Resurrecting the Liberals?
Justin Trudeau really just wants what a lot of people want when they get older … to return to their childhood home.
His just happens to be 24 Sussex Drive, so the process is a little more complicated than going to your realtor and making an offer. And while we’re sure his father would have liked to have bequeathed it to him, it just doesn’t work that way.
He has to earn it. And thanks to his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and one of his father’s best friends, Jean Chretien, earning the right to call 24 Sussex Drive home is tougher now for Liberals than it was when the two elder statesmen managed to get there.
Can Justin Trudeau pull the once-mighty Liberal Party of Canada out of the depths of third-party status and return it to its previous status as the self-proclaimed “natural ruling party of Canada”?
He certainly has the star power. It was interesting to see the crowd at UNBC Monday. Trudeau talked about how the baby-boomers get out and vote in greater numbers than the youth do, and he, being a youthful guy, certainly appeals to the younger generation. However, there were more than one or two people in the crowd who, let’s just say, wouldn’t be characterized as youth, and they were there looking for a connection with the father.
And that certainly doesn’t hurt his chances of political success.
It will, however, take more than a large part of the voting block looking to reconnect with a bygone era.
But Trudeau is saying the right things. He’s painting Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair with the same brush, calling them top-down leaders who demand MPs toe the party line above all else. The inference, of course, is that he would be different.
He stressed that MPs have become the prime minister’s voice in the riding rather than being the constituents’ voice in Ottawa. It’s very true and it resonates with voters. It’s also the same complaint that Harper had about MPs back when he was toiling away with Preston Manning and the Reform Party. The leopard can change his spots when he gets elected and realizes he needs to be a tiger to stay there.
Not far from the oil patch, he hammered Mulcair for his Dutch disease comment, stressing that he believes in free trade. He also dismissed any suggestion of joining forces with the NDP to defeat the Conservatives. Providing fewer choices at the ballot box is not the answer, he said.
He also had an interesting take on electoral reform, saying he isn’t convinced proportional representation is the way to go. Instead, he favours preferential balloting whereby voters rank their candidates and a candidate needs more than 50 per cent of the vote to be elected. If there isn’t a clear winner, then second choices are counted. This, he said, forces candidates to try to appeal to more of their constituents rather than the 35-40 per cent needed to win under the current system.
And, of course, he talked about engaging Canadians in the political system. Easier said than done.
The question still remains … can Trudeau lead the Liberals back to glory. Who knows? But he’s got a better chance of doing it than most. The first hurdle is securing the leadership and the Liberals do have some history in electing the most un-electable candidate.