I'll leave it to others to sort through the constitutional implications of what Justin Trudeau did this week. But I want to comment on what Justin's move did for his "brand", because that's my expertise. Trudeau's naysayers attack him as vacuous. He's a nice guy -- but where's the beef? Well, Trudeau just showed substance and leadership.
Justin Trudeau thinks Canada's Senate has become irreparably corrupted through "extreme patronage and partisanship," and is trying to set a good example by opting-out of at least half of that equation. It's an exceedingly open question if Canadians even want the sort of reformed, "effective" Senate Trudeau's promising amid such great fanfare. The closer you look at the whole plan, in fact, the closer Trudeau's fix begins to resemble the classic solution in search of a problem.
Justin Trudeau probably shocked his Senate caucus colleagues more than the voting public today when he announced he was removing Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus, thereby limiting the caucus to elected members of parliament. Eventually the dust will settle and the real reason for this move will become evident, but for now Trudeau is in the limelight and he will have the Conservatives scrambling and perhaps the NDP as well. The truth is no one including Trudeau knows and we will only find that out down the road and closer to the next election.
The Tories can't even mention Justin Trudeau and his plan to legalize pot without resorting to a plea to 'think of the children!' They'll tell you pot can fry a developing brain, spoil an academic career or even turn your son or daughter into an addict. But prohibition isn't keeping pot away from teens. It is ruining young lives across the continent. As it so often with misguided legislation, it's the disadvantaged who suffer most.
Canada's short-term economic prospects are good, but the outlook, both medium and long-term, is another story. That's because Canada's biggest competitive disadvantage are its politicians. Most function like trust fund brats, lacking the mindset or skills to steward or protect the national endowment. Here's my political wish list for 2014
The Canadian press has been offering no shortage of year-in-review columns as of late. What's my pick for top story of 2013, you ask? I don't know if I have a headline per se, but I do have a theme: the decline of Brand Canada. If there's one thing Justin Trudeau, Rob Ford, and the Senate scandal have in common, after all, it's that they all prove, in different ways, that Canada is not nearly as serious, respectable, and mature of a country as we often like to believe.
Trudeau has been completely unable to define the Liberal Party or Trudeau brand under his leadership. 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.
2013 is almost done. Canadians and their political leaders will hopefully find the time to enjoy their families. Maybe they will return in a better frame of mind in the New Year, but then again do we really think that is possible?
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.
Though Chong's clear intent with this bill is to give more power to the MPs and reduce the power of the Prime Minister and other other party leaders, I believe that possible consequences of this bill are that certain MPs may gain the power to reopen the abortion debate with the goal of criminalizing abortion.
The Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (Reforms), already dubbed "The Reform Act," was only introduced in the Hous...
There has been much discussion this week about Michael Chong's Private Members Bill to reform some of the aspects of how our parties act and control MPs. Whether one agrees with all the details found in his bill, one thing is certain; it can't make things any worse than they already are on the Hill.
The political reality of Canadian federal elections is that Canadian voters are voting for the leader of the party, his policies, his character, and his ability to govern and implement his policies. In the last three federal elections, the voters chose Harper over Dion and Ignatieff.
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.
There's something about Justin Trudeau with his sideways smiles, V-necks and ladies' night that reminds me of smarmy men from my past. That connection is hard to break, even though as a friend recently pointed out, he's probably the politician who best reflects my views. As with our personal relationships, we are often blind to our favourite politicians' faults. We defend them when others bring up their shortcomings -- "You don't know the real Barack!" -- rather than accept the facts. That's why it stung so much when I recently read a piece in the Globe and Mail titled "From messiah to lame duck: How Barack Obama fell to earth."
So apparently Justin Trudeau fancies himself the next Jack Layton. How adorable. On Monday night he told a crowd of supporters "make no mistake, the NDP is no longer the hopeful, optimistic party of Jack Layton... it is the Liberal party tonight that proved hope is stronger than fear...." When Jack spoke of "hope" and "optimism," he was envisioning a leadership rooted in substance. Jack was hopeful that policies could be embraced based on principle, not on what the latest poll told you to believe. A word of caution to Justin Trudeau: I knew Jack Layton. Jack Layton was a friend of mine. And you sir, are no Jack Layton.