Justin Trudeau: Meet the GOYA Group.

During his years as Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau would often remind your writer that we were both members of an exclusive club. Its full name was the Get-Off-Your-Ass Group. It had one meeting in Peterborough, Ontario in 1967. It was a group of left-wing Liberal MPs and party people who were trying to get a more progressive agenda moving in Ottawa. While the writer’s role in the party at that time was head of Liberal Party communications for Ontario, we saw no reason to tell the news media about our meeting.

But we had not counted on the craving for publicity by the local MP. As he told us, he had only told his local paper. When we were informed that a CBC television crew and a Globe and Mail reporter were in the lobby of the hotel, we needed a new strategy. To this publicist, the obvious answer was to throw new MP Pierre Trudeau at them and let the chips fall where they may.

That was not quite how Pierre saw the solution but our counter-argument prevailed and he agreed to cooperate. After a terse briefing, Pierre Trudeau was launched in a campaign that ended with him as Prime Minister of Canada. And it was all because of another MP’s desire for publicity. There were also some remarks that Pierre had offered in an early session of the GOYA Group that had struck a chord.

Pierre and Justin’s mother had probably not even met at that time. Justin needs to take a page from his father’s book. He needs to better follow his instincts. His palace guard are stifling him these days. And their schedule for policy announcements is wrong. These things have to be more instinctive than logical. You have to feel it.

There are still too many holes in Justin’s platform. The voters do not have enough policy meat to chew on while the candidate is resting. This might be a long campaign but you hardly solve that by taking lots of days off. You have to count on pitching stories that the media can spend days developing for you.

You have to make sure that earlier pronouncements are clear and unequivocal. A good example is the Conservatives building the story that the Liberals will end income splitting for seniors. Trudeau made it very clear months ago that his ending income splitting for rich families did not include seniors. The only problem is that many Conservatives do not want to understand the distinction and are adding to the confusion.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

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