top of page

Canadian Politics: A Reflection of Populism and Obama

A conversation I had with Premier Wynne at Western University in 2015

Barack Obama's election victory in 2008 set a precedence. Most notably, the charismatic Hawaii native was the first-ever African American President. His presidency signalled a way for America to move forward from a past riddled with racial inequality.

Obama, 47, pulled off what critics called an 'upset,' defeating the seasoned Naval aviator and state Senator, John McCain, 72.

Historically, Obama's campaign will be remembered most for how it utilized social media. The former lawyer attracted the masses with his compelling speeches and transparent messages. Since 2008, social media has only further become an extension of the political candidate.

While Obama's progressive agenda and online presence helped to foster his youthful appeal, Canada may best reflect the mark he left on politics.

Three years into Obama's first term in the Oval Office, Canada held a Federal election. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives won their third consecutive election, and this time around got the result they were looking for: a majority government. Amidst the Conservatives triumph was a pitiful showing by the Liberal Party; their 34 seats ranked the lowest total in the history of their political party.

The result was devastating enough that Papineau, Quebec MP Justin Trudeau started to contemplate running for Liberal Party leadership. His entrance into Parliament had only begun in 2008 as a new MP, the same year Obama became President.

Despite criticism to the former drama teacher's political resume, Trudeau knew he embodied something that Canadians wanted: youthfulness, charisma, and change.

It goes without saying that Trudeau's father, the late Pierre Trudeau, one of the most popular Prime Minister's in Canadian history, helped boost his popularity.

On November 4, 2015 Justin Trudeau assumed office as Prime Minister of Canada.

Trudeau held off Harper from an election victory that would have made him the longest-serving Prime Minister; and instead he set his own record, becoming the second youngest Prime Minister at the age of 43.

Since coming to power, Trudeau has in many ways bolstered Canada's international image as a more engaging and approachable leader than his predecessor.The savvy outdoors man and avid Star Trek fan has helped dismantle the mantra of an old man's club present in so many levels of government.

In 2017, Trudeau's impact on Canadians perception of government leaders has smeared its way into the two other major political parties. The Conservative's elected Andrew Scheer, 38, as Federal Party leader in May, and the NDP's chose Jagmeet Singh, 38, as their leader just last weekend.

The advertisements leading up to the 2015 election condemning Justin Trudeau as 'just not ready' are appearing rather ironic. Trudeau, 45, is now the oldest Federal party leader in Canada.

Described as 'Stephen Harper with a smile,' Scheer's history in politics and grooming by Harper makes him perhaps the steadiest leader.

While Jagmeet Singh's grounding as a lawyer and background as a Sikh appeals heavily to minorities.

Less than a year removed from the Obama administration, America's northern neighbours identify with many Obama similarities.

The political landscape has changed dramatically in Canada. By the 2019 Federal election, citizen interaction, public appearance, sound bites, and the evolution of change will likely be measured more than in any political race before.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page