Memo to Justin Trudeau
August 13, 2012
Subject: Liberal Party Leadership
This is an unsolicited plea to the eldest son of Canada's most famous Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to resist the innumerable petitions, the likely mounting cash flow and the prospect of your "anointing" at the Liberal Party Leadership Convention in March, 2013.
You bear both the benefits and the weight of your family name, and you have done it with honour, to you and to your family. Your position as an Member of Parliament is relatively secure, as would your position be in the Cabinet of whichever leader is elected. Your future is both bright and relatively long, in political terms.
Nevertheless, while the party is in deep and desperate straights, and needs all supporters pulling on both oars, if the boat is even going to get back into the mainstream of political life and history in Canada, and you can and undoubtedly will play an active, creative and integral role in any revival, the party desperately also needs to find someone of substance, of serious policy proposals that have been both researched and thought through, and who can capture the imagination of the Canadian electorate, especially at a time when Stephen Harper and his gang will have been in power for nearly eight years, by 2015.
In terms of the need to democratize the Liberal Party, to bring it fully out of the smoke-filled rooms of the "insiders" and give it back to the rank and file, your candidacy would not serve to enhance this initiative, not because you would not support such a move, but because, at this time, you would been seen as more "insider" and less as a voice and advocate for the ordinary people in and around the party.
Moving beyond the "coronation" modality, for selecting a leader, something everyone inside and outside the party agrees in essential, also is not served by your potential candidacy. You would be, inevitably, and through no specific fault of either commission or omission on your part, considered both the front-runner and the likely recipient of the "crown" of leadership, simply because of your pedigree.
A stint as a senior Cabinet Minister, in a portfolio in which you could demonstrate both your boundless vision and energy, and your capacity to bring others together in effective compromise especially if it were to be achieved under some political "pressure" or fire, would first harden your mettle, and second demonstrate to everyone your seasoning and your willingness to undergo such a seasoning process, and elevate your opportunities and your likelihood of both personal and party success, within the next decade.
Your judgement in selecting a candidate of your preference in this current race would be invaluable for many observers who seek your judgement and who seek to follow your lead in supporting a particular candidate. If M LeBlanc, for example, is your choice, then throw your considerable weight behind his candidacy, and let the chips fall where they may. If someone else emerges as your first choice, then your public endorsement would serve to demonstrate your good judgement and your growing heft within the party.
This piece is in no way intended to head off any ambition you may harbour for the leadership of the Liberal Party, merely to achieve your goal, if that is indeed your goal, in a time frame and a political climate more conducive to your success, in the long run.
More writing, more serious diplomatic travel, more engagements in foreign cities and towns, on behalf of struggling humanity who could and would benefit from your shining a spot light on their plight(s) would all serve both your career and the country generally. And, in the end, such a route would also support your grasping the "brass ring" when your readiness makes it more likely that you would have an even greater impact and legacy.