Justin Trudeau tries to explain himself

by Aaron Wherry

The Liberal leadership candidate explains how he defines failure.

Finally, he explained why the long-gun registry fit his definition of a “failed” public policy. ”I voted to keep the firearms registry a few months ago and if we had a vote tomorrow I would vote once again to keep the long-gun registry,” Trudeau told reporters. ”However, the definition of a failed public policy is the fact that the long-gun registry is no more… The fact is, because it was so deeply divisive for far too many people, it no longer exists.”




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Justin Trudeau tries to explain himself

  1. Trudeau, Garneau, and Murray are in a sense leaving the very strict discipline of the backbench when they move into the leadership race. I expect they will all reach out to new ideas, revised policies, and change without being condemned.
    In Ottawa, of course, PMO talking points lead the Press Gallery by the nose and we have the Trudeau pile on today. But Trudeau and the other two have to keep moving away from established Liberal positions and making new policy even if it means abandoning the previous caucus line.

    • I think the uproar is because Justin is taking Con positions, not Liberal ones

      • Actually Justin is taking CON and Liberal positions at the same time. Justin is clearly preaching Kama sutra policies…

        • Well I don’t know what the Lib positions are that he’s taken…..but what I was hoping for were NEW positions!

          • Good point Emily. It’s like playing Trivial Pursuit trying to figure out the last time the Liberals came out with a new policy.

          • LOL no it’s not. Don’t get carried away.

            I mean new for now….for this year…. 21st century policies, not going over the same old topics.

      • Libs need to hang tight, the dauphin will sound Lib again soon enough.

        • I don’t know why you’re calling him a dolphin….but I doubt he can sound Lib after all this, or even liberal

          In any case, not all Libs are supporting him you know.

          • My mistake, should be capital letters.

            wiki ~ The Dauphin of France was the title given to the heir apparent to the throne of France from 1350 to 1791, and from 1824 to 1830. The word is literally the French for dolphin, as a reference to the animal they bore on their coat of arms.

          • Yes, it was a nickname for someone because of the dolphin on his coat of arms.

            However, France doesn’t have a royal family anymore…..we do, but no dolphins are involved.

          • Sounds fishy.

  2. “I believe that we have to update our policies and make sure that
    next election we’re going to be able to show leadership to Canadians,”
    Cauchon said in an interview.

    “But, you know what, I believe as well … that a candidate running
    should have the backbone to respect and stand for the principles that we
    have always stood for.”

    Cauchon said party renewal shouldn’t mean Liberals have to turn their
    backs on accomplishments such as the Charter of Rights, official
    bilingualism or even the gun registry.

    Fun day today. Taking shots at libs, rather than the Con trained seals herd.

    It’s quite a distance, a stretch, a leap of logic or whatever between criticizing the gun registry as having failed in the end because it divides too many Canadians and implying JT may be shaky on those other liberal accomplishments. Looks like Cauchon may be in then?

    But It does provide a window into just how different thinking in QC is to much of the rest of the country. It doesn’t appear to be all that divisive within QC for understandable reasons, which Trudeau acknowledged here.
    But where i live at least he’s done himself some good. Guns[long guns anyway] are a part of the culture of the north, and it was a divisive issue. I’d be surprised if that isn’t also the case in rural QC too.

    • Have a look at the CBC webpage and read what people have to say on Trudeau’s flip-flopping.

      • No thanks. The cbc boards have become about as dysfunctional as the ones at the GM.

  3. “However, the definition of a failed public policy is the fact that the long-gun registry is no more …. ”

    Jean Chretien ~ A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It’s a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it’s because it’s proven.

  4. Trudeau should realize that splitting hairs comes across as hypocrisy to the public. Also reversing one’s position on a vote, especially when trying to pander for votes, is self-defeating.

    No doubt, Trudeau is in a tight spot. He has to avoid being labeled “leftist” and anti-”West”. But he also has to avoid getting painted into a corner.

    McGuinty made a mistake taking the neo-con anti-tax pledge. He was forced to break his promise with a regressive health tax. In the end, ON has a $15B structural deficit because of Harris’s reckless income tax cuts and McGuinty lost a lot of the centrist vote to the NDP.

    When it comes to taxes Trudeau should be vague and balance the vague responses with bold policy proclamations in other areas. That way he won’t come across as wishy-washy.

    He could say, we have a lot of problems with our tax system because of Harper’s useless boutique tax cuts that have complicated the tax code. So we really have to look at restructuring the tax system in a way that evidence-based, according to what economists say is best. But the changes will be revenue neutral to middle-class Canadians…

    • Oh yeah…that would be exciting. Canadians could stay awake all night listening to tax restructuring talk. LOL

      • I am with Emily on this one. The only tax restructuring that most real Canadians want to hear is about paying less in taxes. Usually tax restructuring is a fancy word used by politicians that really means Government wants more of our money.

        • Most “real” Canadians want more tax cuts? I don’t think Canadians are as gullible as Americans whose government went bankrupt with reckless tax cuts that didn’t “pay for themselves” and only benefited the wealthy.

          • Oh please….not the “only the wealthy” speach…” save it for the Canadian Labor Congress

          • Facts are facts. Save your con crank rhetoric for the Sun Media boards…

          • I wasn’t stating a fact but rather an opinion, much the same as you were doing.

          • It’s true — only wealthy people pay the GST, right Ron?

        • Mmm let’s not get into the ‘real’ Canadian nonsense, or assume that everyone wants lower taxes.

          If people want goods and services they have to be paid for, and it’s time someone was honest about it

          • Good luck with that…

          • Honesty isn’t usually the best policy with voters…..people want something for nothing….great services but low or no taxes. They want…..Magic!

            However we’re moving into a reality era….a ‘do the math’ era…a facts and science era…..and we may have finally reached the tipping point.

            There is no free lunch. So Canadians can have anything they damn well please….as long as we can pay for it.

          • I completely agree with you on every point Emily. Except for the point about us entering into a “reality” era. How I wish !

            As long as Politicians continue to promise to be all things to all people and lower taxes in the process they will be the one’s getting elected. And the funny part is when voters get mad because the politicians couldn’t pull off the magic tricks we expected of them. After all “they promised” they could increase spending AND lower taxes.

          • Politicians promised no such thing…Conbots just assumed they could have everything and pay nothing. Mooches.

            Ayn Rand called Libertarians ‘rightwing hippies’….and that’s exactly what they are.

      • That’s the whole point. If Trudeau is vague on taxes, he will be free to reverse reckless tax cuts in the future.

        The fact is Harper has cut taxes by $44.4B/yr (according to his 2009 budget,) as part of a “starving the beast” scam as pointed out by Stephen Gordon: 1) recklessly cut taxes; 2) create a budget crisis; 3) justify deep spending cuts; 4) go to 1.

        So Trudeau does not want to get suckered into supporting Harper’s neo-con scam the way McGuinty was. And besides that, the $44B/yr could be put to much better use: social spending, infrastructure, balancing the budget and middle-class income tax cuts.

        • Then he should be explaining that….in simple point form.

          We’ve had taxes for thousands of years, and all we ever do is argue about the rate. The point is, we need to decide what we want….then we can determine how much is needed.

    • So in other words according to run say nothing of any real substance. The Liberals have been trying that strategy for the past five years – it is not working.

      • “So in other words according to run say nothing of any real substance.”

        No, not at all. There are a million issues. Trudeau can be very substantive on a lot of them. Some issues are better off left vague especially when they are complex like our tax system.

        The Harper Cons, BTW, are masters of vagueness. In Question Period they often ignore questions and parrot irrelevant talking points. MPs are often under strict orders to refuse to answer questions from reporters by sticking to scripted responses.

        So Trudeau needs a similar approach: 1) stay on message (taking a strong, substantial position on the issues); 2) be vague on touchy subjects to avoid being manipulated by your opponents.

      • I’m not sure that I’d call the quote from Trudeau above “real substance” so much as I’d call it “self-contradictory”.

  5. Trudeau is making a mistake to backpedal on the meaning of “failure”. You can’t have it both ways. It makes you look weak.

    The long gun registry WAS a failure, not a failure just because it doesn’t exist anymore, and that he would support it if it still existed. It would be best if he did not try to waffle on that point.

    Challenge the base, JT. Stuff the gun registry up Cauchon’s whatever. He’s just a jealous nattering wannabe, who couldn’t defeat Mulcair in Outremont.

    You could have defeated Mulcair in Outremont.

    • I think he just wants to start over and re-examine the whole issue. Good idea.

      • I also thought that, which is a sensible enough decision. But then he said “if we had a vote tomorrow I would vote once again to keep the long-gun registry.” This seems a contradiction: “Let’s reconsider and re-think the whole thing, but I also want to keep it…”

  6. This paints him as a typical two faced Liberal. Jr. will say one thing to one group and then run and say something quite different to another group. This is the old tactic of saying something that deliberately leads people to believe one thing but if that causes controversy you then reinterpret to mean the opposite to another group. Not that other parties don’t say different things to different people, but that’s not the point here. Inevitably Jr. will be portrayed as someone that exemplifies the values of the Liberal Party. Likely true.

    • That is exactly the point. Cons promised accountibility and transparency and have done just the opposite….told one group one thing, and done quite another.

      People want that to end

      And kindly don’t start talking about Liberal values after Cons have fallen down down so badly on theirs.

      • Agree that the current PM and his group are not shining examples. In my eyes they are becoming more and more like Liberals – say anything and misrepresent anything just to get and stay in power. That’s what’s so disappointing about Jr. I’m nor partisan about this as you seem to be. I think both parties are hungry for power. It’s just on this occasion the example is the wonder boy of the Liberal party. That’s the article we are commenting on. Also, the sins of the Harperites don’t excuse the sins of the Liberals and vice a versa. We should be prepared to comment on both, not excuse one because we think it is “less bad”.

        • LOL oh no, you’re not partisan! Your post is full of partisan remarks and buzzwords.

          I have no problem with parties wanting power….that’s what they’re for. You can’t get anything done if you’re not in power. Also none of this is new, nor unique to anyone…..it’s just the Cons promised an end to it.

  7. “the definition of a failed public policy is the fact that the long-gun registry is no more”

    I knew Trudeau was stupid, and this confirms it once again.

    • By the same logic will Trudeau must also admit that the Katimavik program is a failure….???

      • Not really. He’s saying the gun registry was too controversial and failed because of it. Good policy and politics strike a better balance.

    • So far, he’s promoting Con policies…wait….what were you saying?

      • I’m saying Trudeau is stupid, can’t you read?

        • He’s promoting Con policies. Can’t YOU read?

          • No he’s not. The gun registry is already dead. He’s promoting nothing whatsoever. If it were still in existence, he would be arguing for it. Now that it doesn’t matter, he’s arguing against it. We know how he voted. And we know that it’s gone, no thanks to him. He’s trying to promote himself.

          • Well, Cons say it is. I beg to differ.

            Are you paying attention? This is a leadership election. Of course he’s trying to promote himself!

          • Can’t you read? That’s what I said.

          • No it’s not…..stop being silly.

    • You are taking the quote out of context. He’s saying the policy got cancelled because it was too divisive. The failure was that it was poorly designed and too controversial. Good policy won’t get half of the country up in arms…

      No doubt, Trudeau has to learn the lesson of measuring twice and cutting once. If his message is not crystal clear from the get go, his opponents will misrepresent and exploit it…

      • No I’m not.

        The only thing divisive about the gun registry was its very existence.

      • No doubt, Trudeau has to learn the lesson of measuring twice and cutting once.

        Yup. I mean, look at the part where he says that he’d vote for the poorly designed, overly controversial policy that was doomed to failure and got half the country up in arms if it were up for a vote again today!

    • Except, I don’t think that’s the stupid part (although he arguably should have said “a” definition, or “one possible” definition, and not “the” definition). Surely “a policy that got voted into oblivion” is one rational definition for the phrase “failed policy”.

      The stupid part, imho, is saying that the policy was a failure because it was too divisive, but that he’d nonetheless VOTE FOR IT AGAIN.

  8. Hmmm, so who are you all talking about, again today? What did Marc Garneau say about it; what did Martha say? Oh, nobody knows because nobody asked because they were so busy talking about Trudeau on the air instead. Boo-yah! He’s taking stands, sometimes surprising, and he’s acting like someone who wants to lead change, while they others point out how pointy their heads are yet nobody really can say what they stand for yet at all. Go ahead and take it down to semantics (“how could he use the word failure?!”). Every time he says something, even if he says it two years ago, everyone stops and discusses what they think about it. Someone’s name is on the lips of Canadians, and it’s not the really smart guy who just announced but couldn’t win the weekend.

    • I take your point, but still. I’m not sure that “He keeps on saying things, and people keep talking about the things he’s saying” is necessarily an absolute indication that Justin’s kicking butt.

      I mean, it wasn’t too long ago that the same could have been said about Donald Trump during the Republican primaries.

      • Are you serious about that comparison? Well, he’s given the other leadership candidates the chance to step into the fray. I’m glad there’s a competition now, because a coronation may have spelled sure death. But I still find JT the most winnable so far — the others are invited to prove me wrong and win my support. And I am not so naive as to think any of them have all the answers to a job they’ve never held, and to all the problems they never had to face when they were backbenchers and just voted along party lines. Time will tell; there’s many more months ahead for JT to keep talking; we have to decide if we like what he’s saying more than if he would have said it a few years back. Seriously.

        • No, the Trump comparison was for laughs. That said, the whole “Justin’s talking and people are paying attention” can be a double edged sword. His supporters may well start wishing he’d stop talking, or at least that people would stop listening to what he’s saying!

          • Yep, you are right. I understand the double edged sword, but at this point — very early on, I know — if I was a Liberal going to cast a vote, I’d see the list of names I given our third party status, I would prolly pick the guy who sets the room on fire and keeps Liberals in the news. As I said, the others are invited to change my mind.

          • That’s a fair analysis. Arguably I think it comes down to either “Hell, we’re in third place, let’s throw the Hail Mary” or “We’re in third place, so we’re not going to win next time out anyway, so let’s rebuild with a smart, policy focused, maybe a bit boring leader, and set up a good solid foundation for the next time out”.

          • Wasn’t that their approach with Ignatieff? The “can’t get any worse” syndrome, that the Liberals have suffereed from for the past X elections, is deeply problematic. They need to start re-examining what they stand for as a party, and doing some serious rebuilding, rather than seeking out a “saviour” that will light up rooms and whatnot. Mind you, they seem to be trying a little harder this time around, certainly moreso than when Ignatieff was chosen as leader, but it seems like they still need more soul-searching and less idol-searching.

      • You know, LKO, I sometimes disagree with the stuff you say, but I’m grateful that you’re an active participant on this blog. You tend to bring a certain level-headed clarity to the discussion, force others to more carefully analyze their positions, and occasionally make me laugh (with you, not at you, of course), all of which are often lacking on the comment boards here at Macleans.

        • You sometimes disagree with the stuff I say!?!?!?

          Heresy!!!

  9. ”I voted to keep the firearms registry a few months ago and if we had a vote tomorrow I would vote once again to keep the long-gun registry,” Trudeau told reporters. ”However, the definition of a failed public policy is the fact that the long-gun registry is no more… The fact is, because it was so deeply divisive for far too many people, it no longer exists.”

    So, the policy was a failure because it was deeply divisive, but if given the chance he’d still vote to keep it despite the fact that it’s a divisive policy that is therefore doomed to failure???

    What am I missing? ‘Cause he seems to be saying that the policy was too controversial to ever work, but that he’d prefer to keep it around nonetheless, despite thefact that it’s too controversial to ever work.

    I can see the leadership slogan now! Justin Trudeau: Supporting failed policies to keep everyone equally disappointed!

    • It was the best you could get at the time but it wasn’t perfect. I can’t see what he said that wasn’t patently obvious.
      It was what we had then; I supported it; it wasn’t perfect; now it’s gone; we have to start over.

      • I think LKO nailed it. You’re incorrect in saying “now it’s gone; we have to start over.” That’s not what he said. Or actually, it IS what he said, and perhaps you ARE correct, but then it wouldn’t make sense to vote to keep it, if there were a vote on it today?… It seems like a mess of contradictions.

      • I think he went further than “it wasn’t perfect”. He said it was a “failed public policy… so deeply divisive .. it no longer exists”. And he didn’t say we need to “start over” exactly, he said he’d vote for the same failed policy that was so deeply divisive that it no longer exists if it was on offer again today.

        I could accept Trudeau saying that the registry was so divisive that it was doomed to failure. I could also accept Trudeau saying that it was good enough that it would garner his vote if it were up for a vote again today. What I don’t understand is Justin thinking both things simultaneously.

  10. the only real failure today wasn’t what Justin was talking about instead it was the affect on the other leadership contenders – as I type this several other wannabe leaders are gleefully wringing their little liberal hands and counting the days as every day now Justin opens his mouth and removes alll doubt about his ability and readiness and more and more of us Tories are willing to fork a few bucks over and sign up on line to vote for his leadership bid as he is the best thing to happen to us in a long time – keep up the good work JT you da man :)

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