Monday 9 December 2013

Trudeau dodges healthcare question in Dinner With Justin

Dorothy loves Justin
It is not often that a political party gets so drunk on its own Kool-Aid that it produces a promotional video of its candidate ducking questions. Yet, as a testament of sorts to how bizarre the Justin Trudeau phenomenon has become, that is exactly what the Liberal Party of Canada has just done.

In the most recent Dinner With Justin video the winner, Dorothy, is a retired registered nurse. She says she is “passionate about healthcare”.

Cue guitar...

She says she really likes Justin because he recognizes Canadians as people, “not as ‘voters’, or ‘taxpayers’”. (In fact the Liberal Party of Canada, by its own admission, is passionate about Canadians as “numbers”).

At 1:38 Dorothy settles in for the tough question: “Ok, Justin, when you’re Prime Minister, what are you going to do for ordinary Canadians to make our lives better?”

And here is the response from the man who wants to lead Canada:

“I think the first thing is recognizing the situation we’re in. Even though our economy has more than doubled in size, grown over 100% in the past 30 years, middle class incomes have stalled.”

Cut to middle-aged woman smiling knowingly.

“People haven’t had a raise. Not a real one. In thirty years.”

Camera back on Justin.

“And we need to turn that around. It’s not right that people work as hard as they do for their families and don’t see their incomes rise.”

Cut to Dorothy nodding her head.

“And worry about their retirement, and worry about their ageing parents. And worry about their kids not getting a job and not having a future.”

Cut to 30-something dude at table with huge grin, looking baked.

“That is my main priority as a politician.”

Cut back to nurse nodding her head and hypnotically saying, “Good...Good.”

That’s it. Seriously. That’s it. Dorothy’s top priority is healthcare. She asks Justin what he is going to do as Prime Minister and, unbelievably, in an edited video put out by the Liberal Party itself, the leader ducks the question.

The electorate’s willful ignorance

La politica has conducted a recent survey of Liberal Supporters over 50. We asked them what they thought of Justin Trudeau, and the response was unanimous: “We don’t know a lot about him, and we expect he has good advisers.”

They seem not to have noticed Trudeau’s relentless banality, or to have tested their own logic: who picks the leader’s advisers? Do they not recall the famous story of George Bush sending out Dick Cheney to hunt for a Vice Presidential candidate, with Cheney then choosing himself? A leader is supposed to lead, and to be recognized as such. If he doesn’t, and endlessly defers, which is Trudeau’s style, then the entire power apparatus risks being hijacked by powerful, highly motivated special interests.

That is the risk, but at a base level are people not also mortified by the Liberal Party’s sophomoric approach to the most serious task at hand, running Canada? The party has flash videos showing a Canadian Parliamentarian’s guide to tying a scarf, with Justin Trudeau scarves as the backdrop for “The Justin Trudeau” and the “PMO Ethics Scandal” and the “Stephen Harper” and the “Conservative Spin” and the “NDP Caucus”. 

The reason for this juvenile approach is because Chief Revenue Officer Stephen Bronfman wants to “make sure we have fun”. But, surely, no one is paying attention. How could anyone taking a close look at this party, its leader, and the people running the campaign, conclude that it was in any condition to make life-altering decisions affecting 35 million people?

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

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