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Justin Trudeau – the would be King

May 25, 2013

Well, the once and future king came to Halifax yesterday for some smoozing and glad-handing at a local mall, and to help the provincial Liberals kick off their campaign for the upcoming fall provincial election with a dinner hour stop at Peer 21.

I always feel that I should be channelling Hunter Thompson at such events – you know, get blitzed on speed and go watch the lizards frolic.

But this is 2013 and such antics are passe these days. And besides, who has the energy for that?

The motley crew of provincial Liberal candidates who took turns at the podium where well, just that – provincial. About 3/4’s of them were middle-aged men who looked like they were in suits two sizes too small and who had previously worked in organized crime. Most of them were over-weight and surprisingly short. They have no polish, and were generally sweaty and uncomfortable in front of a crowd who was there patiently waiting to the national Liberal Leader. Waiting to see the man with the hair.

Yes, the man with the hair. This moniker will have to stop soon if the Liberals really want Canadians to take Trudeau seriously. Three times Trudeau was noted by someone at the podium for having “great hair”.

That will have to stop.

And the only way that will stop is when Trudeau cuts if off. Canada is not France. And this is not 1968. We do not like our politicians to look like catalogue models, or to act like playboys.

And the hair only highlights what for me is Justin’s bigger liability. He has no gravitas. He has great hair and a million watt smile, boyish good looks, and that casual “I don’t wear a tie” thing going on. Which all adds up to a wafer-thin golden boy. As I watched him on stage I wondered if he had the cojones to stare down Bay Street if need be? Could he send our young boys to war? Could he confront an American President if need be? Not yet, I thought to myself. 

Add to this what my girlfriend noticed: that Trudeau is still very much insecure with himself as a politician. How could he not be. His father was one of the most popular and most despised politicians in Canadian history. With an IQ of 160 to boot! Justin has big shoes to fill.

On the plus side he is already much more comfortable speaking to people than Harper ever is. (Although, I doubt Harper is ever truly comfortable in his own skin.) Trudeau can work the crowd as well as Jeb Bartlet ever did on that TV hit series The West Wing. He is a born smoozer.

I wasn’t expecting anything of substance from his stump speech. And I wasn’t disappointed. It is too early in the game for that. Why reveal your cards when there may not be an election until 2015? Trudeau’s speech was all “positivity”, the need to end “divisiveness” in politics, to work with scientists and other experts to overcome some of Canada’s environmental and economic challenges (a small shot at Harper’s current anti-science ideology).

There was also lots of hip-hip-horrays for Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians in general. But there always is at these sorts of things – I’m sure whichever province Trudeau is in today, it is the same thing there too! Hip Hip Horray!

Politics is after all, as they say, a tribal dance.

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