Geoffrey Stevens's blog

Justin Trudeau political legacy is riding on the outcome of the war against COVID-19

Canadian history is full of what historians like to call “defining moments” – events or decisions that put their stamp on the country and help to secure the legacy, for better or worse, of the government of the day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minority Liberal government face one of those defining moments as they, along with their provincial partners, struggle to keep Canadians safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome of the struggle, which no one can yet predict, will inevitably colour history’s verdict on this Trudeau government.

Listen to the scientists. And prepare for the absolute worst.

“We are living in a global public health crisis moving at a speed and scale never witnessed by living generations. The cracks in our medical and financial systems are being splayed open like a gashing wound. No matter how this plays out, life will forever look a little different for all of us.” – Dr. Cornelia Griggs, critical care specialist at a 4,000-bed New York City hospital, writing in the New York Times, March 19

There will be many lessons to be learned from COVID-19, and two big ones are already staring us in the face.

Canada gets it right on COV-19, unlike the United States

Canada is a favoured nation in many, many ways, not the least of them being the strength of our political institutions and the ability of our elected leaders to rise above partisanship and self-interest in times of crisis.

I can think of no better way to illustrate the point than by comparing the responses at the highest levels in Canada and the United States to the coronavirus pandemic. The response in Ottawa may not have been perfect, but the Trudeau administration clearly understands that the paramount responsibility of government is the protection of the public.

The Democrats are seeking their own old white male to defeat Donald Trump

Canada’s Conservatives and the Democrats south of the border have two things in common, aside from being on the outside looking in.

First, both parties are lost, confused about their identity and unsure which way to turn find the path to power.

Second, both parties, although defeated, actually won the popular vote in their last elections – yet neither has any confidence that the leader they are about to choose will lead them to victory.