How Justin Trudeau lost his grip: The prime minister’s bleak reality: Canadians don’t like him anymore. (ZI-ANN LUM, 01/10/2024, Politico)

Trudeau, a bilingual Ottawa and Montreal native, tripped over old divisions between English and French-speaking Canada during the 2021 election — another disconnect with voter anger.

Internal Liberal polling suggested Trudeau was on his way back to majority status until the all-party English leaders’ debate during the home stretch of the contest. Trudeau’s tepid response to a question about whether language-protection laws in Quebec amounted to racism derailed Liberal momentum and cost Liberals the 10 seats they needed.

“You deny that Quebec has problems with racism,” moderator Shachi Kurl said to separatist Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet during the televised debate. “Yet you defend legislation such as Bills 96 and 21, which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones and allophones.”

The laws introduce protectionist rules for the French language in the province and ban public servants from wearing religious symbols such as kippahs, turbans and hijabs at work.

While Blanchet unleashed fury at the moderator, Trudeau seemed merely uncomfortable.