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Sleepwalking Through The Liberal Leadership Race


It’s duller than a visiting bishop’s sermon on Christmas Eve and equally as boring. It’s as dull as a plastic knife at an outdoor barbeque serving steak and about as useful. It’s even duller than Ottawa on a Tuesday night in winter and I didn’t actually think that was possible.

It’s so painfully dull it makes vacuuming seem exciting.

20130120-193348-gNo matter how you look at it, the Liberal Leadership Race is the  most pointless event in the history of Canadian politics. The outcome is already decided and so dull that I have to keep poking myself with a serrated vegetable peeler just to stay awake during what passes for the candidates’ debates.

It’s so dull you almost feel sorry for the Liberals generally and eight of the nine candidates specifically. It’s like watching a parody of a fairy tale only instead of Snow White, it’s Peter Pan and the Eight Dwarves all named Sleepy.

Twice now, the nine candidates for the Liberal Leadership have faced off to debate or discuss or something or other the issues and twice it has been less exciting than Marc Garneau’s new Swiffer dusting mitt. (I know ‘because I have one and they’re pretty neat.)

When the Republicans held their leadership campaign over what felt like decades, there was at least some evidence that the candidates were actually still alive and breathing. Whether it was Herman Caine’s pizza economics or Newt Gingrich’s plan to colonize the moon and then declare it a state, at least you didn’t have to mutilate your body just to stay awake.

Even Canada’s NDP were able to pull off something that held your attention when they ran their leadership race. There was some discussion dome debate about foreign policy, pipelines and the economy. There was even a little bit of passion and humour although not to much; they are socialists after all.

Not so with the Liberal campaign. It’s like the fable about The Tortoise and The Hare only there are eight tortoises in this race and a bunny.

The Liberals have had two years in the wilderness to prepare for this; two years to develop a platform of solid policy initiatives to put before Canadians during this race. It takes my breath away that all they could come up with was this drone-fest that is so devoid of solid ideas, it makes you wonder how they could possibly think they could convince anyone but the weak-minded that they should run the country.

The front runner, Justin Trudeau, has a policy platform that isn’t just thin, it anorexic. Beyond reaching out to Canadians to consult with them on every major issue, I have no idea what he intends to do if elected Prime Minister. None! Nada! Zip-o-lah!

Canada’s Peter Pan seems to think that pretty much the only credentials required to lead the country are straight teeth and hair like silk. It is an idea that gets more than just lip service from the party brass.

He’s leading the pack in terms of fund-raising and Twitter followers and that seems to be the primary requirement for the Liberals. They’re so desperate to return to power, they haven’t bothered to figure out why they want to return to power, just that they need to return to owning – I mean forming the government.

What is presented as policy ideas is so superficial that if they were water, there wouldn’t be enough to swim in let alone be in serious danger of drowning. As for anything even approaching something that might indicate they learned something from the ass-kicking they took in the last election, forget it. That’s pretty much non-existent. They’re like heroin addicts desperate for the next fix only it isn’t heroin they need, it’s power and being wanted again.

They’d support a dead pig if it had enough Twitter followers and likes on Facebook to get them back into office.

This dreadfully underwhelming charade has been choreographed to ensure that nothing impedes or interferes with the coronation of the anointed one and that includes not allowing or even encouraging real debate among the candidates. God alone knows what would happen if Peter Pan actually had to think on his feet and started adlibbing in response to some tough challenges from Martha Hall Findlay.

Certainly The Party doesn’t want to find out so it is pretty clear they’ve set up a format to try and avoid the chosen one from tripping over his tongue as he has so capably demonstrated he can in the past. The worst part of it all is that I don’t know if I am more bored by, or embarrassed for, the other candidates. Sometimes I almost wish the building would catch on fire just to see if any of them still have any life in them.

One might ask why they bother to participate in this sad little charade but I think it’s fairly obvious. Possible cabinet positions are a big attraction for those who know they haven’t got a hope in hell of winning the leadership.

So the real question is; why not just publicly throw their support to Justin Trudeau and drop out of the race? You’d think that would accomplish the same thing but apparently, who ever came up with this orchestrated nonsense seems to believe that it will draw Canadians to the Liberal banner.

It may but only if they don’t fall asleep first on the way over to the Big Red Tent and based on the first two debates, that’s a distinct possibility. If nothing else, it proves that cynical opportunism remains alive and well in the Liberal Party of Canada.

Justin Trudeau said he wanted to “put excitement back into politics again”. If this is his and the Party’s  idea of excitement, woe-betide us if he ever becomes prime minister. We would be in less danger of him bankrupting the country with the way he governs; than with him boring us to death.

It appears that we are going to have to suffer through two more months of this. Two more months of watching Liberals sidestepping even the appearance of a serious debate; two more months of carefully avoiding saying anything that might provoke Justin Trudeau into verbally going off the resrevation and two more months of skillfully avoiding anything resembling signs of life let alone passion.

Sleepwalkers are capable of more passion than this.

As I watched the debate on Saturday, I found myself wondering what has happened to the party of Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien. I didn’t agree with their politics but at least they were able to get and hold my attention; even provoke a rise out of me. This current crop of pretenders, including the front runner, isn’t interesting enough to keep me awake without the aid of my vegetable peeler.

I honestly don’t know who I feel sorrier for – them, or us.

Pretty much the only positive thing to come out of this campaign has been that the Liberals have succeeded in uniting a broad spectrum of Canadians, although probably not in a way they would have like. Even the progressive mainstream media are having difficulty trying to turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse and have started to give up trying. It’s difficult to report on something that actually isn’t anything at all.

Oh well. Look on the bright side. If you’re finding the Liberal Leadership race as boring as I am and you’re looking for more excitement, you can always come to Ottawa on a cold Tuesday night in winter and we’ll share a Beaver Tail or two. My treat.


© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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  • Martin

    It must be said that both Dion and Ignatieff had solid accomplishments and could put forward a case for Liberal leadership. Despite this they lost 26 and 43 seats respectively. One wonders at a mind set that could believe Trudeau, with no significant achievements could overcome these losses and more, even winning the next election. Repeating the same actions, expecting different results seems to apply here.
    This is not 1970, Justin is not Pierre and the largest demographic group are people over 60.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I don’t disagree with you. The real point of the article was that there are some smart people running for the Liberal Leadership but they’ve been all but muzzled in order to keep Justin out of trouble. You’re right He is not his father and the Liberals in the party today are not the Liberals of before. They are weak, desperate and even with Peter Pan to lead them, are on their way down. They’ve traded style for substance and that’s always a short-lived bad bargain.

  • Pingback: A Bear’s Rant | Grumpy Opinions()

  • Pissedoff

    Don’t forget in The Hare and the Tortoise the tortoise won. I understand Garneau like house work i.e. vacuuming.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      The winner of this race was decided before it even began. The others on the stage are just window dressing to make it look there is an actual contest for the leadership.

      • Pissedoff

        I never said otherwise, however if things do turn out different I will remind you of it.  

        • http://abearsrant.com thebear

          If things do turn out differently, you won’t have to remind me of my words but you will have to bring oxygen and a defibrillator to jump start my heart and revive me..

          • Pissedoff

            Only if you do the same for me.

            • http://abearsrant.com thebear

              It’s a deal. If there isn’t a defibrillator available, a beer will suffice.

  • http://abearsrant.com Ontario Girl

    I think they all had the questions ahead of time and memorized their answers, like a bunch of zombies.
    The only thing off script, seemed to be Martha Hall Findley saying she feeds her 3 kids “hot dogs” and “Kraft dinner”. What a Mother.
    The lighting was so bad, they all looked like wrinkled pickles. About as unprofessional as their non platforms.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Actually…I like hot dogs and Kraft Dinner so I thought that was the most interesting part of the show.

  • http://bgulk0.wix.com/raspberry-h-venue gramma Barb

    Simply Blah! un-unterestingly boring! They should all just flush themselves and start over, maybe, just maybe……….? Wonder if they read any of the clips and comments about them and their performances, probably not, they prefer to skip happily down the road of politics licking their candy fluff! Where oh where is Canada headed? The majority are terrified of Mulcair’s politics, nothing to choose from in the Liberal lineup so that leaves a ruling Conservative gov’t. Having that power with nothing but whimpy’s surrounding you, is that good for a country? having your way, to do as you want without strong opposition (or any) is just not a good thing, especially in government…where is there balance?…… I fear…..

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I’m wondering if there is something in the Opposition Kool-Aid. I thought Mulcair was going to be a reasonably strong opponent for Stephen Harper until he went sideways and reopened the Clarity Act. Now I’m wondering if anyone on the other side of the aisle is actually thinking. Clearly the Liberals are lost in some delusion of glories past and as for the Green Party – well, there’s not much hope for a party led by someone with of the intellectual strength of Elizabeth May.

      I agree with you. A little balance in our politics is a necessary thing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to exist right now. Be thankful the current prime minister isn’t taking advantage of that and running roughshod over the country because of it.