Today -- when Justin Trudeau formally enters the Liberal leadership race -- his mission, Lawrence Martin writes in the Globe, will be to shake up the system:
At 40, Justin Trudeau isn’t terribly young, but he has the aura of youth. As such, and given the other marketing advantages he possesses, he has the potential – slim but not out of the question – to lead the way for generational change in the exercise of political power in the country. The clock is ticking on the baby boom legions. They’ve run the show too long. Those behind them have watched in despair. They don’t vote. For the most part, they’ve stayed on the sidelines.
There was a time when 40 was considered the beginning of middle age. But we baby boomers, used to being the centre of attention, are refusing to open the corridors of power to our children. Those in power have proclaimed that Mr.Trudeau is just a kid.
It's true.that Trudeau has a lot to prove. But, Martin writes, if he can ignite a sense of idealism among the young, he will have done this country a great favour:
Idealism is the currency of the young and, if Justin Trudeau is to succeed and the Liberal Party to have new life, a new sense of it is essential. His appeal should be one of broad scope. It should be nothing less than an appeal to “change the system.”
The young are so turned off by how Ottawa operates that only a sweeping reform will suffice. Pierre Trudeau’s vision for stirring new interest in politics was “the just society.” Justin Trudeau’s should be “the new democracy” or something of that sort. It’s an appeal that cuts across party lines, regional lines and age barriers.
Mr. Harper has just told the young that they will have to work two years longer than their parents before they can retire. The job prospects they face are much bleaker than their parents' prospects at their age. And, when young Quebecers objected to a tuition increase, Mr, Charest's response was the political equivalent of telling them to go to their rooms.
However, it's worth noting that the young got their way. For better or for worse, a new government has rescinded the tuition increase. The lesson should be pretty clear: It's much better to engage the young than to go to war against them.