The Liberals' Achilles heal -- a sense of entitlement -- is once again becoming the subject of public discussion. Stephen Maher writes:
The latest nugget the Tory researchers have dug up was revealed Tuesday during question period, when Conservative MP Blaine Calkins repeatedly asked the Liberals to explain $1.1 million in moving expenses for political staffers, including one payment of $126,000 to an unnamed staffer in the prime minister’s office.
The Conservatives, brimming with righteous indignation, applauded Calkins as he accused the Liberals of lining their own pockets with these mysteriously large payments, and mockingly applauded Liberal House Leader Bardish Chagger when she responded with boilerplate about how “Canadians expect public resources to be used responsibly and economically.”
The Liberals have a reputation when it comes to this kind of waste. It's toxic and it brought down their last government:
The Liberals have a brand problem with this stuff. At the end of the Paul Martin era, the government seemed to spend half its time either defending Liberals who had pocketed excessive amounts while following the rules, or prosecuting others who had pocketed excessive amounts while not following the rules. This led to a lot of nasty in-fighting within the party as people in the second category lawyered up and tried to find ways of damaging people in the first category.
At the moment, Justin Trudeau is riding high in the polls. He may be tempted to brush this kind of stuff aside. But he would do well to remember the fate of former Liberals premiers Jean Charest and Dalton McGunity -- and present premier Kathleen Wynne.
All of them can testify to just how quickly the wind at your back can become a headwind.