Justin Trudeau is not here to trick you with bumper stickers - Macleans.ca

Justin Trudeau is not here to trick you with bumper stickers

‘We will respond … in a way that is not based around easy electoralism’


Not yet elected—though her leader would later dismiss the possibility that she won’t soon be—Chrystia Freeland appeared in the foyer this afternoon to be presented as the co-chair of the “economic council of advisors” that will apparently contribute to the multi-faceted process of formulating the Liberal party’s policy platform. Ms. Freeland, she of the book about inequality, described herself as “tremendously excited” and seemed just a little nervous—fidgety and smiley and perhaps not entirely sure yet how one is supposed to look when standing around the party leader at one of these photos ops—but enthused about the work ahead.

“What we’re doing today is putting in place a very serious process and effort to address in a sophisticated smart way how we can secure real prosperity for the Canadian middle class going forward,” she said, dressed all in red. “This is not something that you can sit down and write a bumper sticker about. It’s not a three-point plan you can come up with on a napkin one morning. This is a really, really hard problem and we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on it starting today.”

Shortly thereafter, Justin Trudeau was asked about marijuana. And here he managed the neat trick of pivoting away from himself.

“I think all Canadians that I’ve spoken to over the past while are pleased that I have opened up this question because it is something that is of concern to them,” he said, “but they are much more interested in the big economic questions facing us, facing the Canadian middle class.”

So the summer of marijuana is officially over, apparently. Now the leaves are turning and so we must turn to more serious matters.

“The fact that Mr. Harper continues his prohibition is of concern,” Mr. Trudeau continued, “but not nearly as much of a concern as his lack of action on the issues facing middle class Canadians, their jobs, their pensions, their future, their kids’ future. And that’s why I’m glad to be drawing together this economic expertise now.”

He returned to the Hill this day looking a little shaggy (his feathery hair now nearly covering his ears) and sounding a bit froggy, but the summer was basically a good one for Mr. Trudeau. His side has now led the Conservatives for five consecutive months. In August, the advantage was six points and his party now leads in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

All of which helps, but none of which accomplishes much of anything. The basic challenge remains: Mr. Trudeau must prove himself worthy.

After the Liberal leader had suggested Canadians were more interested in economic matters, a reporter suggested that Mr. Trudeau seemed more willing to advocate for the legalization of marijuana than to explain his economic platform. Mr. Trudeau seemed to take a bit of umbrage.

“Would you like to talk about my policies on pipelines, my policies on foreign investment and trade, my policies on open Parliament?” he asked. “I’ve come forward with an awful lot of concrete policies and I will continue to. However, like for marijuana, the complete platform will be built with Canadians and by Canadians for 2015. I’m not going to short-circuit the process, I’m not going to cut short the trust we’re building with Canadians about giving them the kind of government that is responding to their concerns and their needs. I will continue to talk policy regularly, but I will not put forward a platform until the election because that platform needs to be built with Canadians.”

This is a bit of a dance. Probably there is some sense in not having a platform to table tomorrow and possibly it does not matter too much whether Mr. Trudeau waits two years to do so, at least so long as he can table just enough ideas to undermine the notion that he lacks them.

For now, with his party’s policy convention still months away, he can defer dreamily to the ideal of democracy. But oh what a cruel mistress democracy can be.

“What if the middle class says: Tax the rich, cut our taxes, do all that?” a reporter next asked. “If you’re doing all the consulting, is that your plan? If they say cut our taxes, make it easier for us for the middle class, is that what you do?”

Here Mr. Trudeau appealed to something even more than simple democracy.

“We will respond to those very complex questions in a way that is not based around easy electoralism and what’s going to help to get us elected,” he declared. “We have a government that has gotten itself a majority simply on the basis of what kind of retail elements it thinks it can sell, what it thinks it’s going to be able to trick people into voting for. The problem with that is it’s gotten into the position where it actually can’t respond to the very real and deep challenges we’re facing.”

Let us call what Mr. Trudeau is pitching here suprapolitics: that which is above and beyond the current practice. That word isn’t so long that it can’t fit on a standard-sized bumper sticker. (Though Mr. Trudeau should perhaps hope that anyone who voted Conservative in 2011 who he hopes to have vote Liberal in 2015 won’t feel their intelligence has been insulted here.)

“The policies we will bring forward will be both broad and deep in the way that we are going about the consultation and the way we’re bringing them forward,” Mr. Trudeau continued. “So there are a lot of very complex and important questions that we have to discuss, not with a mind to how do we get the most votes out of this, but how do we make this government serve Canadians in the best possible way, to build a strong economy that creates opportunity for everyone and builds a stronger future for us all.”

It is a vaguely lovely idea. And perhaps, at least for a little while, that will be enough.


Justin Trudeau is not here to trick you with bumper stickers

  1. Well so far Harper hasn’t accomplished anything…not even the gun registry from what I’ve been reading…so obviously the Con bumper sticker approach doesn’t work.

    Time for some serious effort ….and a deeper approach than ideology glued on your truck.

  2. Interesting how middle class people are the only people who matter, apparently.

    • They are the majority. Most Canadians consider themselves middle class.

    • I take it as pretty well code for all Canadians, with the possible exception of O’Leary; but that’s just cuz he annoys me so much.

      • With O’Leary people are either filthy rich or losers.

        • Or in his case, both.

    • socialists always focus on middle classes, that’s what makes them socialists.

      • So Harper’s a socialist…and you’re a genius.

    • Actually, Trudeau’s plan is to make more people middle-income earners through higher education and worker training. His goal is to raise post-secondary education levels from 50% to 70%.

      This is a much more modern approach to the economy than Harper who can’t fathom anything other than digging holes in the ground and collecting resource welfare checks.

      Under Harper our productivity growth is virtually non-existent. The Conference Board of Canada says productivity growth is key to wealth creation and sustainable wage growth.

      • In the United States, the higher education and exploding tuition bubble is only producing hamburger-flipping or barista debt slaves. The banksters are getting rich on all the student debt though, since student debt cannot be liquidated in bankruptcy.

        Higher education is actually in need of technological disruption to make it affordable again.

        The model of education and training actually has to change. Just “more” isn’t a solution. More education and training is necessary, but it has to be delivered differently.

        Transformational disruptive change is on the way. “The times, they are a-changing.”

        • Ha. I replied to the same post you did and referenced over educated barista’s as well before even reading your post. Hilarious.

          • Also wrong.

          • OMG. You’re too delusional to even carry on a conversation with. Do actually follow current events, or just comment on them?

          • Most of us live in reality….not Con talking points.

          • It’s a popular buzz word. You two haven’t hit on something. It used to be cab drivers with Ph.D’s.

          • Please don’t miss the point or try to distract from the issue. The message is not about barista’s…. the message is about over-educated people unable to find jobs and Trudeau thinking the solution is to educate more people.

      • Raise post-secondary education levels?! Don’t we have enough over educated barista’s? We need jobs for these educated people.

  3. I don’t know how long JT can stay above the grind of either populist or ideological politics, but you have to give him points for hanging in there? I’m a supporter and i still haven’t a real idea where he’s going with this. Sooner or later he’s going to have to start saying yes to this group, maybe to that one, and absolutely not to all the rest…i think?

    • People only need a general direction, not specifics, especially at this stage….and they know Lib/Trudeau general direction anyway.

      • That’s probably true. There’s no need right now to put your head up above the parapet merely for someone else to take pot shots at it. Still, i’d like a hint as to the general direction…at the moment he’s leaving it so vague as to encourage the impression he might go anywhere or everywhere…which is sorta cool too really.
        I’m just tired of being lectured by a guy who reminds me of a school teacher who finds thought to be irksome, or thinking and speaking independently is akin to some kind of treason or disloyalty. Harper doesn’t celebrate diversity, he just sullenly puts up with it. I have the feeling he’s eternally disappointed with most Canadians.

        • Well….you know Libs will do inclusion, they’re big on education…..and they know how to get rid of a deficit. Justin is going to focus on the middle class……so Canadians will like all of it.

          • If you think Libs know how to get rid of a deficit you must not live in Ontario.

          • a) Harper was left a huge surplus by the previous Lib govt….which he promptly blew.

            b) Ontario borrowed massive money in 1848 to build canals …..and then got hit by a huge invasion of Irish due to the famine.

            c) Yet Ontario went on to prosperity…..and continues to do so to this day.

          • a) Harper is governing during a recession….. have you looked around at other countries and how they’re doing? In comparison, we’re not doing too bad.
            b) who cares about 1848?
            c) You are DEFINITELY not from Ontario if you think we continue with prosperity to this day. wow.

          • It’s not a recession….and other countries are doing much better than us

            1848….a time far worse than this. We survived and thrived.

            Yes, I live on the South coast of Canada, in the great SW of Ontario…..it’s a very good place to live.

            We provide 40% of the national GDP….compared to Alberta’s 16%

            Stop listening to Con BS.

          • Sure… by the “technical definition” of a “recession” we’re not IN a recession…. gimme a break. I can’t be bothered. Trudeau could serve you $@#$ on a plate and you’d eat it up.

          • If you choose to remain young and stupid, it’s your problem.

          • Enjoy your meal. BYE.

          • Thank you. Ciao.

      • Pfft!

        • Liberals have run the country for over 70 years of our existence, so people know their general direction.

          • Yes, the Liberals are dead set against wage and price controls, and then they’re for them. The Liberals are dead set against the GST, and then they’re in favour of it. The Liberals are dead set against free trade, and then they’re for it. And so on . . .

          • “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

            John Maynard Keynes

          • The only facts that changed in the examples which I gave are that the Liberals got into power.

          • Yes, and then had access to more information.

            Libs btw were ready for free trade long before Cons. But 1911 was apparently too early for it in Canada.

          • Justin was dead set against legalizing or decriminalizing pot… then he was dead set against legalizing pot, but maybe decriminalizing was ok…. now he’s all for legalizing. All it took was a few tokes. What a hypocrite voting for C-15 when he’s toking in his back yard.

          • Yes, but he’s dreamy.

          • Sure…. if you like tall, rich, and dim-witted. lol

          • Anyone noticed how Trudeau really brings out the homoeroticism in Con men? But don’t worry, boys – we know you’re all straight.

      • At this stage (5 years in a recession) the Liberal party should already have an economic plan.

        • We aren’t IN a recession.

          • Really. Then what would you call it?

          • What it is. Globalization.

        • What is the federal government’s economic plan?

          You know, besides pipelines for Alberta. What is the plan for Atlantic Canada? Ontario? Quebec?

          • I dunno…. something called “Canada’s Economic Action Plan”. Google it.

          • Ha – that is a good one.

          • What’s Trudeau’s plan again?

    • Sooner or later he’s going to have to start saying yes to this group,
      maybe to that one, and absolutely not to all the rest…i think?

      I find it helpful to suspend all thinking when trying to understand JT, Bieber, and other things that are as Canadian as they are weird. But maybe that’s just me.

    • I’m fine with what he’s doing. There are 25 months left until the election – he doesn’t have to put out policy (which is incredibly complicated) right now. Has any other politician been harassed for policy as much as Trudeau has? Besides that, anything he puts forward is either going to be stolen or trashed by the NDP, so the less the better at this point.

  4. Trudeau will never cut taxes because there then would not be enough money for him continue to shake down public schools and the like for extra $$$. Someone ask The Dauphin if middle classes are helped or hindered when millionaires take money from public school system for themselves when they already collect quite large salary paid by the public.

    • Of course a real libertarian would ask a different question…like why schools or charities are willing to pay for speakers in the first place? And he might conclude it is up to them to decide and for the market to set the rate.

      Anyone who actually knows how things work in the educational system might wonder why they are so prepared to pay, often at what appear to me to be pricey rates, for motivational speakers of all kinds. That same anyone might conclude it is completely unreasonable to just single out one fairly well off individual, who happens to be a politician and also happens to belong to a political party you don’t happen to like.

    • The audience buys tickets….the money doesn’t come from the school budget. Put your university education to use and think.

      • You think Hesters “crest” is for a university?? LOL!

        • Hester [formerly Tony on here] is an Arsenal fan. Soccer.

          Went to the university of Ottawa I believe, and then lived in the UK and had a long love of Ecstasy….which shows.

          Has a Mrs. No kids. Cooks a lot. Weight problem.

  5. Ah, … with Bay St. Brison tugging on her pant suit she won’t be
    allowed to stray too far from the reservation. John McKay won’t
    get a chance to whisper in her ear.

  6. Nothing there. As per usual.

  7. Trudeau is showing what good leadership is all about: first listen to the people and the experts and then come up with a course of action that strikes the right balance.

    Left-wing and right-wing ideologues are paternalistic: they believe they have all the answers and if given the chance they will ram their agenda down the throats of Canadians.

    Of course, since the real world is much more complex than their simple-minded ideological models, all they do is make a huge mess of things.

    It’s surprising the level that science has evolved to, and yet these dinosaur crackpots and charlatans are still around mucking things up.

  8. Here’s a campaign bumper sticker for you;
    Justin Trudeau. The Liberals new boy toy.

    • Ron obviously thinks JT is quite fetching.

      • Another homoerotic comment…

  9. I was shocked to see Wherry describe Trudeau as “sounding a bit froggy.” It seems in questionable taste.

    At the same time, as Wherry relates with example, if you have a question regarding marijuana consumption, JT’s your obvious go-to herb sage among the current party leaders. And that could be crucial in a national crisis.

  10. Not here to trick you with bumper stickers, simply here to trick you with platitudes.

    Even on his signature policy of marijuana legalization, he’s admitted he has absolutely no idea how it would function. He might as well be promising unicorns to every household. It’s a promise, and he’ll stand by that promise, he just doesn’t have a clue how to deliver on any of his promises.

    Geddes’ recap of his “town hall” yesterday is pretty indicative that Trudeau’s platform will be one of massive spending, and no ability to pay for it. I guess he’s hoping that he’ll see different results than Iggy and Dion by following the same vague plan of promises without any details.

    But what more should we expect from a trust fund baby like Trudeau? There’s always money for whatever he wants.

    • The photo of Trudeau on main page makes it look like Trudeau tricked himself with some platitudinous bumper stickers, never mind the rest of us.

    • Speaking of massive spending did you catch the news on the costs of that shipbuilding contract awarded to Stirling shipyards? AND, the experts the government hired to advise them, told them not proceed with them but they did anyway. When Harper blows money, he doesn’t mess around with the small stuff.
      How much more of his economic management can we afford?

  11. So did the Liberal party just realize we’re in a recession? Wouldn’t a responsible party have been looking at this problem at least way back to 2008 and developing solutions? I find this troubling, doesn’t anyone else? Have they just been asleep at the wheel until they could appoint their messiah?

  12. Wherry doesn’t like ANY of the Liberals. He’s quite nasty.