His handlers quickly sent him on a cross-country speaking tour to distract from the bad headlines. But that only made things worse.
Trudeau insulted a young Canadian soldier who had lost his leg in Afghanistan, telling him that veterans were “asking for more than we are able to give right now.”
Trudeau’s indifference to suffering war heroes was eclipsed only by his absurd deference to political correctness. During the same town hall meeting, Trudeau corrected a young woman for using the term “mankind,” telling her instead, “we like to say peoplekind.”
Things went from bad to worse for Trudeau in February when he embarked on a junket to India. It was supposed to be Trudeau’s time to shine; the international press were known to swoon over Canada’s hip and progressive leader.
Instead, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. It was a disaster of epic proportions.
Trudeau looked like a fool, dressed up like a Bollywood show-off, dancing at press conferences and dragging his poor family from one ridiculous photo op to another. His eight-day agenda lacked any real diplomatic purpose, and he was snubbed by Indian government officials over accusations of pandering to Sikh extremists in Canada.
Lo and behold, as I first reported in the Sun, one of those Sikh extremists was convicted would-be killer Jaspal Atwal, who was in India with the Canadian delegation and photographed at an official event.
Trudeau’s incompetence was amplified, and his office’s cover-up — blaming the invitation on “rogue elements” in the Indian government — made it all so much worse.
Trudeau was exposed, shamelessly pandering to actual terrorists and lacking the self-awareness to step out of the spotlight after being lambasted and ridiculed by the same international media that once praised him.
From there, we learned that Trudeau the feminist had once been accused of accosting a young female reporter at a music festival back in the year 2000 when he was 28.
“Men and women experience things differently,” said Trudeau, denying any wrongdoing. His “feminism” suddenly seemed hollow and hypocritical.
Trudeau always puts style over substance, and while his style repeatedly backfired in 2018, the substance was even worse.
After promising modest deficits, Trudeau’s spending spiraled out of control with no plan to get back to balance.
His refusal to secure our borders led to a crisis of illegal migration, the highest asylum claimant numbers in history and the lowest public approval of immigration in decades.
Trudeau was nearly blocked out of NAFTA for his arrogance, and he failed to secure a deal to protect Canadian manufacturing jobs.
And his anti-energy agenda – carbon taxes, tanker bans, cancelled pipelines and Bill C-69 — have pushed many Albertans to the brink of separatism.
The country is divided, people are angry, and Trudeau’s approval rating has never been lower.
A sizable majority — 58% of Canadians — disapprove of Justin Trudeau, 38% saying they “strongly disapprove.”
2018 was the year the shine came off of our prime minister. Canadians saw more of Trudeau, and they really didn’t like what they saw.
Candice Malcolm is the Founder of the True North.