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Vacuous Defined – Justin Trudeau and The Liberal Leadership Race

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
-Lewis Caroll

The word vacuous, which means “mindless” and “empty”, comes from the word vacuum which besides being something Maggie makes me use to help with the housework, means “a space entirely devoid of matter.” I doubt you will find more vacuity anywhere, including deep space, than you will in the current race for the leadership of The Liberal Party of Canada.

Quite frankly, this leadership campaign is so boring I would almost rather watch Peter Van Lone mud wrestle with Thomas Mulcair.


Bonjour y’all. Je m’apelle Tex Trudeau
(photo: jim Wells-Calgary Sun)

The front runner is Canada’s Peter Pan, Justin Trudeau; a man who has gone further with a mouthful of bright white teeth and a head topped with silken tresses than most Hollywood celebrities and with less talent than most of them. He has been travelling the country, campaigning for the job of party leader with great enthusiasm. He has given countless speeches, attended untold events and had his beautiful smile all over the media.

So what is his campaign platform? Do you know? Perhaps a better question would be – does he know?

But I digress.

In all the time he has spent campaigning, there hasn’t been one, not a single solid campaign policy put forward. Instead, it’s all airy fairy stuff and nonsense about healing the politics of division (which, coincidentally, he helped create), saving the environment and a bold vision for Canada. The problem is that he never actually articulates just exactly what that bold vision is or how he intends to achieve it.

Perhaps he really doesn’t know or perhaps he’s saving it for a surprise. Either way, it seems odd to me that someone could say so much without actually saying anything at all and still have people fawn over him like he was the second coming of Justin Beiber.

The rest of the field isn’t much better.

marc garneau

Mr. Exciement – Marc Garneau
(photo: Toronto Star)

Marc Garneau, who is so dull he makes watching paint dry seem exciting, talks but it’s almost impossible to stay awake long enough to hear what he has to say.

To his credit, he is more mature than Mr. Trudeau and does give the appearance of having some kind of platform but damned if I know what it is beyond the usual Liberal promises we hear every time they come before the electorate. At least, he’s polite and has a professional track record of accomplishment beyond being a substitute drama teacher.

These are the two front runners which means that right now it looks like the  choice is between a former astronaut and a space cadet.

There are other candidates, of course, although I’m willing to bet $20 bucks that you don’t know how many and can’t name them all without first Googling for the answer. You never hear anything from or about them beyond the initial announcement that they’re in the running. It’s like they showed up for the press conference to announce their candidacy and then simply went home  to wait for the vote.


The invisible Martha Hall Findlay
(photo: The Canadian Press)

Martha Hall Findlay and Debra Coyne are the only other two I can name without Googling although there are actually 7 official candidates (you owe me $20 bucks) and an additional 2 or 3 declared candidates who haven’t yet filed their nomination papers. I haven’t heard or seen one news story about any of them for weeks.

Sometimes I wonder if Justin Trudeau’s team has kidnapped them and is holding them in a locked room somewhere in Saskatoon. Usually you can’t shut up a politician who is running for office but this leadership campaign is noticeable for its lack of campaigning, let alone content.

It’s challenging to remember that this is a party that not only wants to govern the country but believes it should govern.

Based on what pray tell?

A leadership campaign should be a time of ideas, an opportunity for a political party to put forward its best and brightest and to rejuvenate itself with fresh vision and new direction. Forget that. If this is the best and brightest the Liberals have to offer, they need a bigger light bulb because things are looking pretty dim for Big Red.

This leadership campaign is devoid of anything even closely resembling ideas, vision or leadership. The front-runner is as shallow as a glass of water, the runner-up is so dull it’s amazing that he doesn’t put himself to sleep with his speeches and the rest of the field of also-rans is pretty much invisible or – is locked in a room in Saskatoon.

What a pathetic performance this is turning out to be. As much as I deplore their politics, even the New Democratic Party put on a better show than this during their leadership race. There were policy initiatives put forward and debated; almost all of the candidates were highly visible and the campaign provoked some discussion across the country.

Not so this Liberal contest. It’s almost impossible to take any of these folks seriously and sometimes I almost believe it’s all just another Royal Canadian Air Farce sketch. Whatever it is, you do have to admire Peter Mansbridge for trying to make the race for the leadership look  like it actually means something when he’s reporting on it during CBC’s The National.

The chattering class, including the CBC,  is betting that Justin Trudeau will win the leadership and they may be right. Certainly, the Liberal Party is intent on selecting style over substance and maybe they have a point. When there is no substance, style is all you have left. The thought that Mr. Trudeau could, however, catapult his leadership victory into becoming Prime Minister is not just wishful thinking, it’s delusional. I had friends back in the 60s who after smoking weed and listening to Iron Butterfly for hours had a stronger grip on reality.

I think both Prime Minister Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of debating Justin Trudeau during an election. Not only will he be dead meat for these two seasoned politicians, they won’t have to fear being put to asleep should it be Marc Garneau they have to face during the debates.

In fact, I think even Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada might be drooling at the prospect of eviscerating Justin Trudeau on the debate stage and why not? She’s feisty and tenacious, if somewhat naive. She could probably pull a couple more seats from the Liberals by the time she’s finished with him.

Whatever happens, it won’t be pretty but it will certainly be a lot more entertaining than this leadership campaign has been.

Bring popcorn and we’ll watch the debates together – oh, and bring the $20 bucks you owe me too.


Living With LIberal (And Other) Stupidity While Waiting Desperately For The Mother Ship To Return


Justin Trudeau – The Peter Pan of Canadian Politics


© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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  • http://abearsrant.com thebear

    If I understand you correctly, you think that our politicians are too stupid to be able to deal with a number of minor – and they were minor -amendments to existing legislation if they are bundled together. Other than the budget itself, there was no new legislation in Bill C45, just minor amendments like removing the need for a federal permit from Category 2 waters. Our political leaders must be pretty weak-minded if they have to have each of those presented one at a time so they can make a decision.

  • David Stewart

    “The word vacuous, which means “mindless” and “empty”, comes from the word vacuum which besides being something Maggie makes me use to help with the housework, means “a space entirely devoid of matter.”
    Yes of course you are describing the conservative base, rural, old, uneducated and full of fear.

    “Al Queda!”




    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      What a silly and adolescent comment. I expected better from you. My post is in reference to a leadership race that is completely devoid of fresh ideas, policy initiatives or vision. I don’t care what political party it is. This kind of vacuous politics is killing this country and has been for years. The only reason it continues is because people like you continue to support it by polarizing. You clearly missed the part in my post that acknowledges that the NDP had a much more substantive leadership contest and while I don’t agree with their politics, I applaud their approach to selecting a leader. The Liberals continue with the same empty nonsense that got them reduced to third party status and which does not serve Canadians well regardless of which party they support.

  • Pingback: Jan 1 2013 Grumpy Daily Headlines | Grumpy Opinions()

  • Sean M

    Bonjour y’all … that gave me a good laugh, thanks. You make a great many salient points regarding the Liberal Party. What do they stand for ? Is there another “Red Book” hidden somewhere, or are they gonna regurgitate the old “Red Book” like they always do. Who’s writing Liberal party policy these days, the UN ? Another coronation is not what they need, but that is exactly what they’re going to do with fancy pants Trudeau Jr. I mean lets face it, the whole pretense of the Liberals holding a leadership contest is nothing but a distraction, everyone knows the clown prince will win. Describing Trudeau Jr. as “vacuous” is almost too kind, although appropriate. I would refer to his intellectual capacity as pulp, although he will definitely be, and has been, a great source of comedy, and will continue to invite mockery… which is a good thing. The whole Liberal “leadership contest is a mockery. If Trudeaus “vacuous” kid is the best they got, then they are in serious denial.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Ever since they knifed Chretien in the back so that Mr. Dithers (Paul Martin) could become leader, the Liberal Party has been in decline, not only in terms of policy but just generally. They went from Martin to Dion which was a descent from indecision to bad decisions and then Ignatieff who was unprepared for the real world after all those years at Harvard. For a brief time, the allowed Bob Rae to stand out front on an interim basis and he did a really good job so…out he goes and in comes this motley crew of uninspiring has beens and Sears’ underwear model.

      If you tried to write this as a novel, no publisher would touch it. They would consider it to unrealistic and maybe that’s the best term to define the Liberal Party now….unrealistic. They have lost any tenuous connection to reality they once had and are now simply clinging to a desperate, almost pathetic dream of recapturing past glories with someone they think they will be able to control once he’s elected.

  • johndoe124

    Does the Liberal party thinks it owns Canada that we should all be forcibly conscripted to realize the Shiny Pony’s “vision” of Canada? How about the visions of individual Canadians? Why do individuals no longer count in Liberal Canada? Because they are the party of Social JUstice. It is written right into their Constitution that individual rights are subordinate to Social Justice. Any new leader will still be selling the same worn out Progressive message. Social Justice, that is, Progressive Tyranny.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Not to be argumentative but I don’t believe The Shiny Pony, as you call him, actually has a vision for Canada. What he has is a bunch of adolescent talking points that have all been a thousand times before by others.

      As for your point about the suppression of individual rights in favour of social justice, I believe that is the root cause of most of the left/right polarization in Canada and other countries these days.

      Left-leaning parties tend to support a collective, statist view of rights; a “we’re all in this together” mindset that considers individualism a threat. It too often confuses social justice with a perverse concept of equality in which mediocrity is protected. That’s how we end up with ridiculous ideas like refusing to give a student a zero for failure to hand in an assignment or the bizarre concept of taxation in this country.

      Despite all the noise and rhetoric by those who have a collective view of things, I believe it is quickly coming to a head as more and more people, both here and in the United States, are becoming fed up with government interference and having their hard work penalized to support others who don’t work hard at all.

      Thanks for dropping by the blog and for taking the time to leave a comment.