03.31.2015 07:39 AM

Liberals, leaders, lackluster-ness

From that Ivison column Grits are passing around:

Those are all direct quotes.

Now, blinders-wearing Grits will attack John’s opinion column, natch. But having been an aspiring columnist for some time, I can say that John is merely doing what a columnist is supposed to do – being skeptical, being tough on all sides, being anything but predictable.  That’s the job.

And, by the by, he’s right about quite a few things.  The verbal missteps; the vicious expulsion of Liberal Senators; the diktats about how candidates and MPs should think; the confusing and calamitous decisions on ISIS and C-51; the farce that is the “open nominations” promise: it goes on and on, unfortunately.

Does Trudeau need to make some staff changes before the election? I’ve thought that for some time.  Does he need to get some policy in the window, given the suspicion that voters have about his intellect? For sure.  Does he need to stop trying to tell jokes, and look and sound more Prime Ministerial? Yes, yes and yes.  All that.

I still believe he can become Prime Minister, short or long term.  I still believe he has done extraordinary things for the Liberal Party’s organizational and fundraising strength.  I still believe that most Canadians self-identify as Liberal or liberal.

But Justin Trudeau is now slipping downward towards the twenties, and that’s Ignatieff and Dion territory.  And we all know how that turned out.

Smarten up, Justin.  You only get one chance to make a first impression.

35 Comments

  1. Old SteveH says:

    This is a problem. I see the Libs as generally more fit to govern than NDP due to being in the political center. But Tom Mulcair has stepped up his game considerably. If Tom was leader of the LPC this election would already be over. A split vote is not going to displace the Cons. At least not easily.

    • Priyesh says:

      It’s worrying that the NDP has shown more leadership than Trudeau since becoming leader.

      I actually think Justin has handled the potential scandals well. The Senators, the Sexual Harassment… They could have been much worse had he not held anyone responsible.

      But I’m disappointed that Justin hasn’t been an articulate voice of opposition. On Keystone and Bill C-51 especially. You get the feeling that the Liberal operatives thought they could adopt some Conservative positions and wait for Harper to implode.

  2. gyor says:

    Justin is trying to be on both sides with Bill C-51 and ISIS and it will end with both Harper and Mulcair eating Trudeau’s lunch.

    • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      Justin`s “mushy middle” is WAY too mushy. I am getting the idea that even he doesn`t really believe in what he is saying. Frustrating as hell.

  3. reader says:

    Wow, *every* nomination is being unduly managed? Given the number of number of contested nominations, the number of people voting in them – substantially more than any other party – and all the effort being put into fundraising and the ground game, that would be quite something. Just in the Brampton nomination coming up soon, there are over 10,000 eligible voters.

    Even in unheld ridings in Quebec, the LPC is often pulling over 1000 nomination votes. Meanwhile the popular-in-Quebec NDP has only double digits in some unheld ridings, more typically a few hundred.

    All in all, a whole lot to manage in “every” or even most nomination races and that would be quite something.

    On policy, the LPC has already stated parts of their election platform on CPP/income splitting/C51 amendments/repealing Fair Elxn Act/tax credit for labour-sponsored funds/legalize marijuana/CBC funding/Senate appts/changes re AIA/etc as well as some insights into the bigger things like setting emissions standards federally but letting provinces determine carbon pricing mechanism. I’m not convinced they should do more on policy release than to continue announcing specific but small cost policies and general terms for the big things.

    Still, I do agree the LPC’s overall messaging and strategy needs a rethink given the big hit they’ve taken on security and foreign policy issues since October 2014.

  4. Lance says:

    You only get one chance to make a first impression.

    Not Justin Trudeau. He’s been given several chances at a first impression already and will have several more chances yet of making a first impression. But he keeps giving the same impression, so in the end, it won’t really matter.

  5. ajay kumar says:

    this is just ONE poll, and one the day it came out, another poll showed a tie. But this is the National Post. trudeau could be at 50% , and national post would have us believe that trudeau is too divisive because he only has the support of 1/2 of the voters.

    • Matt says:

      It is the TREND the Liberals should be worried about.

      Six or seven months ago ALL polls showed the Liberals with a huge lead, anywhere from 9 to 12 points.

      Now, ALL those same pollsters are showing a slight Conservative lead outside the margin of error, or a statistical tie – a lead for either the CPC or Liberals within the margin of error.

  6. Paul Brennan says:

    Geez .. I just dont see angry Tom as an option …he is always so mad…

    • Nick says:

      And you aren’t? Anger is the only rational response – we should all be angry.

      • cynical says:

        Dinner table quote (in a diverse group of people, several of whom would vote Liberal or Progressive Conservative); “Sometimes it seems that Mulcair is the only adult in the room.”, in this case referring to the childish response of the PM to Mulcair’s question last week. Party aside, I’d be happy to vote for him. I’m in the ABH group, though, so Trudeau has a long way to go to lose the ABH vote. I think we’re the equivalent to the Harper’s “core” in terms of our willingness to subject ourselves to confirmation bias.

  7. Nicole says:

    I don’t think the open nominations issue is something the average voter cares about either way. His polling numbers didn’t go down for that. It’s the security issue following the Ottawa attack and then ISIS ramping up along with Harper continually playing of the public’s fear of being attacked at home that have affected the numbers. When dealing with “bad guys” you want a mean jerk to deal with them and Harper fits the bill. This helps angry Tom too. Unfortunately, Trudeau is trying to have it both ways and this wishywashiness goes to the core of the main concern people have about Trudeau. Nuance doesn’t work well with the general public, especially not when they have been “attacked” on home turf.

    • cgh says:

      The average voter may not much care, but the average riding association does. And they’re the ones who help supply volunteers for canvassing and getting out the vote.

      • Matt says:

        Have to agree.

        Plus, let’s not forget Trudeau accepting Eve Adams with open arms. Pissed lots of Liberals off with that one.

  8. Greg Vezina says:

    Justin is taking the Liberal party back to where it belongs, third place bordering on fourth behind the Green party. Why, because the brain trust that controls him has taken party members and supporters for granted for a generation or more. These are the same people that allowed Harper to gain a majority and absolute power rather than make any compromises to co-operate with the NDP on real electoral reform or co-operation to give Canadians any of the tools of direct democracy such as referendum and recall laws that voters in BC have and have used successfully. Why should anyone vote Liberal to get Harper light. At least we know what the real thing is when looking at Harper, whereas when looking at Trudeau and Liberal party voters don’t have a clue of what they will get, except the fear that it will be worse that what we have, if that is even possible. Good by Liberals, Kathleen Wynne’s version of doing politics differently will finish you off for good.

  9. ian turnbull says:

    I commented this a while ago on this site and I will mention it again. I still think that If the election turns into an “anti Harper” election those votes will end up falling into Mulcair’s lap not Trudeau’s. My theory is people who are anti Harper are typically angry. To me, Mulcair appeals to people who are angry, Trudeau doesn’t.

    • edward nuff says:

      It’s been said “Never replace what you’ve got until what you’ve got has been replaced.” I’ve decided. Mulcair is the “Replacer” or as W might have mangled it “the Replacerator.”

  10. westerndefector says:

    Although I am an old school PC, Warren gets it right again. (right, not left). When I showed my Lib leaning wife the artwork, she just put her hands over her eyes and shook her head. She wants to have faith in Justin, but he make it it so hard. It’s like he’s being advised by a bunch of butts. (oops, he is).

    • edward nuff says:

      but isn’t the butt in the eye of the holder. Sorry;-)

      • westerndefector says:

        It is. But(t) that depends on far up the butt you are willing put your head. I will say this. After seeing the Daupin’s “art”, I have great hopes for my toddler.

  11. Jon Powers says:

    Fire Gerald Butts. Problem solved.

  12. DonW says:

    Am voting in my riding for the Liberal nomination, but if Justin et al keep floundering and not putting any policy in the display window…..Mr. Kinsella, you hit the nail on the head, even if I don’t share your views on C-51. With each blooper, Mulcair looks better, and Harper smiles like Alice’s Cheshire cat.

  13. King Prick says:

    Justin isn’t charismatic enough. He speaks like he’s teaching a nursery school. I wanted him to be good but he lacks passion. His delivery is atrocious. He’s just not compelling. He will be the third disaster as leader. Dion, was the right man. Bob Rae, should have been the right choice after Ignatieff. I’m not interested in name calling but as far as Justin goes… He may have beat Patrick Brazeau in a boxing match but the truth is, he comes off as a pussy.

    I work in construction. I’ve voted Liberal when there was strength of leadership. Chretien, Trudeau, even Martin but right now, it’s all Mulcair. He’s a Liberal running the NDP which is better than the progressive conservatives running the Liberal party.

    Justin wants to be authentic. It’s obvious. Most of us would rather have a guy that’s authentic in his private life but a shark in business and politics.

    Justin Trudeau is beige politics. No colour. No flare. Just blech.

  14. Africon says:

    One of the biggest problems, as I see it, in the current PMO is that now too many apprear to be young, inexperienced, ham fisted and incapable of allowing let alone considering any alternative views let alone opposing views to THE group think view.
    It looks to me that some of this lack of internal debate and experience is also handicapping JT’s team and likely Mulcairs if it is anything like a Union meeting um “discussion”..

    Free speech is fundamental to a successful society (and a blog) and when it is eroded at the highest levels, it is bad for everyone.

    When bullying, verbal abuse, personal attacks or mocking of alternate viewpoints whether in a party, HOC, or a school or college setting, a bureaucracy like the Ombudsman, in the press etc, we are all the losers.
    It is the exact opposite of being a “Canadian” really is.

    The “art of debate” should be a required course for every school and college course – nothing else would better prepare our youth for life in the real world ie in ANY job setting.

    • Patrice Boivin says:

      that and auto mechanics. I really wish I had had the option of learning how to fix my car and only have to pay for parts.
      oh and how to be financially successful. Unfortunately most teachers are middle class, they don’t know how to be financially successful either.

      I wonder how Justin Trudeau is balancing his own opinions with those of his advisors, whoever they are. I also wish they would stop sending me spam, I haven’t given the LPC a penny (sorry I”m old, a nickel, pennies no longer exist because our dollar is so devalued). They also don’t reply to e-mails and I am receiving e-mails supposedly written by a lot of different people but I suspect the same crew of clerks are writing them all. Oh and Tom Mulcair should stop sending me spam as well (please).

      I have a laundry list of things that need to be fixed in our current laws, unfortunately 6/10 Canadians don’t care about politics or have no confidence that their opinion would ever be listened to.

  15. Michael says:

    Offering to bring in 25,000 refugees from terrorist-infested Syria cannot help his campaign either.

    I wonder how Trudeau is going to attempt to appeal to the middle class. The Ontario Liberals claim to be a proponent for the middle class, but they have raised taxes on all Ontarians several times. We’ll see if Wynne/Sousa bring in a carbon tax in the budget.

  16. Torontonian says:

    Someday fairly soon, when the obituary for the LPC is written, the 2006 convention is going to be seen as the key turning point. The Liberals had a chance to pick an effective politician who could have stood up to Harper (and proved it when he finally got to lead the party in Parliament) and they blew it.

    The Libs keep desperately looking for a new Trudeau, as though that’s all it will take to solve their problems; in their own special ways, that’s what Dion, Ignatieff and Justin were all supposed to be. It’s a futile endeavour.
    .

    • Matt says:

      Wasn’t 2006 supposed to be Ignatieff’s coronation as Liberal leader until a certain Gerrard Kennedy stepped in to thrust Stephane Dion on the Liberals?

      You got Iggy in 2008 in a one man race.

      It did not end well as I recall.

  17. Bill says:

    Another four years of Harper I guess.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  18. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    I was a strong Ignatieff supporter. While others argued against it, I was all for ditching Michael’s staff to save the good ship Ignatieff. In short, you and others were right and I was wrong. We saw a staffing problem but it really was a Michael problem. Unfortunately, the more people got to know Michael and his evident intellect, the less it appealed to them.

    Justin’s problem is that he isn’t an intellectual with an impressive background. The bar is much lower for him. It really isn’t a Butts, Reporter or Telford problem. It’s a Justin problem. He needs to mature as a leader and become far more thoughtful before speaking on issues of the day. He can’t be prime minister without first being prime ministerial. Lots of work ahead for him.

    • Warren says:

      Really? Seriously?

      So you don’t think a reporter or two will ask him: “Justin, we’ve been told by Liberals you expelled Liberal Senators because you knew what was coming in this audit – not because you wanted to make the Senate more ‘non-partisan,’ as you claimed. Isn’t it true that Liberal Senators still attend party events and fundraisers? Why not stop that, too?”

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