|The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, who, in a shocking twist for this series, is not looking up and to the right. Source.|
The final installment of the "Election 2015" series will be on Justin Trudeau, because I honestly do not believe that Elizabeth May will be our next Prime Minister. I will not be talking about his father and legendary Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, because it is irrelevant to this conversation. The man is not his father. Shocking, I know.
First and foremost, I would like to publicly declare that I was disappointed when Trudeau won the Liberal leadership race. I understand the decision for reasons I will outline later but Marc Garneau:
1) Had more political experience and is arguably more ready to be the leader of a country, and more importantly
2) IS AN ACTUAL, REAL-LIFE ASTRONAUT, AND WE COULD HAVE HAD AN ASTRONAUT PRIME MINISTER!
My impressions of Trudeau are largely limited, perhaps by design, and possibly because he really hasn't been on the scene in an official capacity for that long. His reign as head of the Liberal Party of Canada, in its smallest incarnation in the history of the party, has been even shorter. That said, there are a couple things worth noting.
First off, I started by saying that our impressions may be limited by design. Since the Grits rehauled their image after what I will call the "death spiral" under Ignatieff, Dion, and Martin, the Party hasn't really come out with many policy stances. Although, somewhat hilariously, this rehaul included the stance that the next Liberal leader would seek to have marijuana legalized. This was boldly stated on the website, I remember checking because I couldn't believe a party would actually do such a thing. They have now somewhat backpedaled and declared themselves "Smart on Cannabis." But, as always, I digress. It could be that they are holding back on policy so that the other two [much stronger] parties won't steal policy ideas pre-election and claim them under their own platform. It has happened before, and it would be clever to wait to hear from the opposition before carving one's own path. If the Grits actually have ideas. Which we don't know for sure.
However, when Justin makes a decision, by God is it as sudden as it is swift and decisive. One day in 2014, seemingly out of the blue, Trudeau announces that those people seeking to run as Liberal nominees must not oppose abortion and "a woman's right to choose." In a similar event, after the Senate expense scandal, he suddenly announced that "there are no Liberal senators," and that they would no longer have any official affiliation with the Grits. It's almost Harperian in that nobody really seemed to be thinking or talking about the issue at hand, and then sweeping, decisive declarations were made. If anything is for certain, he isn't being accused of waffling. Unless he has to go back on the senator affiliations, which he may have to for political leverage in the future. But that's for the future.
And now, to break up a large block of text, this happened:
I've heard ample criticism of Trudeau in my social circles. From speculation that he will make the West subservient to the East (because I live in Alberta now, I hear these things), to speculation that almost everything he has said to this point is blatant pandering to students. I don't agree with these points, frankly. However, I am concerned that he acts impulsively. I have previously argued that, while he made the right decision in the suspension of his MPs which were accused of sexual harassment, he acted much too quickly. There's this thing we have called "presumption of innocence," and unless he had very compelling evidence, his actions should have been much more limited.
Finally, Trudeau plays the game well. The Tory attack-ad machine successfully destroyed three Grit leaders with taglines such as "The Liberal Party is not corrupt" [pictured: hard-working Canadians shaking their heads in disbelief], "Stephane Dion is not a leader," and Ignatieff's "He didn't come back for you." The machine started up for Trudeau, with an ad saying "He's in way over his head." Trudeau responded by first showing the attack ad, turning to the camera, and saying that this was ridiculous and Canadians deserved better. The attack ad machine, which has been operating successfully for almost a decade was halted, and hasn't shown up since. It'll be interesting to see how this goes.
One could argue that Trudeau may yet prove to be either a young gun or loose cannon. I, however, have more pressing issues to address. Trudeau has been seen sporting long curly locks and facial hair. Then he comes on the political scene talking about evidence-based practices. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT TO STEAL FROM ME, JUSTIN!? DO YOU WANT TO MAKE UNIVERSAL PUBLIC TRANSIT A POLICY, TOO!?
Justin Trudeau: Avid Reader of Vodka and Equations, Thief.
Shortly after Trudeau was named leader of the Grits, I was having breakfast with my cousin in the sunny window of Belleville's Cozy Grill. I said that although we had missed out on an Astronaut Prime Minister (or is that PM Astronaut?), Trudeau was exactly what the Grits needed to crawl out of third party status. They didn't and, I'd argue, don't need an intellectual heavyweight or an experienced diplomat. They need a young, charismatic leader to stir up excitement. He may yet prove to be the heavyweight or the diplomat, but for now he is someone to draw people back to the Grits.
It is for that reason that I think Trudeau will win a minority. If he doesn't, I imagine Harper will be held to a minority.
Other posts in this series:
Harper, the Proroguer
Mulcair, the Reasonable One
P.S. Four hours and 2440 words later. Apparently I had things to say about the leaders!