With Rae out, all eyes turn to Trudeau

Yesterday reporters and pundits, including our own Paul Wells and John Geddes, considered the departure of interim Liberal Party leader Bob Rae as he announced he would not run for the permanent job.

Today all eyes have turned on Justin Trudeau, a potential leadership contender.

Postmedia News’ Michael Den Tandt writes:

Should the 40-year-old eldest son of Pierre Trudeau overcome his stated reluctance to be separated from his young family by the burdens of leadership, he automatically becomes the front-runner. No other Liberal has anything close to Trudeau’s public profile; no other has his combination of a solid base in Quebec, fluency in both languages, youth and family pedigree. Most obviously, no other Liberal — indeed no other Canadian politician — has Trudeau’s seemingly effortless ability to galvanize media attention and public debate.

Gary Mason has this to say in today’s Globe and Mail:

… Justin Trudeau would have an enormous job in front of him. Actually, the mind boggles at the challenge. Why would he take on such a thankless and seemingly impossible task? It would be tough enough in the East and Central Canada, but in the West – where the Trudeau name is mud – odds of him making any headway are pretty much zero.

Like Mason, Joan Bryden also casts a doubt on Trudeau’s ability to be the leader the Liberals need right now:

… it remains to be seen whether Trudeau has the depth or judgment to make a good leader. He has repeatedly gotten himself in hot water with impulsive comments. He had to apologize recently for an expletive in the House of Commons and had to reaffirm his faith in a united Canada after musing that he might favour Quebec separation if he thought Canadians genuinely wanted it. Whatever his deficits, Trudeau would be hard to beat.