Wednesday, September 26, 2012

John Ibbitson gives some good reasons for choosing Justin Trudeau

In today’s Globe & Mail Ibbitson sets out some reasons why Justin Trudeau deciding to run for Liberal Party leadership is a good thing for the party. His point about Trudeau’s Quebec roots is especially relevant, in my view:
Justin Trudeau

There is the storied name, of course. For better or for worse, family dynasties are often a fact of life in democracies. The name Trudeau is to Canada what the name Kennedy was to the United States. The parallel is far from exact, but it’s close enough to matter. A lot.

Then there is the fact that Mr. Trudeau’s roots are in Quebec. A fundamental reason for the collapse of the Liberal Party is its alienation from French Canada, traditionally an indispensible pillar of support.

If Mr. Trudeau goes on to win the leadership, Thomas Mulcair will have a formidable rival competing for the 50-plus seats that went NDP in the last election.

But his greatest asset is the instinct factor. Humans are genetically wired, when first meeting a stranger, to form an instant impression. This helped our ancestors to judge whether the new arrival was a potential ally or enemy, whether fight, flight or friendship were called for.

Justin Trudeau has the ability to make people like him instantly. It’s more than the hair or the smile; it’s an intangible ability to charm. You have it or you don’t, and he has it like few people in this country. For a politician, there can be no more powerful asset.

And I believe the answer to his question about what kind of Canada ‘we’ want will soon be answered – we do not want someone who just minds the store:

Mr. Trudeau is closely associated with a set of values that were championed by his father. 

But do those values fit the times? Do we want a Big Canada, with a more powerful federal government, new national programs, stronger environmental and social protections? Or do we want a government, like the current government, that simply minds the store?

And the answer to his final question is also fairly simple – it will take him to the prime ministership in a coalition government come the next election, with Thomas Mulcair as deputy prime minister and Elizabeth May as a senior member of the new cabinet:

Except there is that ineffable quality that makes anyone who meets him, or even listens to him, want to like him. You can’t bottle that, or teach it. You have it or you don’t. Justin 

Trudeau has it in spades.

How far will it take him?

Run, Justin, run!

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