When Justin Trudeau came to power six years ago, he vowed that his party would not be the same old Liberal Party. Susan Delacourt writes:
Once upon a time, Trudeau made great efforts to cut his Liberal party’s ties to its past, even the history of his own father’s years in power. He abruptly disowned the senators appointed under past Liberal leaders as one of his first acts at the party helm. He vowed that a new, Trudeau-led party would close the book on past Liberal dramas.
But, at this week's virtual convention, he resurrected the ghosts of past Liberal prime ministers:
Anyone who has followed Trudeau throughout his path to the top of the party, there was no missing how Saturday’s speech was a change in tone toward ghosts of Liberal past, or even his own past.
He was introduced on the virtual stage by Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who entertained the audience with anecdotes of babysitting Trudeau and his brothers, and the deep ties between his parents and two generations of prime ministers.
Trudeau began his speech with a gracious shout-out too to Turner, the “true Grit” who died last year. When he spoke of what further challenges awaited the Liberal party of 2021, during and after this pandemic, he said repeatedly: “There’s still work to do.”
It was an unmistakable reference to Jean Chretien's victory speech in 1993. As Trudeau asked his supporters to reach out to those who didn't vote for the Liberals last time, he also picked out his targets:
Trudeau doesn’t have as many neighbourly thoughts about Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, calling him and his party out for being “disconnected” from the world in Saturday’s speech. The Bloc Québécois also took a few hits from Trudeau, but not the New Democrats, notably, who are helping the Liberals stay in power.
Will the strategy work? We'll get the answer in the next election.
Image: The Globe And Mail