Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recently been caught up in a scandal that has caused outrage in Canada. It is alleged that Trudeau pressured his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to settle a criminal case concerning a Quebec construction company. The company was on trial for allegedly bribing Libyan officials for government contracts. Wilson-Raybould resigned from Trudeau’s cabinet after this.
Following this scandal, Trudeau’s clean image has been hurt, and people in Canada see him more as a typical corrupt politician. It is even hurting Canadian liberals in the polls, which is notable because election day in Canada is in seven months.
It is frustrating how this scandal is enough to significantly sway public opinion in Canada, but in the United States, figures like Trump are able to stay popular throughout multiple scandals that are much more significant and repulsive. After all, Trump has been accused of colluding with Russia, attempting to pay a porn star to stay silent about an alleged affair and has even been caught on tape describing how he inappropriately approaches women. None of these events were able to decrease Trump’s popularity enough to severely harm his chances of being elected. This is a sharp contrast to what is happening in Canada right now, as one scandal involving Trudeau trying to help a company avoid conviction for crimes has disillusioned people and caused them to lose faith in the prime minister.
The situation is also notably different than US scandals because Canadians are actually concerned about Trudeau’s lack of communication about his accused pressuring. Daniel Beland, a political science professor at McGill University, says that, “people have complained about the fact that the (Prime Minister) didn’t give a strong account of the story.” Meanwhile, in the United States, Trump is able to hide his tax returns and give vague answers to journalists during press conferences, and many Americans do not care enough about this to change their support for him.
Americans must start to hold higher standards for their public officials. It is inspiring that Canada holds their prime minister to such a standard that him pressuring an attorney general is a massive issue. This is the kind of concern that the public should have for their leader. The public should demand transparency from a figure such as a prime minister or a president, and Americans need to become more concerned about what the president does. If Trump pressured his attorney general to settle a case and help a company avoid conviction, it would likely be on the news for a day or two and then be forgotten as something more outrageous takes its place. Americans need to remember these types of scandals and not forget them as something else takes its place; they need to stop treating this type of news as entertainment and simply shake their heads in disbelief. Trump, similar to Trudeau, needs to be held accountable for actions that are morally questionable, and these actions need to stay relevant for longer periods of time.
Ben Crnic is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.