, 09.13.2019 02:33 PM

My latest: Trudeau’s Seinfeldian campaign launch


That’s what Justin Trudeau had to say when he launched this, the 43rd federal general election. Zero, zippo, zilch.

Oh, sure, he said some stuff. He stood there in front of Rideau Hall, a focus-grouped gaggle of ethnically-diverse Canadians behind him, and he sprayed the usual Trudeau-esque word salad all over the unimpressed ink-stained wretches.

“I’m for moving forward for everyone,” he squeaked, oozing boyish charm. “We’ve all got a choice to make: keep moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made, or go back to the politics of the Harper years.”

Odd, that. Firstly, last time we checked, Stephen Harper isn’t running in this election. And, secondly, if the Liberals’ oxymoronic brain trust think Stephen Harper’s name still evokes fear and loathing from coast to coast to coast, they’re on drugs.

Smart Conservatives say that Harper ain’t reviled like he was four years ago. Not even close. Keep talking about Harper, Grits.

But that isn’t what was so bizarre about Justin Trudeau’s campaign launch. What was bizarre was this: nothing.

Meaning, that’s what he said: nothing. Apart from the jab at a guy who isn’t running, Justin Trudeau didn’t put the minutest amount of effort into defining the so-called ballot question. He didn’t say why he wants to keep being Prime Minister.

Years ago, Ted Kennedy blew his shot at the presidency when he couldn’t answer that eminently-reasonable question, posed to him by CBS’ Roger Mudd. Conversely, on Wednesday, all the other major party leaders said why they wanted the top job.

Invoking her inner Trekkie, the Greens’ Elizabeth May called us Earthlings, and said it’s all about climate change. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh said the vote is about the little guy and gal, and he’s all for the little people.

Andrew Scheer cheerfully reminded everyone to read up on how Trudeau is stonewalling a police probe of LavScam – and then said the election is about pocketbook stuff, and helping folks get ahead. Which he’ll do.

It’s Politics 101, more basic than never getting photographed while eating something: on Day One, you get your guy or gal to bound up to a microphone and say what the election is all about, and why you are the best guy or gal for the job. And then you charge off to your campaign plane or bus, and head out to the hinterland.

(Unless you’re May and Singh, that is, in which case you will be campaigning on bicycles, or using a brisk walk.)

Justin Trudeau didn’t do that. He did what Teddy Kennedy did: he said nothing, basically.

In fairness to the Liberal leader, there’s not much he can say. After mishandling relations with India, China and the US – to wit, where’s the new NAFTA, Justy? – foreign affairs ain’t anything to brag about. Likewise, domestic affairs: Trudeau has helped to elect seven, count ‘em, seven conservative Premiers across Canada.

Same with ethics: he’s the first Prime Minister in history to be found guilty of violating two federal statutes (over LavScam and the Aga Khan) while still in office.

Fiscal probity? It is to laugh: he giddily broke his solemn promise to balance the budget. Ditto electoral reform. Feminism? Um: Gropegate, elbowed a female MP in the chest, exiled two women who (a) are way smarter than him and who (b) wouldn’t do what he told them to.

And so on, and so on. Justin Trudeau has nothing to say, and nothing he said. So he stepped out into the Ottawa sunshine, that cloying grin playing on the face that isn’t as youthful as it used to be, and said what he’s done to improve Canada, and what he’ll do to improve it if re-elected.

Which, as we say, is nothing.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Funny eh, how Trudeau can’t seem to find the will nor the means to MOVE forward with the Ethics and Justice Committees, The Ethics Commissioner and even the RCMP.

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    doconnor says:

    Last time he had 3 big promises. Marijuana legalization which, to his credit, he achieved, election reform which as been abandon and Phamacare which off being “studied” or something.

    They don’t seem to have anything this time. It might be okay if they had a conformable lead, as second term government usually have, but they don’t.

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      Walter says:

      Returning to balanced budget was his biggest promise.
      People figured it was worth a $25B risk to see what Trudeau can do. Unfortunately, he missed that promise by 190%, and there is no end in sight to the deficits.

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        Darwin O'Connor says:

        As I recall, both the Conservatives and the NDP promised to balance the budget sooner then the Liberals.

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    The Doctor says:

    It reminds me of the very good column Andrew Coyne wrote the other day, pointing out that despite the fact that their respective partisan camps would scream the contrary, there really isn’t a lot that substantively differentiates the Liberals and Conservatives (e.g., they both support free trade, NATO, public health care, won’t criminalize abortion, won’t ban same sex marriage, etc.).

    That IMO is why the Liberals are dredging up old clips of Scheer expressing his disapproval of abortion and SSM — the Liberals want to pour gasoline on culture war stuff to create essentially the illusion of differentiation (where not a ton of differentiation actually exists).

    About the only significant exception of substance is on the climate change file. And even there it’s a difference in policy and legislative approach. Scheer’s not doing a Trump and refusing to say that anthropogenic climate change doesn’t exist.

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      Gord Tulk says:

      And most important- above all else – they differ on pipelines. The rest is irrelevant.

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        The Doctor says:

        Well, they’re both officially in favour of Trans Mountain. But I agree that if you dig deeper than that, there are important differences. Liberals as usual are trying to straddle both sides of an issue, pleasing nobody in particular.

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          Gord Tulk says:

          Don’t forget the tanker ban and bill 69.

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            Fred from BC says:

            “Don’t forget the tanker ban ”

            On of the most ill-conceived and utterly useless pieces of legislation ever produced. By any party.

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    Peter says:

    I’m wondering seriously where his handlers are coming from or if he listens to them at all. The other day I heard him defend skipping the debates by saying that he was really excited about debating the other leaders, but he was even more excited to be on the West coast. He’s often so excited about attending Pride Days he sounds like he’d prorogue parliament to get to one. It’s just all so exciting and fun for him. It’s so different from his father, who never pretended he enjoyed campaigning, had to be strong-armed into meeting hoi polloi and got away with a cynical, tongue-in-cheek quip about “my beloved Alberta”. Doesn’t anybody on his team think a little somber gravitas would help him? He adores his father, but he’s definitely his mother’s son.

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    Pedant says:

    The Harper Derangement Syndrome is becoming nauseating at this point.

    First of all, Harper was never “reviled” except by the far left who never votes Conservative anyway. The Tories got about the same number of votes in 2015 as they did in 2011. Virtually all the voters who gave him his majority seemed pretty content, by and large. Trudeau’s successful strategy was, of course, bringing in brand new young voters on promises of pot and electoral reform. One was accomplished, the other crashed and burned. Will those young people, and the new i-Gen kids who have turned 18+ since 2015, show up this year in such big numbers? The answer will determine who wins.

    The Liberals are constantly evoking Harper’s name as if the 2015 election was won by a 20-point landslide and Harper was forced to flee to Ecuador in disgrace!

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    Luke says:

    I think this is a hyperbolic piece. He hasn’t done nothing. Lifting many families out of poverty via changes to the child benefit etc. was significant, medically assisted dying was significant, cannabis legalization is significant, carbon tax is significant… Now, I agree about JWR and JP, who were instrumental in many of the real achievements, ironically. And I have no real time for the Trudeau Liberals, not voting for them. But man, it seems pugilistically hyperbolic to just add it all up to nothing.

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      Pedant says:

      Changes to the child benefit meaning that hardworking people in the middle class now get nothing (or next to nothing) while the poor, who pay ZERO tax to begin with, receive a treasure chest of taxpayer cash?

      Trudeau has successfully concentrated wealth in the hands of the rich AND the poor while screwing the middle class. Gutting the TFSA is another example.

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        lyn says:

        Pendant: You are EXACTLY correct and thanks for saying it. Trudeau also Hates Alberta No pipelines going anywhere….more people will lose their job come Jan. 2020 through his mishandling of the pipeline. TM will die if Trudeau is elected as he has done absolutely nothing!! Trudeau is not helping the MIDDLE CLASS or the people that want to join it!!

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    Gilbert says:

    Where are Canada’s economic advances? China is not buying our canola or pork, we have a big debt, the Canadian dollar is weak, and a lot of employment is part-time. The American economy is the reason for the improvement in ours.

    Why did the PM call the election on September 11? That’s so insensitive. Let me guess. He wanted to start the campaign before we learned about obstruction of the RCMP investigation into possible obstruction of justice charges.

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      Vancouverois says:

      The precise date was chosen badly – at best it was insensitive, and at worst it can be seen as a direct insult to our American allies.

      But it’s not like he was calling it especially early – the law required him to call it for this October, and the campaign itself must take at least so many weeks, right?

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        But the law also allows for prime ministerial discretion, so technically a PM can ignore the law altogether.

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          Vancouverois says:

          Technically the PM can still ask the Governor General to call an election, I guess, as the GG’s powers are unaffected. That’s what Harper did, after all.

          But I don’t think Trudeau can rightly be faulted for calling the election as per the law’s intent.

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      lyn says:

      Gilbert: All I can say is that Trudeau is a liar on all counts. When he is longer PM I hope he can live with himself for all the damage he has done to the Canadian economy and it’s people! This PM is a vindictive person and does everything for a purpose and with a purpose!!

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    Nick M. says:

    I didn’t like Harper in 2015, he overstayed his welcome. I now miss those days when Harper was in office, after Trudeau’s antics.

    His campaign has had a horrible start, from first day press conference to being notably absent from the debate.

    The optics of Trudeau’s Campaign Plane being grounded didn’t help.

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      The Doctor says:

      Butts’ strategy seems to be to focus on vapid, cheesy retail politicking, because JT is good at that, and carpet-bombing the Tories with accusations about their Evil Hidden Agenda to criminalize abortion and SSM. It’s like something Lee Atwater would have cooked up.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        My confirmation BIAS will only become self-evident if the Liberal campaign increasingly becomes desperate as it goes off the rails. If that happens, watch for The Mother of All Fireworks as a huge strategic rift develops between Broadhurst and Butts. Translation: one of them gets to be the next B, unexpectedly cooling his heels mid-campaign in Ottawa. Then we’ll know it’s truly over for Trudeau.

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    lyn says:

    Nick M. Your right Trudeau’s antics. He has been campaigning for months with Taxpayer money. How many Billion’s of dollars will Canadians owe when this PM get finished in Oct. 2019. Scheer will need to do a complete audit of this Liberal gov’t to find out where we as Canadians stand.

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