Thursday, April 07, 2016
Justin Trudeau's Plan to Turn the Liberal Party Into a Movement
Justin Trudeau has been underestimated from the moment he decided to run for office.
And even after boldly moving the Liberal Party to the left of the NDP, breaking the deficit taboo, and winning a strong majority, I still hear a lot of people saying this:
Justin is a nice guy, but he is the willing captive of the Liberal establishment, and you know what they're like. So he could never stand for real change, and it's just more of the same.
But actually they couldn't be more wrong.
Because this is another bold move.
Justin Trudeau is pushing a proposed new constitution for the Liberal Party of Canada aimed at transforming the federal party from an exclusive club into a wide-open political movement.
The proposal, adopted Saturday by the party's national board during a three-hour meeting with the prime minister in Halifax, would do away entirely with the long-held principle that only dues-paying, card-carrying members are entitled to take part in party activities.
He is trying to turn a party into a movement, which by the standards of our peaceful kingdom, is practically revolutionary.
And as Susan Delacourt points out, far from being a tame creature of the Liberal establishment, he is actually trying to unmake it.
It should be obvious by now that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no special fondness for the Liberal party — at least the old version of it. You might even say that if this Liberal leader was forced to choose, he’d take new friends over old friends of the party.
That, in fact, is precisely the calculation Trudeau is making with his proposed overhaul of the Liberal party constitution, which would do away entirely with the idea of party membership.
He is trying to loosen the establishment's grip on himself and the party. He is trying to break with the past.
And while Delacourt can't seem to decide whether this is a good idea or a bad idea, or even why he is doing it, this is the bottom line:
At any rate, whether his motivation is professional or personal, Trudeau is building a Liberal party that won’t look anything like the old one — deliberately.
And I couldn't be more delighted. For I have always believed that a traditional party cannot effect real change, only a movement can.
And I honestly believe that with the power of a movement behind him Justin Trudeau could take this country in a far more progressive direction than he can even think about doing right now.
For nobody can deny that he is a very different politician.
As Lawrence Martin pointed out recently, he is also far more complex than his natural friendliness might lead you to believe.
There is still this perception, an image that persists among his detractors, that Justin Trudeau is a superficial politician, that there is little beneath the glamorous exterior. He’s always suffered by comparison to the intellectual heft of Pierre Trudeau.
In fact, the case could well be made that Justin Trudeau is a more complex individual than his father, deeper in terms of his range of emotions and vulnerabilities, broader in terms of of his interests and relationships.
So nobody should underestimate him, as I did when he first appeared on the political scene...
For he isn't The Messiah.
And BTW I'm still waiting for him to legalize marijuana. !!#@!!
But he just may be the Canadian leader, who at a time of extraordinary global upheaval.
Has what it takes to break free from the past.
And lead us to a new and exciting future...
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