02.19.2014 10:04 AM

Trudeau: rendering the economy in cartoons

Sun News wants me to talk (a lot) about this video today.  My reaction:

  • PRO: It helps to flesh out his economic vision, which has been a policy soft spot.
  • PRO: It correctly identifies the fiscal problem of the next decade – the feds in structural surplus, the provinces/municipalities in structural deficit. (Oh, and the separatists about to get a majority.)
  • PRO: It is non-partisan.
  • CON: It’s too long.  It contains too much info.  If you can’t say it in two minutes, per Chuck Berry, it can’t be said.
  • CON: The “sunny ways” thing is a wee bit obscure.  Adds nothing, potentially distracts.
  • CON: Will enough people see it?

My big beef, however? They seriously owe my brother royalties! Check out Lorne’s online CV, then watch Justin’s thing. See any stylistic similarities?


  1. MississaugaPeter says:

    I saw it on the liberal.ca website after being drawn to it by another Liberal fundraising email. I thought it was your brother’s work since I had seen his work many years ago on this website.

  2. Robin says:

    With respect, I think they owe the concept to Robert Reich – http://www.robertreich.org (Clinton’s former Secretary of Labour)… and, I agree, between 2 to 3 minutes maximum, otherwise, it seems too long; the Trudeau video could be in two parts; one, the philosophy of “Sunny Ways” and then, two, the hard facts about the economy.

    What low wage workers need most: http://robertreich.org/post/59698195659

  3. david ray says:

    using Warren’s m.o I skipped to the end and it was still too long. It should have started at forty seconds in when Justin say’s “I believe in the middle class” and wrapped it up in the ensuing 30 seconds. a good songwriter could have told them the secret to success. Don’t bore us get to the chorus.

  4. james Smith says:

    Your Bro has a great site. But don’t be too hard on the commercial as both have been heavily inspired by this Giant: http://torontoist.com/2011/12/historicist-armed-with-a-felt-pen-and-a-sense-of-humour/

    (you may be too young to remember Pick A Letter, with George Feyer, I can’t find any on the interweb they were very entertaining to kids in the60’s)

  5. debs says:

    I liked it, it was informative, and it had an easy explanations. I liked the sunny ways analogy, it shows what is wrong with harper’s regime without going negative. My only beef, is he should have had the blowhard wind with harpers face:)

  6. Lots of self-help book tropes, condescending explanations of how the world works, but I don’t see any real policy.

  7. m5slib says:

    I don’t think it’s necessarily intended for everyone to watch it at length. I think it’s one of those things where people might take a peek and say cool. Let’s be honest, most people voting in elections wouldn’t invest as much time as this video requires. I think he’s addressing the “political class” here. It’s a bit of image management to show substance, show a different way of doing things, and boosting his positive image. The aim might be for fewer people in the commentariat to query about his subtance and stop that potential trickle down to voters. Maybe?

  8. “It’s not about me, not about the Liberal Party, it’s about you.”

    After seeing 20 odd pictures of JT, and ending the piece with a huge “LIBERAL” logo…. Who is writing this stuff?

  9. po'd says:

    (Oh, and the separatists about to get a majority.)

    Based on Quebec for Quebecois?

    Needs fleshing out. The youngsters from Alberta don’t understand why Quebecois think of themselves as special. A given, and some others to.

    Can only imagine how economically challenged Mother France and always ready to play let’s make a deal in our favor, Americans would help them achieve their goals.

  10. Mark says:

    RSA has been doing these whiteboard animations since 2009. I also remember the UPS whiteboard campaign from ’07.

    As for the video, I think it’s too long for the Average Joe, and lacking in details for any Policy Wonk Joe.

  11. G. Mcrae says:

    Funny how provinces/municipalities ended up in structural deficit during the 90s when the federal government was in a surplus. I always felt that Chretien and Martin balanced the books on the backs of the provinces and in turn the provinces past things onto the cities. Harper has done nothing to change this.

    There is only one taxpayer so no wonder the middle class never saw any benifits.

  12. Cameron Prymak says:

    I like it.

  13. Russ says:

    I like it too. RSA have used this format for a long time – it works

  14. Larry Simpson says:

    I liked Justin’s soothing voice invoking the spectre of Sir Wilfred Laurier, our first French Quebec prime minister no less. Sounds like he wants to allay Canadians fear about another prime minister from Quebec, him or Mulcair. Next election will come down to Quebec versus the ROC with Justin and Mulcair fighting for Quebec and Harper fighting for the ROC.

    Putting it in the context of reality, Quebecers will elect a majority Marois PQ separatist government in 2014, and the ROC Canadians will reject Justin and Mulcair to show their disgust with Quebecers trying to screw the ROC again. That will be the big issue in the 2015 federal election, and anybody who thinks otherwise is wearing an asshat!

    • Larry Simpson says:

      Kinsella on Reddit: “But if Marois wins a majority, all federalists will need to start cooperating, and pronto. Much will be at stake, then.”

      It’s my contention that if Quebecers elect a majority Marois PQ government who campaigned on sovereignty, the ROC will look askance at Quebecers Trudeau and Marois to lead the nation. Canadians will become fed up with the Quebec sabre rattling over separation and look to a non-Quebecer for PM in 2015 to represent the interests of true Canadians.

      The Cons will paint both Justin and Mulcair as Quebec first politicians who would sell out the ROC to Quebec demands and can’t be trusted to lead all of Canada. Wasn’t it Trudeau who said he would work for an independent Quebec rather than live in a Stephen Harper Canada? Those words will hang him in the ROC come the 2015 election.

      I see no cooperation possible between Harper and the opponents both from Quebec. Canadians in the ROC elected a majority Harper government in 2011 and will do so again in 2015 when faced with Quebec separation threats.

      • Larry Simpson says:

        Furthermore, both Trudeau and Mulcair will have to personally campaign in a 2014 Quebec election against PQ Marois and her sovereignty push.

        PM Harper may or may not get involved and instead his Quebec MPs can be his proxies. If the Marois PQ win a majority on the sovereignty issue, that will destroy Trudeau and Mulcair, in Quebec and the ROC. They will have lost all credibility as Canadian leaders deserving to be PM of all of Canada. Yes, much at stake.

        • Larry Simpson says:

          Conversely, if the Marois PQ are rebuffed on sovereignty in an election in which Trudeau and Mulcair actively participated, they will have a proud and potent feather in their national hats when they go into the October 2015 federal election. Harper not so much, and he will be attacked for not fully participating in the Quebec election to save Canada from dissolution. The next federal election may be settled in a Quebec 2014 election! (Sorta lonely here!)

  15. Tired of it All says:

    Some of the charting could go, but the bits about growth and innovation – wealth creation – is eating ConformaTory breakfast. It’s a great spot.

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