Categories for Musings

In Tuesday’s Sun: ten reasons why I think Trudeau will win

Justin Trudeau remains the man to beat. Like it or not, it’s a fact.

Herewith, ten reasons why:

  1. Liberals lead: Lately, Stephen Harper has performed well. On ISIS, on the attacks on the CAF, on the improving economy: he has looked Prime Ministerial. But polling averages don’t lie. Even now, the Liberals remain ahead of the ruling Conservatives. And in the past two years, Trudeau’s party has bested Harper’s in virtually every single poll.
  2. Trudeau wins: In all but a handful of surveys since he has become Liberal Party leader, Trudeau has been Canadians’ clear choice for Prime Minister. In some cases, he has bested Harper by as much as two-to-one. He is no flash in the proverbial pan. “Trudeau is for real,” says Ipsos’ Darrell Bricker.
  3. Harper, Mulcair lose: An average of recent polls conducted by analyst Eric Grenier suggests “about 17 per cent of Canadians would select the NDP leader, compared to 28 per cent for Harper and 31 per cent for Trudeau.” Given the fact that the Liberal Party was reduced to third party status less than four years ago – given how an experienced incumbent Prime Minister always should be doing against a rookie Liberal leader – that is extraordinary.
  4. Ad fail: The Tories continue to fight old wars. As with Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff, the Tories have spent millions on familiar-looking attack ads that sought to define Trudeau before he could define himself. They haven’t worked. Abacus Data says less than one in five younger Canadian believe Trudeau’s “in over his head.” Among older Canadians, it’s only one in three.
  5. Surplus not news: Everyone has known that the feds have been in a structural surplus since last year. The Tories’ plans to trumpet this achievement, in coming months, is unlikely to reverse the downward arc of public opinion.
  6. NDP fading: Tom Mulcair, says Brian Mulroney, is “the best Opposition leader since Diefenbaker.” The Parliamentary Press Gallery generally agree. But as Mulroney himself knows, the Commons is irrelevant to most Canadians. They see it as what is wrong with democracy, not what is right. In B.C., in Ontario, in the Atlantic provinces, nationally: the NDP brand is fading. And Tom Mulcair is no Jack Layton.
  7. Change chosen: A recent Ipsos poll confirmed that the Grits lead the Tories by almost ten percentage points. But, most significantly, the desire for change is immense. “Only one in three voters, “noted Ipsos, “believe the Harper government has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected, while 67 per cent believe that it is time for another party to take over.” Justin Trudeau is, overwhelmingly, the agent of the desired change.
  8. Money matters: For years, the Conservative Party has dominated political fundraising. They adapted, first and best, to changes ushered in by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien to clean up fundraising. But the Trudeau Liberals are catching up. By Summer’s end, the Grits’ 2014 haul was $3.7 million to the Tories’ $4.5 million. But a Maclean’s analysis found “the Liberals made significant gains in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia” – all provinces where the Conservatives have had fundraising strength.
  9. Scandal scars: The cumulative effect of serial scandals – Duffy, Brazeau, Wallin, robocalls – has not been calamitous to the Conservatives’ fortunes. Scandals seldom are. But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the ethical missteps are sapping both morale and popularity. With the Duffy trial slated to begin soon, this will only get worse.
  10. War: On Remembrance Day of all days, we remember fallen heroes – but also that wars, while popular at the outset, are often far less so at the end. As the international effort against ISIS grinds on, will as many Canadians support it? Unlikely.

Could things change? Of course. But for now – as before – Justin Trudeau is on track to win.


Carl Wilson writes, Leah McLaren writes

Him, last week:

“So what should you have done, back when there were only rumors and snaky vibes? Refused to be a guest on Q? Scowled and been uncivil to Jian in public? Should you have tried to expose him? You didn’t have much to go on, and you are not an investigative reporter. Then again, you used to work as an editor at a Toronto newspaper. You could have urged someone to look into it. It just didn’t seem clear enough. So you took it too lightly.”

Her, this week:

“At the same time, there was – and is — something about the “conversation” that bothered me. Something hypocritical and queasy-making. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I read an essay about the Toronto media community’s moral complicity in the Ghomeshi scandal and the culture of sexism and abuse it exposed. The essay – which many friends were passing around admiringly on social media — was written by the man who’d groped me.”

I wonder who she is talking about?

Kinsella had a valid point

Better late than never, I suppose.


“Despite his inflammatory word choice (“classist” would have been more accurate), many Torontonians realized Kinsella had a valid point. Tory later amended his transit plan to include the already planned Sheppard and Finch LRTs, which would serve those neighbourhoods.”

I stand by what I said: John Tory – he who belonged for years to a private golf course that didn’t admit Jews or minorities, and about which he did precisely nothing for years – had a transit plan that treated one part of the city more equally than others.

You can ask if that is divisive, or ask if it is impartial, or ask if it is segregationist. To me, it is was and is.