I, along with a lot of Canadians I suspect, have spent much of the past week not reading about Justin Trudeau as either the Second Coming or Chief Rider of the Apocalypse. He’s neither.
Smart people, regardless of party, are intrigued with how Trudeau is going to set about governing. He has a lot of choices, a fairly vague set of election promises and 39% popular support. Dumb people are foaming at the mouth and finding ever more scathing things to say about the Liberals, Premier Wynne, marijuana legalization and Canada’s international commitments. (Given the farcical nature of Obama’s feckless non-commitment to wiping out ISIS we are well out of any combat role in that fiasco.)
I have no doubt that Trudeau will have to throw some red meat to his base and, unlike Harper, he might be bright enough to do that at the outset of his term. He also has a lot to actually do with assorted international conferences to attend and a Cabinet to appoint and priorities to set.
Smart people will wish Trudeau well as he embarks on his Prime Ministership. Dumb people are going to try to stoke the 24 hour outrage machine and hysterically nitpick the guy.This is dumb because it is so patently partisan. Smart people want Trudeau to be ready and to be the best Prime Minister he can be. The Liberal Party and Trudeau himself are likely to be wrong about any number of things and, as those errors are made, it will be time to point them out and suggest better alternatives. But Trudeau has to make the errors first.
Smart conservatives, after they have been annoyed at losing and after they have realized that it was not just Harper’s fault – a realization which seems to be taking a bit longer than is reasonable – need to get to work considering where they lost the 8% of the electorate who swung over to the Libs. What was it about the Harper government’s approach which alienated so many people? It will be a lot more useful to think about where modern conservatism is going in Canada than it will be to fire spitballs at Trudeau.
The first thing that we need to realize is that Justin will not be the commanding presence that his father was in both his own party and national politics. At the same time, Justin has inherited a rather spotty front bench unlike PET who had one of the strongest Cabinet benches we’ve ever seen in Canada.
So what does that all mean? Welcome Prime Minister Ralph Goodale, that’s what.