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But data soon to be released by the Angus Reid Institute will show the majority of Canadians engaged on the WE issue – taking little time to form their own judgments about what happened. Most say the issue is serious, as opposed to overblown. A plurality, including most who cast ballots for the Liberals in the last election, are inclined to cast the decision to award that contract to WE as unethical, not a mere error in judgment.
And while Morneau has repaid $41,000 in travel expenses he initially took on the arm from WE as the charity (one his daughter works for) flew him around the world, the political cost to Trudeau could be much higher. Having climbed assiduously back into the good books of the electorate this year via his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, he is now reminding Canadians – yet again – of his capacity to make them mad. His approval numbers appear to be liquefying; his momentum numbers, trending in the wrong direction.
The opposition Conservatives smell blood and have used the powers awarded them by a minority Parliament to sustain and prolong the discomfort for the Liberals, demanding Trudeau appear and give testimony in front of not one but two House of Commons committees.
And yet, old political divisions may yet provide the Teflon coating the prime minister and his government need in order to slip away from scandal once more. For all their seething apoplexy, most voters (and that includes a significant chunk of Conservatives) are unconvinced this will be the issue that brings the government down.
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