Media outlets across the country are abuzz with speculation Justin Trudeau will pursue the leadership of the federal Liberal party. We have no bone to pick with Mr. Trudeau, but we don't see a substantive reason for him to be the frontrunner.
He's young, good-looking, has a mean punch and his daddy was famous - none of which have anything to do with running a country. Is he smart? Probably. Is he exceptionally smart? Who knows. All the broader public sees is a political celebrity. That may be enough to propel him to 24 Sussex Drive, but we hope Canadians will look for substance over sizzle when electing a prime minister.
If the Liberals hope to come in from the wilderness, they should do more than pin their hopes on a fur-wearing, canoe-paddling pin-up. How about leading with policies that have broad appeal to Canadians?
We're not the first to note this. Columnist Andrew Coyne wrote a pithy piece about the uncomfortable marriage contained in the Conservative Party - fiscal conservatives shackled to moral conservatives - and the opportunity that presents for a third party. The growth of the Conservative party, coupled with ongoing global financial crisis, has made Canadians more open to smaller government and business-friendly practices than ever before. At the same time, we've always been more socially liberal than our southern neighbours.
There's no reason the Liberals couldn't occupy the centre between the NDP and the Conservatives, despite crowding due to the ruling and opposition parties becoming more centrist.
Poach the banner of fiscal conservatism from Conservatives, only actually live up to the label. It's not that much of a stretch for Liberals. Paul Martin ran a pretty tight ship when he was Minister of Finance.
Then steal the social justice banner from the NDP. Devote government resources (albeit much-reduced) directly to the people who need it most - the poor and sick - while extending the older Trudeau's "get government out of the bedrooms" stance to as many aspects of our private lives as possible.
Justin may be a good spokesmodel, but he's got to have the right product to sell.