The Conservative attack machine is primed and ready to go. When Justin Trudeau becomes leader of the Liberal Party in ten days, the Conservatives will unleash the same kind of smear campaign they used on Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. Their message will be that Trudeau is a lightweight with a thin resume.
But Bob Hepburn writes in the Toronto Star that the Harper Party would be wise to rethink that strategy. Both the federal and the Ontario Tories have chosen leaders who, at the time of their ascension, offered pretty thin gruel:
In comparison, Harper’s work resumé when he became Canadian Alliance (nee Reform) party leader in 2002 was even thinner than Trudeau’s is today.
Other than working in a few low-level jobs, starting in the mail room, for Imperial Oil in Alberta, Harper has spent his entire life in conservative politics. He has a master’s degree in economics from the University of Calgary, but never worked as an economist.
Mike Harris' first education minister dropped out of high school in grade 11 and never returned. Harris taught for awhile -- three years -- then quit:
Mike Harris dropped out of the first university he attended to become a ski instructor, later taught a few years in a North Bay elementary school before quitting again to work at his dad’s ski-hill operation and later as a golf pro. He was first elected as an MPP in 1981, served only a few weeks as a minor cabinet minister in 1985 and became party leader in 1990.
And, like Harper, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak possesses a master's degree in economics. But he has never worked as an economist:
Tim Hudak’s resumé is even weaker than that of Harris. Although he earned a master’s degree in economics, he has never worked in that field. Instead, he worked for just one year as a Walmart travelling manager before being elected as an MPP in 1995 at age 27. Hudak served as an undistinguished junior minister in the final years of the Harris government.
Trudeau the Younger has a more impressive resume than either of the Three H's:
And while Trudeau’s resumé does lack major business or institutional accomplishments or a lengthy track record in a profession, it is not without reasonable heft. He has a BA from McGill University and a bachelor of education degree from the University of British Columbia. He taught social studies and French at Vancouver high schools, served as chair of the now-defunct Katimavik youth volunteer program, studied engineering at the University of Montreal and was partway to a master’s degree in environmental geography at McGill when he was elected in 2008 as a federal MP.
So, when the blitz begins, it would be wise to remember that four H's are behind it -- Harper, Harris, Hudak and Hypocrisy.