by Charles Adler
Do you remember when Barack Obama was just the junior senator from Illinois? Everyone wanted to have a beer with him.
Not everyone thought he was ready to be president — hell, he’s been president, and he still isn’t ready. And America has seen the results of voting for a leader based on his cool factor.
But there are still thousands of Canadians who wish they had a guy like him to vote for. Not that bland, boring and — worst of all — Conservative Stephen Harper. Sure, his policies helped Canada come out of the global recession more than intact. But he’s so borrrrrrring!
Well, kids, you just might get your chance, now that it’s been reported that Justin Trudeau will announce his run for the Liberal leadership next week.
What would Trudeau do as leader? He wants to give young voters a voice. He wants to restore funding to the youth program Katimavik — a volunteerism program that ended up on the business end of Conservative budget cuts. He wants you to stop calling honour killings “barbaric,” because that’s offensive. And … that’s about it.
Isn’t that anti-incumbent attitude all Barack Obama needed in 2008? Americans wanted a change — and Obama beat that change drum as much as he could.
He may not know much about being president. But being elected? He couldn’t have done better. If the Liberals rally around Justin Trudeau, they’re hoping for the same result.
You’d think after being booted to third place that the Liberals would have a real agenda by now.
Years of being Canada’s “natural governing party” made them too arrogant to see the NDP’s Orange Crush coming their way.
A year later, they haven’t lost that arrogance. They haven’t stood for anything since 2006. That’s one advantage the NDP has over the Liberals. They don’t stand for good things, necessarily, but they have an agenda. And their last leadership contest was an actual contest.
For the Liberals, it’ll be nothing to slap Trudeau on the butt, shove him onstage and say “Hey, kid, you’re leader now — make your daddy proud!”
Unless another Liberal steps up to challenge him, it won’t be a contest — it’ll be a coronation. And Trudeau, for all that he leaves to be desired, is good at raising money. When a party is in comeback mode, they need money just as much, perhaps more, than they need an agenda.
What about the father factor? Pierre Trudeau’s vision was the Just Society — where government makes everyone’s lives better — in reality, more regulated and more politically correct. Justin wasn’t even born when Pere Trudeau used that phrase for the first time. Does he think his father’s vision bears repeating? Or has he realized the implications of Pierre’s so-called Just Society?
These are questions Justin will need to answer by next week. He might be ready to lead the Liberals. But he needs to be ready to lead the rest of Canada.
Categories: Contributor Columns