Trudeau: The Education Of A Prime Minister by John IvisonTrudeau: The Education Of A Prime Minister by John Ivison

Trudeau: The Education Of A Prime Minister

byJohn Ivison

Hardcover | August 6, 2019

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From one of Canada's most popular and connected political journalists, an unblinkered warts-and-all look at Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government's record in power. A must-read as we head into the 2019 federal election.

Canadians are becoming increasingly skeptical about their chameleon prime minister. When he entered politics, Justin Trudeau came across as a person with no fixed principles. Now, he presents himself as a conviction politician. What motivated his metamorphosis—belief or opportunism?

Either way, in 2019’s election he will be judged on results—results that have so far been disappointing for many, even those in his own party. From the ballooning deficit to the Trans Mountain purchase to the fallout of his disastrous trip to India to the unpopular implementation of a carbon tax, Justin Trudeau has presided over his share of controversy. Most damaging, his egregious missteps during the SNC-Lavalin scandal and the subsequent resignation of two top ministers, his principal secretary, and the clerk of the Privy Council have raised serious questions about Trudeau’s integrity.

As a political columnist for the National Post since 2003and Ottawa bureau chief for Postmedia for the past three years, John Ivison has watched Trudeau evolve as a politician and leader, a fascinating transition that has not been fully captured by any writer. Trudeau traces the complexities of the man himself, now barely visible beneath the talking points, virtue signalling, and polished trappings of office. Ivison concludes that while Trudeau led a moribund Liberal Party to victory in the 2015 election, the shine of his leadership has been worn off by a series of self-inflicted wounds, broken promises, and rookie mistakes.

One of the central contentions of Trudeau is already apparent: the prime minister’s greatest strengths are also his greatest weaknesses; the famous name, high-handedness, and impulsiveness are as liable to hurl him from office as they were to get him there in the first place.

With unprecedented access and insight, John Ivison takes us inside one of the most contentious first terms of any prime minister in our history.
JOHN IVISON is a political columnist for the National Post, based in Ottawa, and was part of the newspaper's founding team. He joined the Post in 1998 from The Scotsman in Edinburgh. He worked at the Financial Post for five years, becoming deputy editor, before moving into politics, first at the Ontario legislature in Toronto and then ...
Title:Trudeau: The Education Of A Prime MinisterFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:368 pages, 9.28 × 6.43 × 1.25 inShipping dimensions:9.28 × 6.43 × 1.25 inPublished:August 6, 2019Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771048955

ISBN - 13:9780771048951


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Yet, as with his father in 1972, just four years after Trudeaumania, Justin Trudeau’s time in office has drained the enthusiasm from some people who voted for him the last time but who feel they have been deserted by the man who promised to change the world — or at the very least the voting system. The government has not lived up to as many of its promises as the majority governments that preceded it. It has failed to deliver on its agenda for First Nations and others, and has blatantly broken promises on electoral reform and balanced budgets. Many voters who projected their own visions onto the Liberals have been left disenchanted by Trudeau’s policies on small business taxes, Omar Khadr, the summer jobs program, and illegal migration. Still others, particularly in the West, rave and seethe unhealthily about the Liberal project when it comes to the carbon tax and non-existent pipelines. And then there has been the prime minister’s own behaviour.      Trudeau is no political neophyte. He has been an MP for more than a decade. Nobody made him wear a Sherwani when he was in India, or dance the bhangra.      Nobody forced him to manhandle the Conservative whip and elbow an NDP MP on the floor of the House of Commons because he was frustrated at the slow passage of government legislation.      No one compelled him to describe Fidel Castro as a “larger than life leader, a legendary revolutionary and orator.”     Neither was the prime minister coerced into the helicopter that whisked him off to a vacation on the Aga Khan’s Caribbean island, in contravention of the Conflict of Interest Act.     He was not bound to pay Omar Khadr $10 million in compensation or to defend the government’s court case against veterans “because they’re asking for more than we’re able to give right now.”     There was no necessity to launch a sustained campaign of “inappropriate” pressure to get his attorney-general to change her mind on a criminal prosecution, risking allegations about obstruction of justice. Nobody forced him to demote her when she refused to do so.     The principles of open and accountable government mean the prime minister sets the general direction of government policy and establishes standards of conduct. He is not a cog in something turning — he operates the machine.      Statesmen as far back as Cicero, the Roman consul, have compared politics to navigation, where sometimes you run before the wind, sometimes you tack, and sometimes you catch a tide. But as Cicero noted, all this takes years of skill and study. Successful statesmen adapt inflexible principles to changing political circumstances, he said. But Trudeau lacks the guile and experience of a Jean Chrétien, or even a Stephen Harper, and that might explain why his popularity has tumbled by 50 per cent. He has been quick to blame those who disagree with him for indulging in the “politics of fear and division”. But there are few more divisive figures on the political scene than Justin Pierre James Trudeau, the “man of systems” who has found that moving different pieces around the chessboard is more difficult than he might have imagined.     Many Canadians may not be able to verbalize their disquiet, but veteran Canadian-American columnist David Brooks gave a pretty good summation of leadership in his book The Road to Character. “The best leader goes along with the grain of human nature, rather than going against it. He prefers arrangements that are low and steady to those that are lofty and heroic,” he wrote. “As long as the foundation of an institution are sound, he prefers change that is constant, gradual and incremental to change that is radical and sudden.” Trudeau’s time as prime minster has been the antithesis of what Brooks judged to be sound leadership — arrangements that are lofty and heroic; change that is radical and sudden.