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The Liberal throne is empty

The Liberal throne has been empty since Michael Ignatieff stepped down in the wake of a historically devastating election.  Bob Rae, the unelectable interim leader remains the steward.  But the Grits will not fade from history.  Kim Campbell also lost a historically devastating election for her party, yet Harper has rebuilt the Conservative identity.  The Grits too will be re-elected.  The question is then of course not when, but who?

THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

The Prodigal Son
The Prodigal Son

Justin Trudeau

At first glance Justin Trudeau is an impressive candidate.  He is popular, and popularity wins elections.  The results of the October Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll declare that 36% of all those surveyed said they would be “certain or likely” to vote Liberal should Justin be its leader.  Yesterday’s debate in Vancouver saw Trudeau speak of ‘a palpable feeling of re-excitement in politics.’  This speaks of a major problem of democracy, that of declining voter turnout.  Overcoming this problem can be a part of a campaign.  Trudeau’s strategy may mirror that of Obama’s, a master of the political campaign.  Trudeau has been touring high-schools for years, attempting to get a major non-voter demographic to vote.  He has by far the most Twitter followers, with almost 200,000 – the next closest is Garneau with slightly over 10,500. Charismatic stunts, such as March’s dark horse boxing victory over clear favourite conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, may be enough to carry the Liberals to government. Trudeau could even threaten the NDP in Quebec. A Justin Trudeau campaign may indeed have the ability to withstand a Harper-style onslaught.

Trudeau has an excellent chance of being elected, but this does not necessarily mean he will be an effective Prime Minister.  Obama may be a master-campaigner, but his presidential legacy is still in question. Trudeau the Senior has a mixed legacy as well.  But unlike his father, Justin’s resume is dwarfed by the major contenders.  If included on the document, Pierre Elliot would make up the first line.   Thus, Trudeau the Junior’s prime ministerial skills are in serious question.

Martha Hall Findlay

Martha Hall Findlay’s experiences make her appear ideal to tackle the biggest concern to Canadians, and most likely the front on which the real election campaign will be won or lost – the economy.  In her 14 November speech she outlined this Romney-like strength. Mitt Romney’s strength was that he was experienced with business; if it was not for a few gaffes and unpopular tea-party policy, he could have been president.  He nearly won the election on this strength.  “When the economy is the most important issue facing Canadians, we need smart leadership that has experience in business and economics, as well as politics. As a lawyer, I worked on big international transactions.  As a senior executive, I managed large teams of people, both in Canada and abroad. As an entrepreneur and successful business owner, I met plenty of payrolls.”  She also remarked that the Liberals must “take on Thomas Mulcair where he is weakest – the economy.”  Her focus on inequality will differentiate Grit from Tory.  Hall Findlay appears to have a promising grand-strategy; she is a candidate to watch.

"You better through your support behind me once you fold."  Trudeau and Hall Findlay take Cauchon (a lightweight) aside after the debate.
“You better throw your support behind me once you fold.” Trudeau and Hall Findlay take Cauchon (a lightweight) aside after the debate.

Marc Garneau

Marc Garneau’s resume is perhaps the most impressive of any candidate.  He is a retired Royal Canadian Navy Captain and astronaut, the former President of Canada’s space agency, and Liberal house leader from 2001-2005.  Stephen Harper has pandered to voters by promising to strengthen Canadian military presence in the Arctic.  Garneau could steal these votes simply by the virtue of his career.  Being associated with the army, Garneau could attack the Conservatives’ dropped F-35 deal, much like how Conservatives attacked the Liberals’ gun-registry.  He could paint Harper as inexperienced and foolish.  Perhaps other flaws such as Harper’s ‘China blunder,’ wherein the Tories ostracized China by not attending the Olympics only to find out he needed them for trade, offer Garneau targets.

"My resume is this big."
“My resume is this big.”

The economy may be the number one issue to voters, but I argue both the Liberal and Conservative parties are both adept at handling fiscal policy and recognized as so by voters.  The NDP is the party that is truly untrusted in this area.  Thus the Liberal party can only win an election by focusing on stealing Conservative popularity on other policy issues.   Garneau spent much of his leadership-bid speech attacking the Conservatives.  His career is ideally suited to attack Conservative policies.  Garneau could have been interim leader, but Rae was granted stewardship instead.  This worked out well for Garneau as he is now a frontrunner in the leadership race.

"I do it better you fools."

“I do it better you fools.”

by Dylan F

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About Dylan Finlay

I studied History and Political Science at the University of Toronto. Since graduating I began writing/blogging.

One comment on “The Liberal throne is empty

  1. Pingback: For Trudeau, victory is tangible | Blog Clique

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This entry was posted on January 21, 2013 by in Politics.

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