Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Martin Lawrence: Choose Trudeau....and FAST!!!

I'm with him. Both on the new leader and on the fast timing. As you know, I don't pull any punches.

Lawrence Martin
The next generation is the Liberals’ salvation
Lawrence Martin
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May. 10, 2011 2:00AM EDT

In its 14-decade history, the Liberal Party of Canada has never named a young man to become its leader. In 1919, the year he became leader, Mackenzie King turned 45. He was the youngest.

Today, as it faces its existential crisis, the party has an opportunity to change the record and bring forward a new generation to lead it. Three potential leadership candidates – Dominic Leblanc, Scott Brison and Justin Trudeau – are all younger than the captains who have come before.

The young guns arrive at a time when Canada’s post-baby-boom generation finally appears ready to assert itself. Given the veteran nature of the other party leaders, the trio presents the Grits with the potential of regeneration and relevance.

Normally, after a drubbing at the polls and a leader’s resignation, it would make good sense to appoint a party elder as interim boss and then take a year or two to select a new leader.

But given the dire circumstances, the Liberals cannot afford to bide their hand-wringing time, which would give the New Democrats a chance to cement their second-place status. At an important caucus meeting Wednesday, the party would be wise to arrange for an early convention.

Many Liberals are looking to Justin Trudeau, who is 39. On the basis of name alone, they have reason to do so. A good bet would be that with the Trudeau name at the top, the Grits would overtake the NDP in the polls within a few months. Party enthusiasm would be rekindled. Desperately needed financing would start to come in.

Mr. Trudeau does have a lot of drawbacks – he would be a decidedly risky choice. He doesn’t have much experience in Ottawa, he carries the baggage of his father, he is considered light on policy. There would be growing pains aplenty. The Conservatives’ smear machine would have a field day.

But the upside needs to be considered. The name recognition, the youth, the charisma, the appeal to a new generation. His father’s reputation is a polarizing one, but in most polls, Pierre Trudeau still ranks as Canada’s best or most popular prime minister. The name is loathed in nationalist Quebec. But it is very strong in the province’s federalist precincts. The name is loathed in the West, but the Liberals will be shut out there anyway.

As for suggestions that Mr. Trudeau is light on policy, it will hardly scare away voters. Liberals have just discovered what happens to erudite leaders. Conservative Stephen Harper ran a campaign in which he seemed determined to keep his intellect in check. New Democrat Jack Layton didn’t soar because of policy, but because of personality.

There are those who say the Liberals must go back to the drawing board and begin a long rebuilding process. They forget how fickle political fates are. They forget that had it been Michael Ignatieff, instead of Mr. Layton, who struck a chord in the English-language debate, the Grits could well be sitting with 110 seats now.

Mr. Ignatieff worked to rebuild the party. He spent an entire summer on the buses, going to every riding imaginable. But the fresh ideas didn’t come. The rebuilding didn’t happen. He would have been better off spending the money on what the Conservatives regrettably have made the most important element of a party’s political arsenal – personal attack ads.

Liberals need remember also that the NDP’s great leap forward could soon turn to a great leap in the other direction. Canadian party allegiances built over decades don’t permanently change overnight, especially if there has been no major redrawing of policy or philosophy. In the case of Mr. Layton’s party, there has been no such shift.

Given the incentive, Canada’s centrist voters will likely return to their centrist party. Providing the incentive isn’t complicated. It starts with the awareness that politics in this country is a one-man show. It’s 75-per-cent leader. If the Liberals get the leader right, their place in the pantheon will be quickly restored.

11 comments:

rgl said...

James, I think you have nailed it perfectly. My son who is going to try running as an MP next election is all about JT.

James Curran said...

You know what I'm sick and tired of hearing? I'm tired of leadership races that claim every candidate is the next Trudeau. We have the next Trudeau and his name is Justin.

DivaRachel said...

I'm not gonna lie: JT as Leader is a dream come true, but I am very cautious of putting him out there to be someone else's punching bag. By someone, I mean both Liberals and the famous Con ads.

DivaRachel said...

Lol! Every candidate is the next Trudo and every new artist is the next Madonna or Michael Jackson. LOL!

Pipe dreams!

Annie said...

Years ago I thought Justin might try politics. He will be 40 in December. He is not his father, I can tell you he is much like his mother, also who was a Liberal, and her father was an MP from BC. I does take 2 parents.

The Mound of Sound said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Curran said...

Yeah. We're not going not going to be disrespecting innocent dead people on this blog. Sorry dude.

The Mound of Sound said...

No one was disrespecting Trudeau. That's a feeble bit of sophistry Jim. The son who most exemplified the father is dead, something I sincerely lament. That's not "disrespecting innocent dead people."

And that doesn't change the fact that JT is no PET, not even close. His surviving brother has far more of the attributes of greatness in their father. Unfortunately Alexandre cleaves to Communist ideology last I heard.

SarahP said...

Trudeau gets elected on name and personality, not intellect.
Just like George W Bush.

James Curran said...

What a ridiculous statement.

Gabriel Dzsurdzsa said...

I think most of us liberals have stopped living in the past after Paul Martin. Thus the next party leader will have to raise the party to new heights of greatness, surpassing all previous leader's achievements. Those men, MacKenzie, Trudeau, Chretien etc., lived during exceptional times and as of May 2nd so do we, the Liberals of 2011. It is our turn to surpass all of our previous achievements and hammer the PC and NDP back into obscurity.