04.24.2013 07:16 AM

The JT spot: open thread

I actually watched CBC News last night, just to see the shiny new Justin Trudeau spot.  All I got was about five seconds of it, and then Chris Hall and Peter Mansbridge telling me what to think about it.  That made me turn off the TV.

Here, then, as a public service, is the ad in its entirety.  Decide for yourself what you think! To Hell with Hall!


What does Your Humble Narrator think about it, you ask? Well, it ain’t bad, but it ain’t epic, either. Here, again, are Warren’s Free Tips On How To Watch A Political Ad:

  1. Watch it with the sound off.  TV is a visual medium.  When you force yourself to focus on only the pictures, Trudeau looks pretty good.  But when he’s tie-less, perched on the corner of the desk, and in the classroom setting, does he look however like a Prime Minister? Not yet.  More like a guy selling Registered Education Savings Plans.
  2. Watch it with your emotional brain, not your logical brain.  As I wrote in Fight The Right, political decisions are mostly emotional.  Reason – if it plays any role at all – plays a supporting role. The emotional response the ad evokes is neutral: it doesn’t make you dislike Harper, necessarily, or like Trudeau.  If anything, my emotional response was: he looks young for his age.  That may or may not be a good thing.  For Obama 2008, it was good.
  3. Watch it for the one thing it wants to tell you.  This is where I was a bit unclear.  Is its purpose to diss the Conservatives?  To promote Trudeau?  To raise money? To celebrate the continued use of Video Cassette Recorders in 2013? You got me.  If the objective was introduce Trudeau to the public as Liberal leader, it does that.  But the staccato, sentence-fragmenty delivery was off-putting, for me.

Anyway.  That, as I say, is just my take.  Take it or leave it.  Your reaction is more important, because you guys are normal, and I’m a political weirdo.

Comments are open, so fire away.


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    Robin says:

    It looks like he’s taking an Eminem in 8 Mile approach: You call me a son, yes I am. You call me a teacher, yes I am. Now tell them something about me they don’t know. I’m a political wierdo too so I will ask my wife.

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      Graham says:


      What exactly does this add tell us about him we didn’t already know?

      Ad starts:
      He represents Papineau – knew that

      He’s Liberal leader – knew that

      He’s a son – knew that.

      He’s a father – knew that.

      He’s a teacher – knew that.

      Ad ends.

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        Bengt says:

        I think it is meant to reinforce angles that need to be kept at the forefront coming into elections – his is a son (of Pierre, addresses that) but he is a father (speaking to parents everywhere as one of them, along with their concerns), he addresses, not runs from the attack ads, he is proud (important) to be a teacher, someone we unconsciously likely herald as leaders in our lives and communities).

        Overall I like it, and mostly because it doesn’t try to be anything overexaggerated – a simple start that will be built on I’m sure. And it says “I’m here”.

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        Etienne says:

        It appears that you, Sir, are quite the well informed smarty-pants.

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    PoliticalStaples says:

    I think the Liberal ads will backfire.

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    Matt says:

    It is completely different in tone and approach to the Con spots. That alone makes it good as it frames things. The fact he appears in the add is refreshing as (and rightfully so) Harper doesn’t want to be the face of a hatchet job. I’m glad a response it out and think now that it is, the cons may have boxed themselves into a corner. If there was NO response it would be an issue, now it looks like they are simply running on the same stale and divisive fumes as John McCain. Perfect? No, but a great start and answer to all the crap sure to be thrown moving forward

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    Dro says:

    It certainly wasn’t negative but it was a push back. That there was a response at all is refreshing.

    Loads of mud to throw at our current PM and no one has been able to do it effectively. Even tough guy Mulcair isn’t landing punches.

    Harper is vulnerable to this message of unity but we’ll see.

    If the Liberals come out hard on the lousy record the Conservatives have had as it relates to the oil sands, they could also have a solid wedge issue that is both environmental and economic. SOmething that ALL of us have a stake in.

    If you were Obama, would you green light keystone?

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    AP says:

    1. There was a response so that in and of itself is an improvement over Ignatieff and Dion

    2. This pudding still has no theme.

    3. Get a proper prime minister in waiting haircut.

    4. Ditch the mod-suits. The double button hole on the lapel is something you’d wear if you’re twenty-something and fresh out of university.

    5. Get a tailor. Canada has amazing tailors and get fitted to look like a prime minister. No more off the rack stuff.

    6. Wear a tie

    Overall Mark: A Strong C+

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      Tired of it All says:

      1. Agree
      2. Agree, but what does it matter? It either materializes over time or it doesn’t. This ad was a bait and switch, not a policy piece.
      3. Showing your age. The problem with politicians is that they look like politicians. The hidden assumption with your comment is that a molded, conforming appearance is authenticity. It’s not.
      4. See 3.
      5. You don’t know tailored from off the rack.
      6. See 6. The world has changed, and stuffy, tie wearing politico’s are out of step with today’s world.

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        Tired of it All says:

        Sorry, for 6 see 3.

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      Bluegreenblogger says:

      Hard working teachers do not wear tailored suits. You are only describing what YOU want to see, not what dis-engaged prime time viewers will respond to. I have been in the sales game all my life. You wear what is appropriate to your audience/prospect. Assumingthis ad is being aired the same places the CPC ads are being aired, then I do not see why the ‘Hard Working teacher’ with a positive outlook, who ‘turns off’ those dirty rascally attack ads would not work. That said, I think (hope) this ad has a specific purpose to directly contrast with the CPC ads. Running this in a different place, in different time slots would not be so great I think. My opinion, for what it is worth.

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      ray says:

      I still believe it’s a battle of the bases. Justin is speaking to and dressing for his and Harper will do the same. It’s all down to who will turn out the most votes in 2 years time.

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    John says:

    Gut reactions…

    – love the classroom setting and the teacher theme. Plays to the experience he has and not to the experience he has yet to gain.
    – agree with Warren… Man, he looks young! But I’m a 50 old coot, so, meh.
    – he needs to work on his voice… Too soft, not assertive enough

    Overall, not bad. The ad won’t turn anyone off and might attract some younger voters. It’s a good start.

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      Billy Boy says:

      Yes, the teacher meme should play really well with teachers in ON after Trudeau sent out robocalls urging voters to support McGuinty in by-elections being fought largely over Bill 115. From an optics standpoint, Trudeau siding with McGuinty against teachers looks awful.

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    Christine says:

    initial reaction – way over due. it should have been out the day after he was elected leader. its not bad. its missing something though.

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    Catherine says:

    My feeling is that with the Harper’s voicing their concerns for bullying, the Lib ad becomes more significant. A bully, rather cyber or MSM, is a bully.

    Kids get it.

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    Britgrit says:

    My reaction was, someone’s been watching Australian Labor Party spots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHtUAWFm2sQ

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    Big Bad Jim says:

    Judging politicians by what they say is never a good idea. You judge them by what they DO. Perception is NOT reality, what you don’t know CAN hurt you, and whether Justin is naive or childish doesn’t matter – he is not the right man to lead Canada.

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    Michael Clifton says:

    Visually. Yeah, yeah, he’s good looking. Crap. Hope my wife isn’t watching this! Anyway, the overall visual impact to me? Compellingly straight forward. Not overly corporate, not overly informal. He’s coming across as a guy’s guy (as much as a son of the elite can.) The classroom setting probably triggers a willingness to “listen to teacher”. It is oddly comforting. It is where most of us spent our youth. ‘Course that could also make you want to lob a spit ball, draw a dirty comic with your buddies, or scratch your name in the desk. Tough call.

    Emotionally. Ditto on most of the above. I liked the a-son-but-also-a-father bit. It reminds you that he carries his dad’s influence, but that’s not all he’s about. He’s grown up, as we all do, and had to become his own man. You can’t really be a father without trying to figure out who you are apart from your parents. It’s a signal — yes, we can expect a bit of PET in him (he wants us to feel that), but we can also expect him to be different. We just don’t know, yet, how different.

    What’s it tell me? It tells me he’s being controlled. Not by others, though. I get the sense of a guy who’s got a more than sufficient supply of ego and anger ready to come to the surface, but who’s learned to, or is trying, to control them. I don’t know whether that’s deliberate. I think that’s what the staccato fragmentalism is about. The classroom setting also fits that theme. It’s about control. It’s about the only place (other than prison, maybe) where raging youths sit at desks and almost pay attention.

    I agree it doesn’t really dis the CPC, except maybe to simply dismiss them. I learned that from a wise mentor lawyer — if you answer, you add credibility to the attacker — better just to treat them as irrelevant and get on with the business (argument, position, purpose) at hand.

    And, yeah, I think the Obama comparison is fitting.

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    Eric Weiss says:

    Everybody who spends their time commenting on this website is partisan political weirdo, so you’r not going to get anything other than political weirdo viewpoints.

    I saw it last night with my Wife, who leans left, not overtly political and a teacher. All she could say is, “That’s it?”

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    Michael Clifton says:

    I’ll also add, as an Ontarian, and the husband of a teacher, and having lived through both the Conservative and Liberal Parties’ attacks on teachers and education, it’s compelling to have a potential prime minister who has been a teacher, and isn’t just another corporate lawyer or of some other all too typical stripe. It’s just unfortunate that it doesn’t matter. The provinces control education.

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      billg says:

      I wont go into the “attack” comment cuz that was just silly, but, considering the low esteem most people in Ontario hold teachers right now do you honestly think being a teacher is a plus for JT or a big fat minus. Its Ontario where Mr Trudeau has to make inroads first. And, telling 8 year olds that you cant collect milk or pizza money because your fighting the govt right now will lower your peoples view of you.

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        Cath says:

        Good points billg.

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        Michael Clifton says:

        Not sure what is “silly” about citing attacks on teachers, but if “most people” (really? are most Ontarians that stupid?) hold teachers in low esteem, I suggest that is a result of, not a counterpoint to, the fact of government attacks. Although there are some poor (qualitatively speaking) teachers out there, and the system leaves a variety of important things to be desired, holding the profession generally in low esteem is, to me, just plain ignorant and unworthy of a purportedly intelligent society.

        I agree, however, that touting JT’s teacher status is not likely to be of much help to him. He is likely very proud of the accomplishment, and unaware of how meaningless it can seem to so many.

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    The only thing that sticks out in my mind watching the Conservative commercial is Trudeau saying that Quebecers are best (or something like that).

    The only thing that sticks out in my mind watching the Liberal commercial is that Trudeau fails to address his quote.

    If I’m a Quebecer, I would vote for Trudeau. If I am not, I want to know in what context was he making the Quebecers are best statement.

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      MississaugaPeter says:

      Second look and I realize that his unbuttoned shirt, “man am I gorgeous” (and yes I am jealous) look is seconding the “Chippendale dancer” view of the Conservative ads.

      Second look and all I can think of is this video


      and Justin is just too sexy to my prime minister. But then I am a guy and demographically a minority in this country. If JT succeeds in mobilizing 80% of women voters (I am scared to ask my wife what she thinks) he has a clear path to a majority, no matter what the Conservative ad buy.

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    George says:

    Warren, you hit the nail on the head. My initial impression was “this is pleasant, but what’s the point?”. He looks really young – didn’t care for the the unnatural delivery – and chuckled at the algebra on the chalkboard (wouldn’t Shakespeare quotes have been more apropos?) and the VCR. I doubt it will make much of an impact on the casual observer, but the tone was certainly positive and you can tell it was meant to make people feel good. Unfortunately, this is a blood sport and I think JT will have to get down and dirty if he is to have any chance to win. The Conservatives have more than enough baggage to attack, but the question is how do you do it in 30 seconds in a way that evokes an emotional response with an apathetic public? Cons (of which I used to be a card-carrying member, now I tell their fundraisers to buzz off) brag about having the best financial record in the G7 but when you look at how the quality of the average Canadian’s life has declined in the past 7 years (massive job losses, selling off of our industries to foreign nationals, misuse of government funds, expansion of government (Conservative, my ass), explosion of consumer debt, etc.) there is plenty to attack them with. If anything, timing might be on JT’s side. I have a feeling a lot of Canadians are going to be hit hard in the next 2 years as housing prices tumble. Combine that with fatigue over a non-inspiring, secretive and manipulative government, and if JT plays his cards right….who knows? Unfortunately, I think a lot of people like me (and there are many – politically engaged, disgruntled, socially liberal, fiscally conservative) won’t vote for Harper but will have a hard time voting for JT and will just sit this one out (I spoiled my ballot last time as a form of protest). If Garneau had won, I would seriously be considering voting Liberal.

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    dillon says:

    I liked it until the end when he reverts to a cadyass saying wuth his haughty voice” although I’m a leader’m here to serve. ” Terrible line.

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    m5slib says:

    Maybe I’m reading way too far into this, but the ad suggests a more in it for the long haul approach. It wasn’t a phenomenal spot, but it calls out the cpc ad, and it should be somewhat effective in curtailing their effect because it asks people to question what they’re seeing.

    A super great and effective ad, might just add to the leadership bump, and not create a stable base. An ad like this says I’m here, I’m working, be open to me, and I’ll wow you later. Hopefully.

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      ray says:

      Wow, what a lot of analysis. Why don’t we just realize he’s a good looking guy who can sure take a punch and leave it at that…. for now.

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    Dan says:

    I don’t care for it.
    Why draw attention to the other ad?

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      If it airs in the same time and place as the other ads, then it works, the viewer has probably just watched the other ad, and about 87% of the viewers thought the other ad was worthy of turning off, but were too lazy to reach for the remote. Actually that was pretty clever, provided the direct contrast exists. The other ad is a turn off that works because it does NOT actually get turned off.

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        Cath says:

        except that Trudeau’s language is not clear in the line after he turns off the TV. Something about “we can do better”. Better than what? Trudeau’s the only face on the TV when it’s turned off.

        Agree with WK about his sentence structuring. May be good enough for students in a classroom, but not for those who’ve been to school and don’t want to be lectured by a sage on a stage (or a desk).

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    Initial reaction: Clever to turn off the CPC ad. I do not have context though. IF this ad airs in the same time slots and places as the CPC attack ads, then that alone could be very effective. The ad is kind of wishy washy, but it is a total contrast to the oposition. Joe Sixpack, watching the game and seeing CPC ads that are working but are kind of cheesy and stinky will ‘turn off’ the attack ad too. If he doesn’t his wife will have stronger opinions methinks! That is the dynamic in my household anyway.
    Problem is, Warren has convinced me that the CPC ads will have a cumulative impact that will be pretty visceral and strong. It will cost ten times as much money to build a positive image than it will to tear it down, and guess who has the most money when it comes to a pissing contest?
    Still, Trudeau has had an amazing amount of positive coverage already, so he has a head start in the positive image building department (witness recent polls). IF Trudeau can keep the fundraising ball rolling, generate a whck of coverage of these ads, and fund an ongoing campaign out of the proceeds, maybe the CPC will bow out of this game and try a different tack? It is down to the money race now.
    PS: Justin just won the support of 200,000 teachers, if he didn’t already have it, LOL.

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      Lance says:

      And when did the majority of those 200,000 teachers ever support Harper and not the Liberals or the NDP? It is like saying that Harper better watch out or he may lose Quebec support and thus his majority because most Quebecers don’t vote for him. Neither is telling us something we don’t know and does it change anything.

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        Graham says:

        Ummm, the CPC “lost” Quebec long ago:

        The CPC have 5 seats in Quebec.

        Take away those 5 and the Conservatives still have a majority government.

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          Lance says:

          That should have read “neither is telling us something we don’t know and it DOESN’T change anything.”

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        Bluegreenblogger says:

        Winning votes and winning support are different things. Voters vote for you. Supporters donate, volunteer, and proselytise for you. That is the long game being played right now. This ad does get a nice little added bonus in that department from the teaching profession. I think…lol

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    smelter rat says:

    It is , in all respects, anti-conservative in nature, so by that measure it works for me.

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    Tom says:

    Generally I agree with what was said in the post, but since we’re taking about visual effect, It’s interesting that there’s math on the board. The choice of material seems to be designed to counter the “just a drama teacher” impression.

    I’m not sure if his attire/haircut is a problem. The casual thing has worked for him before. Later, as he did in the Liberal debates, he can show himself more prime ministerial.

    (The last line on the board, while perhaps technically correct, is kind of strangely written).

    But, yeah, will the ad be tough enough? Not likely.

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      Graham says:

      But can Justin solve any of the equasions on the blackboard?

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        Bluegreenblogger says:

        Justin probably knows how to spell equation anyway. Another F grade for you!

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          ray says:

          non non non equasion is French for equation 🙂 zoot alors.

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            Kaspar Juul says:

            No it’s not and you’re a fool

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        Michael says:

        He was a math teacher. I’m sure he’d have no problem solving such “equasions” (sic).

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          Cath says:

          if he was indeed a math teacher, which I don’t believe. He’d likely know the difference between decimal and decibel no?
          Have NEVER read anything indicating that he taught math.

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            Kaspar Juul says:

            Decimal, decibel, it’s a mispronunciation. The fact that you can get over that reveals more about you.

            You’ve never read anything indicating he taught math? Well the math on the blackboard, is more to help achieve the narrative and intent of the message. It also has exposed the strawmn of a response that you’ve provided here.

            Do you really think that the average person is going to say “that Trudeau, fooling is with that math stuff on the blackboard and not indicating whether its in decibels or decimals. I’ll show him with my book learning!

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    I just re-watched with no volume it was not visually compelling. But it was definitely a teacher. The ‘cool’ kind of teacher who was relatively popular in high school. Then I turned the volume again, tried to follow your advice and watch with emotional brain, and re-discovered a personality flaw. I do not seem to be able to turn off the logical brain, lol. No seriously, my second opinion is that Justin is visually, and verbally saying ‘I am a hard working teacher, and I am going to work hard.’ I guess that is the message then. Logical brain says he is defining himself as someone we can all relate to, a hard working teacher. Since the job is presumably to define himself as something other than an inexperienced dilletante, it should do the trick with enough repetition.

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    Ted H says:

    It’s a start, at least he is responding, he has to fine tune his game. The VCR is a comment on the Conservatives, they are Old School.

    Also, it’s about time politicians stopped being walking cliches with that lightly gelled, swoopy old white dude coif, boring suit and tie and saying “obviously” every second word.

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    JB Blauq says:

    My first reaction?

    Comes across like a part time drama teacher / snowboard instructor who thinks he’ll try this “Prime Minister” thingy and see what happens.

    Does not at all come across as someone I’d want sitting at the table representing Canada negotiating with the likes of Putin and Xi Jinping.

    I loathe the NDP and all what they stand for, but I’d sooner see Angry Tom speaking for us than this flyweight.

    my C$.02

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    m5slib says:

    P.s. the visuals in the French ad are much better…

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    Vankleek Hill says:

    Now that he is Liberal leader, he is in a job interview with Canadians for the next election. Can you imagine coming into an interview dressed like that? Put on a tie young man! (Actually he’s pretty much the same age as me, but seems much younger.)

    I agree with your points Warren.

    The Tories are trying to get the idea into our minds that he’s fluff, he’s not executive material. Point proven. Terrible ad.

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    Lawrence Stuart says:

    I like the approach: I’m not a kid in over my head, I’m a father, and a teacher, and so-you-got-a-problem-with-that? It also seems to try and pick up on the ‘I speak for the middle class’ theme that is developing.

    Visually, I liked the classroom setting. Puts Trudeau in the context of his competence. I also liked the informal attire. He looks the anti-Harper — no power suit, cool blue tie, and cast lead hair. Trudeau looks the part of the cool teacher we all wish we’d had: approachable, likeable, somebody you’d want to know. The cool teacher v. the kitten killer.

    I’d also like to note that a I found a link to the ad along with a fundraising pitch in my inbox this morning. Nice touch!

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    CuJoYYC says:

    My wife, the less political one, appreciated the sincerity of the ad. In her words. “I hate that other bullshit. Good leadership is about helping people to be better.”

    “The VCR is a comment on the Conservatives, they are Old School.”
    Interesting take. My take on that was that schools can’t afford LCD or plasma TVs and are still stuck with CRTs from the 90s. A veiled statement of underfunding perhaps or a certain element of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” thrift mentality.

    I liked the change the channel approach and the associated dismissive tone. It’s appropriate vis-a-vis Dear Leader™ and his acolytes. The overall tone is one of familiarity and approachability. We’ve all spent a large portion of our life in a classroom and we all like approachable teachers. It’s not a hard hitting ad but I don’t think it needs to be … yet. If you want to build strength, you take time to build a solid foundation and build steadily upon it.

    Patience is a virtue.

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      Vankleek Hill says:

      We all liked the cool teacher. However, I’m not sure I’d want him negotiating a trade agreement, solving a financial crisis, making decisions about world peace and security.

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        CuJoYYC says:

        Harper and many of his cabal were at U of C when I (and Warren) was there and I can emphatically state that I don’t want Harper negotiating a trade agreement (he sold us out to the Chinese for little in return) especially given his dogmatic worldview based on nothing but his sheltered academic life and being a career politician, solving a financial crisis, aka recession, that he CLAIMED wouldn’t hit Canada when virtually ever WORKING economist said it would, making decisions about world peace – he refuses to look at any peace options for the middle east that don’t belittle the Palestinians and he was in favour of marching in lockstep with Dubya into Iraq based upon known lies, lies stated repeatedly to the international community and revealed as such since then – and security – assuming dealing with security issues means ruling by fear.

        But thank you for repeating your PMO-approved talking points. You earned your Economic Action Plan wings today.

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          Vankleek Hill says:

          I see you’re not answering JT’s call to “work together.”

          The point of the post was what we thought of the ad. Sorry, but I’m not answering your rant about Harper. Besides my coffee break at the PMO is almost over, so I don’t have time.

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    james Smith says:

    You may be right, but I don’t agree with your point on the sound and neither did Marshall McLuhan.

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    pcase22 says:

    Us in the Kinsella tips, here you are:

    1. Visual – holy eyebrows! Big, bushy and very movey. A dull colour pallet. A touch of dish dishevelment. The droopy little Canadian flag is sad looking.

    2. Emotional – found it very flat. It lacks an emotive trigger.

    3. Key message – Justin = positive. This does not jive with most folks political calculus. Could seem like a callous angle. Have to earn it, a la Jack over 6 long years.

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    Lord Kitchener says:

    JT and the Libs failed to hit this one home. Also, they are setting a bad precedent of responding to the Tory’s, instead of creating and owning the message. Ad is far too SANCTIMONIOUS. Is this sissy really the guy we want leading our country?

    He says he has worked hard and gained confidence, but w/o anything substantive to back that up it just comes off as partisan rhetoric that an independent/swing voter sees through. when you put “working hard” vs. Conservatives record of strongest job creation rate in G7…”working hard” comes off as amateurish and patronizing…working hard having one of the worst attendance records in the H of C?

    Yea, and what is up with that staccato delivery. It reminds me of that tweaker Papa John “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Papa Johns”

    JT needs the DAISY GROUP

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    patrick says:

    If this is the first of a series, this is an introduction. And it’s a good one since he can start defining how his history has prepared him for government. He does look young. And the opening with “Canada deserves better” and relating it to the attack ad is the best sleigh of hand since it will automatically spin to the entire con government and marginalize every further con ad.
    And isn’t that the entire point of the ad – “Canada deserves better”?

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    Graham says:

    Ha! You noticed the old VCR too.

    I’m sure that was Justin’s subliminal messaging our schools are under funded. YEAH RIGHT! He ain’t that smart.

    I’ll vote Liberal if Justin can solve even ONE of the math equasions on the blackboard behind him.

    Seriously though, it really isn’t very good. It looks like it was prepared by the a/v club from the high school where he was a drama teacher.

    It, like his leadership campaign, says nothing.

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    WDM says:

    I think the Liberals should stay positive, but this ad fell flat for me. No particular reason why, but it just seems to be missing something.

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    David Paterson says:

    I like it. He is attempting to change the tone. I am sick of the other.

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      smelter rat says:


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    Michael Bussiere says:

    Actually, the VCR is clever for two reasons. The medium is out of date, as is the conservative message. It is also quite common to find VCRs in most schools and classrooms. Again out of date and underfunded. And he shuts off the Con ad.

    He also has the guts to place himself in the ad, something both Mulcair and Harper would not dare do. And the message is positive positive, so he’s consistent. Sure he looks young, but what is he supposed to do? Grey his hair? Everybody looks young on TV these days. He also looks natural, comfortable, at ease in front of the camera (something Harper the Funeral Director has never achieved), and I agree with most of the (entirely, it seems) dudes who comment here…..women are going to melt! And the under 40s are going to think he’s the coolest guy they ever saw (which he is). Final comment re: the wardrobe. He’s a Montrealer, he dresses like one, and that’s cool in a country where gortex has become the norm.

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    Ridiculosity says:

    Unmitigated crap. Wasted air time. I want the money I donated to put this on air back.

    99.9% of the folks who will eventually see this ad have NO idea that the footage in the original derisive Conservative ad of Justin removing his shirt was taken from his “volunteer” appearance at a fundraiser for the Canadian Liver Foundation. Would have made a significantly greater impact if the LPC had spent the time (and money) explaining THAT to Canadians instead. (Gosh, the next Prime Minister actually cares about people? Haven’t seen that since 2006.) Bottom line? People vote with their heart – not their head.

    I suggest they hit rewind on the old VCR and try again.

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    Graham says:

    The point about watching with the sound off is a very good one.

    With the Conservative ads, they put Trudeau’s statements into words flashed across the TV screen so even with the sound down you know exactly what the ad is about.

    I watched this Liberal ad with the sound off and have no idea what the message is.

    Of course, I’m not really sure of the message after watching with the sound up either.

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    !o! says:

    It’s relaxing. It depends on a couple things– that people want something to believe in, and that people, at some level, are already fed up with politics-as-they-are. In that area it succeeds.

    I feel that there is a certain fatalism in peoples’ mood right now– they know shit is bad, they believe it’s going to get worse, and they feel more or less powerless to deal with it. Switching off the tv, and the fact that the only background sound was on the tv– was very clever. It implies you can just turn the page on ‘all that’.

    The classroom setting I found really well chosen. It’s evocative of a time without cynicism.

    It’s no daisy though, and I didn’t love the delivery either– it’ll improve with time I think.

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    frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    I know he was going for the “hip teacher” look….with open collar and sans tie, but how many grade school teachers do you see these days wearing a suit……better a sweater, shirt, tie, jeans/dress slacks combination… but if M. Trudeau really wants to be taken more seriously, until he is more established in Canadians minds, he shouldnt be seen out of a suit and nicely knotted tie for quite a while yet…..

    As well, did he really say he was “gonna” work hard?…..I know the erudite Iggy used to drop his g’s all the time…..and it used to drive me crazy……because I knew that wasnt his normal pattern of speech……and by somehow trying to relate to us plebes came across as, well, phoney……

    Same with M. Trudeau….. Did you ever hear PET say he was “gonna” do something?….I think not…..

    I agree with Mr. Kinsella that the cadence of his speech was a little off putting…..slowed down would come across as more statesman like……

    I know these are niggling points compared to some of the deeper analysises above…..but that was my first gut reaction……when people see/hear you for the first time, you are being judged in seven seconds…..and you’d better get it right…….

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      Mike McCourt says:

      yes! go with “slacks” …

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    deb s says:

    It would be easy for the JT campaign to put a similar styled ad ala Harper con style. We could have sinister music, with voldemort in the back ground doing robotic evil things. While sinister lettering appeared on the screen saying all the horrible things harper did to this country in the last decade. It would be easy…but then the folks would think they are voting for more of the same BS.
    JT had to distinguish himself, and separate himself from old tired political wrangling. I think the VCR was great…showing the cons are old and out of date ( while many of you have also mentioned the lack of school funding…killing two birds with one stone)I liked that he dismissed the negative con ad by turning off the tv.
    He didnt dress in a 3 piece suit, to look the part of a fake politician…kudos.
    Really his integrity and his honesty are what he is trying to convey…awesome!
    and if people are worried that he cant fight or be strong…well this is the guy who stood up and threw the F bomb over an issue in the house…he has passion…so yeah I think he will fight for canadians. His looks help sell the charm but I doubt thats all he has to give.
    I like what he was doing…im sure it could have been done even better but its a refreshing start.
    I give the ad a B.

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    Rene Gauthier says:

    There are two intents in the ad. The first seems to be to provide a contrast in styles. The second is to introduce Justin Trudeau.
    There is a subtle attack within the spot that is being made on politics and the way it’s being played right now.

    The typical Conservative attack is on the “Liberal Elite” and Justin without the tie is actually a counterattack on the meme itself.
    The changing of the channel is symbolic, stating the need to have a proper debate on what direction this country is headed and where it should go.

    Finally, there’s a truly personal touch being made by JT in approaching us, rather than PMSH hiding behind his attack ad.

    This is actually a first step and I’m sure we’ll see something more as time progresses. The most significant achievement here is that there is indeed a response. I understand that this wasn’t what you were looking for, Warren, but attacking from the get-go is not the right way to go either…

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      !o! says:

      Nice point about the Elite, and the fact that it is an attack ad at a subconscious, semantic level.

      Does it work though for the political unsavvy with the same impact as the savvy? I would argue it does.

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    Brian Mouland says:

    To sum it up in one word, underwhelming

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      Kaspar Juul says:

      Ha ha your twitter account is hilarious Brian

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    Eric Weiss says:

    (4x+6)(x+2) = 4x^2 + 8x + 6x + 12 = 4x^2 + 14x + 12 and NOT 8x

    He’s clearly not ready to lead the country…..

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      Lance says:

      LOL I didn’t even think about that!

      That better be correct mathematics work up there on that board because if it is not then the Cons are going to have an absolute field day.

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        Cath says:

        Too late Lance. It’s been caught and is taking off. It doesn’t appear that whoever set up the clip bothered to check if the math on the frame-up was actually correct.
        Kind of reminds me of the ad or interview (can’t recall which it was) that Dion did with the spine of a book clearly visible in the shot that wasn’t complementary either.
        I’d really be worried if a teacher put that equation up there.

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      PP says:

      @ Eric Weiss: Your comment is incorrect because there is no “=” (i.e. equals) sign after (4x+)(x+2) unless my eyes are deceiving me. If you want to quibble, then it should have been with the last line 4×2=8x. However, as someone who has written countless times on boards, I took it that the writer might simply have meant to illustrate the result of multiplying 4x with 2. Without having been in the class, it would not be possible to know the intention of the writer. I do not know if JT is ready to lead the country but you might need some reading glasses, or at least, to try to view this through less partisan glasses.

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        Cath says:

        it was a dumb and unnecessary prop.

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        Eric Weiss says:

        Or you just need a better sarcasm detector. 😉

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    markalfred says:

    It’s successful. It avoids policy, and sticks with the “I’m a nicer guy than Harper” theme. So, voters can choose someone who will implement basically the same policies as the Conservatives, but with the promotional tone of cooperation and change, rather than with the Conservative’s promotional tones of patriotism and law and order. The Liberals are hoping this will be the ticket to victory.

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    Steve May says:

    Reminded me of this http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1988/counterpunch – didn’t work for Gov. Dukakis either.

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      !o! says:

      I didn’t like the Dukakis ad– felt like I was being overwhelmed with info.

      Oddly I didn’t get the impression with the Kennedy piece, which was similarly info heavy: http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1960

      The cuts to Nixon looking away were brilliant though

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    Edward E says:

    A couple of flaws….. the first he says “I’m proud to be a teacher.” However in 2002, are only teaching for 2 years he left B.C. and returned to Quebec where he enrolled at the University of Montreal Ecole Polytechnique for a total career change, to be a engineer.

    IOW, he abandoned teaching for engineering. Surely that suggest he abandoned his previous education and work to seek a completely different profession. Somebody must ask him why he quit teaching and then quit his engineering education after only 2 years.

    The second flaw is in the algebraic equations which I assume he put up on the board. The first three are sort of okay, but the last two are not factored properly and are nonsense. Perhaps Justin has some explaining to do.

    Justin’s ad is more of a “defense” ad, while Harper’s ads are outright attack ads. In politics when you are on the defense, you are losing.

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    EB says:


    I really would like to know who this ad is directed at before forming an opinion. If it is all us old farts who have partisan steam coming from our ears all the time, the ad is clearly not going to have an effect. However, if he is speaking to the ‘disaffected’ younger demographic that we hear so often has just stopped voting (20 to 35 age range?) this ad just might be effective.

    Nothing he can say or do is going to change partisan minds. But, if he can connect with people who have given up, this could be seen as a breath of fresh air in comparison to the usual crap.

    I think the ad has the potential to be a real winner…

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    Edward E says:

    I guess the question is: is Canada ready for a prime minister Justin Trudeau, or is he just a handsome man in over his head? He is declaring, pleading, hoping for a “positive liberalism” but where’s the policy, where is the experience, where is the beef?

    I think Canada needs a PM-ready Liberal leader, not a Liberal leader-in-training. Justin looks and sounds good but does he have the right stuff?

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      Ted H says:

      Really, how experienced was Stephen Harper? He worked as a party apparachik most of the time, never out in the real world, except for a stint in the Imperial Oil mailroom. Sure he was elected MP but so was Justin Trudeau. Everyone who becomes PM does so for the first time and gains on the job experience.

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        Edward E says:

        Harper had a lot of experience as a policy wonk for the Reform party and was considered influential in policy matters before he ran for office.

        Justin quit his re-education track and and jumping into politics and then won big in Papineau riding most likely due to his surname and hard work. As the CPC attack ad points out, Justin had one of the worst attendance record; likely because of his busy moonlighting speech appearance and then campaigning covertly to be the next Liberal leaders.

        Justin is a likable man, but as a politician he comes off like a slick actor on stage delivering his lines with conviction and passion that only a trained actor can do. Harper comes off as plain and droll, but that’s what a majority of voting Canadians preferred over Martin, Dion and Ignatieff.

        If the Liberal party people believe Justin is their best attack card, then they are exposing him to more attacks, which I think is not a good strategy. Perhaps this Liberal ad was aimed at their core supporters and in token response to the CPC attack ads.

        I also suspect the CPC put out that preemptive attack ad against Bob Rae because they feared him more than anybody else in the Liberal party.

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    JF says:

    I like it. Is it full of soaring rhetoric? No, but it doesn’t have to be.

    As a direct response to the Tory ad it was pretty good. The Tory ad seeks to mock his background, to make him a joke, to make him appear to not be a serious candidate. He literally turns off the tory ad (thereby inviting the viewer to do same mentally), the classroom setting embraces his former occupation as a teacher (nice touch with the math) which I think is fine since I think (and I believe most Canadians think) that Teaching is a noble profession, he gives an introduction to himself that frames him as a normal guy (so it speaks out against any attempt to portray him as some manner of unrelatable “other”), and he looks and sounds serious (as opposed to playful or whatever). The tone and message contrast nicely with the Tory ad and maintains (for now) the positive image he wants to project in the early days of his tenure.

    As a counter-ad it works fine. The important thing is that unlike prior leaders Team Trudeau isn’t surrendering the airwaves.

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    George says:

    Gee Mr.Nixon ,could you not have shaved before you filmed this ?

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    JF says:

    Forgive the double post but something I saw someone else mention elsewhere… Tories running ads, Liberals running counter-ads… where does that leave the NDP? Squeezed out? Forced to run ads just for the profile boost? Have to think that an added bonus of the ad/counter-ad is that it presents the choice as a two horse race and one of the horses ain’t the NDP.

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      Michael S says:

      NDP WHO?

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    Darwin O'Connor says:

    “Watch it with the sound off.” Back before I got my PVR fully functional once in a while I would watch an ad and be surprised because I had heard the ad’s sound many times before, but I had never actually paid attention to the video because I was doing something during the commercials. Who knows how many ads I heard but never saw.

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    Brucethepainter says:

    Pierre would be proud. I am too. The conservatives are really stressing how “not worried” they are. Me thinks he doth protest too much.

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    steve w says:

    I liked it. It is respectful and adult in its presentation and nature. So unlike the foolish, frat-boy shite we have been inundated with courtesy of Harper Inc. It motivated me to donate 50 bucks, so there you go. First mission accomplished LPoC!

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    Emma says:

    I liked it – I contributed! Hopefully it is one of many with each successive one building on the other.

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    kre8tv says:

    The one thing it wants to tell you is revealed at the start when he switches off the Con attack ad: “never mind the bollocks.”

    It’s not a great ad. Not a bad one, either. But at least it’s a start.

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    kre8tv says:

    Um. I can say bollocks here, right?

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    Brammer says:

    Key message right off the bat: Let’s change the channel.

    Works for me.

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    Massimo Savino says:

    Tried it your way first, then with the sound on. Neutral in the first runthrough, but that improved with the sound. He’s clearly going for an Obama ’08-style campaign tone, and he’s positioning for the youth and politics-ignoring crowds.

    The ad itself appears to be taking a long-road approach, but the only way that will happen is if there are more of these to come – one of the reasons Mulcair’s introduction ad failed was because they didn’t seem to have any others that continued the theme.

    I’d agree with others here: It’s not perfect, or great, but it’s pretty solid as a start. That may be more important in the long run than perfect fresh out of the gate – if it continues on this vein.

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    Mike McCourt says:

    To Sir With Love

    Dear Mr Trudeau, I understand that you went to an elite private school, were a part-time drama teacher at an elite private school, can afford $1500 suits now that you can charge five figure fees to speak at schools, and you believe it is your personal burden to educate and civilize the barbarians that dwell in the Western Lands; please understand that those of us that only had a public school education now realize we were like kids caught between quarrelling, often deranged parents – the privatization right squeezing every dime and the continual work-to-rule left going through the motions – in short, our education was substandard at best.

    Further, while academia is supposedly a reward in and of itself, we were chagrined to discover that we will soon need a master’s degree to work at Starbucks (a window of opportunity that temporary foreign workers will soon fill); this seems yet another covert tax, not only on money but on precious time. Hence many of us went to work the shit rigs in the oil patch or took up plumbing or taught ourselves IT stuff like Gates or Jobs. And in that vein, had your classroom ad being more like the Khan Academia, it would be more believable than the retro-classroom circa 1978.

    We applaud your declaration that you are a son; that puts you among almost fifty percent of the population. Also, we applaud that you are a father; that puts you in about forty percent of the population. I for one will sleep better knowing you have male genitalia.

    Your ad failed to address the charge that you are a Quebec supremacist? While in Cuba or North Korea the leader has the option of simply turning off the opposition, people in a free society might be interested, however puerile – but after all, those long years of Liberal imposed austerity weren’t conducive to the development of large intellectual class were they? It also failed to address why, regardless of motive, a married man and father of two is behaving like a gigolo? We realize you feel us Westerners old fashioned but is this really the brave, new Liberal world – your party’s notions of state managed brothels follow a certain login now. Shake it for money, strip down for the party. Yes, that is the logic isn’t it?

    In conclusion to my detention essay, I feel your ad campaign needs serious work. If you really want to win us over, you’ll have to come down to our level, slum it, understand who we are, why we are the way we are. For us, school is out.

    Western Truants

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    Marc J says:

    My two cents worth. This was refreshing. There will be time to call the Con’s record into question. Although, I agree it wasn’t a great ad but it wasn’t a bad start either.

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    Skinny Dipper says:

    Mr. Trudeau is using the Eminem “8 Mile” strategy of taking weaknesses perceived by the Conservatives and making them into strengths. For example, the Conservatives perceive Mr. Trudeau being a former drama teacher as a weakness; Mr. Trudeau uses a classroom visual to make it into a strength.

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