Saturday, March 16, 2013

Justin Trudeau the Justin Bieber of Canadian Politics

Writing in the National Post, Rex Murphy, pictures the current Liberal leadership race as Trudeau (Justin) vs. Trudeau (Trudeau's Twitter account) Murphy can not remember nor has he (or any of the rest of  us) ever experienced a situation in which a political leader has asked for an extension of the voting time in order to increase an already substantial and undefeatable lead over his opponents.
Marc Garneau, he of astronaut fame, meekly desirous of a position of prominence in the Liberal Party led by M. Trudeau, has withdraw, and quickly morphed his singular attacks "the liberal party leadership is not about public relations but about policy and gravitas" (or words to that effect) when he was a candidate into a ringing endorsement for the likely winner.
It has been said by too many people, in too many places, over the last two or three years, that the last thing the Liberal party needs is a coronation.
And yet, in spite of echoes of that cadence ringing in the ears of both leadership candidates and party faithful, a coronation is about to creep out of the convention later this Spring.
And to think that the Trudeau "seduction" of "generating enthusiasm for politics" so that the "grassroots can contribute to policy development" has so enthralled the old-timers and the new "associates" elegible to vote, his father must be rolling over in his grave.
He has barely uttered a single word that would stand the scrutiny of even the most glib of policy analysts throughout his rock-star-tour of a campaign for the leadership. Justin Trudeau is the Justin Bieber of federal politics...a face, with a minimalist tune, a few managers who hope to get rich from his "fame/infamy" without having to declare an ounce of credibility, gravitas or authenticy and a promising career in spite of his failure/refusal to make a substantial contribution.
I would no more vote for the Liberal candidate who might serve under Trudeau's leadership than I would pay $1 for a ticket to the front row of a Justin Bieber sold-out concert. And to have to reconcile that with the facts that I endorsed the outstanding Liberal candidate in my riding in the last federal election, as well as the facts that I voted Liberal for all of the years of his father's leadership, licked stamps as a minimalist part of that leadership campaign in 1968 happily and honourably, and also that I took my young children to rallies where they might catch a glimpse of the Trudeau magic and the icy blue eyes.
My own political perspective may have changed a little, but not that much. I remained open to the Liberal Party's potential until the rejection of Sheila Copps as party President. When that occurred, I could see neither a future for the party nor a future for my association with whatever is left of the party.
Who cares about M. Trudeau's hair design?
Who cares about M. Trudeau's bank account and in inheritance?
Who cares about M. Trudeau's friendship with M. Leblanc, and the friendship of their fathers, Romeo and Pierre respectively?
The Canadian political process, unlike that of the southern neighbour, is not based on vacuity, on headlines and on charismatic leaders.
Obama does, indeed, have charisma, AND he also has substance, gravitas, vision and spine. He has been saying the same policy proposals since he entered the political arena. Everyone knows what he represents, what he stands for, what he stands against, and if one is a little uncertain, one has only to read one of his books, for instant clarification.
When did M. Trudeau last write a book? By contrast, his father had been writing in Cite Libre for decades, fighting for workers in the asbestos stike fight against Duplessis, teaching Constitutional Law, and served as this country's Minister of Justice in the Pearson Cabinet. What, by comparison, has Justin given the world lately, other than a bar-room boxing match with a Conservative Senator?
The Liberal Party, in electing M. Trudeau, will hopefully seal its own coffin, in the larger national hope that it will finally listen to those clarion voices that decried then and still decry the advisability of a coronation.
Either Joyce Murray or Martha Hall Findlay would prove to be a far more capable, in-depth, visionary, courageous and proven leader than the fly-weight M. Trudeau.
We do not want, and certainly do not need Peter Pan as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

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