Five questions worth pondering about Justin Trudeau

John Geddes on what Trudeau has said on a handful of key issues


Five questions worth pondering about Justin Trudeau in the feverish days leading to his announcement next week, and how he dealt with these issues in an earlier interview:

It’s impossible to get past the fact that he’s Pierre Trudeau’s son. How will he avoid being always measured against his famous father?

JT: “My father was incredibly focused, incredibly linear… . I’m a high school teacher. I’m someone who stumbles my way through, leads with my chin in some cases, leads with my heart in all cases.”

Many Liberals are looking to Trudeau as a saviour, but wouldn’t merging with the NDP make sense electoral sense given left-of-centre vote-splitting?

JT: “…if one of the two opposition parties manages to get its stuff together, I don’t know that a merger… is going to be necessary. I think Canadians are going to be unwilling to allow Mr. Harper to continue.”

Trudeau hasn’t said or done much of note on economic issues. What can he say to keep Stephen Harper from trouncing him on that big subject?

JT: “What is this government doing? It’s relying on a combination of selling off our natural resources… and a form of trickle-down economics that has been thoroughly discredited everywhere…”

Much of Trudeau’s appeal is said to be among the young. Isn’t the problem that too many young adults tend not to bother voting?

JT: “I think a bold message will wake them up. We saw that a little bit in the Occupy movement. Over the next three years, I think young people are going to wake up and be empowered.”

Harper campaigns on stability, competence. Trudeau doesn’t look likely to contest him on that ground. What will he offer instead?

JT: “I think the next leader needs to understand that business as usual doesn’t work, that we’re in a time where we have to rethink a lot of the basic ground rules and assumptions of our civilizations.”


Five questions worth pondering about Justin Trudeau

    • It should be remembered that marijuana was on the verge of being decriminalized by the Liberals before Harper came to power in 2006 (because the law against it was struck down in court.) Harper turned around and imported the failed Republican war on drugs. (Again the Liberals and NDP voted against many of Harper’s foolish get-tough-on-crime policies; but his first act in a fake-majority government was to legislate all the failed bills in an 11-bill-in-one omnibus monstrosity.)

      Harm reduction is the best position to take on marijuana. It’s certainly a far less dangerous drug than alcohol. One, however, shouldn’t expect the fight to be won overnight. It’s a long haul. First medical marijuana; then decriminalization; last legalization. Whatever policies the Liberal party (or NDP) end up putting in place will be decided by external factors, not a leader’s personal opinion (Paul Martin certainly didn’t make marijuana decriminalization a priority; it just happened.)

    • A few months back the Liberals sent a survey to their members about decriminalizing marijuana. I recall that about 85% agreed on it. So, I think JT would base his views on that.

      BC municipalities just voted in support of decriminalizing the other day, hoping to influence the feds. Although we all know Harper wouldn’t do it. But the Libs would and the NDP might.

  1. Justin Trudeau has’nt got a clue on how to control his inane outbursts in the house. He is not fit to, nor is he capable of leading any political party, until such time as he starts acting like an adult. I assume that next the liberal party might consider Justin Bieber for leadership. When we look at that party’s recent annointments, we must wonder how it plans on surviving without any plans.

    • “Justin Trudeau has’nt got a clue on how to control his inane outbursts in the house.”

      That’s a joke. Peter Kent, in an unprecedented move, banned all opposition MPs from attending an international climate treaty conference, then later chided them for not showing up. Trudeau was right: Kent is a piece of sh*t.

      Trudeau’s remark was certainly politically incorrect. But inane it was not.

      • I tend to think of it as an accurate medical diagnosis.

        • Maybe a bit more anthropological, no?

      • clearly you understand a piece of sh*t when you see one cause you look in the mirror every day.
        Gee, I guess I’m ready for the house of commons now ’cause I can name call too.

        JT’s remarks showed him to be childish…with a mouth that too often leads his brain… if you think that makes for a pm or party leader…please move to another country far far away!

        I think he does have brain, and probably a good one, at that but he has got to use it!

        reason before passion

  2. Feverish is over egging the pudding, Geddes. Ottawa juornos and other trudeau sycophants may be acting feverishly but mood of nation is tepid or unenthusiastic at best.

    • If you want to know the mood of the nation just ask a zealous conservative. They know at least how 30% feel…

  3. *Harper campaigns on stability, competence. Trudeau doesn’t look likely to contest him on that ground. What will he offer instead?
    JT: “I think the next leader needs to understand that business as usual doesn’t work, that we’re in a time where we have to rethink a lot of the basic ground rules and assumptions of our civilizations.”*

    Harper may try to cast a phony image of stability and competence, but the reality is he is importing the same Republican trickle-down ideology that destroyed the American economy.

    The previous right-of-center Liberal government provided the actual stability and competence that has been squandered by Harper.

    Justin is right, in my opinion, that now is the time for a paradigm shift. Thirty years of free-market reforms produced an economic tide that only raised the yachts and ended in a second global economic meltdown (the first was in 1929.)

    But thankfully we don’t have to make a shift into the unknown, but into the well-known: the centrist economics that created modern living standards in the post-war era. Not only did we have rising living standards and much stronger growth, Western governments paid down most of their debts.

    These are the same economics northern European countries are still using very successfully. So we don’t need to reinvent the wheel; just improve on what we already know.

    Justin should bone up on economics and make it his top priority. Instead of Don Drummond and Stephen Gordon he should follow the economics of Nobel Laureates like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz who are actual centrist liberals…

    • As someone said on here yesterday, we need to take the country apart and remake it….or words to that effect.

      • does this mean get rid of old boys club and let Canadians move ahead..

        • YES….absolutely we need to get rid of the old boys club, and move ahead.

    • The Liberals have to act like a team and use their strongest and smartest and coordinate their efforts, and support their leader. Trudeau or whoever wins the leadership doesn’t have to stand alone.

  4. This Trudeau as leader would make the liberal party no different than the ndp, an overly progressive movement catering to which ever politically correct wind is blowing that day. He’s a far left ‘urban liberal’ that’s never had to work a day in his life with little to nothing in common with regular folk. If he’s chosen as ‘leader’ of the liberal party it will be a mistake on par with having chosen Dion.

    • You sound very bitter. He has worked all his adult life, and so has his wife, and in everyday, “regular folk” jobs too, that fitted his degree; nobody got him a show on TV (Mulroney) or made him CEO of a big company (Stronach). BTW: what common jobs did fat harper have prior to being leader of CRAP?

      • I bet you have an orgasm every time you say Fat Harper. How childish.

  5. Trudeau is politically still too naive for the position of Leader of the Party. He needs far more experience both in politics and life. We need somebody like John Manley or Mark Carney, who understand both global economics and politics.

    • When did Mark Carney become a Liberal? He worked at Goldman Sachs and was appointed BoC governor by Harper in 2008. Now he is delivering the same political messages as the Harper Government. Is he calling the shots, or is the PMO?

      BTW, the Liberals lost the center to the NDP because they became the progressive conservative party. Before the PC party was swallowed up by the Reform party, it dwindled in last place. Looks like that’s where the blue Liberals are taking the party…

    • What makes you think Mark Carney understands politics? Certainly he understands economics, and he’s obviously a very bright guy. And maybe he understands politics too, as an observer. But he has no actual political experience.

  6. perhaps a return to 25% interest rates and the likes of this families past accomplishments in the political arena are welcome by some but I would think only the uninformed or anyone who didn’t live through those times could possIbly see JT as the newest and greatest to lead the liberals. Need more wasteful spending and programs, bend over!

    • The *independent* Bank of Canada raised interest rates up to 22% in the early 1980s to break the back of inflation (the policy originated with the US Fed and is called the “Volcker Shock.) So it’s silly to blame that on Trudeau.

      BTW, when it comes to wasteful spending, none do it better than Harper. According to conservative columnist Andrew Coyne, Harper’s record is worse than Bob Rae’s. He raised spending by $100B/yr (or 60%) since coming to power. And that excludes the stimulus spending that ran out in 2010.

      • The inflation resulted from left-wing economic policies propounded by Trudeau’s Liberals. The Bank of Canada was just doing what it had to do to counter the effect of bad policies.

        • Yeah the Liberals caused so much inflation it spilled over into the entire global economy…

          • The Liberals were just one of many governments applying the bad policies that caused the stagflation of the ’70s. Trudeau applied them wi more gusto than many – why else do you think that the recession of the early ’80s was so much sharper in Canada than elsewhere?

      • So when, it’s the Liberals who copy the Americans, it’s blame the Americans. But when it’s alleged that Harper does, it’s blame Harper. Wow, what logic.

        • It was the independent Bank of Canada following the independent US Fed’s lead. I doubt Trudeau or Reagan wanted 22% interest rates…

  7. Thomas Mulcair offers much more on paper and in practice, one suspects, Trudeau will have a hard time overcoming both his relative youth, and the Liberal parties’ serial weaknesses going forwards.

    • anyone under 65 would vote for relative youth I suspect.I now I’m tried of same old
      boring garbage. and it’s not that he doesn’t a a view for future, for our grandkids.

  8. Sure can’t be any worse than the dictator, we have as a prime minister now!!
    One thing with Liberals, they have the decency to leave the country with a surplus when they step down, VS. the classless bashing of the cons. I WILL ALWAYS, ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL, to the fact that the lib’s did not put us through that horrific 9-11 war situation, BECAUSE, IF THE CON’S WOULD HAVE BEEN IN POWER THEN we would be in the same pathetic boat as the U.S. is now. The proof is there, “Canada is the 2nd happiest country in the world.” Again, Thank You LIberals!!! we owe it all to you guys,

    • But the Liberals sent us to Afghanistan which is probably worst since Iraq has a somewhat functioning government (although heavy sectarian violence continues) vs. Afghanistan where we are leaving and nothing has changed, it’s still a violent backwater that will be overrun by the Taliban the minute the Americans and British leave.

      • That’s a mischaracterization. Canada is part of NATO, and along with other Allies, joined the US after the 9/11 attacks, and I might add that the Afghan leader also asked UN for help to rid the country of Al Quaeda. The Iraq war was an invasion by US and UK, and was based on a lie: the weapons of mass destruction that never were there. I felt a proud Canadian when PM Chretien explained to the nation why we were not joining our closest allies in that war. I cannot say I agree with what is going on in Afghanistan, but we cannot be allies in NATO and UN and not answer the legitimate calls for help.

        • patchouli is proud that her Liberal PM did not join ” our closest allies in that (Iraq) war ” and she is also proud that her Liberal PM chose to join our allies in NATO and the UN in Afghanistan.

          patchouli can rationalize her differing positions like a real unprincipled Liberal.

          • And Andrew can go f*ck himself, in accordance with my Liberal principles.

          • Now, is that any way for a Lefty Liberal Lady to carry on a conversation ?

          • Distinctions that matter isn’t really your thing is it?

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you. [ takes a bow] I’m only sorry we couldn’t have prevented the trading of Gretzky [ happened under Brian’s watch actually] and guaranteed the leafs ever win the cup again. OTOH Harper has ensured no Canadian team will ever win the cup again. Tory times are indeed tough times.

    • Wow, are you off your meds? We were amongst the first boots on the ground in Afghanistan.

  9. The press should start replacing the term “left of centre” with “left of Harper.” There is no way the Liberals are left of centre.

    • Best comment yet at NP.

      Gerry Nicholls: Dear media, will you and Justin get a room, please?

      Justin Trudeau and Justin Bieber have more in common than just a first name.

      Both guys are also adored by legions of love struck fans. Except in the case of Bieber the fans are teenage girls, whereas for Trudeau they are the Canadian media.

      I mean come on, ever since Trudeau started musing about running for the Liberal leadership, the media has gone completely ga-ga over the guy. Coverage has ranged from fawning to ridiculously fawning.Why is this the case? Why is the media so smitten with a Liberal MP who, let’s face it, has not really accomplished all that much in his short career as a politician.

      Well the obvious reason is that Trudeau’s last name carries with it a certain mystique. Media types remember with a nostalgic fondness the reign of his father, Pierre, Canada’s last Philosopher King.

      But the media’s adoration of Justin is about more than just his father’s legacy.It also has to do with the media’s disdain for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Yes, believe it or not, many media-types just don’t like Harper. Partly it’s because they view him as a conservative, but they also don’t like his tough-guy, antagonistic leadership style. Plus, Harper has not exactly done much to endear himself with the press. Quite the opposite, in fact.

      At any rate, for a long time the media has been desperately seeking an “Anti-Harper”, and Trudeau fits the bill perfectly. He is the Ying, to Harper’s Yang; the zig to Harper’s zag; the Abbott to Harper’s Costello.

      Just think about it.Harper is a somber, dull, middle-aged, policy wonk – Trudeau is youthful, full of fun and does zany things like beat up senators in a boxing ring.Harper is seen as a ruthless, cynic; Trudeau is seen as an emotional idealist.

      Harper is from the Alberta outlands; Trudeau is from cosmopolitan Montreal.

      Harper has a piercing, glaring stare; Trudeau has a charming smile and a great mane of hair.

      Harper is coldly calculating; Trudeau is spontaneous and passionate.

      Harper is boring; Trudeau emits radiant beams of charisma.In other words, for the Canadian media, Trudeau is simply too dreamy to resist.

      Mind you, if “Trudeau the Adorable” fails to overcome the Harperian Ogre, the media will quickly turn on him just like they turned on their former darlings, Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff.

      In the meantime, however, I just wish the media and Trudeau would get a room.

      • Wow. That’s so…original Gerry. Did you burn the midnight oil cranking that out?

        “Just think about it.Harper is a somber, dull, middle-aged, policy wonk…”

        He left off dick…but no matter, people can read between the deep analytical prose lines.

        Funny, GN has been a persistent critic of Harpers. Guess he is another of the Calgary school who learned to hate the name Trudeau at Daddy Cooper’s knee.
        Harper by the way Gerry aint no home on the range cowboy; he grew up in middle class suburban Toronto. Get some new tps.

      • your post was too long, dumb, and not related to the comment it was posted as a reply to.

        • I find your comments to be too short, but still dumb, and seldom related to reality.

      • Sadly for the country Stéphane Dion was never a media darling.

  10. “…that we’re in a time where we have to rethink a lot of the basic ground rules and assumptions of our civilizations.”

    That’s what Canadian government has been doing for the last 40 years, Trudeau’s disaster of a father included. The result is what we have now: marriage in shambles, abortion widespread and available through all 9 months of pregnancy, single motherhood commonplace, venereal diseases affecting millions, healthcare running out of money while people wait months for service, mass media that can’t even recognize both sides of an argument let alone present them, a general public with ever more academic credentials but ever less ability to think critically, widespread systemic discrimination on the basis of sex and race in the name of affirmative action and diversity, lousy job prospects for the young, seniors working past retirement age to recover lost savings, and internet commenters writing hugely run-on sentences that no one reads all the way to the end. Trudeau’s native province also faces plummeting population and an incredibly corrosive level of family breakdown which is going to lead, in the very near future, to economic ruin in that region.

    I like Trudeau; I think his heart is in the right place, but he’s dangerously ignorant.

    • That’s interesting that you like him. I’ve heard the same thing from a number of right wing conspiracy theorists such as yourself[ kidding]. Obviously he’s counting on that, it’s going a big part of his leading with his heart shtick. IF he shows some good judgement in the people he surrounds himself with [iows minimum of yes men] he might even surprise you on the ignorant part. Trudeau’s clearly counting on a lot of people underating his capacity to learn and above all work hard – i think you just did.

      The underlying assumption that the world was just peachy the moment you get into BT[before Trudeau] strikes me as frankly bizarre. Public morals, institutional standards and general respect has been in decline everywhere in the western world. It would have happened anyway in all likelihood. I had no idea Trudeau was that omnipotent myself.

      • Actually I don’t discount his ability to learn and work hard – together with his heart being in the right place, this gives me a lot of hope. But from the things he says now, he seems to have zero understanding of the fundamental problem of our times: a rejection of the wisdom and understanding gained over centuries of political and ethical thought which led directly to the founding of Canada – a nation of free citizens with both God-given rights and responsibilities – in favour of faddish illusions such as the notion that freedom comes without sacrifice, that children are commodities, that sexual satisfaction trumps basic freedoms and responsibilities, that it is better to give a man a fish than to stock the lake, etc.

        He may yet learn. But his starting point is so far removed from reality that it would be highly dangerous to let him anywhere near the levers of power at the moment.

        • The fundamental question for me would be – is there room in your Canada for people like me who don’t see it that way? [Or at least any way of legislating moral choices.] There is room in my Canada for you.

          • My Canada (i.e. the Canada that was originally founded based on God-given rights – a notion that emerged from centuries of Christian thought) has room for everyone, and indeed guarantees their rights and freedoms since no government has the authority to take them away, including the right not to be murdered, from conception to natural death.

            I’m not convinced your version of Canada has room for me though; in fact I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. For one thing, it has no room for “unwanted” children. For another, my right to speak my opinions was deemed a “hate crime” if it could cause offence to any group of politically protected people until very recently when the Conservatives finally removed that bit of tyranny from the criminal code. There are many other examples I could raise of your error – your vision of Canada is one of coercion and control coupled with selfishness and irresponsibility, where even the suggestion that such things are wrong is met with forceful suppression. Trudeau, unfortunately, does not see this error either.

          • Why do you “assume” all liberals – indeed all people who don’t happen to agree with you – are all in the same box? I for instance on balance welcome the end of the overreach of HRs tribunals – you can’t protect anything worth while by limiting another mans right to his/her views/opinions. I also have conflicted views on abortion. So kindly keep your nice little bundle of predigested preconceptions to yourself. Your rights and mine are adequately protected and represented within our constitution and charter. At least to the dgree they can be in a pluralistic, multi ethnic, religiously diverse and yet still secular society.

          • Apologies if I’ve misrepresented your views on these matters. Most of the commenters here are virtually monolithic in their support for abortion and the hate crimes nonsense.

            However, you also are quite wrong to suggest that I categorize everyone with whom I disagree on anything as a leftist.

            “Your rights and mine are adequately protected and represented within our constitution and charter. “

            Obviously not, if the overreach you’ve just acknowledged was allowed to stand. Similarly not, if the murder of unborn children is allowed to continue – I was one of those once, and so were you.

          • That’s ok. We could all do with a reminder every now and again that we’re complex being and not all easily shoehorned into any one political party or pov.
            I really don’t understand your last point. While it is true the charter isn’t perfect or universaly inclusive,i don’t see how it can take account of all of our individual politcal and moral wants and needs. Even if the charter were not there there is o guarantee your desire to have abortion banned or limited would be reflected in the popular will or political process. You would still have to convince the majority of our citizens to accept such a law. In fact you’re still free to do so.

          • Why is it everyone is so worried about unborn children but when they arrive, they don’t have a doctor, don’t have prescription coverage, not enough early childhood care spaces, or a large enough “baby bonus -child tax credit” to support them?
            Then they get to have schools short of art and music programs, and on to a huge student loan debt to pay on Mc-job wages.
            Yep let’s all have more kids!
            Or how about take care of the ones we already have?
            (to paraphrase to George Carlin)

          • Flash….there are no such things as rights.

            We made it all up. ANd we can add to those rights, or subtract from them or eliminate them altogether if we choose.

            ‘Rights’ are just human ideas.

            PS….Hate crimes are still in the criminal code

          • I’m waiting for kcm2’s response!

        • Fur trading and then being fed up with American invasions led to the founding of Canada. Not God, not some noble cause and certainly not religion.


    • Why yes….because times change…..and all over the world, not just in Canada

      So stop blaming PIerre for all that. LOL

  11. I liked JT’s answers – even the last one,sorta; although lord only knows what he really meant by it?
    I see he didn’t rule out merger,coalition or cooperation – and he didn’t say anything that would undermine the confidence of liberals who are trying to rebuild the party, that’s smart.
    He doesn’t say much about how he’s going to accomplish some of this stuff – that can’t go on forever.

  12. All this “draft Mark Carney talk” shows that the Blue Liberals are desperate and soon to be homeless. Where will they go? How many Blue Liberals are there?

    The distance between Mark Carney and Stephen Harper on the political economic spectrum is a lot less than the distance between Mark Carney and Thomas Mulcair/Justin Trudeau/the majority of the Liberal Party.

    Carney and Harper arguably have been the best tag team in the world during the economic crisis, i.e. Canada has had the best balance between central bank monetary stimulus and federal government fiscal stimulus. (if one strips away a lot of the political posturing that Harper does, and instead focuses on what he has actually done.)

    Why would Mark Carney want to lead a Lliberal Party where only a minority of the party now support economic common sense, and the majority have drifted over to the delusional left, indistinguishable from the NDP?

    Mark Carney would certainly be a threat to Harper if the Liberal Party was not a veritable wasteland, but the Liberal Party is basically a corpse, which is why most of them are looking to resurrect Pierre…err Justin.

    • Come on! give Justin a break, he is his own man and the sum of two.
      At least he’s not a lawyer.

      • He doesn’t have the brains to be a lawyer. And, remember, his dad was a lawyer.

  13. He is so dreamy.

    • dreams build companies,countries. enough of stick in mud.

      • I don’t think Kanold meant dreamy in the sense you took it. More like dreamy in a gaga way.

  14. When’ll we stop talkin’ ’bout the “might-be” candidates? There are some are-candidates, so why don’t we switch ‘r’ focus 2 what it shou’d be on in da Liberal race?

  15. Ron you say USA went broke doling out tax cuts to the rich.USA was doing ok while Clinton
    was Pres. It was after he decided to not regulate banks, greed became a factor,dishonesty
    in mortgage sell offs printing money.Fanny and freddy. Manufacturing sent to forgein countries, those guys should be taxed worse. That’s what I’ve read and heard.
    I did enjoy reading your tweets.

  16. “I’m someone who stumbles my way through, leads with my chin in some cases, leads with my heart in all cases.”
    Funny he should say that, considering his father’s motto was: Reason before passion!
    I don’t think JT got that in his genes. What made the father is totally absent in the son. You don’t lead with your heart. You lead with your brain. So we have a problem here with Justin Trudeau trying to become PM.

  17. Did Trudeau really just say “we have to rethink a lot of the basic ground rules and assumptions of our civilizations” ….and did no one take him to task on it?
    What assumptions does he mean, should we rethink or assumptions about basic freedoms like freedom of the press or freedom of movement or freedom of speech. or maybe he means we should rethink our assumptions about money, savings, markets and the movement of goods, or does he mean rule of law or democracy. How about basic ground rules of personal responsibility!
    What the hell is he talking about and WHY is no one asking him hard questions about what he says!!!
    sheesh the reporters must all have been neutered!

  18. I keep hearing the word “Charisma” linked to Justin Trudeau’s name. To me, the word had entirely negative connotations. I always distrust people with “charisma.”