As most of us were busy with family and friends over the Christmas break, one Federal Liberal leadership hopeful was occupied with strategically advancing his lead over the rest. Perhaps most surprising was the fact that it was the perceived front runner, Justin Trudeau.
Well, I mocked and I teased but in the end, I couldn't resist. Year-end retrospectives might be trite, but dagnabbit, they're also a lot of fun. So here's my picks for the "Top Five Media Bites Moments of 2012", also known as the "Top Five Times the Canadian Press Was Inadvertently More Interesting Than the Stories They Were Trying to Cover."
The Harper Conservatives' lack of consultation with First Nations represents a dangerous narrow-mindedness. The same goes for the government's neglect of environmental protection. It is time to idle no more. It is time to speak out, for First Nations, and for Canadians as a whole.
For me, the final days of 2012 were a sneak peak at an exciting new professional beginning: taking the helm as managing editor for blogs at HuffPost Canada. There's a frenetic and lively conversation going on here, and I look forward to both helping steward it and diving headlong into it myself. This is what has impressed me most so far: HuffPost bloggers do not all sing from the same song sheet. While one calls out the NRA, another insists that guns aren't the root of our violence problem. That diversity of opinion is a large part of what drew me here, and I suspect it's part of what draws you too.
I am here today because I believe in freedom of expression. I am here today because I believe in freedom of peaceful assembly. I am here today because I believe in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees those sacred things to you, to me, and to all people with whom we share this land. But mostly, I am here today because I believe in you.
When questioned upon the divide between the progressive conservative values from his time in office to the conservative values of today, I heard the "has become more right-of-centre" one too many times, paired with his opinion that the party has maintained similar ideologies, thought processes and policies.
Since the 1990s it has become less about who one's grandparents voted for and more about ideas and principles, what a party stands for, as a clearer left-right spectrum has emerged. Liberals can be the party that is not afraid to push the limits of political debate with bold ideas. It is a new political terrain for the party, one that will necessitate a greater need to define what exactly "Liberalism" is.
In a constitutional monarchy like ours, royalty matters, which means every little random thing royalty does matters, too. Thus, in the aftermath of Monday's big announcement of Kate's impending baby bump, all of Canada's major papes quickly churned out lead editorials. And lots of Kate pics. For purely constitutional reasons, of course.
After spending his years in Parliament defending the long-gun registry, and voting to keep the registry, Justin Trudeau decided he would call the long-gun registry a failure. With the Liberals in desperate need of resuscitation, appealing to rural voters in this manner does not exactly lend credence to the theory that the man is all hair and no brain. A dynamic, young politician who likes his guns as much as he likes his lattés? Perhaps the Conservatives should be worried.
And now, like the nation of bored teenage babysitters we are, it's time to check in on the Liberal leadership race -- if only to make sure no one's swallowed the scissors. At the National Post, Andrew Coyne also thinks there's much Liberal hay to be made with an aggressively pro-democratic agenda. But in his world, this involves championing the mummified issue that no one ever gets tired of hearing about -- electoral reform.
It is hard to believe, but back on this day in 2005, we were all involved in an election that was forced on November 28th when the Martin government lost a confidence vote. Part of what made that election possible was the success the then opposition Conservatives had in Question Period. Today, the best you can say about Question Period is that it is pathetic and a great opportunity to take a nap.
The point Justin Trudeau, and largely the rest of Canada, has missed is the role British Columbia will play moving forward in Canada. If it's not obvious, it should be by now. With Vancouver MP Joyce Murray announcing her run for leader of the Liberal Party today, it's slowly setting the pace to which B.C. politicians will begin to take a more active role in shaping the country's policy.
The "Justin Trudeau story" is of course the recent Sun News revelation that everyone's favourite pretender to the Liberal tiara had some rather disparaging things to say about Albertans back back in 2010. 'Course, in the end, regardless of your allegiances, the question is how little thinking a future prime minister deserves to get away with.
Why do political handlers confuse contrarianism with "substance"? The Justin Trudeau campaign, keen to put to bed allegations of its candidate being a lightweight, just put out an opinion piece embracing the takeover of Nexen by China's state owned CNOOC. Unexpected, eh? It must therefore be substantive. Who knows, a real debate about Canada with real options beyond the current narrow bandwidth may open up and engage Canadians in politics again. Goodness knows that what's currently on offer isn't exactly inspiring.
Avid news junkies know there's really five other folks "running," but c'mon folks, this is the leadership of the Liberal Party you're running for, a job only the most eminently experienced children of dead prime ministers are qualified to fill. In reality, of course, Wednesday was a date like any other for a nation that's already been toiling under the weight of a Liberal leadership tournament ever since Bob Rae stepped down last June, or at latest since that crisp October evening when Justin Trudeau threw his shimmering locks into the ring.
I am not an MP, and I do not come from the Ottawa bubble, and I do not believe that Canadians think the job criteria for a politician is being a politician. I want to bring a fresh and new approach to politics, one that is welcoming, inclusive, and values each individual for their contribution. I have recently driven across the country, not flown over it as many politicians tend to do. I have stopped in smaller towns and cities and talked to folks, and actually listened to them. When you do that, you hear what it is that actually concerns Canadians, and it also gives me a chance to share my vision of Canada with them.