And so the Justin Trudeau years begin

What now? What next? Our political editor explains

by Paul Wells

Trudeau’s big leap

Fred Chartrand/CP

I know one former senior advisor to Stephen Harper who responds to the mention of Justin Trudeau the way one would expect somebody with that pedigree to respond: with condescending contempt. But I know other Conservatives, some still in the Prime Minister’s employ, who see the way crowds react, still today, to the Montreal MP, and shrug. Maybe we can’t do anything against this guy, they say. Maybe things are what they are and we’re just going to have to watch it happen.

Marc Garneau dropped out of the Liberal leadership contest because he is not a fool. The poll numbers he released, if anywhere near accurate, would have led to futile humiliation. He would have lost badly and then been asked to rally to the new leader. He is an engineer, so he found a more elegant solution. He is rallying now to avoid losing later.

Garneau had spent several weeks trying to thread a needle he must have found annoying: remind everyone that his c.v. is superior to Trudeau’s, while not saying it so loudly that he would just get Liberals angry at him. He managed to get a fair number of Liberals angry anyway, without putting a dent in Trudeau. He must have wanted to shout it from the roofs. He earned his engineering doctorate before Trudeau turned two. He rose to high Navy rank the way one does, by putting in thousands of hours. He hurt himself in politics by doing what so many backseat drivers insist good citizens should do: put in a full life in a useful career, then move into politics when you’re ready to contribute. That almost never works. There is a reason lifers usually do better than late arrivers. Garneau first ran for Parliament in 2006, the year 13 Liberal years in power ended. His timing has not improved since.

Now Garneau is out and the others are welcome to do their best, and if you’re still hoping for a Martin Cauchon triumph then good for you. Me, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that next month a Trudeau will be Liberal leader. In the near term, it matters little. The party still has to wait for the NDP’s table scraps in Question Period, and there will be a long two years (probably!) until a 2015 election, during which time we will have plenty of opportunity to write stories about what a disappointment Trudeau has turned out to be.

The Conservatives have not yet come up with an effective ad attack against Thomas Mulcair — last year’s effort was weak, and it barely ran outside British Columbia and Saskatchewan, the only places where Conservatives and New Democrats effectively compete head-to-head. But they will not wait long to take hard shots at Trudeau. Last weekend’s Manning Centre convention heard poll results that called the Liberal brand “surprisingly resilient.”  The NDP will also put resources into giving Trudeau a rude awakening. Their own leader has spent a year working hard to be blandly reassuring. It was a smart play but it leaves them vulnerable to a party whose leader can fill a room and excite a crowd.

I won’t arbitrate between my Conservative source who says Trudeau will collapse under the weight of his own fatuity and my Conservative sources who say he may be unstoppable. It’s worth noting that it has now been 13 years since the Liberals gained seats in a general election; that they would now have to quintuple their seat score to win a majority; and that any opposition party that falls short of a majority will face the same questions about a possible post-election coalition that so annoy the Conservatives’ opponents, but proved so effective in consolidating Conservative support in 2011. I haven’t written much about the Liberals, especially in our print edition, since 2011 because I think the party is as likely to vanish as to come back.

But is Trudeau their best shot at cheating death? Sure he is.




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And so the Justin Trudeau years begin

  1. Yes, Justin has charmed the Liberal Party and maybe 100,000 or so other supporters, but there is a long way between that and finding 7 million or so Canadians ready to take the plunge. Liberals have fond memories of PET and tend to be attracted to shiny things, so I don’t think this is a big surprise. I don’t think we can assume the next 7 million votes will fall into place so neatly

    • Actually you wont find any sensible liberal who claims they will.

    • uh… total turnout in 2011 was 14.7 million, so I do not know where you got that 7 million number from. With an efficient vote, it would be closer to 5.5 million. It is not very wise to make assumptions about how Trudeau is going to perform over a two year period. He is the most impressive retail politicain out there right now. If he continues to tour the country, building one riding at a time for the next two years, then the Liberal Party is going to have a phenomenal ground organisation come 2015, and that is what he says he will do. Who cares if he ever even appears in the house? And the Liberal Party isn’t going to be sitting around picking their collective noses. They recognise they are in a fight for their political lives, and two years is a long time in politics.

      • The 5.8 million votes Harper got in 2011 was not nearly enough to give him a legitimate mandate in the eyes of many on this board, so I figured Trudeau would want at least 7 million. A Liberal ground game? You mean they’re going to have one this time? I can’t wait to see the star-struck 15 year old girls and 70-somethings nostalgic for 1968 out on the trail

        • Don’t be silly. If you do not know anything about politics, why do you post about it on a comment board?

          • OK, smart guy. What part do you want to dispute?

        • Show up where Trudeau shows up. You will see citizens of all ages and backgrounds.

          • Oh, I have seen the crowds. The challenge will be to get some work out of them on the campaign trail.

      • It’ll be interesting to see how he “builds one riding at a time” in Alberta, after he claimed that Albertans are unfit to hold federal elective office. If he were true to his stated principles (at least as stated to the Quebec media), presumably he would refuse to run any Liberal candidates in Alberta at all. After all, Albertans are icky.

        • Why do you think he should waste his time in Alberta? That would be about as useful as Harper campaigning in Quebec, or PEI. Except that Quebec actually has enough seats to make a difference. Nope, Alberta will fade back into irrelevance about 10 minutes after the Conservatives lose power, whenever that may be.

          • Point taken about those extra QC seats – but AB become irrelevant in the near term…no way!

          • That attitude encapsulates the type of foolish arrogance that led to the Liberals dropping to 34 seats in the first place.

        • Actually they are country bumpkins who have no idea how to run a country (aside from running it into the ground.) This is probably because they are used to big juicy resource welfare checks and are unable to cope without them.

          • That’s a very progressive, tolerant comment. Clearly you’re very progressive.

        • I wonder if you held that same view when Harper was calling for fire walls around AB? He got away with pandering to his home crowd, i see no reason Trudeau wont either.
          Viewed in the abstract, from a non partisan pov, both of them need []ed] to grow up a bit. Strategically it probably worked for both at the time. Although at what cost long term? Harper we know has had to pay a price. We don’t know yet what the final bill for JT will be.

          Trudeau at least attempted some damage control by apologizing – Harper thinks apologizing is just something non Conservatives should do, preferably on a daily basis.

          • Actually, Mr.Harper wasn’t calling for a fire wall around Alberta; he, and others, were merely asking to be granted the very same rights as have been extended to the province of Quebec.

            You know this all the while and yet, you still keep repeating the same bs over and over again. Aren’t you getting tired of the mindless repetition? Any reasonable person would be exhausted by now.

          • http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes2004/leadersparties/leaders/pdf/firewall.pdf

            Read it yourself. Calling for the same rights as QC IS the point, it amounts to a firewall. Could you be any denser?

            Well you’d know all about mindless repetition…are you tired yet?

            The whole letter reads in retrospect like a petty provincial tirade. Why is it any better coming form AB than QC? Even if separation wasn’t the end game, what kind of patchwork, dysfunctional excuse for a country would we be if he had got his way? Even Ralph had the good sense to throw it on the fire after reading it.

          • So why then would it be acceptable for the prov of Quebec to have those privileges but when Alberta wants the same it is a very very very bad thing. Not many here, including you, can or want to explain that one.

            Why is it ok for Quebec but not for Alberta???

          • Perhaps the question you should be asking is why was Harper adamently opposed to special status for QC once upon a time, and then asking for special consideration for AB the moment his political brand ( AB reform) looked like it couldn’t get any traction in liberal Ottawa? It was the reaction of a petulant little boy,not that of a mature Canadian.

          • Really? The Internet disagrees with your assessment.

          • The Internet. Now there’s a credible source.

          • The internet may disagree as much as it likes.

            All I want to know is why it is totally acceptable for the prov of Quebec to have special arrangements of their own, while it is considered evil when Alberta wants the very same rights as Quebec.

            Silly me thinking the average Canadian would even want to answer such important questions. Better for the average Canadian to just stonewall or put faith in an internet which, by its very nature, cannot reason. Only thinking people can.

          • Harper was not a national leader when he contributed to the firewall letter; as I recall he was a private citizen working at a think tank. When JT made his comment, he was an MP with huge national profile and the presumptive front-runner for the leadership of the federal Liberal party. In addition, the “firewall letter” didn’t make disparaging comments about the fitness of Quebecers to hold federal office, or insult Quebecers in any way. If you can’t grasp the significance of those distinctions, you’re just dim. False equivalency prize goes to you.

          • I can grasp those distinctions fine thanks. And they matter – JT’s remarks were either calculated or ignorant, you pick.JT is an mp, Harper wasn’t at the time.
            But if you think the real significance of the FW letter was merely the distinctions that you’ve picked out you’re either disingenuous or dimmer than FV – which I doubt.

          • The “Firewall letter” also didn’t threaten separation – something that JT has been known to do in the past.

          • Rather rely on faulty memory you might want to consult the record – even the wiki record is less selective/choosy than your memory.

            Harper was no mere “private citizen” by comparison – what did you call it, false equivalency? How bout intentional cherry picking of facts on your part – or artful selection of the factual record?

            He had been a prominent and influential mp for for 5 years before resigning. He didn’t merely become a “private citizen” he ran a Conservative think tank and advocacy org. He continued to dabble in national conservative politics all over the place. Opposing for instance the Calgary accord, on the grounds presumably that it gave too much leeway to QC – leeway he was less shy about claiming for AB in his firewall letter. Oops…As you say, distinctions do matter.

            oh…to split hairs some more. Trudeau wasn’t “the presumptive front runner…” when he made those remarks in 2010. Although he may have had it on his mind, if his remarks were more calculated rather than dumb.

            Lazy fact checking award is all yours OB.

      • So it doesn’t matter whether he shows up in the House eh. Remember what happened to Ignatieff when Layton challenged him about not showing up for work. It didn’t work out too well for Ignatieff. He is back teaching school.

    • Conservatives are deluding themselves thinking Trudeau is not going to put forward serious policy over the next couple of years, especially during the election campaign. They will find out the hard way Justin is no policy lightweight…

      In fact, given all the contradictions, hypocrisies and bad judgment coming out of the Harper Government, it will be pretty clear by 2015 that the Conservatives are the real policy lightweights…

      The Conservatives have tried to weasel the economy, but all its strengths are thanks to the Liberals: a) prudent banking regulation (Harper was against in opposition; he brought in mortgage deregulation — 40-year no-money-down mortgages — that caused the housing bubble); b) sound fiscal management (Harper blew the Liberal $14B surplus before the 2008 meltdown); c) the 2009 stimulus package that cushioned the blow from the Great Recession (Harper was originally opposed to it; he put it in his 2009 spring budget to save his government from defeat.)

      What has Harper done for the economy besides squander the advantages he inherited?

      • You’re mind is stuck in 2006, just before that year’s election. You still seem to think that if Martin had won that election and come 2008 he would not have bailed out the economy. Time for people like you to fast forward into 2013 (that’s the year we’re living at currently!).

        • You just can’t read can you. It isn’t a matter of whether Martin would’ve bailed out as well[he almost certainly would have] but how he might have gone about it, and whether there would have been far less debt since gst would still be there and maybe some of the surplus cash.And maybe Martin would have done something creative, like stimulating through EI, rather than create a Conservative friendly slush fund?
          Martin may have been a jerk, but he ten times the FM Flaherty is, and twice as honest as Harper on accountability – which isn’t saying very much. I’ll bet we would have had a workable GHG strategy up and running WITH a carbon tax by now too.

          • Pure, pure, pure speculation on your part. ‘Could have’, ‘should have’ and ‘would have’ live in the past for that’s only where they can live.

          • Imagine the state of our finances if we’d joined that quagmire in Iraq?

          • Had all the western countries joined in the war against Iraq, there wouldn’t have been a quagmire.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • What international presence? The few countries which decided to stand by their word? Or the international presence of countries like France and Russia or China, who were so sure about “no weapons of mass destruction” AFTER the fact.

            I often wondered why France and other countries were so adamant to keep sending inspectors into Iraq if they were so convinced there were no WMD. Funny, how hindsight is always so convenient to mis-use. You see, hindsight can, in reality, only be used after the facts are revealed.

          • I don’t believe that at all.

          • Nonsense. Paul Martin would have cured cancer by now, if we had just let him remain in office. And AIDS.

          • There is one fact though, the Conservatives ran a deficit even before a recession started. They purposefully dwindled revenue to win a majority government. Like cutting the GST 2% and cut immigration fees in half.

          • Purposefully indeed. When they cut the GST by 2% they had a purpose in mind, namely to reduce the GST for all to enjoy.

            There is a fact you may not want to revisit but let me give it a try. Remember when PM Harper said that the time to invest was when the market experienced the downturn. Because, Harper so said, the best time to invest is when the markets are low. Low and behold, if taken his advice one would be a happy camper now.

          • He said that in October. Maybe you’ll want to look at a chart of stock returns between then and Mar 2009. Don’t take investing advice from politicians.

          • You realize you speculated first, and are now chiding someone else for doing the same.

          • which one of my posts are you referring to? Could you quote my text which gives you reason that I speculated?

          • “You’re mind is stuck in 2006, just before that year’s election. You still seem to think that if Martin had won that election and come 2008 he would not have bailed out the economy. Time for people like you to fast forward into 2013 (that’s the year we’re living at currently!).”

            You’re implying that he would have, which is speculation.

          • Was it not the Liberal base who demanded for the stimulus package? Are you now suggesting that had the Liberals been in power, their base would not have asked for a bail-out package? So what you are suggesting is that had Martin been PM in 2008, the Liberal base would have thought differently about the 2008 downturn and how to solve it.

            But you are right: it was highly speculative on my part to have assumed to much!

          • Harper made a commitment to the G20 to put in place a 2% of GDP stimulus before the whole episode in Nov/Dec 2008. It was only when it became clear that he was going to renege on that commitment that things got out of hand (along with his laughable budget projection of surpluses off into the horizon). I was lukewarm on the stimulus, anyway, except the infrastructure part (which we should be doing stimulus or not).

          • And lest we forget: the three amigos trying to form a coalition has something to do with it.

            Oh, and may I remind you that one of the three amigos was a self-proclaimed separatist…………….
            Talk about reality and I will take you seriously.

          • Are you denying that Harper promised to do a stimulus internationally before the whole coalition debacle? How can he blame the opposition for something he promised to do earlier?

  2. While I don’t disagree that the Liberals are in for some tough (but interesting) times, I think any analysis that fails to point out the volatility of Canadian electoral scene is flawed. The Liberals may well be doomed, but if so they are doomed while the NDP balances on a knife edge and the Conservatives continue to accrue the type of strong regional negatives that eventually turn over all Canadian political dynasties.

    • Paul is just saying that cuz he doesn’t want to have to write yet another book, this time about a liberal revival under a different Trudeau – he doesn’t like or believe in dynasties…

      [ just kidding there PW. I just think THAT particularly story, if it happens, might be more interesting coming from you or someone like S.Delacourt, rather than the usual suspects - like Martin or Simpson. But whatever you do don't leave it to colleague Coyne. It'll come out like a primal scream]

      In all probability Peter C will find a way to stick around to write that one up anyway. He might want to call it: Back from the dead – the Lazarus project.

      • Andrew Coyne voted Liberal in the 2011 election. He announced it in his column, just previous to the election. True.
        He voted Liberal because he was disgusted with the Harper Conservative government.

  3. I have met and shook Trudeau’s hand. Me and three of my friends went to a speaking event and then incredibly he invited us to talk and eat with him afterwards, for an hour. His charisma can not be understated.Those who have not seen him and only go off of what they read will be shocked when they see the first debates against Harper and Mulcair. Will this be enough to get him elected? Probably not, he still needs a strong platform. But very few favourites in leadership races release their platform before an election, including Harper.So if he and his team release a platform that can be seen as a reasonable alternative to Harper, then you can bet the next election will be exciting.

    • The pity is in getting there he might have to run over Mulcair. I say pity, because while i feel Harper deserves everything that is coming to him, Mulcair has the makings of a very good opposition leader and if needed, not a bad PM. I’m not one of those long time liberals who think the NDP are mired in the 50s or 60s, they’ve grown – at least their leadership has. In some ways they have a good deal more talent on their front bench than the liberals in recent years.
      I just can’t abide their stance on national unity.

      • You feel Harper deserves everything that is coming to him? Even if he wins another majority? Not in your lifetime will you admit that Mr.Harper deserves anything in positive outcome. You just ain’t the type to grant that to Harper.

        Oh, let me tell you that I feel Mulcair will deserve everything that’s coming to him, including the stagnant growth of a county called Canada.

        • You talking the stagnant growth he will inherit from Harper? (Or do you buy into that 900,000 net jobs crap and those insipid EAP propaganda messages?)

          • Or do you buy into the “300.000′ new voters for the Liberal leadership crap?? You probably do.

          • Come on Keith don’t call the Conservatives out on this little gem. That figure of 900,000 net new jobs that they just never get tired of quoting is so humorous it’d be a crime if anyone took it way from them. I just never get tired of hearing it..

    • I have met and shook (Ignatieff’s) hand. Me and three of my friends went to a speaking event and then incredibly he invited us to talk and eat with him afterwards, for an hour. His charisma can not be understated. Those who have not seen him and only go off of what they read will be shocked when they see the first debates against Harper and (Layton).
      Forgive me, but isn’t this déjà-vu all over again? Perhaps I am wrong, and perhaps it’s unfair to compare Ignatieff with Trudeau… Time will tell.

    • He won’t be the guy who unseats Harper.

      • …. lol …. that’s only because he is not running in harper’s riding…..
        harper is the guy who will unseat harper.. it’s already happening as we speak :)

        • Oh puh-lease!

          Justin Trudeau won’t be the guy who forms a government and defeats Prime Minister Harper, better?!

          • So your money is on Mulcair?

          • Oh he is toast, the man is done.

          • I have my doubts we’ll see another Harper government – or at least not another majority. So unless Harper hangs on to a minority govt, it will be one of Trudeau or Mulcair.

          • I’ll take a bet on that ; )

      • Why? Being a Harper sycophant isn’t an answer.

    • I have met and shook Harper’s hands. More than once. Once, me and two of my friends went to a speaking event and then incredibly he invited us to talk and eat with him afterwards, for an hour and a half. His charisma can not be understated.

      Those who have not seen him and only go off of what they read will be
      shocked when they see the first debates against Trudeau. Will
      this be enough to get him re-elected? Probably not, he still needs a
      strong platform. But very few favourites as sitting Prime Ministers release
      their platform before an election, including Trudeau Sr.

      So if he and his team release a platform that can be seen as a reasonable alternative to the swinging sixties, then you can bet the CPC will get its second majority. Now THAT is exciting

      • Charisma! What were you eating …magic mushrooms?

      • Hope you were wearing gloves…

        • Harper has the oily, scaly hands of a lizard. Because he is in fact a member of a species of evil, alien lizard-people who have come to enslave us and use us as a food sources. Wake up, people! Stop Harper!

          • Drink!

    • You’re kidding, right?

      Most politicians are charismatic in person – that’s a huge part of how they get into politics. That doesn’t mean everyone they meet will vote for them.

  4. “…and that any opposition party that falls short of a majority will face
    the same questions about a possible post-election coalition that so
    annoy the Conservatives’ opponents, but proved so effective in
    consolidating Conservative support in 2011.”

    Right now it is a question of a pre-election cooperation or even coalition that is gripping a fair number of liberal partisans on the official blog. It has gotten fairly heated to with allegations of vote rigger, defeatist and even traitor to the party thrown around; and typical power hungry party hacks and nepotists coming back the other way.

    One thing JT shares with his late dad is the talent to both divide and unite people – hope and trust on one side, near despair on the other. Politics is about to become really interesting in this country once again. Will the national divide be over experience and assumed competence on one or two sides vs excitement, hope, trust and all those touchy feely things on the other? Head vs heart, maybe? But where will that great rump of moderate sensibly agnostic voters be in the end? Truth is no one knows.

  5. remind everyone that his c.v. is superior to Trudeau’s

    I’m disappointed that the leadership race was short on policy. While Garneau has a tremendous past/work experience (and it certainly should come into consideration when choosing a leader), there wasn’t much talk of policy that I can recall. I have no idea what Trudeau has proposed, and I can only name 1 initiative that Garneau proposed (internet access in rural communities, which is something Chretien had proposed about 12 years ago).
    Granted, it could be that the media was short on reporting the policy details, and not necessarily the fault of the Liberal leadership contenders, but this blog post seems to reinforce the idea that this leadership process (and the fact that it was drawn out for 2 years) was all about personality and experience, rather than ideas and policies.

    • Justin’s main policies are: democratic reform, decriminalizing marijuana and working with the provinces to raise the post-secondary education and worker-training rate to 70% (as an economics policy.) Unlike Dion and Ignatieff, he doesn’t feel it’s a good idea to foist pet-project policies on the party. He wants to build a bottom-up platform rather than a top-down one.

      His democratic reform package is aimed at stopping all the power from being concentrated at the top. Preferential Voting electoral reform is key. It stops 40% minority parties from getting 100% of the power, which is why power tends to concentrate in the hands of party leadership.

      Democratic Reform

      1. Open Nominations
      2. Loosen the Grip of the Prime Minister’s Office on Parliament
      3. Enact Electoral Reform (Preferential Voting)
      4. Ban Partisan Government Advertising
      5. Embrace Evidence-Based Scrutiny (independent, third-party oversight)

      https://justin.ca/democratic-reform-trusting-canadians/

      • That being said, wouldn’t it be ironic to push through electoral reform, if he wins a majority with 40% of the vote, in the sense that (simplistically speaking) 60% of the population are opposed to (or not necessarily in favour of) such a reform? It would seem like a referendum (as they did in the UK) would be preferable, to avoid such irony…

        • Preferential Voting only changes the ballot from single-choice to ranked. So like fixed-election dates, this is only an upgrade of our existing system which does not require a referendum. (All federal parties use PV to ensure their leaders represent a majority of supporters.)

          The British AV referendum lost because of vote-splitting. Some supported FPTP; others supported Proportional Representation; others supported AV/PV. Clearly any such referendum should’ve had all three options and runoff elections to ensure a voting system had majority support. (Of course, PV is instant runoff; voters rank candidates to ensure they have a vote on each exhaustive runoff ballot.)

          • To be fair, my comment was tongue-in-cheek. Just poking fun at the irony of such a situation. Your comments are actually quite insightful, and you make a good point about the UK vote: Perhaps it would have gone differently if there were more options.

        • now you are talking like a true con does harper have more than 50 per cent of popular vote

          • now you are talking like a true con does

            Actually, my comment was tongue-in-cheek. I was being cute about imposing clear majority rules when a majority of electors didn’t vote for such a platform (assuming Trudeau wins a majority with less than 50% of the vote). But sure, feel free to generalize and label me as a “true con.”

            harper have more than 50 per cent of popular vote
            That’s, um… not even a coherent sentence… Not sure how to reply to that.

          • check your numbers please harper have a little over 36 per cent of the popular vote

          • I think “does” belongs with the second sentence. Ah, the joys of the punctuation-challenged!

        • I would guess that at some point there will be pressure[ mainly from the left] for a Royal commission on electoral reform. Personally i think it is vital to have as many Conservatives as possible sign up to it if it is going through at all. Of course every thing would be on the table, including PR options. I don’t know if he would require a referendum for a preferential ballot if he ran on it, and campaigned on it? I would think it important enough to have one or the other myself.

          • They tried this in Ontario, and the voters were not keen. Even after a lot of consultation, the proposal for changing first past the post was defeated. At the consultation stage they had all the options on the table. No system is perfect. All have their weaknesses.

          • There wasn’t much public discussion on the Ontario reforms. It also wasn’t anything like PV. The whole thing was portrayed by it’s opponents as just adding more politicians to the system and wasn’t defeated based on that.

          • Why do all parties shun FPTP in their leadership contests then?

          • Technically, a party could run on a PR platform and have the mandate to legislate it without a referendum. The problem is that PR is a controversial change that doesn’t have enough support to legislate directly.

            PV is a minor change because it only changes the ballot to ensure MPs are elected with a majority. This can be legislated on a party platform; it can also be abolished on a party platform.

            Three provinces put together commissions to look into electoral reform and came up with 4 failed PR referendums. This is because: a) the public doesn’t know what electoral reform is; b) the media despises PR (even the Toronto Star.) So it is a fool’s errand to run headfirst into the same buzzsaw all over again. The public must demand PR before gambling on another referendum.

            BTW, over a dozen American cities use PV. Only one city legislated it on a referendum mandate.

            Instant-runoff voting in the United States
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting_in_the_United_States

      • Hope his party knows about these plans. Things like preferential voting is not something Liberals would have traditionally supported.

        • The Liberals supported PV by 73% in their 2012 convention.

          The reality is that partisan politics tend to be corrupt. A major party likes FPTP because it has the opportunity to win absolute power on 39% of the vote. They don’t care that that gives the other majority party the same opportunity. That’s why the BC NDP are opposed to electoral reform and the federal NDP want PR.

          Considering all parties use PV or exhaustive ballots to elect their leader (PV is instant exhaustive ballot,) PV should be enacted on logical grounds. If FPTP isn’t good enough for parties to elect their leaders, it sure isn’t good enough to found our entire democracy on.

    • I agree with you that Garneau’s vaunted “experience” was a bit oversold. The guy has only been a federal MP since 2008, fer Crissake. We’re not talking Stanley Knowles here.

      • Trudeau also has only been a MP since 2008. And there is absolutely no comparison between Garneau’s pre-politics CV and Trudeau’s. Looking at the time before becoming a MP, one of them has a one in a million CV, the other has a CV similar to what any number of people sipping coffee at any Starbuck’s could have. Garneau’s pre-politics accomplishments are nothing short of amazing on a number of different levels, Trudeau’s are as ordinary as they come. *On paper*, Garneau is clearly the superior choice as PM.

        • I think part of Paul’s point might have been – bad timing all around. If you want a perfect example of a bloated CV [ but bad timing] that should waltz you into the PM’s office – look no further than MI…he was a shoo in, wasn’t he?…on paper.

          • Agreed. And if experience as a parliamentarian and public office holder were our come-shot criterion for suitability as a leader and PM, then Bob Rae’s The Man.

          • That’s what i tell my fellow liberals – how did the party blunder so badly that it did not find a way to let Rae in to this race? Thay way at least we would have got a better idea of what JT is really made of…and as a bonus, whether Rae’s baggage was past due and relevancy date.

    • His only policy mention was decriminalizing pot, surely meant to beef up his “supporter” ranks. It also explains all the missing emails. Potheads can be so forgetful ;)

      • He spoke about a lot more. You are uninformed or dishonest, or both.

    • If you go to MG’s blog site you’ll see plenty of policy in the window. The only guy who was short on policy was JT – and he claims to have a reason. From a front runners perspective that is smart. He is running for the leadership of the LPC, not the PM.

    • ” I have no idea what Trudeau has proposed,” He has not proposed anything. I don’t think he has much of a policy agenda. I think he just likes to get up in front of crowds and be popular.

      • If you want to see how well THAT works, look no further than the current President of the United States. All rhetoric, no execution. A complete incompetent that managed to garner 53% of the popular vote in a two-party election. It is possible to fool the majority of the people all of the time.

        • ” A complete incompetent ” Ya — scary, but true.

  6. I’m disappointed to see someone like Garneau drop out of the race. I found him well-spoken and thoughtful, not attributes that I would normally link with Trudeau.

    • I agree. But if Garneau is truly is throwing his support behind Trudeau, and the party heavyweights generally do the same, then Trudeau will have some bench strength to bolster the package he sells; not just himself but his team.
      There is definitely still potential for Garneau to contribute significantly to the comeback the Liberals hope to achieve.

      • I thought Garneau’s “endorsement” was singularly unenthusiastic. “He’s winning, and there’s nothing I can do to stop that, so I accept it. I believe in math.”

  7. Trudeau has a baaaaaaad case of Harper Derangement Syndrome and it will be a problem for him. The HDS afflicted say contemptibly stupid things like Harper is anti-science and anti-evidence. Other problems: he rarely shows up for House votes, is eerily child-like, has never given a memorable speech in the House (beyond calling Joe Oliver a POS) or tabled a notable private members’ bill, no op-eds, and he & his handlers have a disturbing habit of trash talking Canada and Canadians in order to sell Justin as a saviour. I don’t think he likes politics so much as he likes being Justin Trudeau.

    I have to disagree with the new thinking that it’s a coin toss how this will turn out. He’s not a blank slate or an unknown commodity, the a priori odds are heavily stacked against him. I’d recommend Tom Flanagan’s “Game Theory In Canadian Politics” for a more complete explanation of the concept of probabilities as it relates to the matter at hand.

    • “The HDS afflicted say contemptibly stupid things like Harper is anti-science and anti-evidence.”

      LOL. Actually the scientists themselves say Harper is anti-science and anti-evidence. Of course, Conservative ideologues know more about science than they do!

      “HDS”. Good one. I’m sure you’ll be able to fool about 30% of the electorate with that one…

      Prestigious science journal slams Harper government’s muzzle on federal scientists
      “The journal, Nature, says in an editorial in this week’s issue that it is time for the Canadian government to set its scientists free.”
      http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/03/01/prestigious_science_journal_slams_harper_governments_muzzle_on_federal_scientists.html

      Canadian scientists continue to be muzzled by Harper government
      http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/canadian-scientists-continue-muzzled-harper-government-234902614.html

    • Is that you in there Martha?

      • OK that me laugh KCM, a rarity on these posts these days, thanks. But can you dispute anything Frank said. Most of Trudeaus memorable utterances have been followed up by clarifications, not a good sign.

    • Actually, he called Peter Kent a piece of sh*t.

      …and to be fair, all evidence suggests that he really is a piece of sh*t.

    • ” I don’t think he likes politics so much as he likes being Justin Trudeau.” There is a lot to this comment. I am not convinced that Trudeau really wants to be PM — more that he has been positioned to play this role. I am also wondering if he has ever had a set-back in his life. Most people gain maturity as they cope with difficulties. Maybe rocky times ahead for him.

      • He’s grown up in the public eye, not his choice, and his mother left the family and he had a single father. His brother was killed in an avalanche; his father died not long after that. How much suffering should he bear for you to consider he’s had a “set-back?”

        • Everyone has tribulations of the sort you describe. I am talking about personally aiming for something, recognizing your shortcomings and learning from defeat. Most successful people achieve what they do after learning in the school of hard knocks. Maybe he will experience some hard knocks as leader, and emerge at some point as a person with real depth. I do not sense this in him at this point.

          • I haven’t.

    • I and the greater majority of Canadians are suffering from it. I’m pretty sure Harper is anti-science and anti-evidence. I must have an even worse case, because I think Harper is anti-character, anti-economy, anti-progress, anti-Canadian, anti-environment, anti-democratic. He is however pro-obnoxious, pro-war, pro-hate, pro-divisive and pro-arrogant.

      • Good one. People are not deranged for being critical of Harper; people are deranged who blindly support him…

      • You forgot to mention that he kicks a cute little puppy every day immediately after he wakes up.

        • I heard he does unmentionable things to Stanley whenever he gets bad polling data…

  8. Will Trudeau like his father be forged in the heat of the struggle? Or will he be driven from the battle field when the going gets tough? Largely depends on whether or not the shattered and divided LPC rallies around him. Your guess is as good as mine.

    • Divided LPC?

  9. “they would now have to quintuple their seat score to win a majority” Didn’t Mike Harris do that in Ontario in 1995?

  10. i thought that the cons went down to 3 seats a few years back how come those who predict that the liberals will die don t remember that. also harper won minerity government against dion and igy so against trudeau i don t think he have a chance that is why he will resign before the next election

    • Kind of early to predict. We do not know how Trudeau will do as leader. There were most definitely high hope for Iggy also. Trudeau is a good sales guy, but I am not sure he will perform well as leader. We shall see.

    • The party that went down to three seats IS dead. The Progressive Conservatives are definitely not the CPC.

    • The PC’s dropped to 3 seats, and Reform picked up 52. So when the ‘Cons’ were ‘decimated’ in 1993, conservative parties picked up 55 seats. The following election their combined seat count was 81 – this is very, very different from the Liberals dropping from 77 down to 34 seats.

      77 was a very, very bad turnout for the Liberals (their lowest since Mulroney’s historic win in 1984), 34 is the lowest they’ve come out in history, and their party dates back to Confederation.

      Point is – they’re in bad shape, and if they can’t get themselves together (and back in government) in the next election or two, it’s game over.

    • It was two seats: Jean Charest and Elsie Wayne

  11. The liberal brand is in Canada’s DNA so it is wishful thinking from Conservatives to think that it will disappeared, it will never happen. However LPC still has a lot of work to do before it can become governing party and they need to take note from CPC strategy. They are a mess.

    Trudeau will be a a fundraiser darling will win Quebec because Mulcair was a big mistake to be elected as leader (NDP made same miistake as LPC leader for the wrong reasons) in the 1st place, the guy is not electable. If Trudeau is smart and waits, builds a career he can do well, if he rushes into trying to get rid of Harper he is toast.

    And a coalition, merger or whatever they like to call it, won’t work just because of the actors, 3 people that most Canadians would not feel comfortable leaving on charge.

    • “The liberal brand is in Canada’s DNA” I think you are behind the times with that comment. This is a Toronto-centric notion. Thinking this is what got Libs in trouble in the first place as their constituencies abandoned them one by one. I do not see them coming back.

      • It’s certainly not in Alberta’s DNA. But of course, Albertans aren’t real Canadians. I hear Liberals say that all the time, so it must be true.

    • Some good points…but Mulcair unelectable, really!! Or are you talking about after they roll out the attack ads? …’Dear RoC. How can you possibly vote for a guy who holds a French citizenship as well as a Canadian one…oh and did we mention beards are so itchy, and unhealthy, and passe…and make you look old’…’psst he hates the Queen!’ Were you thinking after something like that?

      • Victoria by-election was very interesting – I don’t think Mulcair has that much appeal on the West Coast. NDP barely held on to what should be a safe seat. He’s turning out to be very Quebec-centric, like Mulroney

    • f the BQ stays imploded, a two-way coalition might well be possible.

      • I highly doubt it would work.

  12. Garneau’s timing was perfect. The Liberals just let out the white puff of smoke for their annointed one.

    • …. “habemus ducem”…. (we have a leader)…!

  13. Justin Trudeau… leader-in-training and PM-in-waiting..!!

    It’s not a political contest, it’s a popularity contest.. and Liberals deserve Justin as their messiah leader to lead them out of the darkness of defeat and the humiliation of hubris.

    Now he must implement his “generational change” policy by purged the party of all those old dogs and slimy snakes that yap and slither about in the torn and tattered Liberal lil’ red tent.

    Then he must face Harper and Mulcair manno e manno in the political pit where he enters as a lightweight combatant with a ragtag liberal army hiding in the trenches, wondering what’s coming next.

    I hope Justin doesn’t embrace all those old dogs and snakes in the Liberal caucus with all their nasty political baggage to drag him down into the Liberal cesspool. He must be merciless in his purge of the party, otherwise his “generational change” first declared policy will be broken. Sweep them all out, Justin, or else it’s bacio dela morte for your leadership of the new, young Liberal party.

    • Wow. Manno e manno. Is Harper going to suit up for the ring then? I’m pretty sure ole Tom would if Justin were to push the right buttons. Harper would probably send Baird or Tony or PP to talk him to death.

      • Harper will politically make Justin “tapout” even before the election writ is dropped. On the other hand, Harper may just resign his government and call for a snap election within weeks of Justin’s coronation… just like Chretien did to Harper after winning the CPC leadership. All’s fair in love, war and politics!

        • That was a particularly nasty maneuver on the part of Chretien. I do not think Harper is nearly so nasty.

          • Really?

        • There is no way harper would call an election before he has to.
          The writing is on the wall that Justin would easily win at this date.
          Although I would love to see harper call one before 2015!!
          Anyways the vote suppression court case may sink the CPC before 2015!!

        • Check your facts bud. Chretien did that to SD, not Harper. Harper never did defeat JC.
          Good to hear confirmation that the fixed date election law is meaningless to you cons. Not being able to do that to a newbie like JT is exactly what it was supposed to do.
          Can’t say I’d be shocked if Harper broke his word…again.

          • Never mind the fact that fixed election dates are arguably idiotic in a Westminster parliamentary system. Which is why I’ve never supported the idea.

          • At least we agree about that one. Look at Clark campaigning endlessly since the day she took over. I don’t know why she even bothered? She would have been further ahead to have just hunkered down and governed effectively…what a novel idea!

    • Funny. I seem to remember the same types of things being said about Justin before he got into the ring with Harper’s appointed sexual assaulter Brazeau.

      How’d that one turn out, again?

  14. Did Garneau flounce out of Liberal Party or just leader race?

    It is odd for supposed second place person to quit before race us over, presumably Garneau’s numbers were telling him that he was lower than top two and he quit to save face before he was embarrassed.

    It must be hard for Garneau, or any other Lib who thinks Trudeau is dim bulb, to know the village idiot is going to be your party’s new leader.

    • Like adding insult to injury… and now we will see which of the old Liberal lap dogs come to the feet of Justin to hold on to their political sinecures and gold-plated parliamentary pension jackpots. If Justin doesn’t purge the party for his “generational change” declared policy, we will know the fix is in and the Liberal backroom hunchbacks are in firm control of marionette Justin and he will pirouette on command/demand…. because he doesn’t know “what to do next” as leader of the Liberal rat pack. Gonna be interesting ….lol

    • Has it ever happened that the second place candidate dropped out of the race a month before the vote? I can’t think of a precedent for this.
      I would think it would be better for the party for Garneau to stay in at least until after the first ballot, to give credibility to the race. There’s no shame in trying, right? And then you bow out gracefully when the numbers tell you to. However, if he anticipates getting only one tenth of Trudeau’s votes, maybe he thinks that’s a public humiliation he can do without.

  15. ….. “habemus ducem”…. (we have a leader!)

    • Justin may seem like more of a playboy than a serious political leader, but then Pierre was probably written off that way in the early stages too. Ignatieff on the other hand was a professor and respected political author, and where did that get him. Voters are not students and in general may not be all that bright but the pendulum keeps swinging from side to side. Most people choose to vote out the present bunch of crooks and taxgrabbers and give someone new a try in a desperate attempt to cling to the hope that maybe they won’t get fooled again. It will be an Anything But Harper campaign. Justin just has to try to keep his well-heeled foot out of his mouth.

      • but they’ve tried the ABH campaign a few times now. And they’ve tried the Harper Hating slogans in between elections. And that hasn’t worked so far. Why would it work this time around? Because the Liberals really think Canadians are stupid? That’s quite an assumption to build a party upon.

        • I didn’t say Liberals think Candians are stupid, I said Candians are stupid, otherwise Harper wouldn’t be PM now.

          • Yes, anybody who voted Conservative is a stupid person.

          • Drink!.

          • Not necessarily, but the reverse probably.

          • You’re very progressive, tolerant and open-minded.

        • and Canadians

      • Justin is a political dilettante who is guided/controlled by his backroom gang who are pulling the strings and putting the words into his mouth. When it’s official and Justin is the Liberal leader, I’m sure his first words to his team will be “what do I do next?”!!! I’m also sure that the Justin’s team are already preparing for the take over and purging of the lugubrious Liberal party… clearing the decks of old detritus, so to speak.

  16. PW is right: this could go either way. Either Justin does soar and gets the votes needed to become PM or he falls flat-out. Time will tell. And time there is a lot of between now and then.

    • Or, the other thing happens, doubles the Lib seat count to about 80 and maybe puts the Tories back into minority, not much more happens as the opposition parties don’t dare try the “socialist separatist coalition” gambit again.

  17. The headline here is a bit off-putting. I remember Peter Mansbridge making reference to the Paul Martin “era” when Martin took over. That was kind of short lived. Let us not assume this is some kind of defining moment. It may be more of a last gasp.

  18. Questions:

    Has Justin ever had a set-back in his life?

    Will Canadians identify with someone who appears never to have had to struggle for anything?

    Are young people o.k. with voting for someone in the 1%

    Most importantly — does Justin even want to be PM? I am not convinced.

    • Yes, Justin did have a setback in his life when in 2002 he abandoned teaching and his academic art degrees to enroll in the U of Montreal Engineering School for a total career change. After one year he failed and reverted back to his dramatic career with an acting gig with the CBC, and when that expired he again enrolled at the distinguished U of Montreal for a post-graduate masters degree in “environmental geography”, whatever that is. In 2008 he quit that and hit the jackpot as MP for Papineau and now in 2012, after an undistinguished parliamentary record he has his ambitious sights on leadership of the lugubrious Liberal party. That’s quite a record of struggle from failure to failure to failure to success. You just can’t hold Justin down now… and next stop is PM of Canada… ya think?!

      • Good — the set backs, I mean. Makes him seem more human.

    • He was raised by mother who now admits serious mental illness. His father was much older and very busy at work. His young brother was killed in a horrible accident at a young age. His parents can be seen collapsing in grief and despair. He first appeared on the front page of newspapers when he was 6 days old.

  19. I think people have a weird sense of what constitutes “leadership”, particularly when it comes to politics. Garneau is a great asset to the LPC and worthy of great respect as a Canadian, but I wouldn’t necessarily characterize him as a “leader”.

    Leaders are typically those that can be identified with, and are capable of getting the people around them to work towards a common goal. Leaders are not necessarily policy wonks, brilliant scientists/engineers/literary geniuses (they do have to be smart). People just gravitate to them because their story is compelling, and they have that authority given to them by “vox populi”. And like it or not, JT is compelling and his life can be identified with.

    Harper and many of the CPC have tried for a good decade to manufacture and proselytize to Canadians a sense of “being one of the guys”, and it has barely sank.

    The full CPC reaction should be interesting to watch…

    • “and his life can be identified with.” Really? I do not think too many
      Canadians can readily identify with Justin’s silver-spoon experience. I
      also do not see the CPC attempting to promote themselves as “one of the
      guys” — which is good, because most Canadians do not think of
      themselves as “one of the guys.” But Liberals for sure do that well. They truly are masters at being a magnet for the (old) boys.

  20. So we go from the Harvard prof with the international resume to the high school prof with no resume.
    I have a hard time picturing this guy in charge. But heck, he couldn’t be worse than Chavez, Kirchner, Kim Jong-un, or Hollande.

  21. He will lose his first contest, and be drummed out of leadership so that they can find another pretty face.

  22. Probably good that Garneau left. If he doesn’t have the conviction to fight against long odds right to the very end, how would he handle the Liberal party’s chances in 2015?

  23. How about the truth for
    a change?

    Who is this hypocrite
    Trudeau? What does he really stand for?

    “Let me say
    very clearly that I support Bill 101,” Trudeau said Thursday.

    “It is a
    reality that helps Quebec remain mainly French in a bilingual
    country. If we want Canada to
    remain bilingual — and I want it — we need to understand that Quebec must remain
    primarily francophone.” Justin
    Trudeau

    “Canada isn’t doing well right now
    because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It
    doesn’t work,” Trudeau said in French to interviewer Patrick Lagace on the
    Tele-Quebec program Les francs-tireurs (The Straight
    Shooters).

    Lagace then asked Trudeau
    if he thought Canada was “better served when there
    are more Quebecers in charge than Albertans?”
    Trudeau replied: “I’m a Liberal, so of course I think so, yes.
    Certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th century, those
    that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from
    Quebec… This country – Canada
    - it belongs to us.”

    Trudeau specifically
    named prime ministers Pierre Trudeau, Chretien and Paul Martin but also included
    Progressive Conservative Mulroney on his list of great Quebec prime ministers of
    the last century.

    “I always say that
    if, at a given time, I
    believed that Canada was really the Canada of
    Stephen Harper, and that we were
    going against abortion, that we were going
    against gay marriage, that we were
    moving backwards in 10,000 different ways,
    maybe I would think of wanting to
    make Quebec a country,” when the interviewer asked
    for clarification he replied
    “Oh yes, absolutely. If I no longer recognized
    Canada, I know my own
    values very
    well.” Justin Trudeau

    .” ….Given these facts,
    should French-speaking people concentrate their efforts on Quebec or take the whole of Canada
    as their base? In my opinion, they should do both; and for the purpose they
    could find no better instrument than federalism”, Pierre
    Trudeau,.

    Justin Trudeau
    supports the racist, bigoted, xenophobic bill 101. Yes he supports a French only
    Kebec (proper native spelling) and forced french “bilingualism” all over the
    country, nice eh? Just like a daddy a French first, Kebec first bigot,
    hypocrite, from the province of the Qlue Qlux Qlan. Get back to the tax and
    spend, have not, high debt, socialist province of Kebec and shut up you parasite Trudeau,
    yes Kebec where you fit right in.

  24. Except for the handful of male, tail wagging, wannbees at theManning Institute, the cons have alienated the young, the almost olds and most of the educated, so called middle classes.
    In every area of Canada the cons are in a slow but certain death spiral with no fresh blood to revive the corpse.

    Young adults, college and university students, most women and interested males in every region of the country, are embracing the freshness and promise of young Trudeau, as my generation did his father.

    Few expected the Orange wave fashioned by the charismatic Jack Layton that very nearly toppled the cons and probably would have , save for questionable voter manipulation tactics fomented by the cons at the Manning asylum.

    The cons are terrified of this resurgence of Trudeaumania, which is already well underway, and the Orange crush would be well advised to recognize their real effectiveness as a needed opposition, and allow the uber charismatic Trudeau and his wholesale change seeking adherents, to flourish and blossom.

  25. Marc Garneau quit because the LPC told him to,so trudope has a better chance of becoming leader,they’re putting all their hopes behind this 2bit political shiny pony

  26. ‘I know one former senior advisor to Stephen Harper who responds to the mention of Justin Trudeau the way one would expect somebody with that pedigree to respond: with condescending contempt.’ Would that be you?

  27. Canadian media are his base. Why someone who is purportedly as savvy as Paul Wells doesn’t come out and say so is beyond me. If Trudeau were a Conservative, the ridicule would be dripping from every headline.

  28. Mike Harris more than quadrupled his party’s seat count from 1990 to 1995, moving his party from third place to a majority government. The combination of a charismatic leader and an unpopular incumbent government can produce rather dramatic swings.

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