Justin Trudeau: Dance Dance Revolution?

The meaning of that picture
Justin Trudeau supporters at the federal Liberal PArty Leadership "Showcase" event at the Toronto Convention Centre April 6, 2013

Amy Verner considers that picture of Justin Trudeau dancing with his wife, Sophie Gregoire.

But it hardly matters whether the dance was a candid moment or not. Certainly, as many (including the Globe’s Jeffrey Simpson) have noted, Trudeau understands that politics is very much about the art of performance.

His critics, of course, might offer the photo-op as further evidence that Trudeau is strong on style and light on substance. But at this point in the race, the dance music is drowning them out.

Thinking of Mr. Trudeau over the weekend, I was reminded of something Andre Pratte wrote in the final days of the 2011 election campaign to explain Jack Layton’s sudden popularity in Quebec.

The fact that the NDP Leader decided to go through an electoral campaign while recuperating from cancer and a broken hip brought him a lot of sympathy. His strong performances at the televised debate in French and during a popular talk show on Radio-Canada showed him as someone committed to social justice, close to ordinary people and equipped with a good sense of humour.

Suddenly, Quebeckers began referring to the NDP Leader as “Jack.” In Quebec, people calling a politician by his first name means that he has struck an emotional chord. These days, Quebeckers don’t say they’ll vote for the NDP or for candidate so and so. With an air of defiance and fun, they announce they’ll vote for “Jack.”

Defiance and fun. Fun. If there is anything Mr. Trudeau might be able to project more easily than Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair it might be that.