Saturday, June 30, 2012

And This One is Just...


Liberals need more than great hair at the helm
"Still, as with many odd proposals in life generally, I find myself wondering to what identifiable problem Justin Trudeau as Liberal leader is the solution.

1) The Liberals have no leader. OK, it would fix that.

2) The Liberals need a charismatic leader. OK again. Justin can be charming and disarmingly frank.

3) The Liberals need a brilliant leader. Oh oh. And it gets worse.

4) The Liberals haven't won a majority under an anglo leader since William Lyon Mackenzie King communed with his dead mother from this side of the turf. No problem, in that Trudeau's not an anglo. But no solution either because:

5) The Liberals haven't won a majority of Quebec seats since 1981, because of Trudeau Sr.'s repatriation of the Constitution. The family name is about as magic there as in Alberta. (Oh, and they haven't won a majority of Western seats since 1949.)

7) In short, the Liberals still think they're the big-tent, national-brokerage party but in the last four elections they've lost 138 seats and more than half their popular vote share in an alarmingly steady slide: from 172 MPs and 40.8% of the vote in 2000 to 135 MPs and 36.7% in 2004, 103 and 30.2% in 2006, 77 and 26.3% in 2008 and 34 and 18.9% in 2011.

Of course, party fortunes fluctuate. But normally a party dramatically tossed out quickly starts regaining ground, as the Liberals did in the Diefenbaker years and the variously-named right-wing parties after 1993. Instead, the Liberals are in a unprecedented slide. How does Justin Trudeau fix that?

As my colleague Lorrie Goldstein wondered Thursday, are Canadians giddy schoolgirls "who would elect their hairbrushes as prime minister, as long as they were named Trudeau?" Maybe the party thinks so, since their only official leadership candidate is a policy wonk who gave birth to Pierre Trudeau's daughter when she was 36 and Trudeau was 71. But leadership isn't the problem. Followership is. There's no reason to follow the Liberals any more.

If they are to revive, great hair won't do it."
Seriously, our media is all over this story as if Baby Trudeau is de facto leader of the LPC. He ain't. Wait and see. They have enough problems with or without Baby Trudeau at the helm. I, for one, think they're not going to dig themselves out of this hole. If they put Baby Trudeau at the top, I know they're not capable of a come-back. We live in interesting times. I just hope the general electorate sees through the NDP. God forbid they should ever form the government in the country. We'd all be doomed, if that were to happen. Ah well. There's always Western Separatism.

And this, on the eve of July 1st, Canada Day!

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