Watch Dominic LeBlanc.
Watch what he does.
As everyone knows by now, reputable pollsters are saying that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are as much as 14 points behind Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives. 14 points!
Depending on how the votes break, and where, that’s not just a Conservative majority. That’s a Conservative landslide victory.
And, as much as the winged monkeys who make up TruAnon try to do so, Abacus and Angus Reid can’t be dismissed as fly-by-night bucket shops. They do good survey work – including, over the years, for Liberal governments.
So, it’s real. The Tory leader’s lead hasn’t been an erratic leap upwards – it’s been slow and steady. In just about every demographic, in just about every region, Poilievre is ahead. Sometimes far ahead.
So what’s the big deal about Dominic LeBlanc, you ask? Pull up a chair.
And, first things first: I know LeBlanc well. His office was right next to mine when Jean Chretien was opposition leader. Dominic was an Atlantic desk advisor, and I wrote speeches and helped prepare Chretien for Question Period.
We were close, back then – close enough that Dominic’s father, the legendary Romeo LeBlanc, became godfather to my daughter. We’re not close anymore, however. (Dominic didn’t even bother to send along a note of sympathy when my mother died in July.)
That’s politics, I suppose. But one relationship cannot be denied: Justin Trudeau and Dominic Leblanc are very very close.
It’s hard to know if Justin Trudeau actually has a best friend. But if he does, it’s LeBlanc. Whenever Trudeau gets into trouble – a frequent occurrence – LeBlanc is one of the trusted ones who regularly gets sent in to do cleanup. As he did, this week, announcing a public inquiry into Chinese election meddling.
It’s a question that was asked often this week, as the magnitude of Trudeau’s electoral problems becomes more clear: who has the guts – or the clout – to tell Justin Trudeau it’s time to take a walk in the snow?
Because, make no mistake, if the Liberal brand is to survive, it needs a change in leadership. It needs a Trudeau – Liberal leader for more than a decade – to retire to speech-making and memoir-writing.
At this stage in his mandate, unfortunately, Trudeau surrounded by the C team. None of his aides have the seniority or wherewithal to tell him that he needs to quit.
So that task must now fall to Dominic LeBlanc. He’s the only one who can do it, at this stage.
Will he? He certainly has personal motivation to do so. The Reid and Abacus surveys found that Trudeau’s Liberals are in big trouble in Atlantic Canada generally, and New Brunswick specifically. And LeBlanc watches the numbers in New Brunswick like a hawk.
He knows that if the so-called “red wall” crumbles in Atlantic Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada is heading for second place, or worse. And Dominic LeBlanc doesn’t want that for himself – or his best friend.
As the Conservative convention kicks off in Quebec City, the delegates are understandably cheering their good fortune. But some of the smart folks in Pierre Poilievre’s office will be keeping an eye trained on Dominic Leblanc, too.
Because if he tells his best friend to leave – and his best friend does – it’s a whole new ball game.
Watch Dominic LeBlanc.