President Obama's liberal warrior call happens at the same time as the Liberal Party of Canada seeks not only a new leader, but also to reclaim its place as the alternative to the hard right government of Stephen Harper that has more in common with the hard right of the Republican Party than the Progressive Conservative Party of Diefenbaker, Joe Clark and Mulroney.
Some suggest that Trudeau's "celebrity" is somehow a disadvantage. Yet, that is an incredible asset that most political parties would kill for. His critics demonstrate a triteness and unbecoming envy. The pertinent question is what Trudeau has done with his celebrity. He could have done anything. The alternatives would have been considerably more lucrative, nowhere near as grueling, and wouldn't have subjected him and his family to a constant barrage of scrutiny, ridicule and attack. Instead, he has chosen public and national service every time. It has become his vocation.
No matter how good or bad the Conservatives have been, and regardless of who becomes Liberal leader, the odds are very much in favour of the Liberal Party in 2015.
As the Ontario policy chair for the 1984 John Turner leadership campaign, I discovered how marginalized policy ideas were from the political process.Turner held his own during the first televised debate, but many believe that the knockout blow came in the second debate, when he told Mulroney that he had "no option" but to approve the patronage appointments Pierre had left him during the transition. Pointing a finger at Turner, Mulroney forcefully pounced. "You had an option, sir," Mulroney said. "You could have said, 'I'm not going to do it, this is wrong for Canada, and I'm not going to ask Canadians to pay the price'. . ." A clearly rattled Turner simply repeated, "I had no option."
In the space of a few years, the world's perception of Canada has changed dramatically. Under the Harper Conservatives, this country has become a climate change pariah and lost its reputation as a peace-keeper and honest broker. We need to return to an international role that emphasizes humanitarianism.
Justin Trudeau is a leadership hopeful who can't figure out what he wants to stand for. Gun registry? Yes and No. Support Quebec separatists? Yes and No. Albertans good people? Yes and No. Doesn't the Liberal Party deserve better? Shouldn't the race be more than baton-twirling and swimsuit competitions?
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.