With the hotly-contested and painfully close federal election just five days away, the endorsements are finally starting to come in–and it looks like Liberal leader (and current prime minister) Justin Trudeau has received a ringing one from an iconic liberal-minded statesman: Former U.S. President Barack Obama.
I was proud to work with Justin Trudeau as President. He's a hard-working, effective leader who takes on big issues like climate change. The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbors to the north support him for another term.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 16, 2019
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“I was proud to work with Justin Trudeau as President,” Obama wrote in a statement posted to social media.
“He’s a hard-working, effective leader who takes on big issues like climate change. The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbors to the north support him for another term.”
Obama served as president of the U.S. from January 2009 to January 2017.
Declared president-elect for the first of his two terms in November 2008, he rode into the White House on a wave of what he and his supporters called “hope and change.” Decisively besting popular presidential hopeful John McCain, Obama faced extreme opposition from Republican politicians throughout his two terms in office and often struggled to pass legislation, including the much-maligned (but beloved by many) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more colloquially known as “Obamacare”).
When the Liberals won a majority government in 2015, the two world leaders were often photographed together, sparking talk of a budding “bromance.”
In 2016, Barack and Michelle Obama invited Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, to the White House for the first official visit and state dinner with Canada in close to 20 years.
That same year, just months before Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Obama addressed the House of Commons in Canada.
In 2017, the progressive leaders were spotted at the Liverpool House, a Montreal restaurant.
After sailing into the top spot in Canadian politics in 2015 on his own wave of hope and change, Trudeau has faced challenges and a particularly difficult 2019. Wounded by the shaky handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair earlier this year, Trudeau entered the campaign with less fulsome support than the Liberals would have liked.
A recently released Nanos poll shows Trudeau’s Liberals gripped in a neck-in-neck race with Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives. With just five days left before Canadians go to the polls, Trudeau is fighting to hold on to progressive voters who have been tempted to support the NDP and Green Party nationally and the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec. If progressive voters choose the NDP, Greens or Bloc, they’ll split the left-leaning vote, potentially allowing Conservatives to secure a victory.
A Mainstreet Research poll suggests that Liberals have performed well with early voters (Elections Canada estimates that up to 4.7 million people voted over the Thanksgiving weekend), but the outcome of the Oct. 21 election is anyone’s guess and a minority government is expected.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Trudeau also earned an endorsement from Raptors boss Masai Ujiri.
Whether the Obama endorsement will move the needle remains to be seen.
But it certainly isn’t a bad endorsement to have, especially since Obama is very, very popular in Canada.