An email arrived in the Saanich News editor’s inbox on Tuesday morning from none other than Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. It read as follows: “hey. really quick… big announcement coming. on in 2 mins. it’s time for real change. gotta go. J.”
The email, crafted to look like a buddy’s drunk text on a Saturday night, was sent to thousands of people across the country to bolster some last-minute webcast viewing of Trudeau’s campaign-style speech in Ottawa. The highlight of that speech, other than watching 200 Liberal MP-hopefuls fatigue their smiling muscles behind Trudeau’s podium, included a promise to reform Canada’s electoral system within 18 months of taking power.
A bold plan, indeed … except for the fact that the federal NDP have been advocating for proportional representation since 2004, and the Greens have had it on their books since the mid-1990s.
The latest polling numbers (still four months out from the election) show that if the election was held today, the NDP could garner 29.1 per cent of the vote, while the Conservatives would hold onto a minority government with 30 per cent of the vote.
The same poll suggests the Liberals would again be in third place with 94 seats in the House of Commons.
Trudeau has a long road to climb to achieve Mulcair’s momentum, and the calculated release of the Liberals’ major announcements may yet be enough to turn the tide. But one mistake Trudeau needs to avoid is assuming that the Liberals belong in government or official opposition. Times have changed since Chrétien and his cronies stretched their dynasty from coast to coast to coast.
Trudeau’s team followed up with another uncomfortably friendly email after his speech: “Busy day. Just back from the kids’ end of year school show, and found some more time to write.”
Thanks, buddy! Wanna grab a bite after the game? Trudeau’s campaign team would do well to release the leader from his manicured campaign roll-out so he can engage with everyday Canadians about real issues in an unscripted setting. People want to hear what each potential prime minister really thinks, but if that means reading poorly written text messages from Trudeau, they might just end up checking out.