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The Liberals Deserve Better Than Justin

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?

If Justin Bieber were a nobody and you'd met him in the street or at a bar, you might be inclined, provided he's your type, to ask him, "Wanna hang out sometime?", or, more awkwardly, "For you, I'd change the alphabet and put U and I next to each other." (Yeah, good luck with that.)

But Justin Bieber isn't a nobody. Girls, and some guys, scream and literally faint if they get within a few feet of their idol. This has nothing to do with his looks, but with the persona his fans have created of him because of his music and performance.

Whether you like him or not, Bieber has accomplished something, other than sporting the first name Justin and being his father's son.

On the other hand, Canada's other Justin, last name Trudeau, seems to think that his name and looks are enough. Unless he himself had a hand in his conception and birth, being his father's son is no great accomplishment. His looks, well, are a product of said conception and birth, and again not Justin's doing.

Yet so convinced is Justin of his birth right to become Liberal leader and, perhaps, prime minister, that he apparently deems working out a platform and policies as beneath him. I suppose such inconvenient grunt work is best left to the other leadership contenders and, generally, lesser beings.

Here's a question, then: How can Canadians (and since all Canadians are now eligible to elect the leader of the Liberal Party, it is only fair to ask this) be expected to arrive at an informed decision after several rounds of leadership debates if one candidate (particularly the "Chosen One") answers all questions from the media and other candidates by saying the equivalent of, "I don't know, but isn't my hair great?"

Stephen Harper has never been a very charismatic individual. But, whether you agree or disagree with him, he's an ideas man and a strategist. Probably the biggest factor in the Conservatives winning the 2006 election was Harper's clear and succinct roadmap to a handful of things he'd do if elected.

With such a checklist in hand, voters were able to get a good picture of what a Harper government might look like, and, above all, the program was easy to understand. (Note that this doesn't mean that Harper has been very good at implementing some of those ideas, but that's an entirely different story.)

Now fast forward again to the present day. Here we have a leadership hopeful who can't figure out what he wants to stand for (gun registry yes/no, support Quebec separatists yes/no, Albertans, good people yes/no, etc.).

Doesn't the Liberal Party deserve better? As the third-ranked party in the House of Commons, shouldn't the party do everything in its power to reconnect not only with Canadians but also with the many Liberal voters who have abandoned the party since 2005?

The answer to these questions is: yes, indeed.

So, how can the party pull this off?

Voters like ideas, as the last three elections have shown. This is how Canadians are reeled in, with easy-to-grasp and well-reasoned ideas. They love debating ideas, or at least enjoy listening to others debate them.

But it seems that if Justin T. has his druthers, there won't be anything in the ideas department. He, or his advisers, will figure things out once he's been crowned, er, elected party leader. And even then, he may well decide to keep all of that policy stuff under wraps until after he's taken up residence at 24 Sussex Drive.

So, what exactly does he expect the leadership race, and any subsequent election, to be? A beauty pageant? Are we going to stop talking about the economy, taxes, pensions and healthcare and instead turn our full attention to baton-twirling and swimsuit competitions?

This approach to politics may "work" in some parts of the world, but in Canada?

Suffice it to say that, should Justin climb to the top of the Liberal Mount Olympus, both Harper and Thomas Mulcair will make mincemeat out of him in the televised debates.

Oh well, as long as he keeps looking gorgeous, none of that really matters, right?

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