Marc Garneau's decision today to withdraw from the Liberal leadership race was not unexpected. If anything, the only surprise was that Garneau stayed in the race as long as he did. Perhaps he hoped for a last-minute shift in support, or that Liberals would wake up and see what he had to offer? If that was the case he was wasting his time.
In Contender: The Story of Justin Trudeau, Althia Raj portrays the MP for Papineau not as the faux-idiot, but rather as the underdog. All-in-all, Contender simply presents the reader with a man who's got drive and enthusiasm for rustling up a crowd, sort of like a popular DJ. And this is no fault of Raj, or her admiringly exhaustive research, but rather, the subject matter with which she is dealing.
Right now in Canada, we need to get real about the math. That is of course, if you're one of the more than 60 per cent that voted for anyone other than Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party in the last federal election. The political math makes it virtually impossible for any of the opposition parties to beat Harper in the next election.
Poor Marc Garneau. He wanted a one-on-one debate with Justin Trudeau and Trudeau turned him down. That was a smart move. While it's true many people would like to know where Trudeau stands on a variety of issues, there is no reason for him to get involved in a one-on-one debate. He has the most to lose with such a format.
C'mon, give Justin Trudeau a break. Sure, he's overrated, but overrated-ness cuts as hard as it coddles; pricks as much as it praises. As a result, J-Tru gets not only the gushy fawning of fans but also the exaggerated disdain of critics. Justin's bloodline is one asset in his arsenal, but he deserves to (and will) sink or swim on more than that. To tie his prime ministerial suitability to his surname exploitation, or to presume that all his strengths, handicaps, quirks, and annoyances flow from it, is to excuse a lack of deeper introspection from a party that could really use some.
It's no sin to be born into money. But it can be a burden, especially if you're a politician trying to establish a bond with middle class voters, as Liberal leadership frontrunner Justin Trudeau is -- and especially especially if you're counting on young voters. So, while Martha Hall Findlay's sucker-punch during Saturday's leadership debate was crude, it nonetheless represented a real blow the first in this contest, to Trudeau. And if Hall-Findlay's attack stung, wait till the Conservatives and NDP start to take their own jabs at Trudeau's silver spoon.
While many policy areas influence -- positively or negatively -- equality of opportunity, education is first among equals. The very idea of progress is under real threat in this country, for the first time in generations. The Canadian promise, that if you get educated and work hard, you can guarantee a better life for yourself and for your kids, is being seriously questioned. Canadians are rightly concerned that their leaders have lost focus on the policy that is at the heart of this promise: access to affordable, high quality education. In short, the core of Liberal economic policy should be to make Canada the best educated country on Earth. So what should the federal role look like?
There are clerks in the chamber and working with committees, is it so hard to take attendance? Would it be so difficult to have a simple web site that keeps track of a Member of Parliament's attendance, one that the public or media can check? Are we letting MPs have a free ride?
On the eve of my birthday I shook hands with someone who might be Prime Minister of Canada one day. But it's such an odd thing -- in the time it took ...
Repetitive softball questions do nothing to advance the public policy discourse Liberals say we need. At least these Liberals, at Saturday's interview in Winnipeg, appear to believe that weed, cheaper milk and eggs, rural farming, and a pipeline that will never see the light of day, are important enough to virtually monopolize two hours.
Left-wing fundamentalist ideology is oppressing the very groups they claim to champion. Their rhetoric is anathema to the needs of those they claim to represent. The ideologues on the left are the ones who need to take responsibility for the poor outcomes for the aboriginal peoples.
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.