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article imageOp-Ed: Final Liberal Party leadership debate — Trudeau is not Obama

By Karl Gotthardt     Mar 22, 2013 in Politics
Montreal - The Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) will hold its fifth and final leadership debate on Saturday March 22. The debate, which has six candidates remaining has to be considered largely as a coronation of Justin Trudeau after the withdrawal of Marc Garneau.
The debate will be covered live from Montreal on CPAC at 1 pm ET with the remaining six candidates, including Martin Cauchon, Deborah Coyne, Martha Hall Findlay, Karen McCrimmon, Joyce Murray and Justin Trudeau. There will be a national showcase, hosted by the Liberal party for candidates on April 6 in Toronto.
Marc Garneau will be notably absent from the debate. A former astronaut and head of the Canadian Space Agency, Garneau announced his withdrawal from the leadership race on March 14. Despite his impressive resume as a Captain in the Canadian Navy, an astronaut, guiding the space agency and as a member of parliament, Garneau could not overcome the Trudeau factor.
Marc Garneau, counted the numbers and came to the conclusion that his chances with the Trudeau factor were virtually zero. Polls indicated that Justin Trudeau garnered 72 per cent support, well ahead of himself at 15 per cent, Joyce Murray at 7.4 per cent and former Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay at 5.2 per cent. Based on these numbers the conclusion has to be that Trudeau's election as the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is virtually guaranteed.
The debate has to highlight the virtues of the anointed one, considering the low numbers for third and fourth placed Joyce Murray and Martha Hall Findlay. Garneau, whether he believes it or not, threw his support behind Trudeau, hoping for a cabinet job and a place at the table if the liberals should in fact form a government. It would probably have been smarter to scrap the last debate. There is always the possibility that the polls are wrong, but not to this extreme.
Justin Trudeau`s support come primarily from youth, of which only one third registered by Thursday`s deadline to vote. Their voter turnout for a general election is also questionable.
A Forum poll conducted on March 8, found that if a vote were held on that date the Liberal party would win 149 seats, compared to 115 for the conservatives and 41 for the New Democrats, which would be a minority government. 155 seats are needed to form a majority government.
With Trudeau taken out of the equation, the conservatives move ahead with 31 per cent, the liberals at 30 per cent and the New Democrats at 27 per cent. A Nanos poll of committed voters, released on March 7, had similar results with 31.5 per cent going to conservatives, 29.1 per cent to liberals and 27.2 per cent to New Democrats.
The Forum poll surveyed 1,755 Canadians on March 7 and 8, and according to Forum has a margin of error of 2 percentage points 19 times out of 20. Nanos survey 1,000 people by phone on February 19 to 24 and included 717 committed voters, with an error margin of 3.8 per cent of committed voters.
According to the National Post, the Liberal Party announced it had lured almost 300,000 Canadians into agreeing to describe themselves as “supporters”. There was, however, no commitment required. To their surprise only one third of those supporters have actually registered to vote, although the deadline for registration was extended by a week at Trudeau`s demand. Even with the extra week only 40 per cent of the original 300,000 were signed up.
To add to the liberal party`s dilemma half of the registered voters are from Ontario and only 11 per cent from Quebec, while British Columbia registered 13 per cent. That leaves about 24 per cent for the rest of the country. 60 per cent of the registered voters are over 50. Those are not exactly numbers that point to a truly national party nor representative of demographics.
During the first debate the original nine candidates showered praise on each other and it was only later that Justin Trudeau`s policy and substance were questioned. Martha Hall Findlay had to apologize on national television for her attacks Trudeau`s wealth and privileged upbringing.
Not much can be expected from tomorrow`s debate. The Liberal Party, once again, seems to be on the road to a coronation, which should become evident during the debate. Unfortunately for the liberals the next election is still two years away and Trudeau hasn't come under the scrutiny of the general public yet. The initial buzz of an election win is slowly fading and once the new leader, probably Justin Trudeau, is announced, the reality will replace fantasy.
Trudeau is not Canada`s Obama.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about liberal party of canada, Leadership debate, Canadian Politics, Justin trudeau, Polls
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