What happens when an entire government's reputation is premised on a single figure and his personal brand? As long as the latter can be sustained, most political damage can be absorbed. But when a leader's profile begins to lose its lustre, the consequences are severe. Whatever its precise ideological character, this is the fatal flaw of personality politics – as Canada's pin-up prime minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have now learned. At the start of 2019, as the country sleepily entered another general election year, Canadian politics gave the appearance of stasis.