COLUMN: Solberg – The policy of not having policies is a loser policy

- January 7th, 2013

Leaders need to have policies

By: Monte Solberg

Recently, in the Toronto Star, Justin Trudeau told us he wasn’t going the policy route in the Liberal leadership race; instead he wanted to talk values and “thought process.”

There you go. Who needs a debate about ideas when we can sit around on yoga mats in our Lululemon sweatpants and hold a national rap session on “thought process?”

In the same interview, he said he wanted to “listen” to Canadians while also engaging them in a “conversation.”

As much as it might be fascinating to explore Justin’s thought process, I’m going to beg off.

In the old days, patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. Today, the new scoundrel refuges include going on listening tours, having dialogues, engaging in conversations and holding endless consultations. Now Justin Trudeau has added “thought process” to that dubious list.

Thought process about what exactly?

If we can’t examine his policy ideas to improve the country, what aspect of his thought process would we examine?

Look, I get it. He’s the frontrunner for the leadership and he doesn’t want to blow it by attaching himself to some loser policy. But in some ways the policy of not having policies is a loser policy. It might even be the policy of losers.

Listening, consulting and having conversations are important to a point, but we are now so far beyond that point on all the big issues before us today that we’re in another galaxy.

Yes, politicians need to gather input in some situations, but “consulting” is not an end in itself; it’s one of many means to an end. Consult when necessary, but when the facts are clear don’t waste time pretending to gather input; get to work with an actual plan.

Back in the day when our ancestors built Canada, I’m pretty sure they didn’t go on listening tours. At different times we know they elected people who fiercely debated ideas, which is how the country was born. As often as not, they just went and did what needed to be done. They built business empires, opened up vast new territories, assembled armies and created entire new communities.

This is what I don’t understand with the Idle No More movement. Why are some Aboriginal bands enormously successful while others flounder? Is it because some were consulted more? Hardly. Is it because some have resources while others don’t? No.

Actually, some Aboriginal leaders long ago brought economic development, jobs and stability to their communities by, you know, leading. They were Idle No More long before it was a hashtag on Twitter.

That’s not to say Aboriginals don’t have legitimate grievances. Often land claims take too long to resolve, but, shockingly, even under the Harper government many have been resolved, meaning billions of dollars in payouts and millions of acres of land for Aboriginals.

Let’s also remember that Aboriginals have constitutional protections including the “duty to consult” when their lands are affected, which the courts routinely uphold.

Actually, in Canada, a lack of consultation is rarely the issue. More often than not, the real problem at every level is leaders who refuse to lead.

Categories: Politics

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9 comments

  1. Murray Risling says:

    You got it Monte. Liked your expanding on the extra scoundrel refuges we have today.

  2. Stephen Smith says:

    Why would anyone give away their policies to the opposition? It’s one thing to shoot yourself its another to hand the gun and the ammo to someone else to shoot you. You know that Monte.

    Well if you live along the Grand River you are part of a vast highway system and economic engine that can help drag up along. Not so much the case in places with no roads or population. Prospects are a little more dim.

  3. Lee Donovan says:

    Solberg, you are the loser here. Policy is for elections, this is a leadership race, they should already have pretty much the SAME policies.

  4. JamesHalifax says:

    Who needs actual policy when you have hair as nice as Justin?

    Face it, there are a lot of very shallow folks out there who think having the name Trudeau instills some mystical ability to change the country for the better.

    Frankly, as posters on this site well know, Justin would be an absolute nobody if not for his last name. His resume is thin gruel to say the least, and if he is “deeply moved” by Teresa Spence’s “hunger strike” it shows he is just as lacking in substance as he appears to be.

  5. Alain says:

    Stephen, you cannot give away what you do not possess. Justin is an empty suit to be nice about it.

    Right Lee, policy is for elections; wrong.

    This is the major problem for the Liberal Party that they ignore. They have no clear policy and therefore attempt to stand for everything, which means they stand for nothing. Basically their sole policy is holding their finger to the wind and they aren’t even very good at that.

  6. Bill Elder says:

    I thought having nice hair and a twitter following WAS policy for JT. In the shallow end of the political pool this wins. We will see how deeply Canadians think in the coming months.

    I have nothing against JT and I actually think he’s a nice guy but the nation needs more substance than that in the PM’s office. We need a person who has the vision and intelligence to propel Cananda’s ascension to its rightful position as a global leader – economically, in freedom and liberty, in international statecraft and as a northern super power. The US is in decline and someone has to fill the role as the most successful free market, liberal democracy in the western world.

    I see nothing in JT that could fill that roll.

  7. Stephen Smith says:

    alain you really think leaders come up with coplex policy. They come from department and expertise and people with specific degrees and experience in those areas. Leaders are merely the conduit to voice those policies, nothing more

  8. John says:

    Great article. I think you called it right, this is just playing politics. I have a feeling this is coming from Trudeau’s handlers. They got tired of him sticking his foot in his mouth with his waffling policies so they told him it was better not to say anything concrete as then he could not stick his foot in his mouth again.

    Pierre Trudeau was a great Canadian, but a terrible Prime Minister. He made great advancements at a the folly of economic reality. It is easy to accomplish “things” when you don’t have to worry about the cost.

    Unfortunately, Justin does not have his father’s keen mind. Hence we end up with the worst of all worlds, spending without anything to show for it. To reiterate a point made above, without his last name, we would never have heard of him. I does absolutely nothing to make him qualified!

  9. Jen says:

    ….Besides, why have policies when the media can help fill in the blanks for Justin Trudeau.

    Look at Obama-four years in government and did nothing much to promote his country while he played golf is because, the media was is there on a constant motion outlining what he supposedly has done when in truth never did. Yet the media in both countries are in full bloom writing all sorts of negative articles which Romney who in truth did a lot more for the american employment and PM Harper for canada kept our country afloat.

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