And the day when I kick myself for not connecting the dots on Trudeau and the election. A friend sent me an article on Trudeau. I thought it excessively cruel to Trudeau. But it was also full of information I already knew – but which I had not thought about.
Harper came to power because the Liberal party had collapsed. Paul Martin had been a lacklustre prime minister – to put it kindly. Then came Dion and Ignatieff who were worse. The Liberal party had lost any sense of direction, of purpose, of image. And there seemed no-one of talent in the party. The last time that happened was in 1919 when a young Mackenzie King re-organized it to create the party whose rule dominated the twentieth century.
Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau had been doing not much of anything. Like all francophone children of his social class, he went to an excellent and every expensive school. Then he got a BA in Literature, and a degree in education. Then – he taught snowboarding in B.C.
Oh, there was some political activity, but not much. Then he taught high school for a bit. So why did the party come after him to run in 2008?
That might be because the party was in desperate shape. It had little that could be called policy and nothing that could be called philosophy. (It still doesn't. In fact, as the election showed, only the Greens had something that could be called policy or philosophy. It was narrow, but it existed.)
So why go after Trudeau who had never shown any sense of philosophy or policy?
Because he was cute. And his name was Trudeau. And it worked. In just five years, he was party leader and, in two more, prime minister.