Monday, November 26, 2012


Justin Trudeau has his father’s surname. He’s good looking. He’s fresh and public interest renders him charismatic. Since he announced his candidacy for leadership of the Liberal Party, he has looked like the front-runner and perhaps even a shoe-in winner. That is, until the airing recently of comments he made during a TV interview two years ago. The comments are divisive, fractious, not wise words for a national leader. But two years ago he was not yet an official candidate so he said what he wanted to say. His first quoted gaffe is, ““Canada is struggling right now because Albertans control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn’t work.” That was followed by Trudeau’s comment that the greatest prime ministers were MPs from Quebec and then this, “This country — Canada — it belongs to us.”
He apologized this past week with an explanation that the comments were extracted out of their context. An apology will not cut it for Westerners however, because he did not also say that they do not express his true feelings. Of course the Conservatives will use these words to attack his legitimacy. They should. If a Conservative from Western Canada said anything similar about an Eastern province he would be subject to the same criticisms. Ask Stephen Harper, who once made a pejorative remark about the Atlantic region. He worked for years to overcome his image as an Alberta boy who infamously looked at Atlantic Canada as having a “culture of defeat.” It takes time for the damage to be undone. Further, Trudeau’s campaign fired off a statement at his critics saying, “We need to get beyond the divisive politics of the Conservatives and include all Canadians.” There is a political oops. Canadians may want to see how well the Trudeau machine can handle a crisis, and it that statement is an indication, then smart voters may say, “we don’t want Canadian crises handled that way.” You cannot always blame someone else and survive.

Before Justin ever meets the public for a vote, he must first win the Liberal leadership race at the Liberal Convention in April 2013, and as of today there are numerous other possible leaders, Marc Garneau, David Bertchi, Alex Burton, Deborah Coyne, Martha Hall Findlay, Karen McCrimmon, David Merner, Jonathan Mousley, René Roy, and Justin Trudeau, three of whom have been officially declared: Trudeau, Coyne and McCrimmon. Former Astronaut Marc Garneau may announce on Wednesday. 

I don't have space for another Trudeau in my Canadian PM's office, not now, not yet.

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