Bonne Chance, Justin

All the best to new Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

For anyone who doesn't follow Canadian history Justin's father Pierre Trudeau
was the 15th Prime Minister, and the elder Trudeau was a very pivotal political figure for Canada. As much as he is respected and championed for adding The Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the Canadian Constitution, he is still vehemently hated in pockets across the western provinces related to distribution of oil wealth, and perceived favoritism towards eastern Canada. Not surprisingly, this is the first ghost of the past the Conservatives hope to resurrect to taint his son's reputation.
At the outset of his decision to run for Liberal Party leadership, Justin spoke out early regarding the anticipated attacks from the conservatives:

"I am quite confident that what I’ve heard from Canadians across this country about people being tired of negativity, of bullying, of cynicism means that the Conservatives are going to discover that the one thing they know how to do really well is no longer working for them."

True to his prediction it's hard to believe this ad can be produced and endorsed with a straight face by the Conservative party. The Harper Conservative public relations team isn't just known for bullying and negativity (see the scandal they roused about Jack Layton's time in a massage parlour 15 years ago, for which he wasn't even charged) they will use any red herring of information they think they can manage to spin into doubt.     

The soundbite in the ad about people from Quebec being "better" is weak at best, and really closer to pointless at this stage in his candidacy. Most Candians know all about provincial pride from British Columbia, Alberta to the Maritimes, and even if it's equally painful to listen to, they agree it's usually good natured rivalry. I don't think the majority of reasonable voters would allow a comment like that in a casual interview to entirely discount Mr. Trudeau's character.   This first round is only minor damage, but the new Liberal leader is up against a formidable opponent in Stephen Harper, whose greatest strength is often how unapologetically stealthy he can be.

Justin's worst crime can only be his age and inexperience, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still have the ability to push a minority Conservative government in the next election.   He may have learned volumes from his father, but it also seems that he is tapping into some of indomitable optimistic spiritthat Jack Layton used to connect so profoundly with the Canadian public and topple the Liberals into third party status.

It seems after so long under the fear-mongering, dour and awkward Harper government the electorate has become much more open to someone like Trudeau. Many are still rightly wary of nepotism yet a new party leader deserves room to prove himself. Besides, who can really hate the idea of a schoolteacher having a chance to become Prime Minister?

For more information, this article from CBC covers pretty much everything

*Thanks also Monsieur Robert DeGruchy, a brilliant cartoonist and rabid Habs fan.

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