When Justin Trudeau said last week that he had a "level of admiration" for China's "basic dictatorship," the understandable knee-jerk reaction from some politicians and pundits was to kick the federal Liberal leader. But while that gaffe was reprehensible, it was hardly incomprehensible and perhaps entirely understandable given the structure of our own political system, the parties within it and how some Canadians feel about dictatorships.
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.
We, as the electorate, have a certain level of expectations for children at school: don't be rude, respect each other and your teachers and complete your work to the best of your ability. I certainly don't think that it's too much then to ask the same of our MPs and our government. We cannot continue to remain silent as our elected "adults" act like children while they represent us, as Elizabeth May did recently.
People who live 4,500k from the Toronto-Danforth riding read in the Vancouver Sun just last month that the Liberals were in a position to win; they'll now be reading about a "lacklustre, no name, uninspiring dud" candidate who blew the Liberals right out of the water. Imagine what that does for confidence in the Liberal brand.
For the first time since Confederation, the once mighty Liberal Party of Canada was neither the government or official opposition. Layton became the first New Democrat to be sworn in as Her Majesty's Official Leader of the Opposition, another historic moment brought to us by May 2nd's election.