The Liberal Party of Canada has not had much luck with its leadership choices since the glory days of Jean Chrétien.
Paul Martin came next as leader and he was just too wishy-washy.
Then came Stéphane Dion, a convention compromise, and characterized as "not a leader."
Next Michael Ignatieff was literally shipped in, and he was "just visiting."
Each of these men led the party to lower and lower popular vote counts: Martin got 36.7% in 2004, then 30.1% in 2006, Dion 26.2% in 2008, and Ignatieff 18.9% in 2011. Down and down they went, from being the minority government, through to loyal opposition, then to a back bench third place finish for a once great political force. The current interim leader Bob Rae, a refugee from the socialist NDP, has already read the tea leaves, and will not run for permanent leader.
The stage has been set for the second coming of a saviour for the Liberals and by extension Canada, and this boy was born on Christmas Day too!
Yes, it's Justin Trudeau, eldest scion of the charismatic Pierre who led Canada to larger and ever more bloated government. Trudeau the father took office in 1968 when Canada's debt was 24% of GDP, by the time he left office in 1984, the debt was 46% of GDP, an increase of 83%. But of course the rest of the Western Democracies, did precisely the same thing during that time and it has become much worse. The evidence in Europe, America and Canada clearly shows bloated governments don't work.
How does the younger Trudeau - just Justin, thank you - propose to fix the country? I think he gets it right, sort of, lets reinvigorate the middle class. Here is a part of his leadership entry speech:
"A thriving middle class provides realistic hope and a ladder of opportunity for the less fortunate. A robust market for our businesses. And a sense of common interest for all.
The great economic success stories of the recent past are really stories of middle class growth. China, India, South Korea and Brazil, to name a few, are growing rapidly because they have added hundreds of millions of people to the global middle class.
The news on that front is not so good at home; I don’t need to tell you that. You, like our fellow Canadians all over the country, live it every day. Canadian families have seen their incomes stagnate, their costs go up, and their debts explode over the past 30 years.
What’s the response from the NDP? To sow regional resentment and blame the successful. The Conservative answer? Privilege one sector over others and promise that wealth will trickle down, eventually.
Both are tidy ideological answers to complex and difficult questions. The only thing they have in common is that they are both, equally, wrong.
We need to get it right. We need to open our minds to new solutions, to listen to Canadians, to trust them.
And as we face these challenges, the only ideology that must guide us is evidence. Hard, scientific facts and data. It may seem revolutionary in today's Ottawa, but instead of inventing the facts to justify the policies, we will create policy based on facts. Solutions can come from the left or the right, all that matters is that they work. That they help us live - and thrive - true to our values.
Because middle class growth is much more than an economic imperative."
So, Justin and the Liberals should eschew ideology, except where it is supported by evidence and hard scientific facts. Maybe that has been part of the problem with the Liberals, no principles, nothing but the ideology de jour, or as I heard this morning, there is no there, there.
I don't know where Justin gets his facts, but it seems to me, he and the Liberals have absorbed the prevailing collectivist ideology so they don't even recognize that they have one. If putting a larger and larger tax burden on the middle class, then saddling it with huge debt, is not evidence for why the middle class is struggling, then I'm not sure what is. Maybe Justin should consider unburdening the middle class and stop trying to fix it. That is a second coming I can get behind.
Here is Justin telling the internet he is going to share his greatness with us: