That it should come to this…
That’s the headline to which Canadians awoke this past Saturday morning.
Granted, the National Post is not a fan of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, at the best of times.
But Trudeau has had a particularly rough few weeks (and, at times, he hasn’t helped his own cause).
Since emerging from his Christmas vacation in early January, Trudeau has been tested by a series of major incidents and events, domestic and international:
- Iran shooting down a passenger plane carrying 138 people with ties to Canada
- The coronavirus outbreak, now classified by the World Health Organization as a global health emergency
- A series of illegal blockades that have interrupted (or halted entirely) freight and passenger traffic along key rail arteries in Canada’s three largest provinces
The rail blockades – in particular – are more than an issues management challenge for the Trudeau government. They are potentially an existential threat.
They involve matters of indigenous relations, rights, and governance – self-declared priorities for the reconciliation-minded Trudeau Liberals.
They test the notion that the government – any government – can balance economy and the environment while keeping everyone happy.
All of this makes the Prime Minister’s handling of the protests even more curious.
For the first week of the rail crisis, Trudeau was travelling in Africa and Europe trying to shore up support for Canada’s bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations’ Security Council. (The election in question is in June.)
(Clearly stung by criticism over his handling of affairs, Trudeau cancelled a planned lobby trip to the Caribbean this week to stay home and attend to the rail crisis.)
Smart and savvy leaders of industry groups and professional associations whose members were most affected by the rail impasse took their message directly to the media (hungry for fresh angles on the blockades) and the public (frustrated by perceived government inaction).
The best of these spokespeople seized the narrative, and drove it to their own ends. Their members and stakeholders were well served.
At Winston Wilmont, we can help you navigate volatile situations like the one still unfolding along Canada’s rail lines.
We craft messages that will get noticed, prepare you for media interviews and stakeholder calls, plot out social campaigns, and help you advocate effectively on behalf of those counting on you.
In short, when it’s vitally important that you been seen and heard, we’ve got your back. Get in touch today.