Monday, September 5, 2011

The Collapse of the Liberals (and the eventual rise of Justin Trudeau)

(Published May 4, 2011)

The Canadian election that consumed us over the past five weeks is finally over. $300 Million later, it turns out the so-called election that would change nothing has in fact changed much about Canada’s House of Commons.

Sick of bickering minority governments constantly under threat of being defeated, on May 2 Canadians chose a stable government that will work tirelessly to represent Canadians.

I am proud to have worked full-time on a campaign during this election. The experience was refreshing: I was there, constantly hearing from constituents in my riding about how much they did not want to see a Liberal-led coalition take office. They also recognized the importance of maintaining the incumbent government to complete Canada’s economic recovery, even though the Liberals cost Canadians $300 Million. In fact, in the hundreds of doors I knocked on and the hundreds of constituents I interacted with, seldom did I ever hear of anyone flat-out upset with the Conservative government.

The absolute decimation of the Liberal Party will have analysts pondering for years. Only perhaps in 1993, when the Progressive Conservative Party went from the governing Conservative majority government down to only two seats, has Canada ever seen such an enormous demise.

When it comes to Michael Ignatieff, I cannot help but resort to the typical “I told you so.”

Canadians constantly perceived Ignatieff as coming back only to become Prime Minister. Ignatieff never truly connected to Canadians. Talking down to Canadians did not win him any support either: party leaders need to send positive messages on how they will lead the country, not criticisms questioning why Canadians don’t do this or that.

And once we undoubtedly see Ignatieff return to the United States, his “Just Visiting” title will be proven as true.

The question before us now is what this party do to recover. Once Canada’s “natural governing party,” (a self-absorbed, arrogant title I’ve never agreed with) they have been reduced to only 10% of the seats, a percentage ensuring the incumbent government will not be harassed by this have-not party.

How about a merger? Ever since the Liberals shifted from the centre to the left they’ve been battling the NDP. We all know how that turned out. Just as we saw with the “unite the right” campaign, perhaps what’s needed is a “unite the left” campaign.

We should also ponder the Liberal leadership race now that this party has all but collapsed.

Ralph Goodale is a Liberal MP who has a habit of cleaning up after deplorable leadership failures. He was there to clean up the mess and hold the fort down when Stephane Dion was booted, and he is now doing the same while Ignatieff cleans out his desk. He very well could be in the next leadership race.

Bob Rae is well known as the previous NDP Premier of Ontario. Rae ran in 2006 for Liberal leadership and finished third. However, we need not look far to know Rae’s rampant left-wing legacy. Ontario seats are essential in any federal or provincial election, and Ontarians should not forget Rae’s massive experiments which eventually failed.

David McGuinty is also a well known MP, mostly for being the brother of Ontario’s Premier (until October 2011), Dalton McGuinty. The McGuinty namesake seems to be a family brand, considering their involvement at the federal, provincial, and municipal government levels. He is favoured in his riding, even if he’s never around between elections.

But my prediction is that no leader in the mean time will matter. The person chosen to be the Liberal leader for this election and perhaps even the next will only be fodder until their Messiah, Justin Trudeau, is old enough to lead the party, clearly in the hardworking and inspirational footsteps of his father. Whether or not he will make a good leader is yet to be seen, but he will certainly be groomed and shaped to attempt to lead the party out of the rut they’re currently in.

Until that time comes Canadians should be poised to see four years of an exceptional government at work.