“Everything I tried to do in the last four years has been focused on bringing Canadians together. Yet we find ourselves in a more polarizing, more divisive election. I really hope that Canadians pull together and I hope Canadians make the choice to pull together.”
Thus spoke Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at an announcement in Fredericton.
He had been asked what his greatest regret was as prime minister, and his answer wasn’t that surprising. Trudeau has always seen himself as a rassembleur — someone who brings people together. Conversely, he has demonized his Conservative opponents, first Stephen Harper and now Andrew Scheer, as people who divide. This has been his shtick ever since he became leader.
The irony, however, is that Trudeau is actually one of the most polarizing figures in Canadian politics. It is a fact he does not acknowledge because he may not even realize it.
For progressive politicians, division is the province of the right: think Doug Ford and Jason Kenney. But a politician’s propensity to divide isn’t simply based on politics — it’s also based on personality. And due to his unique combination of the two, Trudeau, like his father Pierre Elliott Trudeau before him, has succeeded in dividing the country and producing one of the most bitter elections in recent memory.