Running for the Liberal leadership?

So many people are gunning for the Liberal leadership that it’s quite possible you’re one of them

Photo illustration by Taylor Shute

Have you heard who’s running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada? Pretty much everybody. So many big names! Justin Trudeau is running. That Martha Something Something person is running. Plus, there are two (2) completely different guys named David and a dude who’s driving across the country in a van—because nothing says political momentum like: van.

In fact, so many people are running for the Liberal leadership that it’s quite possible you’re one of them. Here’s a quick way to check: have you heard of you? If you or anyone else has heard of you, then you’re probably not running.

Jonathan Mousley is running. I was not previously aware of Mousley but, weirdly, this has not stopped him from existing. On Remembrance Day, as part of his campaign, he tweeted that Canadians should “press [the Harper government] to provide financially strapped veterans with a decent and dignified burial.” A solid policy, sure, but not exactly a mood-brightener for veterans.

War hero: Young man, do you have any policies for people like me?

Jonathan Mousley: [Holds up a shovel.]

You can tell the candidates are serious because they’ve each got a website and a Facebook account. They don’t give those to just anyone. Some even have a slogan. Jonathan Mousley’s is “Together, we can do great things.” This way, no one will confuse Mousley with the candidates who are encouraging Canadians to do lousy things individually.

I’ve explored the websites of the many, many (many) contenders. Some feel Canada is at a crossroads, while others believe it’s at a turning point or an important juncture. So they’ll need to sort that out. Most candidates seem to agree Canada needs a new approach to politics. I think that’s the fourth one this decade: we’re burning through approaches to politics faster than the Romney campaign burned through different Mitt Romneys.

As of this writing, Marc Garneau is rumoured to be poised to be prepared to consider entering the race probably. He’d bring an important perspective: only someone who’s looked down on earth from outer space can truly comprehend how far away the Liberals are from regaining power.

Martha Hall Findlay is running again. In her launch speech, she reminded us that she is—not that she’s bragging—breathtakingly intelligent. She mentioned the word “smart” seven times and pointed out—again, not that she’s bragging—that she finished high school at 15. “Some say, ‘Wow, she’s smart,’ ” she not-bragged, not-braggingly. “Well, yes, I am.”

Doubters who visit Findlay’s website are presented with definitive evidence of her intelligence: a photo in which she’s holding a pair of glasses, the exclusive prop of the supergenius. But alack! The website of another contender—David Bertschi (yes, that David Bertschi: the one I’ve never heard of either)—also features a photo of the candidate holding glasses. Stalemate.

The best part of the contest so far has been watching the lesser-known candidates attempt to downplay Trudeau’s status as the front-runner. Oh, sure, if you want a guy with charisma, a national profile and by far the best chance of winning, then Trudeau’s your man. But if you want a candidate with the courage to travel this land while remaining unrecognizable to everyone who isn’t a blood relative . . .

Asked about competing with Trudeau, Alex Burton—who is a candidate named Alex Burton (sorry, I don’t know one other thing about him)—said: “I have a strategy: we’re not going to be distracted by other candidates.” As strategies go, this would rank up there with Indiana Jones shrugging: “I am not going to be distracted by this huge runaway boulder.”

And yet Trudeau has vulnerabilities. He made a gaffe recently when a student journalist asked (and this is for real), “Would you rather fight one horse-size duck or 100 duck-size horses?” Justin’s reply: “Oh, definitely the 100 duck-size horses.”

Martha Hall Findlay—not that she’d be bragging—wouldn’t make that mistake. A horse-size duck would be slow, awkward and hilarious on YouTube. Horses are fast, fearless and some of the ones in the Olympics could dance. You do not want to mess with that kind of know-how. Surely the Conservatives are already preparing their attack ads: “Justin Trudeau: wrong on duck-size horses. Wrong for Canada.”




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Running for the Liberal leadership?

  1. Justin, Justin, Justin. Does anyone know any other names. This guy is a jerk and has no business running under his dads name. A school teacher you say. Can someone name another school teacher that has led the country. Lots of Lawyers come to mind.
    Don’t forget people, we are still waiting for one honest politition.
    Sorry, Justin is not it.

    • You’re aware this is comedy central @ macleans are you?

      I can see you are. You list jerk as a disqualifier, along with teacher. I guess ex mail room guy with a masters in economics and a phd [ a double first] in being a dick is just fine and dandy then?

    • This is a humour column, so I’m going to assume you’re trying to carry on with the joking.

      At least I hope so.

    • Yeah, cause school teachers are the scum of the earth and can’t do anything right. Which is why nobody ever entrusts school teachers with something they consider the most precious thing on earth: their children.

    • We had a phys ed teacher lead the province of New Brunswick. It wasn’t good.

      • omg please tell me your joking… hahahahahaha

        • You would possibly have benefitted if an English teacher were in the mix.

          • Considering you can’t spell “benefited” and allocated a plural to refer to a singular English teacher, is an irony that leaves me rather speechless. I could call you out for being intellectually stunted, or a racist bigot, but you know what, I’m going to sit back and enjoy this rich irony. Alas, I digress, I probably lost you around the second sentence seeing as you likely don’t have a clue what “irony” is.

  2. “That Martha Something Something person is running. Plus, there are two
    (2) completely different guys named David and a dude who’s driving
    across the country in a van—because nothing says political momentum
    like: van”

    LOL …this is your best effort in a while. Pity you didn’t work a bit more of the Garneau spaceman angle in.

    “He made a gaffe recently when a student journalist asked (and this is
    for real), “Would you rather fight one horse-size duck or 100 duck-size
    horses?” Justin’s reply: “Oh, definitely the 100 duck-size horses.”

    Now there’s a guy with a bright career at say Sun tv.

    • “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?” is a common question in Reddit AMA threads, where this question & response came from.

      • I don’t know what you’re talking about buy thx anyway.

  3. I dare “Maclean’s” and all the other so-called “mainstream” media to give equal coverage of ALL the candidates. If they are unknown it’s mainly because all you want to do is talk about Justin. At least one of the “unknowns” – Lt. Col (Ret) Karen McCrimmon is very impressive. Lots of command experience, strategic planner, unlikely to be bullied by John Baird et al., having served in Afghanistan and Gulf War I. So what if she’s not a politican by trade – most MPs don’t start with a “political pedigree” – lots of teachers, farmers, accountants, etc. Not being a lawyer would also stand her in good stead – less talking and more doing!

    • Well talk to your liberal pals at the CBC, I’m sure they would be delighted to follow the van accross the country. Maybe we can get a live cam on thier website.

    • I was pleasantly surprised, and yes, impressed by her. She doesn’t beat out my own choice, David Merner, in my heart, but an incredibly interesting list of strengths and philosophies to move forward with.

  4. Besides hating Justin Trudeau immensely, and Lord knows I’ve given my rants of him before, this is actually the best article I’ve read from Macleans in some time, it belongs in some Canadian version of Vanity Fair.

  5. That passage of Justin’s in 20101 says it all – Justin sucks!

  6. @6815b362a653d8beadfea728ef517c22:disqus

    All it is is that JT is sooo much more famous.

  7. I think Trudeau is just smearing his dad’s name at this point. I really do admire his father, though.

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