It’s not your father’s liberal party.

When Pierre Trudeau resigned his leadership of the liberal party in 1984, it was a robust organization with supporters across Canada. The president of the party was B.C. liberal Iona Campagnolo. She was the party president that when the new leader John Turner was caught by the media patting her backside—made a joke of it by turning it around and patting his.

It is regrettable to think that there will not be much left of the party whenever Justin Trudeau decides his time is done. Rather than work with a strong and independent party, Justin Trudeau prefers it be subservient and totally under his direction. Nobody runs for office in the party without his approval. And nobody runs to be a liberal candidate for parliament without his approval.

Trudeau had told the party he would not interfere in the choice of the party in the electoral districts before the party made him leader. It became clear in his first election as leader in 2015, that he would choose who he wanted as candidates. His inner circle people are always a mirror image of the forty-something prime minister, reflecting his attitudes, his direction and his ignoring the party’s wishes.

He told the party and his supporters in the 2015 election campaign that it would be the last time that they voted under the first-past-the-post style of voting. That promise bombed under a democratic institutions minister who was chosen more for her gender than her knowledge of democratic institutions.

Even his gender-balanced cabinet soon lost its gender balance when he found that changes where inevitable with time. Luckily the best performer in his cabinet over their first term in government was Chrystia Freeland, the foreign affaires minister who became deputy prime minister and the first female minister of finance in Trudeau’s minority cabinet in 2020.

Justin Trudeau is maturing in the job but he still has a way to go before he learns the importance of having a strong, independent party behind him as prime minister. He also has a long way to go to becoming the kind of prime minister as was his father.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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