Justin Trudeau has concluded that it's now or never. He's probably right. But we still need to know whether or not he's the right choice. Andrew Coyne writes:
We have no idea what kind of leader he would make for the Liberal party. We don’t know what his plans are to rebuild the party, or what direction he would take it, or where he would concentrate its meagre resources. We have a hint of his tenacity — winning the nomination and then the election in Papineau, beating Senator Patrick Brazeau in a boxing match — but we don’t know whether he has what it takes generally to be a leader: whether he can build a team, inspire their loyalty, betray it when he has to. We know nothing of his strategic sense, his ability to spot a political opening, exploit an opponent’s weakness, or strike a prudent compromise.
And that is why there should be no coronation. The people who will challenge Trudeau -- and I assume there will be challengers -- need to make the Liberal leadership a real contest. After all, that is what Stephen Harper will give Justin -- a real contest.
Coyne's colleague, Micheal Den Tandt, writes that Trudeau will present Stephen Harper with a a formidable challenge:
Harper’s team has reason to fear Trudeau’s charm, his particular appeal in Quebec, Ontario and B.C., and the Liberal Party’s time-tested ability to morph into whatever policy shape best suits its needs at any given time. Where Trudeau is strongest — likability — Harper is weakest. In year seven headed for 10, time is not on the prime minister’s side in this regard. With Trudeau as his foil, it will be less easy for the PM to cast himself as the dour national bean counter, too busy with his spreadsheets to bother being human.
And, if Trudeau's leadership results in a war between the Liberals and the New Democrats, Stephen Harper will cheer from the sidelines. After Justin formally announces his candidacy this week, he must show us who he really is -- that is, he must show us not just that now is the time for his candidacy. We need to know whether or not now is the time for Trudeau.