It's official: Justin Trudeau has won the leadership of the Liberal party. And what a win:
When the envelope was finally opened just after 6 p.m. Sunday on the stage of the Liberal party convention at the Westin Hotel, the suspense was not about which name would be read, but only about the margin. And that still managed to produce a wow: Justin Trudeau won 80 per cent of the votes for his first-ballot landslide.
...Wasting no time to begin using the authority of his overwhelming mandate, the 41-year-old, second-generation Liberal leader told the party that they can only win if they are far more unified than they have been in recent years.
“Canadians will not suffer fools gladly,” he said in his victory speech. “Canadians turned away from us because we turned away from them. Liberals were more focused on fighting with each other than then fighting for Canadians.
“Well, I don’t care if you think my father was great or arrogant,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me whether you were a Chretien-Liberal, a Turner-Liberal, a Martin-Liberal, or any other kind of Liberal. The era of hyphenated Liberals ends right here, right now, tonight!
Did the Harper Conservatives have a totes brilliant response? Of course they did!
In a statement, the party said “Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be prime minister.”
Hahahahaha perfect. In a time of global uncertainty, we need GARBAGE politics that we can count on, people! Why, if Justin manages to rebuild the Liberals into something not-garbage, we just won't know what to do! VOTE HARPERCON!
In all seriousness, this does indeed feel like a moment of change, but it's hard to say if that perception will prove true, or if the change will be a good one. In his op-ed in today's Globe and Mail, Justin focuses heavily on the middle class and their economic concerns, while also renewing his commitment to seeking answers from all swaths of Canadian society in building the new Liberal platform. (He seems to be taking the advice that David Climenhaga offered to both the Liberals and NDP: Hammer Harper on the economy.) Regardless, he has a whole lot of work to do just to rebuild the party, let alone challenge the NDP's place as the Official Opposition. I'd still rather see Tom Mulcair as the next PM, to be honest, but a Liberal Party that's rebuilt into a serious and trustworthy centre-left party does not seem to me a bad thing.
But let me make an observation about an irritating media narrative regarding Justin Trudeau: the tendency to act as if he emerged, Athena-like, from the forehead of his father. This ignores his his mother, Margaret Sinclair Trudeau (herself of a political family). Margaret Trudeau's sometimes-erratic, sometimes-charming political behavior played a not-insignificant role in her husband's political career until their divorce. In recent years, she has opened up about her bipolar disorder and emerged as a passionate advocate for mental health issues. Perhaps we're still too embarrassed about mental illness to see her as anything but a liability, as "crazy Maggie." Judging from his appearances in public with her, Justin doesn't seem to feel that way. The fact that Justin is the son of Margaret does not make me think worse of him; if anything, it gives me hope that his compassion and empathy are much more than an act for the political stage.
[Photo credit: Adrian Wyld, CP, Vancouver Sun.]
Have at it in comments, Shakers. Does this news leave you glad, sad, or indifferent? Should the Liberals just go away, or could Trudeau change the party for the better? Will this inspire the NDP to work even harder, climb even higher, or is this bad news for the left?
And most pressing of all: exactly how much laundry detergent will be spent washing out the poopy undies at 24 Sussex Drive today?