Late yesterday, the rumour mill revealed that the son of Canada's influential Prime Minister was quietly drawing the guidelines of his bid to lead the Liberal Party of Canada, and perhaps to lead Canada back to the values of equality, integrity, multiculturalism and federal unity that his famous father stood for so many moons ago.
Is the name "Trudeau" poisonous in Alberta and other parts of the country? No. While campaigning during the provincial election a few months ago roughly 1/100 of people I knocked on the door of had an anti-Liberal perspective, and it was directly linked to the NEP and Trudeau. Outside of this fringe minority most didn't care -- or, like myself, were born more than a decade after the NEP -- and many are simply indifferent to the Liberal brand in Alberta.
A poll by the Canadian polling company Environic and co-sponsored by the CBC found 15 per cent of Canadians would have given up their ballot in Canada's '08 federal election to vote in the U.S. election. I get it. I'm so uninspired by our Canadian political leaders it's not even funny.
The real question pundits should be asking is: Should the Liberals merge with the New Democrats? For his part, Justin Trudeau concedes that, if his party does not "shine" by the 2015 election, a merger may indeed be the only way to evict Stephen Harper from 24 Sussex Drive. A recent poll asked Liberals if they like the idea of a merger, a staggering 64 per cent said yes. This poll also found that 56 per cent of Canadians see the Liberals as a spent force. Doesn't seem so crazy now, does it?
Once we acknowledge that virtually all of us agree that the oil sands are vital to Canada, we recognize the absurdity of claims that this is in any way a nationally divisive issue. Even Justin Trudeau, the man poised to be the next Liberal leader, knows that developing the oil sands is the only choice for Canadians.
My vision for Canada's future is one that appeals to our higher aspirations and hopes for the future, rather than to our fears, distrust, and resentment. In running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, I want to appeal to all those Canadians who are uncertain where they fit into Canadian politics, but want to talk about the kind of nation we are building, and what it is that makes us Canadian.
The talk about Justin Trudeau taking the Liberal leadership always comes down to the same points: It's not his time, he's too young, his last name is poison in parts of the country, he hasn't run a successful business, he hasn't accomplished anything noteworthy. If any of these arguments sound familiar, it's because they were the same things said about senator Obama back in 2008. Can Trudeau, like Obama, incite some excitement into Canadian politics?
Deborah Coyne is running for the leadership of the (once) mighty Liberals. The media has been less than supportive, describing her as the illegitimate child of Pierre Trudeau. This is doing little to convince her opponents that her resume reads differently than that of a debutante. Would the same sentiment hold if the candidate was man?
The polls have spoken -- Stephen Harper is unpopular, and will surely be replaced in no time. But by whom? Thankfully the pundit brigade have lots of fun ideas -- Spoiler Alert: Probably Mulcair. That is, if the Tories' new attack ads against him don't get in the way. Although these televised attacks are a little lacklustre compared to the Conservatives' greatest hits.
You'd have thought Maclean's would have blazoned the death of Section 13 all over its front cover. With a massive headline along the lines of "SCREW YOU, CENSORS!!!" Or "WE WON!!!" Instead, the cover featured a generic picture of an innocuous youngish woman and an innocuous youngish man grinning maniacally and the silly headline: "The majority of us are singles. So why do we still live in a couples world?"
When he took the interim job, Bob Rae pledged that he wouldn't run. So who's likely to be chosen liberal leader? It's a sorry field when Justin Trudeau seems the choice of many -- a callow fellow who many claim has charisma -- as if that's a substitute for wisdom and judgment. In fact, looking over the field of Liberal hopefuls, the only one with apparent substance of leadership is... Bob Rae.
Will he or won't he? Critics agree Justin Trudeau's decisive positions on looking dreamy and punching people obviously make him an ideal leader to spice up the stagnant third-place party everyone's grown sick of writing about. In Meta-media news, Ezra Levant has been reprimanded for using what's been described as a slur (but not by him) on TV.
Bob Rae's decision not to seek the position of permanent leader of the Liberal Party was a dignified one. But now the way forward for the Liberal Party is to rebuild in the best possible way. It's time to end the old boys' club mentality. Liberals are given an opportunity to show this to Canada by breaking down barriers for women in politics.
In what must have been a very difficult decision, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has decided not to throw his hat into the ring as the party approaches its 2013 leadership convention. His decision not to seek the leadership of the Liberal Party has increased the chances that the party will be able to reinvent itself and focus on what counts: A classy move by a classy guy.
It doesn't come as a complete surprise that Bob Rae has decided not to run for the Liberal Party leadership. Every politician has his "best before date" and Rae must have realized that his best years and his best opportunity to lead the Liberal Party back to government have come and gone. Rae's stepping aside will leave open the opportunity for generational change in the party.
Another week, another "will he or won't he" media look at Bob Rae and the Liberal Party. It has yet to sink in to for some Liberals that the leadership is a poisoned chalice and the "brand" is profoundly damaged and must be substantively redefined.