With the federal election just a few short months away, Canadians are starting to express their opinions on the upcoming candidates.  It's fair to say that the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been part of some controversy the past few months, and Canadians are now starting to express their opinions towards the political leader. #IStandWithTrudeau has been trending on Twitter, and the comments are starting to show just how divided Canadians really are about the Prime Minister and his actions. 

It was probably a sleepless night last night for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, following a report on Wednesday that suggested he was guilty of violating the Conflict of Interest Act, with regards to the SNC-Lavalin scandal. 

According to the report, which was released by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, Trudeau was found to have attempted to encourage a former justice minister to come to a deferred prosecution agreement with engineering company SNC-Lavalin. 

While Trudeau had previously denied any allegations of using his position as Prime Minister to influence the Attorney General’s decision, Wednesday’s report found him to have breached Section 9 of the federal Conflict of Interest Act, which is specifically designed to ensure high-ranking members of the government cannot use their powers to influence private interests.

While the news of Commissioner Dion’s report initially sounded like pretty damning news for the Prime Minister, particularly in the run-up to October’s federal election, many Canadians on Twitter have taken the opportunity to let Trudeau know that they will still support him, by using the hashtag #IStandWithTrudeau.

To show their support for Trudeau, one Twitter user wrote, “Taking responsability [sic] is one of the hardest things to do. I am proud of @JustinTrudeau for doing that and showing how a leader should act. I am proud to have a PM would respect people, and tries to do the right thing. #IStandWithTrudeau."

While a number of Twitter users praised Trudeau on his ability to acknowledge his mistakes and take responsibility, other users of the #IStandWithTrudeau hashtag said that they believed Trudeau’s error was a minor one, in comparison with ‘real issues’ in the world. 

One Trudeau supporter wrote, “No campaign is perfect, but I believe that Trudeau has the best intentions for Canada out of all candidates. #IStandWithTrudeau.”

Another added, “I've said it before and I'll say it again. SNC and what-the-PM-wore-to-India are NOT life-or-death issues! Climate change, health care, the economy, and gun violence are! He took responsibility today as the leader and said here are lessons to be learned. #IStandWithTrudeau.”

Alongside the thousands of Canadians that took to Twitter to use the hashtag #IStandWithTrudeau, there was also a smaller, but still significant number of Canadians who wanted to let the Prime Minister know they were not prepared to be so forgiving. The hashtag #TrudeauMustGoToJail also started trending, with users making it clear that they feel Trudeau should be punished for his involvement in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

One user wrote, “I read the report. (Did you?)  It's absolutely damning and shows Trudeau's fundamental lack of understanding of the role of the AG. Horrifying. If he continues to think he did nothing wrong, that's even worse.”

Another Canadian added, “Normal citizens would go to jail for a lot less. Politicians, they get rewarded #TrudeauMustResign #TrudeauMustGoToJail.”

Whether you’re on team #IStandWithTrudeau or team #TrudeauMustGoToJail, it is clear that Canada is feeling pretty divided at the moment in terms of how they feel about the Prime Minister. With the October federal election only 66 short days away, it remains to be seen how much of an effect this latest SNC-Lavalin revelation will have on Canadian’s votes.

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