As the federal party leaders are making their final bids for your vote, an influential former head of state from south of the border is giving his vote of confidence to Justin Trudeau.
Former U.S. president Barack Obama tweeted Wednesday saying he hopes the Canadian people will “support him for another term.”
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
Obama’s tweet included endorsements of Trudeau taking on climate change and described him as a “hard-working, effective leader.”
Trudeau replied a short time later
Thanks my friend, we’re working hard to keep our progress going. https://t.co/l4V42PZbef
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 16, 2019
Minutes after Obama’s tweet Wednesday, Trudeau received more words of support from another prominent American: Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada.
Heyman, who was appointed envoy by Obama, wrote that he and the former president got to work directly with Trudeau. He said they saw “his dedication and effectiveness” as a leader.
“Canada has been very well served with (Justin Trudeau) as their prime minister,” Heyman wrote.
During Obama’s term, Trudeau was invited to a U.S. state dinner – the first involving a Canadian in 19 years. During a press briefing during that visit, Trudeau called Obama a man of “tremendous heart and tremendous intellect.”
The two are said to share a famous “bromance,” with their mutual admiration for each other’s work and congenial working relationship.
Obama’s support for Trudeau landed with polls suggesting the Liberal leader is locked in a tight race with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
It took the Liberals a little over an hour to insert Obama’s message into a party fundraising pitch that was emailed directly to potential donors.
“Here’s what Barack Obama had to say this afternoon:” reads the note, which then nods to an image of Obama’s tweet. It urges the email’s recipient to provide an “urgent campaign donation” to help Trudeau and the Liberals win another mandate.
Obama has also given public endorsements to other high-profile, international politicians.
In 2017, he voiced his support in a video for French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. A year earlier, while on his final overseas trip as president, he offered an endorsement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a report by the Washington Post.
For some, Obama’s endorsement of Trudeau raised concerns.
Ian Brodie, who was chief of staff for former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, wrote on Twitter: “I await a response on the Obama tweet from the federal government’s rapid response team on foreign interference…”
Green Leader Elizabeth May said later Wednesday that she was surprised a former U.S. president would endorse a candidate or engage in Canadian politics.
“Clearly, we remember the ‘bromance,’ so there’s always that, but I think it’s important for Canadians to decide who forms government,” May said in Victoria.
“The clearest and best result for this election is if we avoid a false majority, for either the Liberals or the Conservatives, to force them to have to listen and to work with some of the parties in the House of Commons that may be smaller. We’re much smaller, but we’re also going to hold to principle over power.”
Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report