Mariya Mubeen

n a rainy Tuesday night, Sept. 10, 2019, at the quirky Atomic Rooster in downtown Ottawa, Martin Lukacs officially released his new book, called The Trudeau Formula. Lukacs is an environmental journalist and frequent contributor to The Guardian. He came into the limelight for his work as the co-author of the Leap Manifesto, a public call to arms regarding climate and social injustice. 

Around 40 attendees were greeted amicably by the author and Joel Harden, a Member of Provincial Parliament from the New Democratic Party.

Lukacs’ book is a 300-page investigative piece that knits together events scattered across Canada’s political history into a quilt of uncomfortable reality. In the book Lukacs touches on the the two-faced agenda of the Liberal Party and its coziness with oil companies; the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline; the weapons deals with Saudi Arabia and complicity in the Yemeni genocide; and the ongoing theft of Indigenous land. 

“Calling out the faux progressivism of the Liberal Party is their kryptonite.” — Martin Lukacs

Above all, the book is an account of how the Liberal Party succeeded in presenting a façade as a progressive champion of the people time and time again, but constantly promotes the interests of elites and corporations behind closed doors. 

But some of this façade seems to be cracking, with scandals like SNC Lavalin and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s three cases of blackface dominating headlines.

The event started off with attendees casually mingling with Lukacs, Harden, and others. Copies of the books were being sold at the entrance. The meet and greet slowly transitioned into a small discussion panel with Harding and Lukacs, moderated by Samiha Rayeda, former OPIRG Co-Ordinator.

Some of the evening’s harshest criticisms were aimed at radical centrism. “The world has run out of time for [the Liberal Party’s] philosophy. If you look at climate, we have 10 or 11 more years,” said Harden. “The notion of piecemealing our way to climate justice absolutely does not wash.” 

The panelists bounced from economic inequality, to the Liberal Party’s glossy rhetoric, to the “reconciliation industry” – all of it peppered with subtle political promotion and comic anecdotes. 

When asked what led him to write the book, Lukacs said, “I felt like someone had to take on the burden, someone had to take one for the team.”

He said he believed the Liberal Party to be an obstruction to the change that Canadian society needs with regards to climate change, Indigenous reconciliation, wage stagnation, and economic inequality. He told The Leveller that the book is intended to condense analyses being put out by social movements and organizations for future movements.

“Don’t let your politics end with voting. It’s an important act, but it’s one tactic in a toolbox to do politics,” said Lukacs. “The most important politics are not what happens at the ballot box… [they’re] what happens all year round, in social movements who are agitating for the kind of fundamental change that we need.”

He encouraged people to research party platforms and look for alternatives with more progressive ideals. Lukacs urged people to vote for the NDP and involve themselves with environmental, immigration justice, and Indigenous solidarity movements to keep pressure on the government.

“This book makes me angry,” said Harden. “It makes me want to fight for that kind of politics more.” 

Lukacs is currently headed to Winnipeg for the next stop of his book tour, followed by Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, before ending in Vancouver.

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