Justin shows he can think like a leader
By Bruce A Stewart
The punch up for the cure occurred last night — lights on for Earth Hour and all.
Against expectations MP Justin Trudeau (Lib., Papineau) defeated Senator Patrick Brazeau (Cons., Québec), in a TKO called by the referee once multiple standing counts made it clear Brazeau was beaten.
The fight is not what’s important. What’s important is what you can read into it.
Up until now Trudeau’s protestations that he’s not running for the leadership of his party (“I’m not ready”) had merit.
Those of us who’ve heard him in public know how much of his speeches are simple clichés and talking points. He doesn’t like — and doesn’t take well — questions that challenge his soft progressive stance.
A walking, talking testament to the old sorry meme of “Canadian values are Liberal values, and Liberal values are Canadian values”.
What Trudeau showed last night was that he could think like a leader.
Take some punches. Let them rain on you, merely making sure they don’t damage you.
Tire your opponent out. Then strike.
It’s an important set of lessons that Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Stéphane Dion and Paul Martin never seemed to learn.
It’s a set of lessons Stephen Harper offers daily.
Trudeau kept his cool, as well. Thomas Mulcair knows how to take the punches and strike, but whether he’s mastered cool or not is still a question.
Now a tilt in the boxing ring does not a national political leader make.
But it has heartened the Liberals mightily. “One of ours beat one of theirs!”
Not to mention, there’s always been rumblings that the Dauphin (Crown Prince) should follow in his father’s footsteps.
Trudeau’s hand — should he decide to challenge for leadership of his party — has been strengthened immeasurably.
I still believe him when he says he’s not got his father’s intellectual powers.
But politics is built more on emotion, and this morning, in his party, he’s riding a wave of it.
Friday night, when Ottawa went home, it was conventional wisdom that Bob Rae would drop the “interim” and simply be made leader.
Not any more. Now the same demoralized Liberal insiders see a horse race emerging.
Watch the talking heads this week. (You know the Parliamentary Press Gallery loves a race, and hasn’t quite gotten over the Liberals even yet.)
Watch to see who starts lining up to tout the Boy Wonder. Who’s working hard to make him “inevitable”.
Who’s making sure he can’t say “no” when the time comes.
If I were Justin Trudeau, and I was serious about not running, I’d keep my gloves handy.
The message might need to be delivered with a little punch.
Bruce Stewart is a consultant, educator and philosopher with a passion for public affairs currently located in Toronto. He is well known across the Internet for his blogs on management (Getting Value from IT) and social affairs (Just a Jump to the Left, then a Step to the Right) and for his daily stream of commentary on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.