Justin Trudeau expected to enter Liberal leadership race net week
By Bruce A Stewart
The moment is almost at hand when, descending from Mount Royal with the new stone tablets in hand, an eager nation will be granted the wish of a generation: Trudeau, the second coming.
What, your heart isn’t racing? You don’t feel a burning desire to stuff a rose in your lapel before volunteering to be a Liberal Party donor and door-knocker?
You obviously don’t spend enough time with the right people at the right parties in Westmount, the Glebe, Kitsilano, Yorkville or the Annex. Nor have you spent endless hours in the archives looking for just the right video clips of Trudeau père‘s magnificent rule over we lesser mortals.
He, after all, was merely a Platonic philosopher-king. Justin Trudeau is the Messiah come to restore peace and prosperity (aka Liberals at the trough) to the Great Northern Land, after the reign of the Antichrist.
No Gerard Kennedy in this race: he’ll be on L’Équipe Justin. Advisors, bagmen and the like from the Dion campaign, the Ignatieff circle and the nationwide Martin brain-trust are rushing to inform all and sundry that they are in Justin’s entourage.
What’s left of the Big Red Tent is being cut down and trimmed into a red carpet, ready for the procession at the official announcement expected on Tuesday.
Now, it is true that if Justin shows up in Slave Lake, Kitimat, Sioux Lookout, Flin Flon or Prince Albert, he’ll draw a crowd. Whether they’ll be rushing to pour money and time into his party, and twist the arms of their neighbours to abandon their support for the Conservatives or the New Democrats, is another matter.
You see, Justin Trudeau has nothing to say — and yet another Liberal coronation will ensure that he’s not forced to remedy that by having to seriously fight for the leadership.
Justin Trudeau can blather on endlessly about a kinder, gentler Canada. We know that if he held power Katimavik would be restored and strengthened (evidently the idea of getting a job in another part of Canada on your own escapes him: without a government program, no one would ever leave their little corner of their little province).
Aside from that, what have you heard him stand for?
“Harper shouldn’t be Prime Minister” sells well in the wine, cheese and canapé circles of the cognoscenti and the media élites, but why would you choose a Justin Trudeau! Liberal future over a Mulcair NDP one otherwise?
After all, you might not like the New Democrats, but they do have policies — specific things they stand for. Oddly enough, they’re pretty much the same list from one year to the next too: affordable housing, public transit, decent wages, a less activist use of the military, fewer mandatory sentences, cap-and-trade …
What’s more, if Mulcair did become Prime Minister, we’d all be pretty sure that that same list would frame the bills he’d introduce, without sudden post-election surprises.
You might not like the Conservatives, either, but again they do stand for something, and most of us can articulate it: tough on crime, firm use of power internationally, negotiating more free trade deals, get the federal government out of provincial matters, don’t get out of step with the Americans on environmental costs …
Again, if we have another Conservative government, we’d all be pretty sure that what we’ve been seeing is what we’d get more of: not the bogey-man of the “hidden agenda” but one that’s right out in the open for us to decide on.
The Liberals? Who knows: 93 promises whipped up out of fluffernutter last time around, with all the staying power of a dandelion gone to seed. Justin Trudeau? Yet another “if you don’t like this one, I’ve got more”.
There wasn’t a single Pierre Trudeau term that wasn’t one bloody surprise after another dumped on the Canadian people, from the national use of the War Measures Act, to wage and price controls (having run against them), to the endless Constitutional wrangling, to the National Energy Policy (and many others).
It was a lesson well learned by his party. How many Chrétien “Red Book” pledges were lived up to. Enjoying living without the GST and NAFTA, are you? Enjoying the national day care program?
When you stand for nothing, policy is marketing and nothing more — and any pretty face will do.
What the Liberals need is a tour around Sinai or the Dead Sea, figuring out who they are and what they stand for. What is a Liberal, in this day and age, and why should Canadians choose that over their other choices? Descending from the mountain with empty tablets is hardly a sign of leadership.
Molly Ivins called George W. Bush “shrub” in Texas (compared to his father), but at least Bush served out his apprenticeship.
So let’s call Justin Trudeau ”twig” and enjoy the sad spectacle as the last of the Liberal Party commits ritual suicide in their pursuit of dreams of messianic glory.
It is all they have left.