“The party has to make a decision on far more substantial and fundamental decisions than celebrity,” she said. “There is no such thing as a silver bullet. This is a really big decision and it is absolutely a question of substance and experience. It’s also not about celebrity. Fame is fickle.”
She also struck a conciliatory note towards her 41-year-old rival. “We’re friends,” she said of Trudeau. “I have all sorts of respect for Justin and the celebrity he brings to the party is fantastic, but I wouldn’t be running for the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada if I felt he had enough experience and substance to be a prime minister.”
Marc Garneau is likewise vowing to carry on questioning the frontrunner.
This will probably make some Liberals nervous—direct and most likely futile attacks against the individual who is likely to be the party’s next leader—but it’s also, objectively, a bit silly to criticize a politician for trying to wage a political campaign in pursuit of political office. This is obviously a tricky question for partisans, who would like to say their party staged a viable leadership race, but who would also like the winner to emerge from it unscathed. In 2006, Michael Ignatieff got into it with Stephane Dion during a leadership debate and the Conservatives later used the clip for an attack ad. Such is the stuff of Liberal nightmares. But they might also remember that they managed to make Mr. Ignatieff leader in 2009 without any kind of leadership race and not having to be criticized by anyone who was unlikely to beat him didn’t matter much two years later when he led the party to its worst result in two decades.