04.18.2013 08:31 AM

Strengths and weaknesses

The ever-charming Bea Vongduangchanh of the Hill Times asked me to assess the various federal parties’ strength and weaknesses, for next week’s paper.  I decided to share them with you, to kick-start endless debate and many hours of pointless speculation.

  • Harper’s strength is he’s a known quantity; his weakness is people are starting to get sick and tired of him and his gang.
  • The NDP’s strength is that they don’t seem all that radical anymore; their weakness is the guy they picked to replace Jack Layton. Picking Mulcair was a huge mistake.  He’s a dud with voters.
  • Trudeau’s strength and weakness, paradoxically, are the same thing:  he’s an unconventional politician, and that’s helped him.  But it’s also his weakness – he says and does things that conventional politicians would never say or do, and those things make people wonder if he has what it takes to be Prime Minister.


  1. catherine says:

    I think those are great, succinct summaries, although Harper’s strength is more than being known – he has built an effective political persona and machinery.

    I like Trudeau and I’m hoping he manages to keep what makes him likeable and genuine while showing Canadians that he does have what it takes. I can imagine him showing Canadians the latter while losing the former, by becoming much more controlled in his responses. I would be sad to see that happen.

  2. I think that sums it up. Anecdotally, I watched the Mansbridge interview with Trudeau last night. I found Trudeau engaging, I warmed up to him a lot. Then it struck me like a jolt, he is a good conversationalist, I would love to be sitting across from him with a pint, or a coffee as a part of that conversation, but holy cow, he is going to get himself in trouble. In life there are two (or more sides) to everything, but in politics, nuance could be his undoing.

  3. Mulletaur says:

    Peggy Nash would have been a much better choice for the NDP – she has credibility on the left while having substantial appeal to the centre. Justin is a breath of fresh air – people who I would never have guessed had any interest in politics, much less Liberal politics, seem positive and enthusiastic about him, which I take to be a very good sign. As for Harper, he’s had a pretty good run. Although I don’t think the ‘throw the bums out’ tipping point has been reached quite yet, the old ‘fin de régime’ feeling is starting to set in. Appointing the head of his personal security detail as Ambassador to Jordan certainly reinforces this feeling.

  4. deb s says:

    its too bad that the politicians who are warm, engaging and seem to speak from the heart….are told to reduce that as it will ruin their career. I like that Trudeau is outspoken and not soo scripted…it makes him real. I hope the canadian public look to that quality…his humanness and vote accordingly. As the gang that vote Harper in…baffle me. Harper is a liar, a controlling despot…and so fake he seems robotic. I cannot stand those qualities in any person let alone someone who is to represent the people of a nation. Mistakes can be made, its human. Its worse to continually vote for the fake, scripted cariacatures we have…as thats why we have corruption, cover ups and the like.

  5. Glen says:

    Doesn’t matter who the NDP had picked. No one could have replaced Jack. People voted for him, not for the NDP. Quebecers voted against other parties, as much as they voted for the NDP. The party will soon be back in its rightful place.

  6. Larry Robinson says:

    Conservative strategy must be to isolate Trudeau and Mulcair into Quebec rendering them unsuitable to lead and govern all of Canada. We have Justin’s “Quebec is better than the rest of Canada” blurt and “Quebecers make the best PMs”, and Mulcair trashing Alberta for the ‘Dutch disease’.

    Trudeau may be a popular celebrity, but it’s a long way from being popular to getting the vote of Canadians more concerned with the economy than the root causes of terrorism. As for Mulcair, well he doesn’t exactly look like somebody who personifies Canada and Canadians.

    It appears the only weapon the opposition have is to sow personal hatred against Harper, and that is not a political strategy in keeping with democracy.

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