Surprise, surprise: I’m a highly partisan Conservative; I think the New Democrats are, usually, fiscally irresponsible to the point of being dangerous, and I believe that today’s Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau’s LPC, is irredeemably arrogant, blundering, corrupt, deceitful and so on, and unfit to hold office. My main problem with the Liberal Party is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his PMO; he and they are inept and dishonest; they thumb their noses at democracy and sound policy ~ notice, please, that I’m not saying “I think” or “I believe” that they are bumbling liars, I assert that their many moral and political failures are clear and visible to all and they, Justin Trudeau and his PMO and syncopates, are doing real, measurable damage to Canada’s reputation, to its place in the world and to its economy.
Does that mean I want this Liberal regime swept out of office? Yes! Does that mean I want all Liberals thrown onto the political trash heap? No.
There are some first rate people in the Liberal Party … party members, many of whom are my friends, party officials who want what’s best for Canada, and elected members of parliament who are first class people. This letter is addressed to that latter group, and to two local (Ottawa area) MPs in particular.
Here goes …
27 March 2018
I believe that the Liberal Party of Canada is a valuable, indeed vital national institution; it is the party (when Lester Pearson led it) for which I cast my first ever vote way back in 1962 … we soldiers were driven in cargo trucks to tented military polling stations, we were proud to vote and many of us were proud to vote Liberal.
In 2015, here in Ottawa Centre, where I live in quiet retirement, I voted for my CPC candidate, even though I suspected he was a bit less able than some of the people he was running against … unfortunately too many of us voted Party over the person and our really good constituency MP, Paul Dewar, was defeated.
But in Catherine McKenna the Liberals picked a winner. She is smart, accomplished, engaged and ferociously hard working; she is just what any party needs and she is a good, fair, hard working constituency MP, too, as nearly as I can determine. (I have had no need to ask her for any help.) I don’t agree with her on most policy issues but I respect her big brain and her commitment to her portfolio, even when she cannot answer just one simple question (because the Party policy she is backing is wrong headed) and to the business of politics. And she’s got guts and brains: she faced down the “Climate Barbie” rubbish, some of which came from people who should know better, and even turned it to her advantage. Ms McKenna is, in my opinion, highly suited for ANY portfolio in government … including being the first minister. I suspect that I might be at least a little less critical of a Liberal government that was led by the Right Honourable Catherine McKenna, BA, LLB, MA, PC, MP.
Just down the highway from Ms McKenna’s downtown constituency office is the riding of Orléans, it is a suburban riding, mostly a bedroom community. It’s Member of Parliament is Andrew Leslie, who was the Chief Government Whip in the Commons, who is, also, a member of the Privy Council which means that he can attend cabinet meetings and deal with certain sensitive files and who now serves as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada-U.S. Relations). Before entering politics as a Liberal (he has deep Liberal roots ~ his grandfather, General AGL McNaughton, was, briefly, Minister of National Defence in the Mackenzie-King government (1944/45)) he was a senior military officer, a lieutenant general, commander of the Canadian Army and a proponent of defence reform. He was, reportedly, courted by the Conservatives as well as the Liberals. Andrew Leslie is a proven leader and manager ~ he has led troops in combat and he has managed a multi-billion dollar organization; he, like Minister McKenna, is a political “winner” and just the sort of person that any party would want to have waiting in the wings when the party leadership is changing. It is not hard to imagine or say the Right Honourable Andrew Leslie, BA, MA, CMM, MSC, MSM, CD, PC, MP, either.
One would be forgiven for suspecting, after my comments a few days ago, that I am going to ask Andrew Leslie and Catherine McKenna to resign on principle … but that’s not the case. I believe that they both need to stay the course for their own good, for the good of their Party and for the good of Canada.
I believe that the Liberal Party of Canada needs to change … I suspect that some, even quite a few senior Liberals are worried that Prime Minister Trudeau’s ineptitude and his team’s arrogance and duplicity will seriously hurt the Liberal Party in 2019 and the Liberal “brand” for years to come ~ 30% of Liberal voters already disapprove of his performance; I think that’s going to get worse throughout the rest of 2018. The prime minister and the PMO seem quite unable to manage a government … Canadians will forgive Justin Trudeau a lot because of his name and his charisma, but they will not, I think, forgive poor management of key economic and social files.
I think (hope) that there are, already murmurs of dissent in the Liberal caucus … it is to be hoped that some Liberal MPs will be ready and able to stage a caucus revolt and send Justin Trudeau, Katie Telford, Gerald Butts and their ilk packing and elect someone like François Philippe Champagne, Marc Garneau or Dominic LeBlanc as interim leader until, in early 2019, the Party can hold a leadership convention/election. It is rare, in Canada, for the caucus to overthrow a leader, but it has happened here and it happens in other Westminster democracies when MPs are sure that the leader, even if (s)he is the serving prime minister, is doing more harm than good. It is the highest of high political dramas, but it does happen and it should happen in Canada … soon. The proverbial “knives” must be wielded by sitting MPs, but NOT by those MPs with legitimate shots at the leadership.
Liberal Party of Canada tradition is that the leadership alternates been Anglophone and Francophone leaders …
… there are two great, a few very good, one good and several poor to, in the case of the Trudeaus, père et fils, quite gawd-awful leaders in there. For the sake of the Liberal Party ~ which is a vital national institution and which, as I said above, is the party for which I cast my first vote, in the 25th general election in 1962 ~ the Liberals need to replace a gawd-awful leader with a good one. The interim (2018-19) leader (and 24th prime minister) of should be a French speaking Canadian to “fill out” Justin Trudeau’s term; the next leader should be an English speaker and both Ms McKenna and Mr Leslie should be fairly high on the list of favourites for that job.
Thus, for the sake of Canada, it is vital that Mr Leslie and Ms McKenna hold their noses, keep their powder dry and wait for a chance to take the reins of power away from Team Trudeau.
Of course their are other good potential leaders, Scott Brison, for example, comes to mind, but I believe that the two Ottawas area MPs are fully qualified to lead their party and to be prime minister of Canada.
I said, just yesterday, that the global strategic situation is deteriorating as President Trump is less and less constrained by real, grownup, realist advisors but, I said, with 100% seriousness, I doubt that Team Trudeau understands the issue. Put simply, Justin Trudeau is unfit to lead in good times … and these are, increasingly, dangerous times.
As a partisan Conservative I hope that Andrew Scheer’s team will wipe the floor with the Liberals in 2019, no matter who is leading … I think he has, by far and away, the better team. But one party rule and the notion of a “natural governing party” are not good things for a vibrant liberal democracy so, eventually, we will want and need a Liberal government … but we’ll want a good government with a good leader who is both up for and ready for the job. Both Andrew Leslie and Catherine McKenna fit the bill … we may differ, sometimes a lot, on many general and several specific policy ground, but I do not question their ability, integrity or national leadership potential.