COLUMN: Levant – Trudeau is famous for being famous but not ready for prime time

- October 7th, 2012

Liberal party is about to find out that there’s a huge difference between media spectacle and PM-in-waiting

by Ezra Levant

It is painful to read a Justin Trudeau speech on paper, instead of watching him deliver it in person.

Because on paper, you don’t get lost in his dreamy eyes, or wonder what it would be like to run your fingers through his hair (which I have done).

It’s like reading a speech from Kim Kardashian — it misses the point of her celebrity. That’s what Trudeau is: a celebrity, famous for being famous.

Except he’s actually not that famous, or, at 40, even that young anymore.

It’s true, Trudeau’s vaunted 150,000 Twitter followers are more than any other MP, but that’s like saying he’s the tallest short guy.

Real celebrities like Kardashian have 16 million fans. Say the name “Justin” to the nerds at the Parliamentary Press Gallery and they’ll think Trudeau. Normal people probably think of Justin Bieber, a Canadian pop star with more than 28 million Twitter fans.

Fans, that’s what Trudeau’s followers are. Not so much supporters. A fan has an emotional affection, a connection to a myth.

Stephen Harper has no fans. The 5.8 million votes he received last year were a cold-blooded expression of support for his policies and his executive style. And more importantly, for his achievements to date.

What are Trudeau’s policies? What is his decision-making style? What are his achievements? By age 40, Pierre Trudeau had been a man of ideas, an editor and a magazine publisher and had worked as an economic policy analyst in the Privy Council. In his 40s, he was a professor of law and served as justice minister for three years before finally running for Liberal party leader.

Justin? He’s been a substitute drama teacher, and then a backbench MP for four years. No position papers or private member’s bills of note. Not even a memorable speech, other than his maudlin eulogy at his father’s funeral, overacted in Trudeau’s patented William Shatner style. His fans love it, especially the bored press gallery.

But what does a written Trudeau speech look like? It’s heavy on the Hallmark Card banalities, like this one: “We want a foreign policy that will give us hope in the future and that will offer solutions to the world.”

Sometimes he almost says something, like this ambiguous accusation: “The Conservatives … privilege one sector over others and promise that wealth will trickle down.” Just what industry is Trudeau demonizing, by saying it is being improperly privileged? I’d guess the oil industry. But I don’t even think he knows.

Claiming he is a man of substance wouldn’t work, so Trudeau has renamed that weakness a strength: “I do not present myself as a man with all the answers. In fact, I think we’ve had quite enough of that kind of politics.”

Really? Canada has had some good answers on the key issue of the age — our economy. We have avoided the deep recession, staggering debts, high unemployment and bank failures of other G8 countries.

“I believe I can bring new forces to bear on old problems. I can convince a new generation of Canadians that their country needs them.”

What forces might 150,000 Twitter fans bring to old problems? Is there a special insight that teenyboppers have into the old challenge of diversifying our export markets, to make us less dependent on the U.S. economy?

Do high school students know how to improve the productivity of our manufacturing sector? Trudeau himself doesn’t. But maybe he’s hoping a flashmob will come up with an answer.

“When was the last time you had a leader you actually trusted … the way you trust a friend to pick up your kids from school, or a neighbour to keep your extra front-door key?”

Most Canadians would answer: Never have and never will. No one trusts Kim Kardashian to pick up their kids from school — they are just entertained by her. If Kardashian ran for president, it would be an entertaining spectacle.

But a media spectacle and a prime minister-in-waiting are different things, as the Liberal party is about to learn.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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8 comments

  1. Bill Elder says:

    I’d like to agree with you Ezra but I fear the implosion of the new Librano pop star is wishful thinking. You’re thinking too much like a reasoning, aware adult with all your critical thinking capacity unsullied by peer pressure or emotional drift. Unfortunately there are lots of people who are not anchored in reasoned reality. The Librano machine has just hired a rock star puppet. They will market him as does the pop star industry – work the popularity culture with trendy photo ops, sound bites,fadisg stunting and concert-like national tours, work the shallow end of the cult of personality.

    Trudeau the younger is a well meaning but naïve, pampered twit who is easily manipulated by the puppet masters in the Librano mafia hierarchy. It will be something to see – I await that cathartic moment reminiscent of the scene in the wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back to reveal a demented little weasel working the levers which make the illusory “Great Oz” speak. Trudeau the younger is not a threat per se, it is the Librano bosses working his levers who we need to worry about – any number of kleptocratic, authoritarian agendas of the Librano oligarchy will be put up front through the pop star’s mouth.

    The next election will not be fought on issues but on the cult of popularity and as loathsome as that prospect may be to rational people, vacant pop star glibness wins over substance in elections – sorry, most voters are shallow thinkers and instinct voters. After the pop star is elected we will see him used as a pretty face to sell all the loathsome anti-democratic authoritarian agendas of the old Librano junta.

  2. jen says:

    Why are they not any reasonable sensible intelligent reporters around to take up Justin at his word.

    Mileski for the CBC was around when the PM was running his campain to accuse him of being ‘chicken’ a coward. This type of accusation towards the PM went on throughout his campaign to which point, the crowd shouted ‘shut up.’

    Trudeau doesn’t like the way Canada is going and not one canadian sensible intelligent reporter dare interrupt to ask “how so?
    Forbes has nominated Canada as no 1 place in many areas and all Trudeau can come up with is, ‘we have to change’.

    Where are the reporters Ezra? are they so stupid struck by an entertainer not to say a word. Apparently they don’t seem to waste time going after the government .

    We are living in a complex world where serious leaders are needed.

    BTW, in today’s (0ct 7 2012) Edmonton Sun on the Comment section page 15, titles:

    ALbertans have much to be thankful for.

    Unfortunately, I am unable to find this section of the page in the Edmonton Sun. Nevertheless, it is a good read and I am dam proud of my Province and no dimwit Trudeau can say otherwise.
    Why doesn’t Trudeau spend a lot of time in Quebec? and leave our province alone.

  3. Stephen Smith says:

    Lot of worry here for a party in third place. Hmmmm.

  4. Bill Elder says:

    Hey Jen, I have listened to the royal hoser’s rambling speaches, it’s a good thing his fawning sycophant reporters don’t interrupt hin – you can get a lot of info when he’s allowed to babble on unchallenged –

    If you live in the west you better listen and have your Librano decoders on. Can you say “NEP 2″? This is part of the trudeaupian “Hopey-changey” agenda. He will bring change, but it will be distructive change for the west and lucrative change for the eastern bosses who back him.

    Screwing the west over is a genetic Trudeau trait.

  5. Brian Mouland says:

    Might take Shiny Pony seriously in five years, on second thought,maybe ten

  6. Thomas_L...... says:

    Ah! The “new” Liberal Party!

  7. Constantin says:

    On the other hand, the “Librano mafia machine” did see the writing on the wall and pursued some fiscally conservative policies in time of need… My fear, is exactly the opposite of the fear expressed by Mr. Elder. I fear that, like Obama, Trudeau may become too slf-absorbed and vain to be actually manageable by those risking to champion him now. I doubt, however, that the “hope and change” music would weaken the NDP momentum on that front. Only sensible leftists are likely to flee that camp in terror over their economic insanity – and they are unlikely to make much of this empty rethoric. If we are talking of swaying voters, I have not heardyet anything remotely capable of doing so. It would be really something if the media party here manages the same trick its American counterpart did by promoting Obama. It will be, however, an intersting sight, as they will have to drop the NDP in the process. Hard to chose, eh?

  8. Bill Elder says:

    Constantin: You may be right about the famous Trudeay megalomania breaking him loose from Lib mafia control – however the core agenda of both the controllers and their pop star is to plunder and loot Alberta/the west to feed an idle welfare culture in Quebec. They know their power base is in Quebec and they are competing with the Dips to carve up western prosperity to feed the sloth of Quebec’s idler culture.

    It will be “screw the west we’ll take the rest” campaigning and policy – same old east-west divisive Librano crap with a narcissistic rock star puppet selling it as “change”.

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