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A Troubling 2013 for Justin Trudeau's Liberals

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Parliament has risen for its Christmas break and won't sit again until January 27, 2014. In true Christmas spirit, it's a time for reflection on the good and bad of 2013, and how that record may be updated in 2014.

Unfortunately, the record for Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party has been overwhelmingly negative, leaving significant room for improvement in 2014.

Since being anointed -- er, elected -- Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Trudeau has been entirely devoid of any policy ideas.

Within the first week of being elected, controversy surrounded Trudeau. He tried rationalizing the Boston Marathon bombings by blaming society for the terrorists' actions. Then he complained about the temporary foreign worker program, only to be instantly revealed as a hypocrite who petitioned in favour of foreign workers in his riding.

In a video uploaded in 2010, infamous drug user Marc Emery claimed he smoked marijuana with Trudeau. Trudeau confirmed he had smoked marijuana, and one of Trudeau's first (and only) policy declarations has been that he favours of the legalization of marijuana. This, of course, only after Trudeau voted with the Conservative government to increase punishments for drug crimes. Hypocrisy count: two.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much where Trudeau's policy record ends. In fact, Trudeau has been completely unable to define the Liberal Party or Trudeau brand under his leadership.

Trudeau has failed to distance his Liberal Party from former Liberal cabinet minister Joe Fontana, who is being criminally charged for using taxpayers' money on his son's wedding.

Trudeau supported Liberal Senator Mac Harb, the only Senator to-date to resign from the Senate after he repaid $231,000 in ineligible Senate expenses. Up until Harb resigned, Trudeau was adamant he would "welcome him back into caucus."

Trudeau promised accountability and transparency of his MPs and Senators by proactively disclosing their expenses and posting them online. Unfortunately, that service is already available through the Parliament of Canada website. MPs such as David McGuinty have yet to post anything -- meaning either McGuinty runs his office for free (in which case, we taxpayers thank you!) or he's refusing to follow his boss' orders. The latter seems more likely.

Somehow, Trudeau's focus on transparency somehow missed the fact that he was charging enormous speaking fees -- up to $20,000 a pop -- to speak at private events. While he was a sitting MP, Trudeau could have collected over $288,000 in speaking fees, or more than three Wright-Duffy deals.

In the weeks preceding the Labour Day long weekend, Trudeau's communications staff let this gem slip, claiming that religious people were less intelligent than atheists. Trudeau has still not held his staff accountable, nor has he been held publicly accountable.

By August, even Trudeau's media friends were getting antsy, craving something, anything of substance. Trudeau said they would have to wait until 2015 before he revealed his ideas. Oh, but convicted terrorist Omar Khadr should be compensated for the inconvenience of being jailed for his crimes.

Maybe when Parliament returned in October Trudeau's team could rebuild. Wrong.

Instead, he hosted a patronizing women-only event, charging them $200 each to "get to really know" Trudeau by asking women about their "favourite virtues." At that event, he extolled his love of Chinese dictatorship as the preferred method to get things done quickly. Seriously.

Also in November, it was revealed that Trudeau was either kept out of the loop or purposely stalled a sexual harassment complaint by a Liberal staffer against a Liberal Senator.

Sure, in four byelections held the Liberals held the two ridings in Toronto and Montreal they had already held. But maintaining the status quo is hardly indicative of Trudeau's positive effect as leader.

And finally, as Parliament was about to rise for this season's Christmas break, Trudeau attempted to justify his part-time two-days-a-week attendance record. And a few days after that, long-time friend of Jean Chretien and former Liberal Party Vice President Jacques Corriveau was charged with fraud.

On second thought, in Trudeau's first eight months as Liberal leader, he has said a lot. He just hasn't said the right things to make him worthy of leading this country.

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