Former President Barack Obama has tweeted his support for incumbent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the election campaign tightens in its final days.
Obama tweeted that the “world needs his (Trudeau) progressive leadership now” and that he hoped Canadians would lend their support to Trudeau’s Liberal Party. Obama took to Twitter to wish his “friend @JusitinTrudeau the best in Canada’s upcoming election,” tweeting that the Canadian premier had been “an effective leader and strong voice for democratic values, and I’m proud of the work we did together.”
Trudeau responded by thanking Obama, adding that “ Progress is on the ballot – and we’re going to keep fighting for it.” Obama’s tweet soon drew criticism from those accusing him of “foreign interference” in Canada’s election.
This isn’t the first time Obama has been levied with this accusation, he endorsed Trudeau in the final stretch of the 2019 election campaign. At the time Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer said the endorsement wasn’t considered interference under current law “as long as it was not paid for or the person making it did not receive any form of payment.”
This time round Elections Canada, the body which oversees the country’s elections told the BBC that foreign citizens should feel free to express their views on the upcoming election and that, “Whether expenses were incurred, who incurred them and for what reason would be among the factors that need to be considered before determining if undue foreign influence has taken place,” said Elections Canada spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier.
Trudeau called the election with the hope of turning his current minority government into one which could command a majority in Canada’s parliament. So far around 5.8 million Canadians have voted early in this election, that’s up 18.5% from 2019.
Elections Canada had initially predicted that between 2.3 and 4.3 million mail-in ballots would be requested, however the real number is closer to 1.2 million. Many commentators believe that Trudeau thought his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic would give him a leg up in the polls, however he has come under fire for his handling of the Delta variant.
Currently the polls show the Liberal Party in a dead heat with Erin O’Tooles revitalized Conservative Party, with both separated by less than a percentage point. Many blame Trudeau’s low energy campaign and a lack of new and innovative ideas.
Justin Trudeau isn’t the only world leader Obama has ever endorsed. In 2017 he endorsed Emmanuel Macron during the French presidential election, and whilst he was still in office he told reporters that if he were German he would vote for Angela Merkel. Obama also notably threw his support behind the remain campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum.