Canada: Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau 2015

Written by  //  December 29, 2015  //  Canada  //  Comments Off on Canada: Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau 2015

Bowser & Blue “Put Your Trust in justin” – 2014-09-24
See also Canada: Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau 2014
Real Change – a fair and open government
Justin Trudeau’s inner circle a reflection of the leader
Liberal leader relies on a group of 40-somethings who juggle work and family (Feb. 2014)
The challenge: In search of the real Justin Trudeau
Ian Brown’s long and ultimately sympathetic profile – G&M subscribers only (2 Oct 2015)

Pretty over the top
Empire of the Son…is Trudeau lucky?
(National Observer) When Canadian pundits by the score drew the obvious contrast between Trudeau the Elder’s blazing intellectual powers and his son’s more prosaic mind, they overlooked what had always been there, hiding in plain sight.
More than anything, the two men share a spine of steel and the will to win. …
Canada’s media can hardly be blamed for its bafflement in dealing with the Trudeau phenomenon, so dramatically does it depart from the precedence of the last 10 years. The Liberal government is ahead of it, racing at a dizzying pace. Barely had the pundits revved up their critiques of the aggressive affirmative action of a 50 per cent female cabinet than an extraordinarily accomplished cabinet was announced to national acclaim.
Problem solved. It’s 2015.
Ministerial mandate letters were published, The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Inquiry was announced, by three women cabinet ministers, including the Indigenous Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Canada attended the Paris Summit, committing to an historic global climate change plan. The APEC Summit was held. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report. Syrian refugees began to arrive. Children were greeted, and Canadians opened their homes and their hearts and their wallets.
The polls continue to show almost unprecedented satisfaction by Canadians in their new government, to the chagrin of a media at pains to show a semblance of balance.
Yet just as media observers seemed to find a foothold on the Iraq bombing issue, hammering the government with the spectre of Canada letting down our coalition partners, Barack Obama invited the Trudeaus to a state dinner in their honour. …
According to the statistics site,, stories about Canada were totally dominant in US media in the year ending November 1, 2015.All told, US media published some 40,000 stories on Canada—more than stories on Syria, Russia and Israel combined. And that was before Vogue came to Ottawa for a photo shoot that sent half the parliamentary press gallery into a faint.
18 December
A charm offensive: conservative Canada irked by the magnetism of Trudeau
Justin Trudeau’s charisma and popularity on social media has drawn unprecedented global interest in Canadian politics but at home, the traditionalists are unamused
(The Guardian) Harper embodied the qualities you’d look for in a bookkeeper or accountant: he didn’t seem to have much personality to get in the way of the dull tedium of governing the country. That’s the source of the Trudeau costernation. Conservatives fond of Harper aren’t so much offended by Trudeau’s earnest popularity as they are mystified by it: they can’t imagine why anyone would want to take a photograph with the person they chose to run their country.
The warmth and geniality Trudeau project so effortlessly are not, at least to the incurious or unimaginative, easily reconciled with the demands of the Prime Minister’s office.
But leadership isn’t merely bookkeeping. And there is much to be said for galvanizing the public.
10 December
trudeaus-in-vogue-2Trudeaus hit the pages of Vogue. Don’t worry, Sophie’s $5,700 dress is a loaner
(Postmedia) Those who believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau puts style over substance are directed to the forthcoming issue of Vogue.
Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau took time from their schedules after his swearing-in last month for a photo shoot with the high-end fashion magazine.
The Vogue spread continues the tsunami of fashion industry coverage that Grégoire-Trudeau has enjoyed. The focus on her wardrobe has generated valuable publicity for those who employ her friend and stylist, Jessica Mulroney (the former prime minister’s daughter-in-law) and Trudeau’s half-sister, Ally Kemper.
Justin Trudeau Is the New Young Face of Canadian Politics
(Vogue) Following in his father’s footsteps, Justin Trudeau has beaten the odds to become the youthful, optimistic face of Canada. John Powers sits down with the newly minted prime minister.
An Ottawa River breeze is chilling the air outside Rideau Hall, the grand stone building used for Canadian occasions of state, but on this festive November morning, nobody seems to mind. They’ve come by the thousands to be part of history: the swearing-in of their new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, the 43-year-old son of Pierre Trudeau, who from 1968 to 1984 was the most glamorous PM their country has known.
“This is our Camelot,” the Canadian reporter behind me says, only half kidding. Be that as it may, it’s certainly the triumphant culmination of a strange political journey. “Two years ago, Trudeau was viewed as a lightweight,” says Andrew Coyne, the sharp political columnist from Toronto’s National Post. “Many people would have found the whole idea of him being prime minister funny.”
Yet like so many successful politicians, Trudeau has thrived on being what George W. Bush memorably termed “misunderestimated.”
8 December
A long, sympathetic profile
Trudeau’s Canada, Again
With support from President Obama and the legacy of his father on his side, Justin Trudeau sets out to redefine what it means to be Canadian
(NYT Magazine) The election this fall was nothing less than an existential struggle over what it means to be Canadian. On one side, there was Harper’s vision of a nation in an age of terror, in a world afire with conflict. On the other was Trudeau’s moderate liberal belief that the world is not riven by an epic clash of civilizations, and that cultural and religious and linguistic differences and openness are Canada’s strength.
What the world knows as a progressive modern Canada was created largely under the rule of the Liberal leader Lester Pearson and then Pierre Trudeau in the ’60s and ’70s, when the country began to sever its ties with Britain and assert its own identity.
Defeating the son of Pierre Trudeau would have been a metaphysical vindication for Harper. For the past decade, Harper did all he could to undo the legacy of the older Trudeau, internationally, domestically and symbolically. In defense of ‘‘old stock’’ white Canada, Harper denigrated the United Nations, made the modest attire of Muslim women a political issue and recast Canada’s role in the world as part of a grand alliance to defend Western civilization. Harper freely admitted to loathing the older Trudeau, despite an adolescent fascination, … Harper’s greatest ambition was to destroy Trudeau’s vision of the country: ‘‘He continues to define the myths that guide the Canadian psyche, but myths they are.’’

In the long run, nobody cared
Keith Beardsley: The Myth of Open Nomination Contests
(HuffPost) Nomination battles are fascinating to watch and if you are part of one it is an exhilarating experience. Everyone always hopes that each individual seeking nomination will be treated fairly and in the same manner as all other candidates. You want to know that if you won or lost it was done fairly. The hype of “open nominations” will continue as all parties try to prove to the media and public that there is a new way of doing business now. Let us see how long it takes before we start hearing complaints from potential challengers about how they were dealt with during this “open” process. I will suggest it will be sooner rather than later. (1 April 2014)

Bruce Anderson: If Trudeau had power, what would he do with it?
(Globe & Mail) The bottom line is this: to convince Canadians to embrace a new approach, one that they have tended to think has too many risks, you need to work to dissipate, rather than stoke the worry. Of course, if the goal is simply to rally the base and save what you have, the opposite is true.
Where Mr. Trudeau will net out is not yet clear. He has accumulated lots of political capital, and spent little of it so far.
But as the clock ticks down to election day, the positions he takes on some of the trickier issues, such as pipelines and carbon pricing, will signal whether his instinct is more to challenge Canadians or to reassure them and reflect their mood.
In polling, the way you phrase a question on any given issue can produce a vastly different reaction from respondents. Yes, this is a warning about the potential for polling to mislead, but it also reveals that on many issues, people are open to being persuaded. (January 9, 2015)

The Nicest Guy in the Room
Justin Trudeau is nothing like the caricature his opponents created—and that’s why he won
(The Walrus) Late on election night, Naheed Nenshi, the mayor of Calgary —another deeply sincere and hyper-engaged politician, though keener than Trudeau on making it clear he’s the smartest guy in the room— posted this on Twitter: “And with that, I can get back to the lost pets. Phew.” …
I might look impossibly naive in a few years, taking our new prime minister’s stated intentions at face value, accepting his sincerity as something more than the usual politician’s veneer. But after a decade of mean, smirking indifference to nearly everything I love about my country, I’m willing to take that risk. Millions of us are, I’d wager. Maybe even a majority. On election night, our new PM promised “sunny ways.” And many of us, one way or another, replied: Phew.

Meet the Class of 2015: Notable rookies headed to Parliament Hill
peter schiefkeAn ex-pop sensation, ex-military, more diversity and a smattering of old-time MPs round out new Parliament
There will be many new faces around Parliament Hill when it finally returns. In fact, there will be the largest number of new MPs in the House of Commons since the 1993 election.
The Liberal Party accomplished an impressive feat: it vaulted from third place, and 34 seats, to a strong majority government in just one election.

It added nearly 150 seats to its caucus on Oct. 19, including 136 rookies and 14 comeback MPs, drawing from every province and territory in the federation.
Each election produces a crop of new MPs with impressive resumés. This time is no different, from Jody Wilson-Raybould, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, to human resources executive Bill Morneau, to prosecutor Marco Mendicino, to Seamus O’Regan, a veteran television broadcaster.
But just who else is part of this new class of MPs?
Canada’s ex-boy band MP
There is a long history of sending lawyers and seasoned provincial politicians to the House of Commons, but former boy band members have been, well, notably absent — until this election.
Meet the Liberal MP for the Quebec riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Peter Schiefke.

An inappropriate fluff piece?
Portrait of the PM-designate as a young man
(McGill News) What kind of prime minister will Justin Trudeau, BA’94, be? Over the duration of a long election campaign that Trudeau’s Liberals won in convincing fashion, he and senior members of his team dropped plenty of hints that Trudeau, who will soon become the third McGill graduate to govern Canada (Sir John Abbott, BCL1854, who led the country between 1891 and 1892, was the first), will be largely influenced by the second McGillian to hold the job – Sir Wilfrid Laurier, BCL1864.
One of the first things Trudeau said in his victory speech on Monday night, “Sunny ways, my friends, sunny ways,” directly referenced Laurier and his approach to power. Canada’s prime minister for 15 years, Laurier had plenty of opponents along the way, but precious few enemies. He was known for his “sunny ways” and his good-natured openness to dialogue and compromise. …
While many McGill alumni will soon be taking on new roles as MPs, some McGillians will be departing Parliament Hill. All three of the McGill graduates who served as ministers in the Harper government – Chris Alexander, BA’89, Joe Oliver, BA’61, BCL’64, and Greg Rickford, BCL/LLB’05 – were defeated in Monday’s election.
17 October
John Ibbitson: If Trudeau wins, these Liberals could be in his cabinet
If the Liberals were to win the election, would there be enough quality timber in the caucus to form a solid cabinet?
Voters will decide whether Mr. Trudeau is ready to lead. But his potential caucus certainly appears ready.
(Globe & Mail) … to the credit of Mr. Trudeau and his campaign team, the party has fielded an impressive roster of candidates fit for cabinet should the opportunity arise.
One vital qualification for governing a complex, federal, G-7 nation is experience in governing that nation. … Mr. Trudeau would have a clutch of former cabinet ministers from the Chrétien and Martin eras to draw on, including former finance minister Ralph Goodale, former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and former ministers Scott Brison, John McCallum, Geoff Regan and Judy Sgro. Several others served as ministers of state or parliamentary secretaries, such as Carolyn Bennett, Mauril Bélanger and Hedy Fry.
Regional representation is vital in a Canadian cabinet. Mr. Trudeau will be particularly anxious to ensure strong representation from Quebec, where the Liberals are trying to expand their base, and the West, where the Liberals are weak.
Former Montreal mayoralty candidate Mélanie Joly, who headed the Quebec Advisory Committee for Mr. Trudeau’s leadership campaign, is a shoo-in if she wins the Montreal riding of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, as is former astronaut Marc Garneau in Westmount-Ville-Marie.
Michèle Audette, an Innu women’s-rights activist, is running in Terrebonne. Anju Dhillon is a Sikh lawyer who is doing well in the riding of Dorval.
Both of these candidates would contribute to the ethnic diversity of a Trudeau cabinet, another important criterion, which is one reason why Emmanuel Dubourg, a former member of Quebec’s National Assembly who was born in Haiti and is running for re-election in Bourassa, would likely have “Honourable” before his name in a Trudeau government.
Any Liberal elected in a Prairie province is a strong contender for cabinet. One prominent Liberal candidate in the region is Jim Carr, a former provincial MLA and president of the Business Council of Manitoba, who is running in Winnipeg South Centre.
Another is Kent Hehr, a lawyer and former Liberal MLA who is campaigning strongly in Calgary Centre. Mr. Hehr, who was left paralyzed in 1971 in a drive-by shooting, has been a prominent advocate for the rights of the disabled.
In British Columbia, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, the former mayor of West Vancouver, would be a strong contender for cabinet if she can win in the exotically named West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, a former Crown attorney and senior figure in the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, is running in Vancouver-Granville. And Joyce Murray, a former environment minister when Gordon Campbell was premier, should do well in Vancouver Quadra.
Other strong Liberal B.C. candidates include Harjit Sajjan, a former police officer who did three tours of duty for the Canadian Forces and is running in Vancouver South, and Sukh Dhaliwal, a businessman and former MP who is running in Surrey-Newton.
The Liberal bench is particularly deep in Ontario. It includes: Bill Blair, the former Toronto chief of police who is running in Scarborough Southwest; Andrew Leslie, the former lieutenant general who is running in the Ottawa riding of Orleans; Chrystia Freeland, a former prominent journalist and adviser to Mr. Trudeau who is seeking re-election, this time in the new riding of University-Rosedale; and Navdeep Bains, another Trudeau adviser and a former MP who is hoping to get back into the House, this time in Mississauga-Malton.
Other serious Ontario contenders include Bob Bratina, the former mayor of Hamilton who is running in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek; Bill Morneau, a business executive who is contesting Toronto Centre, and Adam Vaughan, the former journalist and city councillor who is hoping to return to Parliament, this time in the Toronto riding of Spadina-Fort York.
Dominic LeBlanc, the veteran MP who is seeking re-election in the New Brunswick riding of Beausejour, is a close friend of Mr. Trudeau’s and will certainly be in cabinet, while Hunter Tootoo, the former speaker of the Nunavut legislative assembly, is strongly challenging Conservative cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq in Nunavut and would likely be at the table if he succeeds.
16 October
Trudeau faces attacks over resignation of former staffer Dan Gagnier
(Globe & Mail) The Liberals are arguing that, faced with a controversy, Mr. Trudeau did a better job than Mr. Harper in overseeing the speedy departure of Mr. Gagnier from his team.
Mr. Harper said his campaign staff and volunteers are not giving advice to potential corporate clients during the campaign and drew attention to the fact that the Liberals are the only party accused of this.
14 October
Former Liberal campaign co-chair was being paid by TransCanadadan-gagnier-and-energy-east-300x169
Former Liberal campaign co-chair Daniel Gagnier has been working for months for TransCanada Corp., helping it with its controversial Energy East pipeline, while at the same time working as an key advisor to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
TransCanada Corp communications director James Millar confirms that the corporation has been paying Gagnier for his advice.
“Dan has worked with TransCanada as a contractor on the Energy East file since the spring of 2015, primarily offering us communications advice. His counsel has been helpful in guiding us on how best to communicate the benefits of the project to Canadians.” Gagnier is not currently registered to lobby on behalf of anyone but has been registered in the past — as recently as last year, for the Calgary-based Energy Policy Institute.
Surging Liberals dealt blow as campaign co-chair resigns
(Globe & Mail) The controversy stands to hurt the Liberal Party in Quebec, where TransCanada’s Energy East project has been a lightning rod for opposition to proposed pipelines in the province.
13 October
Meet the chief adviser behind every big move Justin Trudeau makes
With just days left in the campaign, Mr. Butts wants to ensure that nothing disrupts his carefully laid out plans to reshape his university buddy into Canada’s prime minister.
(Globe & Mail) If there is to be a Liberal victory on Oct. 19, it will be largely a result of the unique partnership between Mr. Butts and Mr. Trudeau. The two friends come from opposite parts of the country – both in a geographical and a socio-economic sense – and have formed a unique partnership in Canadian political history. Instead of a traditional leader-follower relationship, they operate on a peer-to-peer basis with no formal distance between the pair.
11 October
Justin Trudeau de passage à Tout le monde en parle
Journal de Montréal: 14 choses à savoir sur le passage de Justin Trudeau à Tout le monde en parle
2 October
The challenge: In search of the real Justin Trudeaulengthy, fascinating profile by Ian Brown offers many insights. Well worth reading.
Paul Wells: After five debates, some lessons about Justin Trudeau
The Liberal leader’s opponents wanted lots of debates to increase the odds of him messing up. That gambit didn’t work out so well.
1 October
Disappointingly superficial piece from The Economist
Hair apparent – Is the son of a prime minister ready to take over the top job?
29 September
Jonathan Kay: The Justin Trudeau I Can’t Forget
For better or worse, the Liberal leader will always be shaped by the emotional agony caused by his mother’s abandonment
(The Walrus) If Justin Trudeau crashes and burns later this month, it won’t be because he is juvenile, or dumb, or “not ready.” It will be because his profound connection with young people—an outgrowth of his cultural interests, his young age, and the course of his own psychological development—naturally brings him into the gravitational field of modish, youth-oriented policies and postures (think marijuana, quasi-pacifism, proportional representation, bioethics) that are alienating to the older, stodgier voters who decide elections.
This is how it must be. Win or lose, that’s just who Trudeau is. Anything else would have been fake.
As for me, I have no idea who will get my vote on October 19. It’s the first election in which I can picture myself voting for any of three, or possibly even four, different parties. One thing I do know, however, is that if election day ends with Justin Trudeau delivering a concession speech, it’ll be a hard thing for me to watch.
26 August
Long – some interesting comments from political observers
Justin Trudeau’s fight for the top
(National Observer) In order to win the election Trudeau needs to continue to demonstrate a grasp of the issues and remain steadfast in clearly getting his message across, Hillmer said. “But that’s not going to be enough. What he needs is something to go wrong on the other two sides.
“He needs the prime minister to continue to have difficulty both with the economy and other policy issues, but also to continue to appear to be aloof and to continue to be someone we’d like to see the end of.”
While Hillmer said that Trudeau is back in the campaign after the debate, he still needs Mulcair to perform poorly or make a bad mistake, “something that will interrupt this notion that if we want to be rid of Harper, than we’re going to have to vote for Mulcair and the NDP.”
23 August
Liberals in Ahuntsic—Cartierville pick Mélanie Joly as their candidate
It took three ballots, but former Montreal mayoralty candidate Mélanie Joly has been elected the Liberal candidate in the riding of Ahuntsic—Cartierville.
Joly faces the daunting task of entering the campaign three weeks after everyone else and the formidable opponent of Maria Mourani, the former Bloc Québécois MP turned New Democratic who holds the riding.
But the undercurrent of suspicion over the way the election unfolded and allegations the Liberal brass manipulated the election to ensure Joly, a personal friend of leader Justin Trudeau, were still hovering in the air as candidates packed up their posters.
21 August
Christopher Curtis: Electric in a crowd, guarded in private, Justin Trudeau sticks to his script
(Montreal Gazette) There is one certainty inside Trudeau’s camp: you can throw the leader into any crowd and he’ll sweep it off its feet. … But there’s also something magnetic about the Liberal leader’s energy, about his ability to look people in the eye, wrap his arms around them and leave them feeling like they’ve just experienced something spiritual. And yet, for a man who floats through a crowd with such ease, Trudeau is an immensely guarded person. It’s never clear where the performance ends and where the real Justin Trudeau begins. …
At his best, he makes it look easy: the way he glides through an audience, the way he gently cradles a stranger’s baby or effortlessly remembers a volunteer’s name at a rally. This is Trudeau’s clearest path to victory, winning hearts and minds one handshake at a time.
But there are still far too many moments where it looks like politics, where Trudeau’s enthusiasm causes him to break the fourth wall, where it’s very clear he’s delivering a message that was focus-grouped with laser precision. And that may be the golden rule of the game: don’t make it look like you’re playing.
31 July
Canada’s Liberals face bleak future – is it too late for Justin Trudeau to save them?
At one point top of opinion polls, the party’s golden boy is now running third. At stake is the survival of Canada’s ‘natural governing party’, but Trudeau remains confident: ‘Canadians are looking for someone who has a serious plan’
(The Guardian) At stake is not merely the young leader’s political career, experts now say, but the very survival of Canada’s “natural governing party” itself, doomed to be stranded at the empty centre of a steadily polarising political spectrum.
“I’m not particularly worried about it,” Trudeau told the Guardian this week in an interview from his Ottawa office, adopting the brave face that has become practised as his popularity slides.
“If there’s one thing that recent history in Canada has shown it’s that campaigns really matter,” he added. “And there’s a tremendous volatility among voters who are just looking for the right alternative.”
Trudeau could also add that he is still on track to capture more than a quarter of the votes cast, a significant improvement over the 19% share won by the Liberals four years ago under the disastrous leadership of writer Michael Ignatieff.
“I’m raring to go,” he says. “I look forward to the campaign starting so people can really start digging into the various contrasting options.”
But even that job will prove problematic for the Liberals, who are already struggling to differentiate their platform from that of the rising New Democrats, a formerly leftwing party successfully moved to the centre under Mulcair and the late Jack Layton.
Trudeau’s search for a disappearing middle ground met disaster earlier this week when Toronto Liberals rejected Eve Adams – Anonymous complaints from fellow Liberals about his leadership are becoming a regular feature in Canadian media. … the middle ground is no longer the reliably fertile field it once was in Canadian politics. Even without the juvenile gaffes that have provided such effective ammunition to Tory attackers, the Liberal leader and his party are probably doomed, according to University of British Columbia political scientist Richard Johnston. “They have been living on borrowed time for quite a while now,” Johnston says. Failing to win the seats they still hold in vote-rich Ontario, as seems increasingly likely, “really will finish the Liberal party”, he adds.
Despite the gloomy forecasts, the sun is still shining outside the window of Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa office. He remains as fresh and confident as the man who, only a year earlier, was most favoured to lead the nation.
27 July
Trudeau-linked candidate at centre of Montreal-area riding battle
(Ottawa Citizen) With Eve Adams having lost her bid to represent the Liberals in October’s federal election, attention is turning to another nomination battle involving a high-profile candidate with links to leader Justin Trudeau.
The Liberal nomination race in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, a riding in north Montreal, has featured plenty of drama since Mélanie Joly decided to throw her hat into the ring this past February. … Ahuntsic-Cartierville remains one of the few ridings across the country where there is no Liberal chosen to represent the party in the election. At the same time, the number of candidates has dwindled from eight to four. At least one blamed his withdrawal on the delay holding a nomination meeting.
Trudeau promised two years ago to hold open nominations for all Liberal candidates. However, he also retains the exclusive power to appoint candidates as he sees fit. With a federal election call only weeks away, would he use that power to appoint Joly or someone else in Ahuntsic-Cartierville? … Trudeau and his team have gone out of their way to recruit star candidates to run for Liberal nominations across the country. Joly represents the last such candidate, after Adams’ failed nomination, which left Trudeau with a bit of a black eye.
27 July
Stephen Maher: Eve Adams’ nomination loss puts end to harmful blunder by Justin Trudeau
… it’s not impressive that Trudeau would be prepared to take someone who cheated too much for the party that had Dean Del Mastro’s back right up until the bailiffs put him in chains.
And was Trudeau too full of himself to see that nobody would be convinced by her words of praise?
He is now trailing in the polls, and his party is sharpening knives and complaining about him and his team, while the other parties are out looking for votes.
27 July
Kelly McParland: The sorry saga of Eve Adams puts Trudeau’s judgment in question again
The whole unhappy affair underlines the serious doubts that continue to plague Trudeau’s leadership skills, and the judgment of the advisers around him. A political novice could have seen the dangers involved in embracing Adams, which not only contradicted Trudeau’s pledge of open nominations but offended local party officials and opened the door for Trudeau to be criticized by opposition parties as just another cynical opportunistic despite his pledge to practice a new, more honourable form of leadership. … Perhaps, never having toiled at the grassroots himself, Trudeau was unaware of the depth of feeling it generates. The leader who has laboured to establish himself as the voice of the middle class failed completely to appreciate how middle-class Liberals in Eglinton-Lawrence would feel about his choice and his intrusion. It’s far from the first time Trudeau has been shown to be out of step with party members who were labouring on its behalf well before he signed on as leader. That he still hasn’t absorbed the lesson, this close to an election, can’t offer much reason for optimism among the rest of the party rank-and-file.
So Peter Newman is voting NDP.  The bloviating tone of this piece indicates that he has perhaps passed his ‘best-before date’.
The centre-left’s divine right: The arrogance of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals
Peter C. Newman on how the Liberals’ current leadership is just the latest to believe it is owed power
(Maclean’s) The big shift by the NDP was establishing its capacity to field French and English MPs with grace and substance in the House of Commons. That makes them the players to beat. The Orange Army originally attracted to the NDP’s coattails as a lark hung in, and is now dug in. Great expectations to the contrary, I once described Tom Mulcair—when he was still sporting that originally straggly beard—as looking like the kind of intimidating presence mothers hired to ensure the kids finished their spinach. I badly underestimated him, just as I badly overestimated how much of Harper’s clout was disposable. His ruthless manner leaves little doubt about the rumour being true that his cabinet ministers have to ask permission to sneeze. He is not a leader; he is a drill sergeant.
Justin’s most politically damaging decision was to publicly fire from his caucus all the senators and party veterans. They demanded nothing more than reassurance that their presence still counted for something. By cutting them off, Trudeau deprived himself of useful wisdom and freely available loyalties. Agree!
It was as if the once unbeatable Liberals were allowing themselves to be guided deeper into the political wilderness, led by a name instead of a leader. A good argument can be made that Justin Trudeau was an agent of change. A better argument can be made that he will be its first victim.
Eve Adams’s next step unclear following loss of Liberal nomination
Liberal Party welcomes Marco Mendicino as candidate to challenge Finance Minister Joe Oliver
10 July
Poll shows Justin Trudeau’s Liberals slipping further behind
A new Forum Research poll has the federal Liberals in third, the NDP and Conservatives tied.
(TorStar) If these results are projected onto a 338-seat House of Commons, the Conservatives would seize a minority government of 155 seats, 15 short of a majority, according to Forum.
More than a quarter — 27 per cent — of respondents who voted Liberal in the last federal election in 2011 will vote NDP this time, which is twice the proportion that will switch between other parties, the poll shows.
3 July
Justin Trudeau on politics, a famous father and the oil sands
With a few months to go and a tie in the polls, Justin Trudeau explains his approach to politics and to a famous father, and why his stance on the oil sands doesn’t discredit him as an environmentalist.
“when I ran for leadership, my senior team and I made a decision, that despite all the smart and expert people who were willing to help us out and give us policy ideas that we could have unveiled every few weeks, it was going to be more important for us to draw people in. We wanted to build a political movement based on collaboration and an engaged active membership. If we had showed up with policy prescriptions and solutions already established we were going to lose one very strong lever for bringing those people in.”
29 June
Trudeau vows Liberal environment plan will ‘be putting a price on carbon’
(Globe & Mail) As part of their new plan, the Liberals are promising to restore $25-million in funding to Parks Canada, while offering free entry into all of Canada’s national parks in 2017. In following years, the parks would be free for children and new immigrants within one year of obtaining their citizenship.
The Liberals would also follow a growing worldwide trend by creating “green bonds,” which could be used by the private sector to develop alternatives to fossil-fuel energy sources.
“The bond will leverage the federal government’s ability to provide more affordable loan guarantees for clean-energy projects, and provide Canadians with the opportunity to invest in clean technologies,” the Liberal plan said.
The Liberals are also promising to overhaul Canada’s environmental-assessment process, stating the current system fails to protect the environment but also paralyzes the exportation of resources to foreign markets. The Liberal plan would provide “robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction,” while ensuring that Canadian citizens and experts are heard throughout the process.
The assessment would also include “an analysis of upstream impacts and the greenhouse-gas emissions resulting from the projects,” a proposal that was applauded by various environmental groups on Monday.
Justin Trudeau, man of substance
You can dislike what the Liberal leader is proposing, but he sure is proposing stuff. Paul Wells on Justin Trudeau’s carbon proposal
…  here’s the text of the speech, perhaps the shortest since Trudeau kicked off his “Real Change” series of announcements in early May. (Previous announcements focused on family taxation, democratic reform and relations with the United States.) But, as before, today’s speech came with a background document that corresponds roughly to a chapter of the Liberals’ fall election platform.  
24 June
Justin Trudeau: I’ll end ISIS combat mission, restore relations with Iran
(Yahoo!News) … Trudeau pledged to pull Canadian fighter jets from the Middle East, he doubled down on his commitment to send more military personnel to help train Iraqi security forces — beyond the 70 or so Canadian special operations personnel who are currently embedded with the Kurdish Peshmerga.
18 June
Former Liberal candidate, organizer quits over party’s support of C-51
(Winnipeg Free Press) A former Liberal candidate and party organizer from Winnipeg has torn up his Liberal membership card because the party voted in favour of the anti-terrorism legislation.
17 June
Emmett Macfarlane: Fair and open government – the Devil is in the details
(Policy Options) Justin Trudeau announced yesterday an impressively comprehensive set of democratic reform policies (a label the Liberals avoided in favour of “fair and open government”). Paul Wells has a great post suggesting that Trudeau “is essentially running on 20 years of Andrew Coyne columns. It’s so earnest, you could cry.” In other words, people who lament the state of our democracy – and especially academics who study parliamentary accountability and transparency – should feel like kids in a candy store. …
I’m a little skeptical of mandatory voting (it seems like treating the symptom rather than the cause of a disease). I also think the electoral reform proposal would have benefited from more clarity.  There will be lots of time for Trudeau to address these two issues, but I wanted to comment on some of the other proposals, many of which are really, really good.
Trudeau announces plan to kill first-past-the-post by the next election
(National Post) And, if the Liberal leader becomes prime minister, it may also be the last election in which Canadians can choose not to vote, as well as the last in which the only way to vote is by marking an X on a paper ballot.
Changing the way Canadians vote is just one element of a sweeping, 32-point plan to “restore democracy in Canada” that Trudeau announced Tuesday.
16 June
Liberal Plan a Tough Sell for C-51 Haters
Transparency, charity promises don’t outweigh anti-terror law concerns, say opponents.
Justin Trudeau will have to do more than pledge to fix what he calls a broken Ottawa to win back would-be supporters, say opponents of the recently-passed Anti-Terrorism Act.
Steve Anderson, executive director of the Internet privacy group OpenMedia, said the Liberal Party of Canada’s support of Bill C-51 can’t be counter-balanced by promises of more government transparency and halting politically motivated charity audits.
“People who care about their civil liberties and want to see a leader of the country who’s on their side are still going to have trouble voting for Trudeau,” Anderson said. “I think he fundamentally eroded people’s trust.”
Opponents of Bill C-51 say it impedes too much on Canadians’ privacy and could be used to stifle dissenters of government policy due to some of its stipulations of what can be considered supporting terrorism.
Trudeau Unveils Plan For ‘Restoring Democracy’ With 32-Point Plan
(HuffPost) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced a series of sweeping changes Tuesday to improve government services, involve more Canadians in the government decision-making and increase government transparency if the Liberals win October’s election.
His 32-point plan promises “real change” and includes several major initiatives and reversals of Conservative government decisions — saving home mail delivery, reinstating the mandatory long-form census, reopening nine veterans’ service centres that were recently closed, ending the “political harassment” of charities, and un-muzzling government scientists.
The Liberal leader said his plan for reforming the Senate removes partisanship and can be achieved. It wouldn’t bog down the country in years of divisive constitutional wrangling with the provinces.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the promises Trudeau made Tuesday to “restore democracy”:
Changing the electoral system: Trudeau says he is committed to ensuring that the Oct. 19 election is the last under the first-past-the-post voting system. A Liberal government would form an all-party committee to study different electoral measures such as a ranked ballots, proportional representation, online voting and mandatory voting. Within 18 months of forming government, he said, the Liberals will introduce electoral reform legislation. No mention of open nominations.
15 June
Veteran resigns N.S. candidacy in protest against Trudeau’s support for security bill
(Globe & Mail) David MacLeod’s decision underlines the damage that Mr. Trudeau and his caucus’s support for the controversial security bill is doing to the Liberal Party and its brand as defender of human rights.
13 June
Justin Trudeau starts to turn the corner: Hepburn
Liberal leader taking steps to reverse slide in voter support.
(TorStar) … signs are emerging that suggest Trudeau is turning a corner and becoming the formidable campaign force that Liberals hoped he would be and that Conservatives and NDP strategists feared all along. First, Trudeau has silenced the criticism about his lack of policies. In rapid succession, he has introduced a detailed economic plan and a national infrastructure program. His economic platform calls for tax breaks for the middle class, shifting more of the tax burden to upper-income earners, improved Canada Pension and old age security benefits and a Canada Child Benefit that is tied to family income. His infrastructure platform includes new sources of funding for cities and working with municipalities to deal with the damage caused by changing long-term weather patterns.Next to be unveiled will be a major education platform.
5 June
Justin Trudeau is proposing closer co-operation with Canadian cities, new sources of funding for municipalities and a reinstatement of the long-form census.
Justin Trudeau is proposing a new day in Ottawa’s relations with Canada’s cities, with closer co-operation, new sources of funding for municipalities and a reinstatement of the long-form census to provide mayors with extra decision-making tools.
“It’s time for a new arrangement between our municipalities, provinces and our federal government,” the Liberal leader told hundreds of delegates at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference.
He said the federal government has the lion’s share of the country’s financial resources but is short-changing municipalities. “Our communities need greater support. There’s no shortage of great ideas but we’re falling short in giving our cities and towns the infrastructure they need to attract new businesses and new jobs.”
Laying out some of his party’s platform for the Oct. 19 election, Trudeau said a Liberal government would expand infrastructure funding by persuading large pension funds to invest more in Canadian — as opposed to offshore — urban construction projects. The party has said this might mean encouraging the Canada Pension Plan to play a greater investment role in these domestic projects.
2 June
Liberal Open Nominations: Montreal Candidates Suggest Party Favouring Big Name
(CP via HuffPost) People vying for the federal Liberal nomination in one of the few remaining open ridings in Montreal are not-so-subtly suggesting the party is delaying the vote to favour a perceived star candidate who is a friend of Leader Justin Trudeau.
A lawyer and businesswoman, [Mélanie] Joly helped organize Trudeau’s Liberal leadership campaign. She entered the crowded race in Ahuntsic-Cartierville riding — there are six candidates excluding Joly — in February.
Her late entrance and the fact the riding has not yet had its nomination meeting has fuelled speculation the party is delaying the date in order for Joly, 36, to sign up enough members come nomination day.
25 May
Campbell Clark: For Liberals, Bill C-51 story of calculation and miscalculation
Mr. Trudeau thought he was taking the safe, popular choice, but it sent a message that he’d ceded the job of opposing the government. And the Liberals were hoisted on their own political calculation.
(Globe & Mail) [Justin Trudeau’s] decision to choose the safe, popular position on Bill C-51 has backfired and become a significant weakness.
That’s not because the bill is now massively unpopular. A campaign against it has lowered its once sky-high approval ratings, but not to the floor. Many of those who really care, especially left-leaning voters, were looking for someone to oppose the bill and Mr. Trudeau didn’t. The NDP’s Thomas Mulcair did. … Most members of the Liberal Senate caucus – no longer part of Mr. Trudeau’s caucus – plan to vote against Bill C-51, in what they call an act of principle.
15 May
A disappointing boilerplate defense of the Liberal position from Marc Garneau
The Liberal position on C-51
“From the outset, Liberals raised concerns with Bill C-51 regarding accountability and oversight. This is why our support of this legislation was paired with a commitment that a Liberal government would create safeguards to ensure the powers in this legislation are not abused.”
14 May
Liberal Senator, Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
“… the list of problems with Bill C-51 is very long. There are issues with increased information sharing among 17 different agencies; issues with warrants that would violate our Charter; a new civil litigation provision that would remove accountability; new terrorist propaganda provisions that would quell freedom of speech; new no-fly provisions without showing the efficacy of such a list; a lowered threshold for preventative detainment, which would violate the rights of Canadians; unprecedented new disruption powers being given to CSIS; and a severe lack of oversight for this entire program.”
9 May
Supporters publicly abandoning Liberal Party over Trudeau’s support for Bill C-51
Social media is abuzz with images of Liberal supporters symbolically cutting up their party membership cards after their leader Justin Trudeau voted in favour of Bill C-51 at the anti-terrorism legislation’s third reading in the House of Commons.
Disillusioned supporters also plastered Trudeau’s Facebook page with angry comments about the party’s support for the controversial bill which has been denounced as dangerous and draconian by legal experts, academics, former Prime Ministers, First Nations groups, civil society organizations and all opposition parties other than the Liberals.
4 May
Fairness for the middle class
(LPC) A Liberal government will make the tax system fairer and cut the middle class tax rate by seven percent. That’s a $3 billion tax cut for those who need it the most.
The Liberal plan will also provide one bigger, fair, tax-free monthly cheque for families in the middle class and those working hard to join it.
With the Liberal plan, a typical two parent family, with two kids, earning $90,000 per year will get $490 tax-free every month. With Mr. Harper, the same family only receives around $275 after-tax.
With the Liberal plan, a typical one parent family, with one child, earning $30,000 per year will get $533 tax-free every month. With Mr. Harper, the same family only receives around $440 after-tax.
We will ask the wealthiest Canadians to pay a little more so the middle class can pay less. Liberals will cancel Mr. Harper’s income splitting and other tax breaks for the wealthy. We will introduce a new tax bracket for the top one percent – on incomes over $200,000.
Canadians now have two fundamentally different choices. Mr. Harper offers tax breaks for the wealthy. Liberals believe in a country that works for everyone.
Mr. Trudeau’s priority is clear: we must strengthen those at the heart of our economy, middle class Canadians, who have not had a decent raise in 30 years. Liberals will continue to present solutions to grow our economy. Jeffrey Simpson: On tax cuts, Trudeau shouldn’t play on the Tories’ turf
28 April
Blair recruitment shows Trudeau’s passion for civil liberties has limits
Mr. Trudeau has recruited Bill Blair – whose just-ended tenure as Toronto’s police chief was to a large extent defined by civil-liberties controversies – as a star candidate.
As former-Toronto-chiefs-turned-federal-politicians go, Mr. Blair is relatively progressive. He made considerable effort to improve police relations with minority communities, consistently expressed complex and nuanced views about crime and its causes, and didn’t try to convince the city its streets weren’t safe so he could boost his own profile or budget. In other words, he is not Julian Fantino.
16 April
John Ibbitson: A coalition? Why Trudeau has more in common with Harper than Mulcair
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that he was “unequivocally opposed to any sort of coalition” with the NDP. That makes perfect sense. It would be far more logical for the Liberals to make common cause with the Conservatives.
… Under Mr. Trudeau’s leadership, the Liberals on most major files have become virtually indistinguishable from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.
On the question of taxes, for example, the Liberals would retain all the Conservative measures, save for a minor income-splitting tax cut. The NDP, on the other hand, would raise corporate taxes.
On the environment, Mr. Trudeau appears content to allow the provinces to lead the fight against global warming, as does Mr. Harper. Mr. Mulcair is committed to compulsory national standards to reduce carbon emissions.
On natural resources, Mr. Trudeau backs the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and supports oil sands development, while Mr. Mulcair opposes Keystone and talks of a “Dutch disease” of oil dependency. And the list goes on.
23 March
Liberals fall into unhappily familiar pattern in Quebec: Hébert
(TorStar) It was not that long ago that polls showed the Liberals going head-to-head with the NDP for francophone support in Quebec.
Ignatieff’s fall from grace in Quebec was accelerated by Denis Coderre’s resignation as lieutenant and the latter’s contention that the party was run by Toronto advisers.
By virtue of his roots, Trudeau is less vulnerable to the same criticism. Yet his pre-election campaign in Quebec is even more generic than that of his predecessor.
That includes a just-produced string of Liberal radio ads so devoid of local flavour that if they were bagels, no Montreal shop worthy of its name would admit to having baked them.
13 March
Justin Trudeau, Steven Blaney and Godwin’s law of Nazi analogies
CBC) Twice in the past week ​prominent Canadian politicians have made references to the Holocaust and Nazi rhetoric. Both have brushed up against something called Godwin’s Law, which states that if a discussion (usually online) goes on long long enough somebody will compare someone or something to Hitler or the Nazis. Mike Godwin, creator of Godwin’s Law, joined Day 6 to discuss when it’s okay to make a Nazi comparison. …
I actually do I think that it’s served Canada well to remain aware that the singling out of people on the basis of their ethnic or religious background is not something that Canadians have totally been a stranger to. That in the run up to World War Two certainly Jews in Canada had that experience
9 March
For the record: Justin Trudeau on liberty and the niqab
The text of Justin Trudeau’s controversial speech
Liberals Are Supporting Bill C-51 So Tories Can’t Make ‘Political Hay,’ Trudeau Says
“Sir, I must say that supporting the bill that you know is dangerous while promising to reform it when you’ve been elected to government is tantamount to putting our rights hostage, and our vote is our ransom,” said a young woman. Amen!
26 February
Why Justin Trudeau is suddenly the underdog
Paul Wells on what Harper and Mulcair might have to teach Trudeau
(Maclean’s) It’s as though people don’t much care what he has to say. It’s as though politically involved Canadians view Trudeau, not as a question—Is he ready? Is he proposing interesting things?—but as a statement, a kind of totem. If you don’t like Harper, you need somebody to replace him and, for nearly two years now, Trudeau has looked like that somebody. If you’re protective of Harper, then Trudeau is a bogeyman, but again, that doesn’t actually have much to do with what he says or does.
25 February


melanie-joly-ancienneDon Macpherson: Mélanie Joly, Justin Trudeau’s slightly tarnished Liberal star in Quebec
Her jump to federal politics smacked of careerism. She presented herself in the 2013 mayoral campaign as the standard-bearer for a new style of politics. After her announcement on Tuesday, however, an editorial in La Presse, which is considered close to the Liberals, said she was contributing to public cynicism about politics.
Last week, after Joly disclosed that she was considering running in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, five of the other candidates for the nomination publicly called on the party to respect Trudeau’s promise of open nominations — that is, leaving the choice to riding association members, without interference by party headquarters. …
Maria Mourani won the seat for the Bloc in the 2011 general election, but has since renounced Quebec independence and will run for the New Democratic Party.
Mourani has the advantage of incumbency, since she has represented the riding since 2006. And if she can bring enough former Bloc votes with her to the NDP, she could hold off the Liberal.
Hugo de Grandpré: Mélanie Joly se défend d’alimenter le cynisme chez les électeurs
La course à l’investiture n’est pas gagnée d’avance dans la circonscription fédérale d’Ahuntsic. Sept candidats sont déjà sur les rangs et cinq d’entre eux ont fait savoir la semaine dernière qu’ils comptent rester dans la course, malgré l’arrivée de la candidate-vedette.
Au PLC, on affirme que les règles seront respectées, même si Mme Joly a été conseillère de Justin Trudeau dans sa course à la direction du parti et que le chef a vanté ses mérites aux journalistes d’Ottawa mardi.
« Le processus va être respecté, ça va être une investiture ouverte. Mais en même temps, on est heureux que des gens de la trempe de Mélanie se présentent et on n’est pas indifférents face aux résultats », a confié une source libérale.
19 February
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is running out of second chances: Goar
(TorStar) Canadians have shrugged off Justin Trudeau’s slips and stumbles for three years but they want a competent national leader now.
This would be a fine time for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to start demonstrating the maturity, self-discipline and competence to lead the nation.
His political record to date has been marred by misjudgments, ill-considered remarks and discarded promises. He has put forward few substantive policies to counteract these eyebrow-raising moves. His admirers are getting nervous; his detractors are rubbing their hands. … Initially Canadians were willing to give Trudeau a second — and a third and a seventh — chance. But now they’re starting to weigh their electoral choices. The Liberal leader needs a solid platform, a dependable moral compass and someone in his inner circle who can persuade him to pause and think.
18 February
Adams attends first Liberal caucus meeting, colleagues put on brave face among signs of discontentAdams attends first Liberal caucus meeting, colleagues put on brave face among signs of discontent
(Hill Times)’A lot of people who voted Conservative are going to be voting for the Liberals. Our tent is growing, and I think it’s a great sign,’ says Toronto Liberal MP Chrystia Freeland about her new caucus colleague, former Conservative MP Eve Adams.
13 February
Katie Telford: ‘Hard-working, tough, honest and wicked smart’
Today, Telford is quickly becoming a powerhouse in Liberal circles. She is the woman who ran Justin Trudeau’s leadership campaign in 2012-13 and is now tapped to co-chair the party’s election campaign this year with Dan Gagnier.
In his recent book, Trudeau wrote that Telford is at the “core of my inner circle” and praised her as “hard-working, tough, honest, and wicked smart.”
11 February
pascal Eve and Justin web12feb2015-jpgMP Eve Adams confirms Eglinton-Lawrence run
(CBC) Adams will run against Marco Mendicino, a former federal Crown prosecutor who now runs his own law firm.
The president of the Liberal riding association told CBC News that the nomination meeting for Eglinton–Lawrence has yet to be scheduled.​
The local provincial Liberal, Mike Colle, indicated Tuesday that he was opposed to Adams joining the party and running in the riding. Colle, the Liberal MPP, said her winning the nomination would be “over my dead body.”
André Pratte: Une grave erreur
Eve Adams en 10 déclarations
En accueillant dans son caucus la vire-capot Eve Adams, Justin Trudeau a violé la promesse la plus importante qu’il avait faite aux Canadiens : mettre un terme à «la façon dépassée de faire de la politique».
M. Trudeau a certes raison de chercher à séduire des Canadiens ayant appuyé le Parti conservateur dans le passé. S’il avait attiré un député de l’aile progressiste du PC, reconnu pour la qualité de son travail, nous aurions applaudi. Mme Adams n’est ni l’un ni l’autre.
Michael Den Tandt: What in the world is Justin Trudeau thinking by taking on Eve Adams?
Her municipal political background was in Mississauga and Peel Region. She will be as familiar to the householders of Eglinton-Lawrence, Mr. Oliver’s riding, as would a resident of Wawa.
… Meantime, this episode will stand as one of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s biggest errors thus far, utterly unforced, in an election pre-season that had been going rather well for him. Though probably not crippling – it may wash away eventually, particularly if Ms. Adams loses her bid for a nomination — this can do him and his party considerable harm. The reason is Mr. Trudeau’s brand, deliberately selected and honed for this moment in our history. A putative reformer must act as a reformer would. Floor-crossing, with its inevitable freight of treachery and backroom skulduggery, does not fit the paradigm.
10 February
Eve Adams’ Move Reveals the Hypocrisy of Trudeau’s ‘Open Nominations’eve-adams-justin-trudeau
By continuing to insist that Liberal nominations are open and democratic, Trudeau is undermining his own efforts to present himself as a positive alternative to Stephen Harper. Trudeau can no longer claim to be the answer to combating voter cynicism when he is now contributing to the problem. Whether nominations are open or they are not is Trudeau’s choice, but he needs to be honest about it.
9 February
Andrew Coyne: Justin Trudeau delivers a crawlingly demeaning performance while welcoming Eve Adams
The Conservative party had been trying to put as much distance as it could between itself and Ms. Adams ever since she was caught trying to bigfoot her way into the nomination for the nearby riding of Oakville North-Burlington, which struck her as offering a better shot at winning than her present constituency.
Not content with using her privilege as an MP in one riding to mail promotional flyers into the other, improperly accessing a confidential party database, and terrorizing a party meeting or two, Ms. Adams also sought to exploit the position of her fiancé, the party’s then-executive director, Dimitri Soudas, who made hundreds of calls from the same database on her behalf, in plain violation of his contract.
6 February
Trudeau announces carbon-pricing plan if Liberals win election
(Globe & Mail) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has vowed to pursue a national carbon pricing plan to combat climate change if he becomes prime minister, proposing a medicare-style model in which Ottawa would set national targets and enforce principles but allow provinces to design their own systems.
Mr. Trudeau is attempting to walk a fine line: supporting pipelines and the growth of the oil sands industry while insisting the country needs federal leadership to fight climate change. He is also leaving the key details of any national system – whether there would be a minimum price for emissions of greenhouse gases, how Ottawa would enforce its standards – to a first ministers’ conference that would not occur until after the election scheduled for October.
21 January
John Ibbitson: Why Trudeau may regret saying no to the Iraq mission
Stephen Harper has been seeking a wedge against the Liberals ever since Mr. Trudeau became leader, but without success. … Then Islamic State arose in Syria and Iraq, and Mr. Trudeau made the wrong call.
Assuming the extension lasts another six months, the next date for renewing the mandate will occur in the first week of October – right in the middle of the election campaign.
In that campaign, Mr. Harper will remind voters that his government has fought Islamic extremism in Afghanistan, in Iraq and at home, and with the new anti-terrorism law. He will tell voters that Mr. Trudeau prefers crude jokes to tough decisions. He will seek to make security a major issue, and the chances are good he will succeed..
Den Tandt: Trudeau targets Ontario, where Election 2015 will be decided
Dauphin Trudeau, who has been peppered with rotten fruit for months over his refusal to speak words that sound anything like a detailed economic plan, is now in the position of waiting and watching, as the government tacks back into the wind and the New Democrats, already on the hook for a $5-billion national childcare proposal, no doubt do the same.
The Liberal leader’s policy reticence, dismissed as gap-toothed vacuity, now begins to look prudent. He’s the only leader of a major federal party who hasn’t made spending promises that, in light of the new reality, may soon appear reckless. Since there will be no spring election, as we know from the delayed budget, the Liberals also now enjoy the luxury of time. They can spend the spring honing a package that has already been months in the making, looking over their opponents’ work as they do so, and fine-tuning it for Ontario ears.
18 January
The inner circle: Inside Trudeau’s economic advisory team
Justin Trudeau has gathered his economic policy gurus. Next up: an actual platform
(Maclean’s) “The discussions are very in-depth and tend to get into the weeds a great deal. It’s not just blue-skying from 40,000 feet,” says council member Mike Moffatt, a professor at Western University’s Ivey Business School.
16 January
Kyle Matthews: For prime minister, only grownups need apply
While Trudeau has brought new members and donors to the Liberals, it has become evident to many outside observers that foreign policy remains his Achilles’ heel. His earlier comments on admiring the communist regime in Beijing and joking that Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine was going to accelerate because Russia didn’t win a hockey medal at the Sochi Olympics may have raised some eyebrows. But it was his comments on ISIS that have by far been the most damaging for the Liberal party. The Liberal position is that Canada should do the “humanitarian heavy-lifting” by helping the displaced. Some, including star Liberal candidate Andrew Leslie, defended this position on television arguing that refugees, if not taken care of, would become radicalized and present a security threat in the long-run.

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