Selasa, 21 September 2021

Awkward photo emerges at the worst time -

Just as Canadians went to the polls to vote today, a shocking new picture of their leader emerged. Now, the results are coming in.

As Canadians packed into long queues to cast their ballots in the federal election, an extremely awkward new picture of their leader’s worst lapse in judgment emerged.

While it was already known that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau donned blackface at an “Arabian Nights” party back in 2001, this previously unseen image shows just how good a time he appeared to be having, in full colour.

Previously all that had been seen were a series of grainy black and white photos in the 2000-2001 yearbook of the West Point Grey Academy – a private day school where Mr Trudeau was a teacher. They showed the then 29-year-old wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened.

The new colour snap is likely to cause further embarrassment for Mr Trudeau who has already apologised for his actions that night.

And it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

Bad timing for photo to be released

Just as the unseen photo was released, Canadians were at their polling stations, voting in the federal election.

While Mr Trudeau’s administration is showing signs of fatigue, and with some voters turning against the Liberal Prime Minister, at this stage it looks like the 49-year-old will be returned to office.

From early results, Mr Trudeau is predicted to beat Conservative leader Erin O’Toole to remain leader of the country, according to TV projections.

But with polling stations still set to be reporting results for hours to come, it is not yet clear if the Liberals will gain enough seats to form a majority in parliament to allow Mr Trudeau to pass his agenda without opposition support.

Why was the election so close?

Despite the forecast, this election has been anything but a walkover.

Entering the final stretch of the contest, the two main political parties that have ruled Canada since its 1867 confederation were virtually tied, with about 31 per cent support each in public opinion polls, and four smaller factions nipping at their heels.

Mr Trudeau called the snap election last month, hoping to parlay a smooth Covid-19 vaccine rollout – among the best in the world – into a new mandate to steer the nation’s pandemic exit, without having to rely on opposition party support to pass his agenda.

But the contest, after a bumpy five weeks of campaigning, appears set for a repeat of the close 2019 general election that resulted in the one-time golden boy of Canadian politics only just clinging to power after losing his majority in parliament.

A sudden surge in Covid-19 cases led by the Delta variant late in the campaign – after the lifting of most public health measures this summer – has also muddied the waters.

Mr Trudeau has faced tougher political bouts and still come out unscathed. But after six years in power, his administration is showing signs of fatigue, and it’s been an uphill battle for him to convince Canadians to stick with the Liberals after falling short of the high expectations set in his 2015 landslide win.

‘Anti-vaxxer mobs,’ China ‘counterstrikes’

The campaign saw the contenders spar over climate actions, Indigenous reconciliation, affordable housing, mandatory Covid-19 jabs and vaccine passports.

At rallies, Mr Trudeau was dogged by what he described as “anti-vaxxer mobs,” including one that threw stones at him.

The 48-year-old Mr O’Toole, meanwhile, was knocked for backing two provinces which loosened public health restrictions too soon, with Covid outbreaks now forcing their overwhelmed hospitals to fly patients across the country for care.

He also fumbled over gun control and was warned by Beijing, according to Chinese state media, that his proposed hard line on China – Canada’s second-largest trading partner, with whom relations have soured over its detention of two Canadians – would “invite counterstrikes”.

Trudeau ‘lied to us’

Long line-ups outside polling stations were observed by AFP journalists in several major cities.

Elections Canada spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier, however, said balloting “went well, generally”.

One voter in Mr Trudeau’s Montreal electoral district of Papineau, Douglas O’Hara, 73, said he was “very disappointed” with the Prime Minister.

Although he believes Mr Trudeau “did a half-decent job” managing the pandemic, he pointed out that the leader had pledged not to go to the polls until the outbreak had subsided.

“Then as soon as he gets a chance [where] he thinks he’s going to get a majority, he calls an election,” Mr O’Hara said. “I really believe he lied to us.”

In Ottawa, Kai Anderson, 25, said Canada’s pandemic response was her “number one” issue. “I think the Prime Minister did a good job managing the pandemic,” she said.

– with AFP

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2021-09-21 06:15:51Z

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