What I know of Pierre Trudeau comes straight from the history books. They paint him as a charasmatic guy, big on ideas, bigger still on the chutzpah to carry them through. What I’ve always said of him is that he is the last guy to get Canadians passionate about their politicians- whether you passionately love, or hate the guy. His legacy I think is that he dragged Canada kicking and screaming into the 20th century. He’s the guy that brought the constitution home, created the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and numerous social programs throughout the 1970’s including liberalizing the country’s immigration policies leading to what we know as multiculturalism.
What I know of his son Justin comes from media reports, and the occasional tweet he puts out, that my followers re-tweet. I think there are bits of his father in him; woven into his speech patterns, and sometimes in his responses to certain situations. I read in various media that even his critics say he’s good with his riding; takes care of his constituents. And that says to me he’s got his priorities straight; riding first and then the rest of it. But does this mean he’s ready for the leadership?
I don’t know. I’m not sure he should be running; this is a party that has a troubling past of eating its leaders if they don’t produce election wins (see Stephane Dion, and Michael Ignatieff). It hasn’t helped that they haven’t addressed the problem of ideas; i.e. that there seems to be none. Frankly, if I were Justin I would sit this one out, and quietly set about building the party I’d be proud to lead. But I’m not, and he has chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps.
That means he has some work to do. He has to come up with ideas that are easily explainable to Canadians, and different enough from the other two to create a buzz around his party. He has to forge his own path; which has already begun; he has branded himself “Justin,” an effort to break away from his illustrious father. He has to convince skeptics like myself that he is ready for prime-time, he’s ready to take on Harper, and Mulcair.
Those are tasks that could take multiple elections. The party should first look to take the Opposition status back, and then the government. That alone is a tough task because I think the NDP are wisening up to the possibility they could win an election if they inched their way to the right a little bit. And that’s another thing he has to do; convince me that he’s willing to put in the time to rebuilding the party.
Good Luck Justin, it’s going to be a tough road.