Canadians do not want to be ruled by rich snobs. Such was the conclusion of a big survey commissioned by the Tory government last summer, but only revealed last week. The results exposed a Canadian public deeply critical of what they perceive to be an out-of-touch Ottawa elite comprised of "rich politicians" feathering their nests with perks and privileges "while taxpayers personally struggled to make a decent living." Unfortunately for the Liberals, Canada's got an awful lot more suburbanites than bigshots, and the polls suggest the two tribes aren't exactly on good terms.
There are a few conclusions you could draw from the recent revelation that Justin Trudeau has the worst Question Period attendance record of any federal party leader. We're supposed to either swoon with refreshed delight that he doesn't take the Ottawa rat race as seriously as it takes itself, or furrow our brows in anger that he's not taking it nearly seriously enough. I would imagine most of us can find speckles of truth in both perspectives.
Anyone who actually analyzes the dramatic uptick in Liberal fortunes, both in the polls and in voters in the recent byelections might conclude that there is in fact an ongoing, well thought out incremental strategy which may well position Justin Trudeau as a real threat to Harper in the next federal election.
What do you do when your opponent has the potential to challenge you in some hard-won ridings, possibly putting your majority at risk? That's the question Prime Minister Harper and his advisers are grappling with. Like it or not, the emergence of Justin Trudeau and his staying power has changed the political dynamics in Ottawa.
The outlines of the Justin Trudeau Liberal election strategy are now appearing. Purposeful or not (and I think it is), he is getting Canadians to first look, then think, and finally accept him and, by extension, his party as the natural voting alternative to Mr. Harper. Voters do not all wait till election day to make up their minds.
One can certainly understand why Trudeau and his supporters might prefer a coronation to a true leadership contest. Leadership races can be brutal and very costly in time, effort and money. With a coronation Trudeau will have the added bonus of not having to present a lot of policy options Everyone likes to win, but Trudeau should welcome a tough leadership race and that is what his talk points should be saying. Should he win such a political challenge, then he will have put to rest the whispers that he is a policy light weight, or just a pretty face or just living on his father's name.