Warren Kinsella used to run Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s campaign “war room” back in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was not, I think, one of the Manley Liberals, but his Liberal roots are strong and deep and he is extraordinarily critical of Justin Trudeau, as is former Liberal Pary of Canada president (1998-2003) Stephen Ledrew.
Anyway, in the “musings” section of his website and in the Toronto Sun he says, after reviewing the resignations of Andrew Leslie, Scott Brison, Bill Casey, Mark Eyking, Colin Fraser, Rodger Cuzner, Don Rusnak, Kyle Peterson, Nicola Di Iorio, Celina Caesar-Chavannes and a half dozen others, and the expulsion of Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Rabould, that, “Trudeau’s spinners, naturally, are all insisting the departures are natural and normal … [but] … The rest of us, meanwhile, can be forgiven for wondering whether the S.S. Trudeau is cruising towards the proverbial iceberg … [and] … whether those 18 Liberal MPs have decided, wisely, to abandon ship.” He forgot to mention the political exile of Stéphane Dion and John McCallum, both Liberal heavyweights, into the diplomatic wilderness because, I suspect, they, accomplished academics and business leaders, were constant reminders of Justin Trudeau’s own rather slim resumé.
Just as there are Conservatives who see a red under every Liberal bed, I think Mr Kinsella is too ready to conflate Conservatives with racists and white supremacists, but I think he is right to hint that Prime Minister Trudeau doesn’t like having accomplished, principled people around him. I don’t think Andrew Leslie was left out of the cabinet because he might testify for Vice Admiral Mark Norman, I think he was sidelined in 2015 and again in 2016, 2017 and in 2018 because he is not a token. Lieutenant General (ret’d) Leslie rose to the top of one difficult and dangerous profession and then entered another where he might have been seen as having “the right stuff” to be a potential leader and, therefore, a threat to our man-child prime minister’s position. He is middle-aged, accomplished, white and male ~ he didn’t fit into the Team Trudeau “because it’s 2015” narrative. It was bad enough that he (Trudeau) had to find room for old white men like Stéphane Dion, Marc Garneau, Ralph Goodale and John McCallum, all of whom had power bases of their own in the Liberal Party; he wasn’t about to give a big office and a limousine to a newcomer, no matter how accomplished, when he could choose from e.g. Bardish Chaggar, Chrystia Freeland, Kent Hehr, Ahmed Hussen, Mélanie Joly, Maryam Monsef and Harjit Sajjan. That Sajjan is defence minister and Freeland is the foreign minister while Leslie languished on the back-benches boggles the mind.
I hope that Mr Kinsella is correct and it is time to “Cue the soundtrack from Titanic … [because] ... S.S. Trudeau is cruising towards the proverbial iceberg,” but I am conscious of the fact that Justin Trudeau has a formidable campaign team and he is still a “star” in his own right.
I hope, even more, for the sake of the Liberal Party, which I regard as a great and vital national institution, that someone (Marc Garneau, Ralph Goodale and Andrew Leslie?) will lead a caucus and cabinet revolt and force Justin Trudeau to step aside, now, for the sake of the Party. M Garneau could lead them into the October election, as an interim leader, and, I suspect, make a credible showing. Mr Leslie could change his mind and seek reelection and then stand for the Party’s leadership. Andrew Leslie might not be the only candidate for Liberal leader ~ Jane Philpott might be invited back to caucus and someone like Chrystia Freeland and/or Catherine McKenna might challenge for the leadership, too.
The key, for me, is that the Liberal Party must recognize that Justin Trudeau is ‘leading’ it, the party, if leading is the right word, towards destruction and he must be replaced and the Liberal Party must renew and reform itself from within. For that, it needs a transformative leader, sooner rather than later.