Justin Trudeau began his speech at Concordia University on Feb. 6 decrying "the tremendous source of cynicism" that is present in politics these days, "...the frustration, the division, the anger..."
Perhaps Mr. Trudeau should listen to his own speech and learn from his own words.
On Jan. 29, the Liberal leader decided to dismiss his entire Liberal Senate Caucus, in a move Liberals everywhere labeled "bold", and "pro-active, practical and smart leadership that gives results", also tweeting: "We saw more leadership on #SenateReform from @JustinTrudeau today than from Harper in 8 yrs!". Liberals patted themselves on the back and received a small bump in the polls. And yet, he was practising the same form of cynical politics he would condemn only a week later in his speeches at McGill, UdeM and Concordia.
Case in point: now that the former Liberal Senate Caucus is no longer representing the Liberal Party in the Senate, the party no longer needs to post the Senators' travel expenses on their website. In a way, this is an attempt at washing their hands clean of any sort of future negative press or scandal over senate travel expenses. Even well-known Liberal Party partisan and former Chrétien staffer, Warren Kinsella, wrote an article about how Trudeau's move "is the stupidest thing, ever" in which the first line of the article is "It won't really fool anyone."
In a post-budget interview with CPAC this past week that exposed his amateurism, Trudeau said "the commitment needs to be a commitment to grow the economy and the budget will balance itself". If only it was that easy. Perhaps Mr. Trudeau should consult with Paul Martin to find out how budgets don't just magically balance themselves.
It is also little wonder why Ralph Goodale is the one who now does most of the talking in Question Period, while Trudeau is off somewhere else, continuing to worsen his attendance record in the House. The Liberal Party should remember the words of Jack Layton during the 2011 election debates, where he pointed out how Michael Ignatieff missed 70 per cent of the votes, and that those "who don't show up for work, don't get a promotion."
It shouldn't be any wonder why Trudeau is rarely in the House of Commons though. Those who have had the misfortune of witnessing Trudeau speak from the House know how cringe-worthy it is to watch. Trudeau has the unfortunate weakness of seeming incredibly insincere, as well as sounding as if he has continuously just memorized a script. One would think being a former drama teacher would have fixed that problem.
Liberal Concordia responded to my column last week about Trudeau's Concordia visit, basically reinforcing my argument that Trudeau is all for show and has no substance. They actually wrote that "Trudeaumania is the prime example of a Canadian political cult of personality." Apparently someone forgot to inform the Liberals that "Trudeaumania" is no more -- and with 33 per cent in the latest Ipsos Reid poll, it's hardly something that should be celebrated. I suppose it's better than the 20 per cent support the Liberals were hovering around before Trudeau took the reins of the Party, though. So congrats, I guess.
The Liberal Concordia article also goes on to say how "populists who can speak to the masses, perhaps a bit vaguely, have characterized much of Canadian political landscape for the 20th century", thereby admitting how ambiguous Trudeau is in his public discourses. The article also gives the example how Mackenzie King did not have particularly strong public-speaking skills and yet, still managed to become Canada's longest-serving prime minister. Probably not the best example to give, as I'm sure if today's mass media had been around back then, and practised the same level of scrutiny they do today, they would have picked up on King's peculiarities -- such as communicating with his dead mother and the deceased Sir Wilfrid Laurier in private. Not to mention King's bizarre obsession with Hitler, as well his blatant anti-Semitism.
The article also seems to suggest that I have a problem with Trudeau using his looks for political gain. Not at all. What I do have a problem with is not what's on the outside but rather what's missing inside. If Trudeau had something to complement his apparent good-looks, maybe he wouldn't constantly be criticized for being an empty shell.
If Trudeau doesn't have the ability to speak on cue without sounding amateurish, he will become a walking, talking attack ad against himself, and the gift that keeps on giving to both the Conservatives and the NDP.
This article was originally published in the Prince Arthur Herald
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