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.
No 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.
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