07.23.2018 07:45 AM

Column: the Trudeau “movement”

Anyone seen the Liberal Party of Canada, lately?

It was here just a minute ago. You know: one of the most successful political parties in Western democracy. Charter of Rights, bilingualism, multiculturalism, keeping the country together: all that stuff, and more. Did well. Won elections, did good deeds.

But, lately, the Liberal Party has ceased to be a “party.” It has now become a “movement.”

It’s true. That’s what senior, senior Grit operatives have been saying for a while. The Liberals are a “movement,” now, and not merely a political party anymore.

These apparatchiks – and, we are reliably told, the Prime Minister of Canada himself – have taken to disparaging the “party” designation. They are a “movement,” now.

The Oxford folks define “movement” as “a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas.” But they’re missing something, with that. It’s too vanilla.

When you are part of a “movement,” you have a higher purpose. Your eyes shine with a transcendent zeal, and you believe you answer to a higher authority.

The higher authority, in this case, is Justin Trudeau.

Those around Justin Trudeau – and what an insular, tightly-knit little group they are! – actually refer to themselves, in private conversation, as a “movement,” now. Justin Trudeau’s.

He was the one who vaulted the Liberals from third place to first, his acolytes say. He was the one, alone, who returned them to the glories of majority rule. He was the one who – upon alighting upon the leadership stage – ushered in a bit of Trudeaumania Redux.

And it is true, he did those things. He did.

And, to give Justin Trudeau his due, too, he hasn’t wrecked the country. Notwithstanding the Indian Imbroglio and Grope-Gate – notwithstanding the lack of any significant legislative achievement – he is still standing. He’s alive, still.

Last week, he presided over a not-bad cabinet shuffle: demoting the singularly inept Melanie Joly; promoting capable stars like Pablo Rodriguez and François-Philippe Champagne; and handing the much-liked Dominic LeBlanc the task of calming the provincial waters – and, while no one was looking, taking Northern Affairs away from Carolyn Bennett and putting LeBlanc in charge. It was a good shuffle.
But Trudeau’s essential problem remains. Because his government is a “movement,” now – and not a political party, per se – Justin Trudeau is the one and only face we associate with it. He is his movement’s brand.

So, when he stumbles – as he indisputably has, in recent weeks, with the groping scandal – there is no one to step up and help absorb some of the body blows. There is no one else to help play defence.

Brian Mulroney had Don Mazankowski and Michael Wilson to watch his back. Jean Chretien had Herb Gray and Sheila Copps and others. Stephen Harper had John Baird and Jim Flaherty.

Justin Trudeau has no one.

Gerald Butts’ ridiculous tweets about the “alt-Right” only make things worse. Because, all evidence to the contrary, Justin Trudeau is indeed human. He pulls on his pants one leg at a time. He brushes his own teeth. He ties his own shoe laces. He makes mistakes.

Paradoxically, Trudeau’s strength has become his weakness. With charm, likeability and an impressive jawline, he lifted Liberals out of the ignominy of third place in 2015. But, somewhere along the way, he neglected to remember the one unalterable political truth: sooner or later, the ones who loved you come to hate you. Sooner or later, they get sick of your face – no matter how handsome that face may be.

He may still recover from all this, of course, mainly because he is lucky. On the world stage, he cannot help but look good when his main antagonist is Donald Trump. In the House of Commons, his principal opponents are a dud and a disappointment (and we don’t even need to identify which is which – you already know).

At the provincial level, he is increasingly surrounded by conservative Premiers – which makes his re-election more likely among the many (many) Canadians who hedge their bets at the ballot box, and who desire partisan balance.

In the end, Justin Trudeau has become, in Trumpian terms, big. His is the biggest name in Canadian politics. He is big, big, big.

But you know what they say about how the big ones: they fall hard.

Movement or not.


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    Peter says:

    Once again he tries to persuade us he’s like his father, only to remind us of his mother. If he really is “the biggest name in Canadian politics”, that may be more a comment on his competition than on him.

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      Walter says:

      I was going to say “that may be more a comment on his colleagues than on him”.

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    Matt says:

    Oh, they’re a movement alright.

    A bowel movement.

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    Bill H says:

    Warren calls it a movement, I’d say it’s closer to a cult. One leader with a small group of hardline enablers behind him (Gerald Butts and crew) and a devoted fanbase. The Guru (Justin Trudeau – remember India) can do no wrong. The female fanbase (lots of men too) gladly allow the Guru to Grope with immunity, but would lambast any other mere mortal for doing likewise – remember Metoo! In fact, the Guru himself, the great feminist of our time, fired and banished his own members from the cult for less. Ultimately, most if not all supreme leaders meet their match and fall from grace – the history books are full of them. (Kool-aid anyone?) Trudeau will fall, and hard. He’s too much of a narcissist not to. When the fall comes, and Trudeau takes his cult into oblivion (sitting beside Elizabeth May) the world will be a better place. Perhaps then, we get on running a country and not a kindergarten for SJW. What will happen to Gerald Butts? The Ontario Liberals must be looking for a new chief of staff – think they’d take him back?

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      Bill H says:

      Meanwhile, until the great Feminist and Groper has exited stage left, from his adoring audience; those of us who don’t faun after him and dote on his every utterance, will have to contend with being branded by Mr. Sunny Ways and Gerald Butts as the following:

      A Fear monger
      And any other phobic that may come up in the liberal lexicon?

      Let’s Brand Justin Trudeau as the worst steward of all time, of our hard earned tax dollars, void of any ethics and a total Hypocritical Groper.

      “Sunny Ways my friend, Sunny Ways”

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    Robert White says:

    Trudeau is a good fighter that knows how to take a hit and dish out recompense in battle just as his father did. Underestimate him at your peril, Alt Right.

    P.S. Condolences for the Danforth neighbourhood & folks of Toronto. Hog Town is home to moi.


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      Bill H says:

      “Alt-Right” Robert White? Why are you calling anyone alt-right – what happened to sunny ways? Does “Deplorable’s” ring a bell to you? You just proved my point – thank you!

      We did see Mr. Trudeau dish out his smarmy ways and on again off again apologies to his female groping victim. Very feminist of him! That will be a “knock out” come 2019.

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        Robert White says:

        I support anything but the Alt.Right in terms of politics. The Alt.Right is racist & bigoted beyond comprehension. Orange Jesus Cheeto-head-in-Cheese is just another Fascist mofo unworthy of any sort of base.

        Fascists in the Alt.Right will eventually hang Trump by his ankles just as they did to Mussolini. Trudeau is not a Fascist.

        Scheer will underwhelm the masses en masse in 2019. Trudeau has the second term even if he sleepwalks. Scheer is toast before the game even started.


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          Bill H says:

          Let me be clear, Robert White. Are you suggesting all conservative are all alt-right? If you are, then that’s just plain silly. Are all liberals snow flakes and tree huggers?

          Trudeau (Gerald Butts) will defeat himself, and he’s well on his way to accomplishing this. Trudeau is losing respect from within the party/cult/movement. He’s losing support in every province, including Quebec. His hypocrisy, pipeline, NAFTA, deficits, buffoonery and carbon tax will ensure his defeat. His buffoonery would be enough on its own.

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          Fred from BC says:

          “The Alt.Right is racist & bigoted beyond comprehension.”

          And tiny. Don’t forget tiny.

          The real ‘alt-right’ is even smaller than the Green Party.

          “Trudeau is not a Fascist.”

          Of course not. Neither is Donald Trump, and anyone who claims otherwise is either indulging in childish name-calling, deliberately lying for ideological reasons or, if they *seriously believe that*, just a certified idiot. Which are you, Robert?

          “Orange Jesus Cheeto-head-in-Cheese ”

          (never mind…)

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            Robert White says:

            I’ll take ‘Certified Idiot’ for $1000.00, Alex.

            The Duck is a proto-fascist, eh.


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            Jim says:

            Trump lifts many plays directly from the Fascist PlayBook. While I agree that he wouldn’t meet the rigid definition of an early 20th Century Fascist, it sadly isn’t entirely inaccurate to describe him as such. His demonizing of the press as “Enemies of the State” and his frequent attempts to undermine the credibly of institutions intended to be a check on his office’s power mirror the patterns of past leaders moving their states towards fascism and should be of way more concern to patriotic Republicans.

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    Patrick says:

    He should recruit somebody from the Chretien era to fight on camera for him – he needs people who will face off with glee and make an ass of their opponent – he needs to be ruthless more than nice and more confrontational – in a serious way – he needs to get in their with some fighters and fight – push things that matter and relish in the fight you’ll undertake getting the right things done.

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    Sean says:

    Many folks believe Trudeau has a messianic complex. And this messiah oversees things as he’s purchased at the top of Mount Pious.

    As the arch angel Michael is to God, the arch angel Butts is to Trudeau-insult or challenge the deity and fire shall rain down from above.

    The problem with so many messiahs throughout history is they eventually tick off enough mortals and spend their last moments nailed to a piece of wood.

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      Bill H says:

      The Messiah and Arch Angel (Trudeau and Butts) have built their own crosses to die on. Between failed promises, bad judgment and bad policy. Voters will take a good look at the following come judgement day in 2019.

      Cannabis legislation will slap Trudeau hard with the unintended consequences yet to be discovered.

      Trudeau, Butts and their disciples branding anyone who dissents from liberal mantra as Nazis, alt-right, racist and deniers etc. will backfire much like “Deplorable’s” did for Clinton. (Sunny Ways)

      Electoral Reform
      Porous Border
      Massif Deficits (the next recession is nigh)
      Hypocrisy of Groping (Smarmy Ways)
      Pipelines (potheads have their drugs and hate oil)
      Carbon Tax
      Ethics Commissioner
      India Trip
      Aga Khan Trip
      China Trip
      Cash for Access
      Buffoonery to the point of Nausea
      I could go on……

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        Robert White says:

        I am a pothead that was raised on oil via National Revenue CANADA taxation. I like pot and I like oil tax too. And I’m a Liberal for the next four years due to PC Party incompetency & rank incompetents that staff it.

        As one that was raised by the Taxman I, for one, like taxation!


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          Peter says:

          I am a pothead…

          Ah, that explains a lot of your posts. 🙂

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          Bill H says:

          Well, I’m sure that’s not a surprise to most of us. You and Trudeau should get along just fine – birds of a feather.

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            Robert White says:

            Our Prime Minister does NOT smoke pot anymore and he claimed to only take a few puffs when he was younger. Frankly, the guy has a wife & kids now so I really don’t think he bothers with pot at all given all the 12 year old scotch available when one makes the BIG bucks.

            Pot smokers are invariable poor bastards like myself that have dialup Internet and no high speed, money, or pay tv, and can’t afford the latest books.

            Poverty is a drag in and of itself, but poverty without psychotropes is unbearable.

            Cut me some slack, eh.


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    Sam says:

    I watch Butts when I can, and it’s very interesting watching the implied interactions between the two just from looking at a series of photos at a function or event.

    This explains a lot if any of you wonder why Butts is still around, I’d venture that 90% of Trudeau’s actions are directly scripted by Gerry, off camera as well as on, but especially on. Quite simply, I don’t think Trudeau could function effectively as a Prime Minister more than a week without him.

    But that’s just my opinion.

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    Chris says:

    Anyone remember the movie “Dave”?

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