Leader fatigue nothing new, and neither is voting angry

Trevor's Take

Trevor Hutchinson headshot

By Trevor Hutchinson

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, pictured in 1975. As a teenager, Contributing Editor Trevor Hutchinson told everyone in the public school yard how amazing the former Prime Minister was. Over the years, he has voted in different directions, and admits that he has sometimes regretted "voting angry."

I am a lifelong political junkie, thanks in large part to my dad (who has always been involved and interested in politics) and my Grade 8 teacher in Fenelon Falls, Bruce Butterworth, who nurtured in me a lifelong passion for both politics and history.

One day in early 1980, I was in my public school yard shouting how Pierre Trudeau was amazing and how the Liberals were going to win the election (they did). By the time I made it to lunch at the staff table at the Fenelon LCBO (where my dad worked), he asked, “What’s this I hear about you liking Trudeau?”

Communication was local. There was no internet, but word got around, fast. Politics, though partisan, had a measure of civility. Chinese and Russian social media bots, designed to divide us, were not yet a thing. The rich weren’t yet uber rich so their influence, while important, was not as amplified as today.

Jump ahead four years and I am in the Canadian Armed Forces and about to vote in my first federal election at the tender age of 17. As a regular member of the forces I was entitled to vote, despite a few weeks away from the legal voting age. My idiot commanding officer marched my platoon to the polling station. While keeping us at formation attention, he explained how the Conservatives “support the military” before we were sent to the polling station.

A year previous, I had been a vice president of the local Young Progressive Conservative Club. It was local MP Bill Scott’s second last election. He knew my family. As a young kid enthralled with politics, he was my local rock star. The result would be a tap-in anyway: Bill, as everyone called him, had been MP since 1968. It was also the year of Mulroney’s first sweep that saw the governing Liberals lose 95 seats and the PCs (may they rest in peace) gain 111 seats.

Angry at my CO and the democratic abuse I had witnessed, I voted NDP. I let my emotions overrule my (nascent) understanding of policy. I voted angry and have regretted it ever since.

Flash forward to now and voting angry is a worldwide phenomenon. There are only a handful of world leaders who have a positive approval rating. Inflation, income inquiry and post-COVID issues are seen globally as the biggest factors. Add paid-actors at the state and corporate level, thanks to sophisticated social media algorithms, and leader-fatigue is just so much uglier now.

Eight years after my first vote, Mulroney’s party would get only two seats. Leader fatigue has always been a thing.

So sorry all you ‘F Trudeau’ folks: While a bunch of Canadians are dissatisfied or just bored, your performative anger is probably just a political version of the “Macarena.” It’s popular now. But this too shall pass.

1 Comment

  1. Mark says:

    One thing i love about being canadian..how i, as a citizen, am constantly polled (never) and told how i feel, how good i have it, how lucky i am…. by those who are the “all knowing”. I wonder why they just never come out and ask us?

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