Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Getting Tired And Tiresome

Lawrence Martin wrote in yesterday's Globe and Mail that those who predicted Justin Trudeau would be this decade's Kim Campbell may yet live to eat crow:

When the poll numbers first came out last fall showing that Liberals led by Mr. Trudeau would beat all comers, no one took the numbers seriously. It was name recognition stuff. Voters weren’t paying attention. No big deal. In the ensuing months came the same polls and the same understandably dismissive reactions.
But now there’s been about half a year of it, and Mr. Trudeau has made some mistakes and he hasn’t put forward innovative policy. But his fantastically good numbers still stand. 

Being a soothsayer is a difficult business. Nine times out of ten, you're wrong. But there is still one axiom about Canadian politics which remains true:

The big story of Canadian politics is its consistent pattern. Canadians generally hold to moderate values and vote pragmatically. They throw parties out and they bring them back when they get tired of their alternative.

While Justin's future is murky, the Conservative present is dim. The economy is stagnating. Those Conservative senate appointments are beginning to smell like fresh manure. And the F-35 debacle has blown a hole in Stephen Harper's claims that he and his confreres are paragons of fiscal virtue.

The truth is that governments eventually do themselves. Despite all of its preening, the Harper government is beginning to look tired and fat. Martin may well be correct in his contention that:

Those who say Justin Trudeau is nothing special are probably right. He hasn’t shown much. But what the soundings suggest is that it may well be he doesn’t have to show much. It may well be he need only present a decent alternative and let Canadian politics – which is about dissatisfaction with incumbents more than excitement with new faces – run its course.


janfromthebruce said...

better still one votes for the real progressive alternative and the govt in waiting - the NDP!

kirbycairo said...

Yes indeed. Harper had considerably less than Trudeau when he rose. He had (and has) NO charisma, he never had any policies (except the ones he didn't talk about). People have already forgotten their history - the only policies that Harper had when he came to power was the slogan that "The Liberals are Bad." And on his second election victory his party tried to go to election day without a platform at all and only brought one out under public pressure a week or so before the election.

Perhaps Trudeau has offered little except chrisma and a haircut but Harper didn't even have that and he won three times. It is exactly as you say, governments don't WIN in Canada, rather governments LOSE. And all signs are that history will repeat itself and no prizes for correctly predicting a Trudeau majority after the next election. The only pleasure I will take in such an outcome is that Harper will be miserable for the rest of his life in the knowledge that he not only lost to a Liberal but he lost to a Trudeau.

Owen Gray said...

It will be interesting to see if the NDP can maintain its status as the official opposition, Jan.

As a former Quebecer, I question whether Jack's success last time around had less to do with his program and more to do with Quebecers' contempt for both the Liberals and the BQ.

If they can hold onto their Quebec base, the NDP could be the government in waiting.

Owen Gray said...

I have no idea what will happen in the next election, Kirby.

But, like you, if Harper is defeated by the Second Coming of Trudeau, I will enjoy the irony.

Anonymous said...

Scores of Canadians feel the same way. Anyone other than Harper. Some will wait to see, which party is the closest to taking Harper out? They are voting to keep Harper out, rather than voting someone in.

Owen Gray said...

As Martin says, Anon, when Canadians tire of their politicians, they vote them out.