06.12.2012 12:00 AM

In today’s Sun: he’s Justin case

How serious is a Justin Trudeau candidacy for Liberal Party leader?

Serious enough that the smearmongers are now frantically trying to stop his momentum. Serious enough that nasty rumours and scurrilous allegations are now being circulated in some Grit circles — anonymously, natch — to try to persuade the Montreal Liberal MP to stay out of the coming contest.

It’s hard to say if the smears will ever see the light of day. But in the Internet age — when a lie can travel around the world 10 times before its target is even out of bed — anything is possible.

It’s disgusting, of course. It’s dumb, it’s despicable. It’s also bad strategy. Only now emerging from the political burn unit in the “Vikileaks” affair, you’d think Liberal apparatchiks would have learned their lesson about trading in this sort of garbage.

There, some Grits (including one in interim leader Bob Rae’s office) were found to have been behind a covert effort to publicize details about Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ divorce. That muckraking backfired on them badly, and resulted in an angry Rae firing the fall guy in the affair, and apologizing to Toews on the floor of the House of Commons.

Now, there’s a reason for all of this unpleasantness, of course. It’s because, if Trudeau runs, Trudeau will win. Hands down.

There have been some polls strongly suggesting that only Justin Trudeau can lift Grits out of the ignominy of rump status in the House of Commons. An Ipsos poll conducted in the past week found 35% of Canadians have a positive impression of the 40-year-old son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

That’s double what Rae received in the same poll, and far, far ahead of any other contender for the top Lib job.

176 Comments

  1. Patrick Deberg says:

    Reality,

    I believe that Harper is doing the destruction of Canada quite nicely on his own. He needs no help from Trudeau. It would seem that Trudeau works to keep the Country together. But I do notice you seem short of critical thinking so my words would be wasted on you. Back to the tractor pulls with you and your education levels, for as we all know there’s no fun on a weekend like trying to catch a greased pig!

    • Windsurfer says:

      You’re right.

      Also, do you notice how the slaggers have started to appear in greater VOLUME on this board. We must be important, otherwise why bother slagging here?

      Warren, it’s too bad you don’t have an IGNORE button on this board.

      Anyways, onwards and upwards. I’m curious to see how many will show up across the country for the June 13 anti-Omnibus C38 protests at CON riding offices.

      Happy camping, stalwarts… and keep the faith.

  2. MCBellecourt says:

    Whosever ends up being elected Leader, I hope that the Liberal Party and ALL its members stand behind that leader and dispense with the stupidity of infighting. If Trudeau doesn’t feel ready, then he isn’t ready. A willing leader, ready to fight, is better than a “reluctant astronaut” (no offence to Garneau), but if the Party doesn’t have that leader’s back (be it Rae, Trudeau, LeBlanc, Garneau, or whatever poor schmuck that takes the helm), the entire Party ends up with eggs on its face and all Liberal supporters end up looking like dumbasses.

    No more stupid games. Otherwise, good riddance, because a dysfunctional Party is no damned good for Canada–and the evidence of that is painfully clear in the government we’re stuck with now.

    (Feel free to quote this to the new Prez, Mr. K.)

    • Warren says:

      Crawley’s doing a great job, I think.

      • Jay says:

        Given the circumstances, he’s done surprisingly well. I had backed and assisted his run but the way he’s handled what he’s been given’s been remarkable. Anyway, thus fafr, Justin is my number two choice, but I certainly wouldn’t mind backing him given that he’s had no problem pointing out the major issues we have right now largely don’t involve leadership.

      • Stu B says:

        Crawley’s doing fairly well all things considered. Keeping Liberals together is a burden few would choose to bear. Dealing with Rae’s need to make a decision isn’t one of those burdens he should be dealing with. It’s really Rae’s to make.

        Justin? Real nice guy but he doesn’t have his dad’s cunning skills. Popular? yes. Winnable? yes. Right man for the job? no.

      • james curran says:

        Let’s see what this week brings shall we.

  3. billg says:

    Spoiled rich kid? Please. Betcha there are hundreds of days every year he’d trade his name for Smith. He’s going to run, its in his DNA. He can probably win in 2019/20, but, will the Liberal cannibals admit they have to grow with him and, will they admit that their first target should be Mulcair and the NDP. And, did Rae actually quote Chamberlain yesterday?
    Jeepers.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      billg….assume we had an MP will all of Trudeau’s talent, charisma, and competency. Further, imagine his name was Justin Smith….

      He’d be a nobody, and the media would pay no attention to him. If MP Smith threw his hat into the ring…he’d be laughed out of the Parliament buildings.

      Vote Smith…nice hair, and fan of Katimavik. Oh..and trained as a substitue drama teacher.

      yeah…he’d be a contender alright.

      • james curran says:

        Then imagine if his name was Stephen Joseph Harper. ….. former young Liberal…..

        • JamesHalifax says:

          Former young LIberal…..

          Who, as he grew older and matured, realized the error of his ways and switched parties, leaving the Liberals to stew in their stale, dated ideology of “nothing matters but being elected.”

          I also think Jason kenny is a former young Liberal. I’m a former Chretien Liberal…..what’s your point?

          • james curran says:

            No, what’s your point?

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Why shold I again write out any points, James curran…..

            You have shown repeatedly, that you consistently miss them. Your failure to comprehend is not my failing, it is yours.

            One last thing….two sugars please, one cream. Snap to it.

  4. steve w says:

    Trudeau’s academic resume may not be awe inspiring, but if today’s Conservative party has taught us anything it’s that ‘book smart’ isn’t a prerequisite for political public life anyway. I think he’s ready to lead now, but would like to see him acquire a dash more seasoning in preparation for taking on Harper’s lean, mean political machine. PM Trudeau sounds awful good to me, but after 6 years of Harper I’m about ready to give one of the custodians from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver a shot at occupying 24 Sussex.

    • Ted B says:

      A scattershot education and work experience is not the opposite of “book smart” in today’s political world.

  5. Byron says:

    I’m not sure if Justin is ready for the leadership mantle but he certainly could be a catalyst for uniting the progressive movement by changing over the NDP.

    He’s already spoken about it to an extent

    “…if by 2015, with the election approaching, and neither party has got of our act together enough to shine and to be the obvious alternative, then [pause], there will be a lot of pressure for us to start looking at that. I think there is not anyone in Parliament, outside the Conservative Party of Canada, that is willing to risk seeing Stephen Harper become Prime Minister one more time.”

    http://warrenkinsella.com/2012/03/justin-trudeau-on-mergercoalitionco-operation/

    Maybe that’s the role for him. I think it’s more important to unite progressives and defeat Harper than it is to do it strictly under an LPC banner.

  6. Ted B says:

    I confess to still being baffled by the adulation Trudeau gets.

    I have nothing against him, and I certainly get how he is exciting and dynamic, perhaps the most (only?) in the whole party.

    But haven’t we learned anything in the last few years?

    The Liberals lost for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with the leader. But they also lost worse because of their leaders and three key ingredients were sorely lacking.

    First, charisma and the ability to excite ordinary Canadians. I suppose Trudeau does have that, but it’s not clear to me who is excited about him or even interested beyond Liberals and the media. Maybe he has this part down, but it’s easily taken away by a little foot-in-mouth disease.

    Second, leadership. We saw with Martin, then Dion and then Ignatieff, that untried and untested decision-making is dangerous and likely to fail. We need a proven leader and decision maker. Someone who is not worried about not being liked by everyone and willing to take some tough decisions that not all will like and many will despise. Maybe Trudeau has it, I don’t know, but he has not been in any position yet where that has been tested.

    Third, plans and policies. I get that he is a liberal/Liberal, but what is he actually going to do? We have to ask the next leader what we didn’t ask prior leaders enough: why do you want to be the leader/PM? What is driving you in this pursuit? And sticking it to the prior leader, personal ambition, redeeming prior failures have shown not to be good enough reasons. We know why Harper wants to be PM – he told us he wanted to radically change Canada and is doing so – but we never had a good reason from Martin, Dion, Ignatieff or Rae. And that is one of the biggest reasons the party is failing. If your leader can’t define himself with ideas, the other guys will.

    • james curran says:

      First, you obviously have never walked down the street with this guy. Excitement? He’s a rock star Ted. Unlike any of our previous three leaders. He’s identifiable to almost every average Canadian Joe.

      Second. If by leadership you mean someone that’s not afraid to call a spade a spade or, in Justin’s case, a piece of excrement, then there’s that. Or, if you mean by leadership the ability to pack a room without even having to say a speech, then Justin’s got that. Or, if by leadership you need someone to throw their entire future in politics on the line by jumping into the ring with a former soldier and martial arts specialist, I guess you got that guy in Justing too. Or, if by leadership you mean that you need a peson that can raise money faster than any Liberal in the country, than I guess Justin’s your man.

      Third, The Liberal Party of Canada has NO DIRECTION at all. NONE. What is the party going to do Ted. Not Justin, but the party. They are void of any concrete plan. At least Dion had a plan. And Martin had the three Ks. Should you happen to attend any of the next 30 events the Liberal Party has Justin teed up for, you might want to listen to his speech. He gives several concrete answers as to why the country needs the Liberal Party. Not Justin Trudeau, but the Liberal Party.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        james curran….please note, that many “rock stars” are just as qualified to be PM as is Justin. The difference is, that many rock stars are famous for their actual talent and accomplishments, not the talent and accomplishments of their father.

        As for Leadership….sorry, fawning adulation has nothing to do with leadership. I’m sure justin Beiber could also fill a room quite easily, in fact, far more easily than could justin trudeau. Still doesn’t mean they’re qualified to run the country. And again, at least Justin Beiber managed to make it on his own. If in doubt…answer this. How many people know Justin beiber’s fathers’ name?

        The Liberal Party has NO DIRECTION. Well…thanks for pointing out what the voters in the last election have already pointed out. Given that fact, you then insist that Canada needs the Liberal party. Hmm….No Plan..NONE.

        Yep…..don’t know how we can survive as a nation without that kind of direction.

      • Ted B says:

        Thanks, James.

        I have nothing against the guy and he does indeed seem to have a lot of the mojo it takes. I am not opposed to Trudeau in any way, but I do have reservations about him.

        And you’ve articulated and underscored nicely why we should have reservations.

        I’ve seen his electricity live. I know what he can do with a room… of Liberals. I think that is a great building block. But I ask non-Liberals and, better yet, a-political non-Liberals, and they still chuckle and ask “really?”. But that is not at all what I mean by leadership. He doesn’t and won’t have any real experience doing much of anything before he runs for leadership (whether that is now or a few years from now) and PM. As you said, his talent is that he’s a rock star. That’s an awesome job for a #2 man, but not enough – on its own – for #1. Has he had a hard decision to make in his whole life? I mean, other than the very hard decision of trying to run for elected office that 800-1000 candidates make federally at every election.

        As for direction: I’m sorry, but your comment falls pretty flat. The fact that the Liberal Party must do this or that is obvious. But what would HE do? Why does HE want it? It matters. A lot. Especially because we have no direction right now. Especially. *I* know why I think the country needs the Liberal Party and I’ve heard him tells us too. But what I want to know is why he thinks HE is what the party and the country needs.

        The fact he took on the BQ in that riding, did not opt for an easier riding, won, then won again when a lot of other Liberals were falling, is an awesome start, a lot of feathers in his cap.

        We’ve tried that with shining knight, “next Trudeau” saviour thing a few times now. So this time, I think we need to be a bit more patient and have some higher quality control and testing. That’s all.

        Maybe he has it. Maybe he doesn’t. So far, it is encouraging but far far from demonstrated.

        • JamesHalifax says:

          Don’t get me wrong Ted B….I WANT trudeau to throw his hat into the ring…but for a different reason that you or james curran.

          As for what Justin would do….I don’t think he really knows. In fact, I’m sure there are Justin supporters at this moment coming up with plans and ideas for him, as I don’t think he has any of his own.

          As for what the country needs…..we’re getting it at the moment. It may not be popular in some circles, but frankly doing the right thing is not always the popular thing. I’m sure Jean Charest could cave into the demands of the spoiled brats protesting in Montreal…..but after giving in, these same spoiled brats would be on the streets again demanding more freebies.

          As I wrote before, I was a Liberal before I was a Conservative supporter. My favourite Jean Chretien moment was when he grabbed that dirtbag protesting for increased social benefits by the neck and gave him a shove. I was a die-hard fan after that.

          The Liberals need two main things. A real leader with the intelligence to run the country and control his caucus…and some IDEAS that actually help the country considering the state of the world today. Forget the feel good crap like Kyoto and Kelowna….and get down to worrying about the future of the country, not the future of political ambitions.

        • james curran says:

          You think we need to be a bit more patient? Sure Ted. Let’s wait until fall 2014 and select a leader. That’ll work. Or maybe we can get the ghost of Frank McKenna or John Manley to run. I’m certain they’ll give up their day jobs. Hey, let’s tell Justin and the others to just sit back and relax cuz Bob’s got it all under control. Bob’s throwing out policy daily and leading Liberals to the promised land. Not to mention Bob tells us exactly where the party’s heading all the time. You know Ted, other than Justin, I see not other Liberal demonstrating anything on the national stage. And. um, he is the “next Trudeau”.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            james curran……

            You are aware that the first Trudeau was never as popular as you belive right?

            So, instead of having the Jesuit trained, highly educated Trudeau Sr. You opt for the drama-teacher (substitute) trained, intellectual lightweight (mama’s brain..daddy’s nose) with the same last name.

            You guys haven’t picked a winner since you stabbed Chretien in the back.

    • kenn2 says:

      Exactly, Ted.

      Without saying a word for or against M. Trudeau, I object to the swooning going on by his fans (sorry Mr Curran) that His Mere Presence will change the Liberals’ fortunes. It smacks of desperation, and it seems to belittle the need for the Liberals to re-form around core principles and to promote that vision.

      A credible party AND a strong, attractive leader would be unbeatable. Just betting the farm on a rock-star leader could backfire badly.

    • Dan says:

      This is probably the most fair assessment of the situation I’ve seen from a pro-Liberal angle.

      – The problem with the Liberal party is NOT leadership. It’s vision and principles.
      – Justin is only popular among Liberal diehards. The excitement exists in a bubble.
      – I won’t pile on with the attacks who say that Justin floundered through a bunch of degrees. But his resume is lacking any major accomplishments or tests.
      – As you said, “why do you want to be PM?” There isn’t much in his resume that tells you what his life’s mission is.

      Last thing I might add:

      For a party that has a reputation for being too insider-ish and too entitled, the party can’t afford even a whif of “the dynasty candidate” or “the heir to the throne”. The media won’t be able to help but talk about his father, so people WILL start from a presumption that he got to where he is because of his last name. I won’t be so bold as to say that’s the undisputed truth, but I will say that there aren’t many stories about Justin’s accomplishments to rebut that presumption.

  7. Ted B says:

    Trudeau, if he was really smart and brave and talented, would leave politics to run something big and high profile, be it a non-profit or a business or some government agency or start up a magazine or something . Prove his mettle. And then come back.

    • Patrick Deberg says:

      That’s the ticket!

      Cause for Paul Martin creating and running a international business gained him so much respect with the critics on the conservative side. You should ask him how that worked out for him.

      • Ted B says:

        Actually, it worked out really well. It won over much of the party and the world. When he spoke about business and economic issues he spoke with knowledge and authority. He was one of the longest serving Ministers of Finance in our history and, with Chretien, saved Canada. We are still enjoying the fruites (Harper is enjoying them and taking credit for them even more!).

        That’s not why Martin failed.

        It’s not about getting “respect”, but showing you can do it.

        I kind of like Trudeau but I’m not willing to give the mantle to yet another “looks good but has no experience I’m sure it won’t be a problem” leader again. Call me gun shy.

        If he can show me, demonstrate to me, that he can truly lead in some fashion outside of politics – because I just don’t see how he accomplishes that in the caucus of the third party – I’ll be the first to sign up. Doesn’t have to be business, that was just one example and I gave several.

        But until then, he’s not going to win me over.

        • james curran says:

          Interesting. I say that because an unelected guy from Harvard seemed to fit you fine. A guy with zero political chops that wanted to lead the party before even being elected. Then he finally got to be leader and had no plan. Then he finally got to an election (2 years in office short of what Justin will be at when 2015 rolls around) and managed to take the party to the worst defeat in its history. Iggy was a leader outside of politics. How’d he make out?

          • Ted B says:

            F**k off with past leadership gripes, James.

            Don’t get stuck on stupid, as they say.

            For all of the reasons, Ignatieff failed, we need to be sure we don’t repeat the same stupid mistakes.

            Maybe Trudeau has it. Maybe not. So far, some good indications. But we saw good “indications” of leadership and renewal in Martin, Dion, Ignatieff and now Rae and they all have failed.

            Dion had some good ideas but was a poor leader and never had a leadership role before becoming leader of the party. Ignatieff came sweeping in having made a success of himself in the world stage on his own record with lots of ideas, but he had never been in command of anything and he flopped. Big time. So why would we do more or less the

            Just because the party expected a white in shining armour to be our saviour, before, and picked “leaders” without any demonstrated ability to lead, doesn’t mean we should go on doing the same thing over and over again.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Iggy’s main problem was his belief that he was as smart as everyone insisted he was. He was not genuine and people could see it.

            That fact that he didn’t think Canada was worth living in unless he was the Prime minister was another strike against him. In a year or two…Iggy will be in the USA or Europe. He’s only staying now for appearances sake.

          • james curran says:

            No Ted F**k you. Dion never had a leadership role? Really? Perhaps Kyoto was a pipe dream? Poor leader? Yes, Iggy nation made sure of that my friend. That guy Dion had more balls than the whole caucus. Called Harper a liar in a national debate in fact when Harper told Canadians we weren’t going to be in a deficit position. As for Justin? He’ s 4 years into the HoC. What experience is better than that? Harvard? I think not. By the way Ted why don’t you tell us all who is “convincing enough” for your tastes?

          • Ted B says:

            Thanks, James, for demonstrating for reminding us why the Liberals are in third place.

            The campaign has not even started. No candidate has declared themselves. Your preferred candidate is busy denying he’s even going to run.

            And yet instantly everyone is attack and insulted if they don’t serve up the unquestioning adulation of an unaccomplished MP full of lots of potential and nothing yet to show for it. And instantly all the past gripes over whatever come back full on hard.

            The leadership race is a messy business. And we will all eventually have to make a decision on someone and that someone will no doubt have supporters like you who are desperate to undermine every other candidate and drive ordinary Canadians away from the party and politics. Good on ya!

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Getting a little testy james curran.

            Well, I suppose if I put all my eggs in the Trudeau basket, I too would be concerned about all of the sniping, name-calling, and truth telling about my choosen candidate for Liberal Leader.

            Just to be safe, James curran…maybe you shouldn’t quit your job just yet until Trudeau makes up his mind (based on what he is told to do I’m sure) about his fate.

            just curious though…..what does a Liberal sycophant make on today’s market anyway?

      • JamesHalifax says:

        Patrick,

        Paul Martin would never have accomlished what he managed to accomplish without his father’s connections and his connection with Power Corp. Frankly, I recall Andrew Coyne (one of Warren’t favourites) detailing it nicely when he wrote that the Liberal Party is just a subsidiary of Power Corp.

        Martin used his connections there to buy Canada Steamship lines. He used his postion to create his wealth. Without his connection he would have just been another lawyer. (no offense Warren)

        • Ted B says:

          Tell me one person who has ever done it all on his own.

          Power Corp. has had many business successes and failures. Having a connection to Power Corp. doesn’t guarantee anything.

          CSL went from being broke to being an international success while Martin was in charge. There is no way he deserves all of the credit for that. But there is also no way credit should be denied him for that success.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Ted B…not denying Martin was a competent Finance Minister. He made the hard choices required to fix the books, however, if it were not for the policies of the previous Prime Minister Mulroney, it would have been next to impossible. It was Free trade and the GST that allowed sufficient revenues to pull us out of a hole. Cuts to transfers to the provinces were another reason. Hard choices, but they had to be made. I had no problem with that. I stopped voting Liberal when Martin was choosen because I didn’t like the kind of people he surrounded himself with. Frankly, I didn’t trust their intentions. Further, Martin came across as a desperate and confused PM. I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for him.

            As for Power Corp….you are aware that every prime Minister including Trudeau, has been both a lawyer, AND the President of Power Corp…until Harper.

            For the record, Bob Rae’s brother is now the current President of Power Corp….and I don’t like the idea that a company has such influence.

            As for Canada Steamship lines becoming a success…true. But ask yourself what Martin had to do to make that happen? He had to fire all his Canadian employees of the ships and replace them philippino’s who worked for a fraction of the amount. If Harper had done something similar, he would have been roasted alive in the press.
            I’m not saying Martin was wrong mind you….but Martin was not a saint.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Ted B….I forgot to answer your first question when you asked:

            “Tell me one person who has ever done it all on his own.”

            A lot of people have done it on their own, but in the case of Martin the question should be, “Would he have been able to do it without his father or Power Corp?

          • kenn2 says:

            If Harper had done something similar [to firing Canadians to hire foreigners], he would have been roasted alive in the press.

            Harper’s government now allows Canadian businesses to pay foreign visa workers 15% less than a Canadian doing the same job. Guess what Canadian businesses are doing? (Hint – have a peek into the back of just about any chain restaurant) So when does the roasting start?

          • JamesHalifax says:

            kenn 2…

            A lot of foreign workers are doing the jobs that Canadians are refusing to do. In fact, some of the places with the highest EI recipient numbers…also have high foreign worker numbers. Why?

            It’s about the pay..true. Basically, if you can sit on your ass and get paid to do nothing or work in a job that only pays slightly more…..why bother?

            It’s not Harper’s fault some people are too lazy to work.

          • kenn2 says:

            If you own a business using unskilled labour, and you have choice of:

            a) Canadian citizen, likely with a family, likely wanting benefits and some job security, for $X per hour
            b) foreigner on visa, likely here alone, more willing to take temp work without benefits or security…. AND for a government-approved $X-15% per hour,

            …who will you hire? Do you need a hint?

            Calling Canadians lazy is of course your cop-out, but if government policy and simple math actually rewards business for hiring foreign workers, it’s beyond whether Canadians are willing or not. It’s entirely Harper’s fault if he’s effectively penalizing businesses for NOT hiring the foreign worker.

    • james curran says:

      What an insult. Prove his mettle? Try being an MP Ted. See how fun THAT is. By the time the election rolls around he’ll have been in office for 7 years. I think his mettle will be just fine thank you. By the way Ted, his dear father was an MP less than 3 years when he was elected leader of the party and then Prime Minister of Canada. Just saying.

      • kenn2 says:

        With respect, James, it’s not necessarily that hard to be an MP. (compare with, say, an ER doctor). If you have something magic in your campaign, like a powerful campaign machine, or name recognition, it’s even easier. Scan the CPC backbench if you don’t believe me.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        yes, the “dear father” was only an MP for three years.

        And by the time he was done as PM….Canada’s national debt balloned by a factor of more than 50, thanks in part to his reliance on the NDP.

        Well done indeed.

      • Ted B says:

        Oh, please James.

        Last I counted, there were 308 or so MPs in Parliament. Only 4 leaders. And only one PM. The mere fact of being an MP qualifies you just about nothing except for running again in the next election.

        I really try to avoid making any comparison to PET. I don’t think that is fair to Justin, who I like. Different time. Different party. Different people. But, since you raise the issue, his father was independently accomplished before he entered politics, which is why Pearson recruited him. One of the reasons he was recruited was because he had a lot of ideas about what government should do. And then he acted on them with some of the most progressive justice reforms in our history. Was brilliant in defending them despite very strong opposition. And THEN he ran.

        Which has absolutely nothing to do with Justin at all. Everyone has their own path. And his current path would seem to be to convince people he’s ready to lead one of the biggest and strongest economies in the world.

        And I don’t think it is too insulting for me or anyone to ask him to demonstrate in some more concrete way that he has the ability to do it. Maybe he does. But there is nothing in his resume or his experience so far that demonstrates that he has that ability.

        • kenn2 says:

          Well-put, Ted. I’m not anti-Justin, but I don’t like the “he’s our only hope” meme. If that’s true, it’s game over for the LPC; time to invest in the NDP.

        • james curran says:

          I suggest you just quit voting Ted if you’re suggesting MPs positions are meaningless except for running again. Don’t even bother.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            I’m telling Elections Canada on you, james,

            you are trying to influence the outcome of the next election.

            you’re a Liberal?

            Oh….don’t worry. They are rarely concerned when a Liberal does it.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      I agree Ted. I can see the first edition now…

      “Semi-employed substitue teacher monthly” In today’s edition, we will discuss how unlike my father I am, and why Katimavik is the quintessential example of Canadian feel good programs for the select few…..blah..blah..blah.

      In Next month’s edition, we’ll discuss why degrees with math are not for me….blah..blah..blah…

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Harper never did any of that. He ran a right-wing lobby group, but never accomplished anything, never created a job, didn’t have to meet a payroll, and apparently objected to the taxes he did have to pay (being that his right-wing lobby advocates lower taxes).

      Nope, Harper went to Billings, MT. Anything else? He was a Reform MP. Yup, sums that up.

      So what’s the point you wanted to make, again?

      • Ted B says:

        Agreed.

        And he had years to demonstrate to Canadians he wasn’t ready because he wasn’t. There is room for on the job training.

        But he was also in a different position.

        He had established himself. He hadn’t run or been in charge of anything – less than Ignatieff in fact – but you knew what he wanted to do and why he was governing. Even having campaigned for and followed closely Martin, Rae and Ignatieff, I am still not sure what they wanted to accomplish and why they wanted to be PM. That has never been a question with Harper.

        Reform was also a minor party and no one else really wanted it. He did show his political chops in forcing together Canadian Alliance and the PCs. Made some hard decisions and compromises, lead that. It convinced a lot of Conservatives he was worth following into battle.

        The Liberals are the opposite. A party very much in decline. No new ideas. So it becomes, at least to me, that much more critical that we don’t put all our money on the Next Great Saviour.

        All that I’m asking is that whoever it is needs to be a proven leader, with ideas and direction of his own, and no big time baggage. I know I’ll have to settle for less, but we’re early days yet so I’m going all in for now.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        Tim, the difference between Harper’s accomplisment and Trudeaus are quite clear. Harper has always been a policy wonk, and his goal was to be a politician to make the changes he wanted to make. (Which is is now doing).

        Trudeau, flitted from one thing to another, never quite sure what he wanted to do other than be popular and well liked.

        Harper had a plan and followed it, succeeding through strategy and hard work to the position he now finds himself. He never wanted to be PM, he wanted to be a policy wonk, but he was called and answered the call.

        Trudeau, apparently was bored and allowed himself to be talked into running. No plans..no ideas, just a name.

        • james curran says:

          Much like Tim Hudak, Steve Harper never had a real job.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            james curran…

            I see your ideology only applies to Liberal MP’s. Just a short while ago you wrote of the importance of being a backbench MP.

            Are you now saying that being the Prime Minister isn’t a tough job?

            For your sake I would hope so. If you want Justin to be PM……you don’t want it to be difficult. After all…it’s not like being a part-time drama queen…er, drama teacher.

  8. W.B. says:

    Only rarely does John Ibbitson says something interesting. But he nailed one on Martin show last night when he noted the Liberal race is really for a 2019 possibly winning run, not 2015. How old is Rae in 2019? Age during the campaign of course depends when election called. He was born mid year August 2, 1948. 71 or 72 depending on spring or fall..

  9. JamesHalifax says:

    True, book smart isn’t a prerequisite for being a politician…..but folks who want to be the Prime Minister better have more going for them than simply having a famous dad.

    • Patrick Deberg says:

      James,

      Here is the country as it lays now. The right person with the right character could defeat this rehashed Harris government propped up with tar sand money in a heartbeat. I think when Elections Canada releases the report that the CPC is desperatly trying to keep hidden there will be a demand for a new election within 30 days. Boib Rae is not that guy. He’s a great guy in another role but not the one he envisions for himself. For the good of the country he should step aside. If he has the interests of the country at heart. I know little about Justin and you know little about Justin. Except what the artists at the ” Paid Media Consultant Factory ” at the CPC are painting up. It’s true that conservatives don’t like smart people. But do you really want a heart surgoen that has studied the heart for a decade or one that thinks education was a waste of time?
      I really don’t care if he studied piano and basket weaving as well. I want someone that is grounded in intelligence not superstition. And if he’s charismatic all the better. I fail to see the attraction for conservatives in always being angry, and full of contempt at anything they do not understand or have no interest in. I fail to understand why they make stupidity a badge of honor. The only thing I can attribute this to is the diffficulty in improving yourself or the sheer inherent lazyness of critical thinking. Justin might not be the fellow. But he might be the fellow. And if he finds the right team he could be unstoppable no matter what the CPC fling at him

      • JamesHalifax says:

        The country as it lays now: One of the strongest economies in the West. yep..shame on Harper for that.

        The right person with the right character…hmm….I suppose you could also say anything melts if you get it hot enough.

        Elections Canada. Biased, partisan Government body that leaks information that is potentially embarrasing. In fact, EC is still ticked at Harper for how he treated them when he was the president of the NCC. EC has a vendetta against the Conservatives, and some in the media have pointed out that possibility. As it stands now, we only know that something went wrong in Guelph. I’ll hold judgement until I see actual proof. (if some malfeasance did go on….I’ll concede your point and demand that punishment be metted out as appropriate)

        Bob Rae is not that guy to beat Harper because he’s an NDP’er at heart and the people of Ontario remember what a fiasco he created when he was premier. Justin is not that guy…because he’s a nobody without his father’s name.

        Conservatives DO like smart people….we just don’t see enough of them in the other parties to change our minds. Having an education, is not the same as being smart. I’ve heard criticisms about MPs that were once in the police force. If that is a strike against them for liberals…then you have another reason why the Liberals are in the hole.

        As for your suggestion for a basket weaver to become the Leader of your party……I agree. Go ahead with your choice in Justin. A basket weaver would bring as much to the table…….in fact, he would at least bring a basket.

        As for inherent laziness and lacking the ability to think critically……I’d say you are more inclined to find that in the party which refuses to merge with you. In fact, your belief and confusion with regards to why people vote Conservative, is one of the main reasons you have been losing to them.

        Keep up the good work.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          How is it exactly that you want to credit Harper for the economy? He inherited a surplus position and dwindled that down (saying he would not) to somewhere sough of $50b in short order. Don’t blame him, his finance minister couldn’t do anything but deficit financing in Ontario, either.

          Jobless rate: higher. Deficit and debt: higher. Government: bigger.

          So we have conservatives running the ins-and-outs of economies, now, and incresing the size of government?

          • Ted H says:

            I agree. Harper inhertited an enviable financial position from the Liberals. Real economists said cutting the GST was a good political move but not an good economic move. He continued to spend like a drunken sailor and put the country in a structural deficit even before the 2008 recession which lucky for him was a handy scapegoat. My point is, Conservatives are not the economic managers they are so often held up to be, why that myth thrives is beyond me. Look at the US, the economic problems are mainly the result of years of Republican governance, they have held the presidency more often than the Dems since WW11. The US Federal Government collects less revenue than in 1950. There is no spending problem, it is a revenue problem. Tax cuts have been the political football of both US parties for decades and we are seeing the result of that short sighted thinking. Political conservatives do not have a hold on sound money management, in fact the conservative approach has been proven to be very faulty. Recent governments in Europe have been considerably more conservative than in the past and that is part of the European problem. Back in Canada, we have a history of NDP provincial governments and some of them have proven to be better at balancing the budgets than Conservatives. No my friends, Conservatives have no lock on financial management, and taking a long term view of Canada’s future, the current Conservative government are doing a very inadequate job. No focus on education, no focus on technological innovation, no focus on smart immigration policy, no focus on green products (very popular in Europe), nothing but keeping Canada simply a resource supplier to the rest of the world.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, I don’t credit Harper for the economy, I credit the Canadian people for that. Harper, as the Prime Minister also understands this. What the NDP never understood, and what the Liberals have apparently forgotten, is that Governments do the best job with the economy when they stay out of the way. That means enacting laws and policy that allows for the creation of wealth and growth. You do not create wealth by taxing people or business.

            as for Harper’s handling of the current economy, I would think anyone with any economic knowledge would appreciate the fact we came out of a very serious recession relatively unharmed. The danger of another recession is still there, so ask yourself. If the Liberals brought in Free daycare, Kyoto, Kelowna, or any other number of expensive national programs…..what state would we be in now?

            I don’t expect you to think that hard, but frankly I’m gettin bored of thinking for you. Try and read a book or something if you still have questions.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Ted H…harper didn’t just cut the GST for political reasons. They were strategic as well.

            Remember, Harper’s goal was not just to be the PM, he also wanted to destroy the Liberal Party. One way to do that, is to remove the funding available that would allow for grand national pronouncements for new spending programs such as daycare. The Liberals have a long history of expounding on their Liberalism and proving it by raising taxes to pay for their grand programs. If they want to do it again, they will be forced to admit that the only way to pay for their programs is with increased taxes.

            It worked very well against Dion and his carbon tax. Unscrupulous?
            sure…but it worked.

          • kenn2 says:

            How is it exactly that you want to credit Harper for the economy?

            Well, it’s obvious. Harper and friends had the good sense to bury dinosaurs in northern Alberta (but mixing with sand… what were they thinking? I wonder if they’d like a do-over). Also gas and potash. And of course the contributions of their dead and buried ancestors to the fertility of the region. And those Rockies, and softwood… masterful.

            We also cannot ignore how Harper’s stimulus saved our economy. It only took the threat of a coalition government to get him and Flaherty off the dime and doing the needful.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Not quite Kenn 2….

            Harper and the Conservatives are simply removing duplication and rhetoric from the equation so that the oil-sands CAN be developed and expanded. They’re trying to remove trade barriers, trying to open new markets, etc..etc…

            As I wrote, getting Government out of the way is often the best way to improve the economy. Creating policy, or removing bad policy…is most effective at enabling wealth creation.

          • kenn2 says:

            Harper and the Conservatives are simply removing duplication and rhetoric from the equation so that the oil-sands CAN be developed and expanded. They’re trying to remove trade barriers, trying to open new markets, etc..etc…

            It’s frigging OIL. The US will buy it from us. Period. You don’t need to coddle an industry selling the world’s most in-demand product. Ditto for other natural resources. Even the NDP couldn’t screw this up.

            Of course not every country is as stupid as Canada about it. Question: if oilsands oil costs more to produce, AND we sell it to the US for LESS than market price, guess who’s getting shafted? That’s right – Canada, in the form of reduced royalties, tax breaks and subsidies. Sorry, grandkids.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            kenn 2, you are on to something when you refer to the oil being bought by the USA. And yes, we are selling it at a discount. The reason we are selling at a discount is because the USA has us by the short and curlies. We have no other market UNTIL we get some pipelines on the go. Then, the USA will have to compete…meaning they will have to pay market price, or we’ll send it to Asia. That alone is worth millions each day, and billions over the year.

            Once the pipelines are in and we have a competitive market, oil-sands production will increase and the reveue to Government will in conjunction. Why this basic reality is so easily misunderstood by some is disheartening.

            As for grandkids….if you really cared about their future, you would WANT more oil to be produced, and you would WANT the pipelines.

            as for the NDP not being able to screw something up…….have you seen their MP’s yet?

            trust me…if something can be screwed up..the NDP are the ones to select to do it.

          • kenn2 says:

            The reason we are selling at a discount is because the USA has us by the short and curlies.

            If the US “has us by the short and curlies” it’s because Harper pushed Canada onto her back and spread her legs and said “grab all you want”. It’s OIL – the world wants it. The oil sands are recent, but not ‘last week” recent… why is action on a west-coast pipeline just being taken now? Where’s the eastern pipeline, so that eastern Canada isn’t buying foreign oil (at full market price)?

            Do you know that one of the biggest reasons that the Keystone pipeline had strong US opposition was that Trans-Canada was heavy-handed with US landowners?… they managed to get western Republican farmers pissed off enough to oppose the pipeline.

            No there are other reasons why Alberta oil is selling at a discount. Same reason we signed onto an over-priced and under-performing US attack fighter, as other countries walk away from it (including reduced orders from US forces). Same reason our foreign policy is dictated by the US. Harper’s selling us out, so that he looks good.

            As for grandkids….if you really cared about their future, you would WANT more oil to be produced, and you would WANT the pipelines.

            Riiight. Our grandkids would want us to dig up and sell all the oil, as fast as technically possible, at a discount. Instead of maybe moderating the pace of development for ecological reasons, but also so that more of the oil remains available as the price inevitably climbs. And so maybe more of the oil is available for other uses besides American cars. Ever heard of plastics? Medicine? 10 or 20% less than we’re shipping now would give us more of a whip hand without triggering a recession.

            Nice assumptions btw; I never said I opposed pipelines, I haven’t even said I’m against the oilsands.

          • kenn2 says:

            Re sellout:

            According to an article in Embassy Magazine, the Harper government is moving forward on several initiatives that could give U.S. FBI and DEA agents the ability to pursue suspects across the land border and into Canada.

            But, according to a RCMP officer, they’re doing it in “baby steps.”

            “We recognized early that this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy, and civil liberties of Canadians,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, the Mounties’ director general for border integrity, told the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on May 14.

            “We said ‘Let’s take baby steps, let’s start with two agencies to test the concept, let’s demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work.”

            Baby step 1, according to Embassy Magazine, has already happened in the form cross border pilot projects allowing Canadian and American agents in each others waters.

            Step 2 is the ‘Shiprider’ program which will make it permanently legal for U.S. agents to be certified as police in Canadian waters. This is on track to be passed into law by the Harper government’s omnibus budget bill, C-38.

            And step 3, is to roll out cross-border policing over land.

            Any clearer on what Harper’s doing?

          • JamesHalifax says:

            kenn 2…..

            Congratulations. Rarely, does one write so much that is wrong, in so few paragraphs. Well done.

            If that is your understanding of the oil sands..there is nothing I can write that I haven’t already written that would change your mind.

            So..lets look at a few of your issues.

            Why are the pipelines being discussed now? Well…they aren’t. They’ve been in the works for years, but it’s hard to get anything done when every wing-nut or special interest group opposes it. As for pipelines going east…..that’s been discussed a fair bit as well, and again, it has been discussed for years. The fact you havne’t been paying attention, is not the fault of the oil sands.

            Keystone: That was put on hold because of political considerations by the Obama crowd. They don’t want to lose the lefty/greenie vote, because Obama’s worried about losing the next election. The excuse the farmers used to oppose the pipeline, was a natural acquifer that was causing concern in the event of an oil spill. The fact that this acquifer already has several thousands of miles of pipeline over it, was of little consequence. As I said…politics.

            As for your other points…..too many to correct. As you see fit to pack them all into one post, I’ll be more succinct.

            kenn 2….do you Paranoia much?

  10. Tiger says:

    The scurrilous stuff I’ve heard about Trudeau, I’ve actually heard from friends who are Liberals.

    But whatever — if you can lead, people don’t actually give a darn about your personal life as long as you’re not off committing crimes somewhere.

    That’s the judgment Liberals will make about Trudeau — whether it looks like he has what it takes to fight the good fight in the next election.

    [In that context, his habit of talking about himself in the third person is more likely to be a worry. But that’s the sort of stuff you can look at critically during a year-long leadership bout.]

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Hey…talking about yourself in the third person didn’t hurt Ignatieff….er, …

      wait a minute.

      • Tiger says:

        Or Bob Dole.

        Trudeau has great fundamentals — he can inspire people. That can’t be taught. (Actually, maybe it can — Harper inspires Conservatives. (Really.)) Question for our Liberal friends is, can he demonstrate the chops to win, in terms of demeanour and policy?

        If so, he’ll be the next PM. If not, he’s Sarah Palin — wonderful for the grassroots, but death for median voters.

        Mind you, the advantage Trudeau has is that the press will be on his side.

        • JamesHalifax says:

          Tiger, I would’nt be too sure about the accolades from everyone in the press. Sure, you will have the usual suspects refusing to say anthing bad about a Liberal…but quite a few in the press actually laugh at Trudeau’s behaviour, as they can see how phoney and ill-equipped he remains.

          • Tiger says:

            Perhaps I wasn’t clear: the press won’t actively be gunning for his head, like they were with Palin.

            He has to clear a bar, yes, but it’s a far lower bar.

            So if I’m a Liberal, and it doesn’t look like he’ll self-implode, I go with him. Easily.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Well, as a Canadian, I need to actually defend Justin here.

            Please don’t compare him to Palin. That’s just mean.

  11. BillD says:

    Trudeau should throw his hat in the ring, as should Rae – there is no better way to test the mettle of either of them (or others) than in an open leadership race. It would force any smears out into the open to be debated on their merits. It would turn whispered innuendo and smears into open debate and questions put to the candidates over the course of countless town halls and other enthralling (scintillating, even!) events across the country. If I recall, someone other than Dion was supposed to win in ’06 (“hands down”), so popularity polls aside, it’s still premature to list Trudeau or anyone on the ballot as the leader in 2015.

  12. Savant says:

    It would be a monumentally BAD idea to run Trudeau now. I’m sorry, but Trudeau is far too green. While he may have ‘star power’, the reality is that he doesn’t have good political acumen, as seen by his outbursts in the house. All it would take is one ‘John Tory’-style slip-up for Trudeau to torpedo his chances. As for the ‘youth vote’, let’s not forget that we’re a ‘boomer country’ with so many ‘older’ folks that health care costs are skyrocketting and the government is talking about raising the OAS age. Based on voting patterns it won’t be the youth vote that wins the next election.

    Furthermore, running Trudeau now means that this is ‘his shot’. If he loses the election, the party might dump him as leader and then that’s it – he’s had his chance.

    Let’s be realistic here in saying that the Liberals will not be forming the next government of Canada. The amount of support that would have to ‘flip’ would make the ‘orange crush’ in Quebec look like a picnic. For the Liberals to form a government they need Quebec, and I just don’t see Quebecers giving up on the NDP just yet. As much as it might be nice to think it could happen, it won’t. What the Liberals need to do first is catch the party in FRONT of them. (And they’ll have a hard enough time doing that.)

    The Liberals would be better to ‘grow’ Trudeau until after the 2015 election. That would put him in his mid/late 40’s in 2019, with a little over a decade of politics under his belt. Right now he’s only been in politics for just under 4 years, and that’s hardly enough time before you consider a person for the top job. Justin isn’t royalty, he has no inherent right to become PM just because his father did. There are LOADS of Liberals who have been faithful with the party for DECADES who feel they deserve a shot before Justin does.

    Assuming a 2015 election, it would be better if Justin Trudeau waited until the loser of that election gets turfed, at which point he would run for leader and the next election in 2019. (assuming the next government is a majority) That would make him just under 50 years old with a decade of politics under his belt when the time comes.

    Trying to use Trudeau in 2015 would be a huge gamble and if the Liberals lose, Trudeau may very well be relegated to obscurity as a ‘Dion style’ backbench party member.

    In politics, timing is everything. Right now is not Justin’s ‘time’, and I think he knows that.

    • james curran says:

      Too green? His father was an MP for less than 3 years when he became leader. Ignatieff wanted to be leader before he was even elected as an MP. That’s pretty green if you ask me. Give your head a shake.

      • Savant says:

        Ignatieff was party leader before he became an MP. And do you recall how that worked out for the Liberals?

        Yeah…

        The Liberals only get ONE shot with Justin. Timing is everything. No matter how much ‘star power’ people may think he has, he won’t bring the Liberals into power. It would take blunders of monumental proportions by *both* the Tories and NDP for that to happen, and that’s just not probable.

        Think of it like chess, and Justin is a queen. You don’t roll out the queen early on, you wait until later in the game when you can best use its power to your advantage. The Liberals need to focus more on rebuilding the party and the brand, as well as fundraising. Once they have rebuilt their foundation, *then* you pull out the big guns and use that momentum to pull you through.

        It takes more than a ‘pretty face’ to win an election.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          He was an MP before he became leader. So, false premise, false conclusion. Savant does not seem to be much of a savant.

        • The Doctor says:

          It’s not about winning an election outright, it’s about stanching the bleeding, keeping the LPC from being wiped out and eating the NDP’s lunch. JT offers the best hope for that, IMO.

      • Danny says:

        PET was not just an MP for 3 years before he became PM. He was the Minister of Justice who reformed Canada’s divorce laws and de-criminalized homosexuality. I am not a fan, but he dragged Canada into the 20th Century. He was famously quoted for saying the state had no place in the bedrooms of the nation.
        He had a great track record when he ran to replace Pearson. Justin doesn’t have a track record of having done anything yet.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Is there anything else he knows you know, but he doesn’t say?

  13. Self-confessed Raelian says:

    From this interview, I could easily vote for Justin……he would be a refreshing change methinks, from the status quo…….I do however, believe that his youthfulness, in looks, and in voice, could work against him in battling it out with “Dear Leader” in the HOC and out on the hustings…….an appearance of a lack of gravitas comes to mind……not saying this is the case…..but appearance wise, yes……
    If, however, his running for and winning the Liberal leadership gets the generation y’ers out of their stupor, and gets them engaged in the political process, then perhaps its time for the likes of M. Trudeau……hopefully he would surround himself with a crack team of advisors(Mr Kinsella?)
    His running would most definately re-invigorate the party, and I hope he would do the thorough housecleaning of party HQ that it so desperately needs…….

  14. Philippe says:

    I can’t help but laugh at the Cons & their insecurity complexes in calling anyone with a BA an “academic”, like being educated is somehow a bad thing. Their preference for straight-talking “everything is black or white” morons like Rob Ford & Larry O’Brien always leads to disaster. Judging from their radio talk-show crowds, the reason they frown on intelligence is most likely because they have none.

  15. The Doctor says:

    Since everybody and their dog seems to be weighing in on this today. . . 🙂

    I was previously convinced that Justin shouldn’t run, but I’ve changed my mind. I think he should, and I hope he wins.

    As in dating and romance, the worst possible thing in politics is to be ignored or seen as irrelevant. And that’s what I see happening right now to the LPC. And to me, that is THE critical task for the LPC going forward, ie. not being ignored, not being seen as irrelevant or boring or not worth talking about. And Justin Trudeau, for many of the reasons noted above, offers the best chance of the LPC getting and being noticed. Different times call for different kinds of leaders, and IMO JT is appropriate for what ails the LPC right now. The media loves him and will love him — he’s as close to a Kennedy as you can get in Canada. And a political party cannot buy that kind of free, gratuitous PR for a trillion dollars.

    And this “well he’s not has smart or intellectually accomplished as his dad” thing — who the f*ck cares? Was Ronald Reagan an intellectual? Chretien? Ralph Klein? He’s not there to design rockets, he’s there to lead a political party and get elected. I would definitely cut a cheque to a JT leadership campaign.

    • The Doctor says:

      . . . and BTW I’d say 140+ comments and counting kinda backs up my point . . . the guy creates buzz . . .

  16. JamesHalifax says:

    My bad….the other brother is Alexander, not Sacha.

    Here’s Alexander’s tribute to Castro.

    Aug. 13, 2006. 07:38 AM
    ALEXANDRE TRUDEAU
    SPECIAL TO THE STAR

    I grew up knowing that Fidel Castro had a special place among my family’s friends. We had a picture of him at home: a great big man with a beard who wore military fatigues and held my baby brother Michel in his arms. When he met my little brother in 1976, he even gave him a nickname that would stick with him his whole life: “Micha-Miche.”

    A few years later, when Michel was around 8 years old, I remember him complaining to my mother that my older brother and I both had more friends than he did. My mother told him that, unlike us, he had the greatest friend of all: he had Fidel.

    For many years, Cuba remained Michel’s exclusive realm; whenever someone would accompany my father there, it would naturally be Michel. It wasn’t until after both my father’s and brother’s deaths that I got a chance to visit Fidel and his country, Cuba.

    Fidel may have been at first a political contact of my father’s but their relationship was much more than that. It was extra-political.

    Indeed, like my father, in private, Fidel is not a politician. He is more in the vein of a great adventurer or a great scientific mind. Fidel doesn’t really do politics. He is a revolutionary.

    He lives to learn and to put his knowledge in the service of the revolution.

    For Fidel, revolution is really a work of reason. In his view, revolution, when rigorously adopted, cannot fail to lead humanity towards ever greater justice, towards an ever more perfect social order.

    Fidel is also the most curious man that I have ever met. He wants to know all there is to be known. He is famous for not sleeping, instead spending the night studying and learning.

    He also knows what he doesn’t know, and when he meets you he immediately seeks to identify what he might learn from you. Once he has ascertained an area of expertise that might be of interest, he begins with his questions. One after the other. He synthesizes information quickly and gets back to you with ever deeper and more complex questions, getting more and more excited as he illuminates, through his Socratic interrogation, new parcels of knowledge and understanding he might add to his own mental library.

    His intellect is one of the most broad and complete that can be found. He is an expert on genetics, on automobile combustion engines, on stock markets. On everything.

    Combined with a Herculean physique and extraordinary personal courage, this monumental intellect makes Fidel the giant that he is.

    He is something of a superman. My father once told us how he had expressed to Fidel his desire to do some diving in Cuba. Fidel took him to the most enchanting spot on the island and set him up with equipment and a tank. He stood back as my father geared up and began to dive alone.

    When my father had reached a depth of around 60 feet, he realized that Fidel was down there with him, that he had descended without a tank and that there he was with a knife in hand prying sea urchins off the ocean floor, grinning.

    Back on the surface, they feasted on the raw sea urchins, seasoned with lime juice.

    Fidel turns 80 years old today. A couple of weeks ago, he shocked the world by turning power over to his brother Raul after holding it without interruption since the 1959 revolution. In newspapers across the world, pundits solemnly declared that even giants are mortal and that no revolution is eternal. Historians even began to prepare the space that will be granted Fidel in history books.

    Fidel may seem an anachronism: a visionary statesman in a world where his kind have long since been replaced by mere managers, a 20th-century icon still present in the 21st century.

    There is also wild speculation about what fate awaits Cuba after Castro. It is important to note, however, that while the whole world works itself up about the matter, Cubans themselves play it cool. Some of my shrewder Cuban friends even say that this temporary withdrawal from power is another one of Castro’s clever strategies; that it is something of a test and that he will soon be back at the helm. They say that, on one hand, Castro is allowing the Cuban people, and more specifically the Cuban state apparatus, to become accustomed to the leadership of his brother Raul. On the other hand, Castro is carefully watching for hints as to how the world — and, more importantly, the United States — will react to his final departure.

    Cubans remain very proud of Castro, even those who don’t share his vision. They know that, among the world’s many peoples, they have the most audacious and brilliant of leaders. They respect his intellectual machismo and rigour.

    But Castro’s leadership can be something of a burden, too. They do occasionally complain, often as an adolescent might complain about a too strict and demanding father. The Jefe (chief) sees all and knows all, they might say. In particular, young Cubans have told me that an outsider cannot ever really imagine what it is like to live in such a hermetic society, where everyone has an assigned spot and is watched and judged carefully. You can never really learn on your own, they might say. The Jefe always knows what is best for you. It can be suffocating, they say.

    I met a young man in the small provincial town of Remedios who worked there as a cigar roller. We shared a great love for the works of Dostoyevsky. When I expressed to him my excitement at meeting a fellow aficionado of Russian literature, he flatly told me: “Yes, Fidel has taught me to read and to think, but look what work he sets me out to do with this education: I roll cigars!”

    Cuba under Castro is a remarkably literate and healthy country, but it is undeniably poor. Historians will note, however, that never in modern times has a small, peaceful country been more subjected to unfair and malicious treatment by a superpower than Cuba has by the United States.

    From the very start, the United States never gave Castro’s Cuba a choice. Either Castro had to submit himself and his people to America’s will or he had to hold his ground against them.

    Which is what he did, in the process drawing the Cuban people into this taxing dialectic that continues to this day. Cubans pay the price and may occasionally complain of their fate, but they rarely blame Castro. The United States never fails to make the Cuban people well aware of its spite for this small neighbouring country that dares to be independent.

    With the possible exception of Nelson Mandela, already well into retirement, Fidel is the last of the global patriarchs. Reason, revolution and virtue are becoming more and more distant and abstract concepts. We will perhaps never see another patriarch.

    We thus have to conceive of the departure of the last patriarch in psychoanalytical terms. The death of the father doesn’t signal our liberation from him — quite the contrary. The death of a father so grand and present as Castro will, rather, immortalize him in the minds of his children.

    It is true that Cubans may eventually cast away the communist orthodoxy of the revolution. They will become tempted by American capital and values as soon as the embargo against them is lifted, something that will surely follow in the not so distant future. They will have new opportunities for individual fulfilment and downfall. Without a doubt, Cuba without Castro will not remain unchanged.

    But Cubans will continue to be subjected to Castro’s influence. Whether they like it or not, they will continue to be called out by his voice, by his questions, by his inescapable rationality, which, whether they heed its call or not, demands they defend the integrity of Cuba and urges them to seek justice and excellence in all things.

    For a generation to come, they will be haunted by the vision of a society that never existed and probably never will exist, but which their once-leader, the most brilliant and obsessed of all, never stopped believing could exist and should exist.

    Cubans will always feel privileged that they, and they alone, had Fidel.

    Yep…that should do it.

    • Warren says:

      So what? It’s not him, it’s a brother. Want me to start revealing what I know about the family members of half of Harper’s cabinet? You won’t like the results.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        Warren, that wasn’t in reply to Justin running. It was for the poster who thought Justin’s remaining brother had some machevellian scheme to scoop in and run for the leader.

        It does however, provide some private insight into the ideology the Trudeau boys’ were raised with. Maybe Alexander drank a little more deeply than Justin, but they were both at the same Castro spigot.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        Warren, you are not Ezra Levant.

        I don’t think you would reveal secrets of a personal nature of the Harper Cabinet’s relatives, though I do get your point.

        I think you would consider it too rude…..even for a nasty (bad boy) dude like you.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Sasha and Alexander are the same people. Sasha is a nick-name for Alexander.

      I read that in book. The book was a 2-part volume. It was on paper.

      PET had 3 sons, one of whom was Sasha, or Alexander.

      Wiki let you down on this one, JamesHalifax?

      • JamesHalifax says:

        Nope….I only Wiki when you are asking for facts.

        As I am not a fan of the Trudeau family, I didn’t pay them much attention. I knew Trudeau had three sons, and one died in an avalanche, one is an MP, and one makes left-wing documentaries.

        I was using the process of elimination. In this case, since I didn’t know the name of the deceased son….I assumed wrong.

        You got me.

        Now….what about the column that Alexander/sacha wrote? After all…that was the topic.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      “My bad….the other brother is Alexander, not Sacha.”

      JamesHalifax thought he made a mistake, but he was wrong.

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