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Desperate Dysfunctional Canada: Can Populist Pierre Poilievre Repair the Damage?

Unlike its neighbour to the south, Canada tends to be overlooked, projecting a false sense of political stability, even stagnation. However, that is far from the reality. 

Since he became Prime Minister in 2015, Justin Trudeau has driven his country toward socio-economic catastrophe. A lack of affordable housing, a struggling healthcare system, abuse of authority, numerous scandals, false promises, and many other issues have become uncontrollable. Whilst the elections are almost two years away, Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative Opposition Leader, has a chance to undo the failures of Trudeau's policies. But first, he will have to deal with the housing crisis.

To do so, Poilievre will rely on reward and punishment. A proposed bill will incentivise cities across Canada to build a certain percentage of more homes. Cities that do not meet the proposed quotas will not be eligible for further federal funding. In contrast, cities that meet expectations will be rewarded with bonus surplus from the federal budget. 

The issue of affordable and available housing has been an ongoing struggle for Canadians. Recent data shows that the housing market cannot cope with the ongoing population growth, leading to a shortage and skyrocketing prices.

Poilievre is set to fix this "housing hell" by cutting down on bureaucracy and tying federal funding to housing starts. It is a plan to help people find housing and is a simple proposal to fix an issue Trudeau's government created. 

Instead of supporting the Canadian people, in December of 2023, the Canadian government agreed with the Philippines a $5.3 billion financial commitment to promote biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation, among others, up until 2026. Why is Justin Trudeau desperate to prove himself a climate change combatant abroad when the average Canadian can't afford to pay rent or buy a house?

While battling climate change and working toward a more sustainable future is a noble cause, this cannot be achieved in the context of ignoring the major issues that trouble ordinary Canadian citizens. To achieve future sustainability goals, people must first feel secure at home. That requires cutting everyday product costs and dropping real estate prices in the home country, but costs are increasing

Justin Trudeau's megalomania has led to authoritarianism masquerading as liberalism. This was evident two years ago when Canadian protesters, part of the so-called Freedom Convoy, protested against mandatory vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a response to these protests, Justin Trudeau froze the bank accounts of those involved. This undemocratic measure saw the Prime Minister become villain, shutting down opposition threatening his political position. 

Canada is considered an exceptionally free and democratic country, but the decision to freeze the bank accounts of people participating in protests speaks to the contrary. This kind of response is frequently seen in authoritarian states that tremble at the thought of civil unrest. 

Protest is fundamental to democracy. If people cannot raise their voices against measures that dissatisfy or cause them harm, is it democracy? 

This was not the first time Trudeau hindered the freedoms of his people. He deployed public monitoring services to spy on citizens critical of his government back in 2019 when Trudeau ordered the close monitoring of Reddit threads and Twitter posts critical of the Canadian refugee crisis. 

If you cannot express your thoughts freely on the issues that affect you, how can you say you live in a democratic society? Each individual is responsible for their speech and actions, and when that expression is monitored, and you fear government punishment, how can you say that you have freedom of speech? Despite this, Trudeau views himself as a liberal champion of freedom and democracy.

Pierre Poilievre is considered a conservative advocate of freedom, as evidenced by his promotion of limited government. Under Poilievre, the state and its officials will follow the people's will and not impose punitive limitations on citizens.

His anti-elite rhetoric saw him elected as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, promoting complete freedom where citizens can express their thoughts on issues that affect them without monitoring or retribution. He has aligned himself closely with the trucker protests and critically opposed Trudeau's anti-democratic interferences. He has gained popularity from Canada's conservative and centrist voters and the dissatisfied leftist voters who previously stood behind Trudeau.

Alongside financial stagnation and suppression of freedom, Canada faces a significant issue on its northern doorstep: the Arctic Circle. The Arctic is the newest frontier for international security, involving major geopolitical players like Canada, the USA, and Russia. There is growing Russian influence in the area, and their expansionist campaigns and commercial ambitions will become a real threat to Canadian sovereignty. 

Back in 2021, Russia filed a submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to extend a claim to the Arctic Ocean seabed. Two years later, Russia got the approval for its data claims on the Arctic seabed. Many of Canada's similar claims are ones Russia has already submitted, so any territorial disputes would have to be settled between the two states. Canada needs a political figure who can lead those discussions. 

Apart from security concerns, there is energy security. Poilievre has vowed to open the Churchill Port on Hudson Bay in Churchill, Manitoba, northeast of the country. 

Before the port was shut down in 2012, it was a major wheat exporting centre. Poilievre believes its strategic location can grant access to its natural resources, leaving Canada less dependent on energy imports by using the natural resources within Canada's reach. Canada could be more energy-sufficient and grow its economy by providing new jobs and opportunities by unlocking Canada's Arctic as an energy hub.

Day by day, the situation in Canada is deteriorating. Once a promised land, it has become a problematic state, unable to find pragmatic solutions for the issues that worry Canadian citizens. However, the Canadian dream can be revived. While elections might be far away, Pierre Poilievre has a good chance of keeping pace and becoming Prime Minister. All he needs is patience; after all, Rome was not built in one day.

Image: The Canadian Press/via AP

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