Trudeau proposal at Liberal Convention vs Stephen Harper record

Justin Trudeau at Winnipeg Convention 1030After reading his very balanced analysis of former PM Stephen Harper’s ten years in power, I agree with Michael Den Tandt that history will be kind to the former PM. In fact, I believe that, since no human being is perfect, he will eventually be seen as one of Canada’s best PM’s.

Now, compare Den Tandt’s Harper record, both pro and con, to the last seven months of the Justin Trudeau Liberal Government, including what is going on at the Liberal Convention in Winnipeg this weekend.

Ah, yes, everything is now sunny ways. Except it isn’t! Elbowgate comes to mind. While I don’t want to make a big deal out of that incident, one thing was clear. When things are not going Mr. Trudeau’s way, he just might barge in to make sure everyone behaves as he thinks they should.

At the Liberal Convention in Winnipeg, for example, Mr. Trudeau is aggressively promoting a change to the federal Liberal Party Constitution that would allow anyone to become part of, at no cost, what the current PM is calling “a Liberal Movement.” Whatever that is supposed to mean. One thing is for sure, Liberal party loyalty will go by the wayside if there are no longer any grassroots “members.”

And, yes, many of those grassroots are complaining. I mean, when even liberal-friendly Joan Bryden is questioning the rate and kind of change Mr. Trudeau is recommending for his party, you have to know that Liberal leadership arrogance has already set in.

On the complaints about the Trudeau proposal, Bryden writes:

While the proposal is being touted as a way to throw open the doors of the party, it has raised hackles among rank and file Liberals who suspect it will actually turn the party into a different kind of exclusive club, one in which the leader and his cronies run the party as they see fit.

Of course, the irony is obvious. For years we heard that Stephen Harper was a controller who had a hidden agenda and, as such, was going to change the face of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), if not all of Canada.

Well, as Den Tandt summarizes, Harper wasn’t the controller people claimed he was, he didn’t have a hidden agenda and he left both the CPC and Canada in good procedural and fiscal shape.

I wonder, will Liberals be able to say the same by 2019? I doubt it!

In my opinion, then, I believe that history will judge Stephen Harper’s leadership legacy, both to his party and his government, to be superior to that of Justin Trudeau’s.

Media discovering Trudeau & his PMO not different from Harper’s

Trudeau in Saskatoon 1030Many in the Canadian mainstream media have been waxing lyrical over Liberal PM Justin Trudeau since he was elected last fall. In fact, sometimes the fawning has been embarrassing and Kardashian.

For example, I can’t remember where I saw it this week, but I read a column by a female reporter in a UK online paper that referred to our PM as Mr. Hotpants. Now, if that is not Kardashian, I don’t know what is.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. The PM is popular with the media, that we know. So, who are pulling his strings? How different is his PMO and former PM Stephen Harper’s?

Remember, Mr. Harper was always described as secretive and a control freak and that his staff went out of their way to keep he and his Cabinet away from Canadian reporters — at least from those in the national media.

Hmmm. So, let’s look at some of what we know about how Mr. Trudeau spent this week.

First there was the Cabinet retreat. As Mark Bonokoski wrote in the Sun earlier this week, when the Cabinet and the PM arrived in Alberta’s Kananaskis for a Cabinet retreat, only a “family” photo op was allowed.

No questions were permitted and certainly no details — although some facts about the agenda did leak out over the two days of the retreat, like a presentation on deliverology.

Then, yesterday, according to journalist David Akin, Mr. Trudeau made an historic visit to Shoal Lake 40, a Native reserve on the border between Ontario and Manitoba.

That reserve has been asking for federal government financial and expert help to deal with their drinking water problem for years and have been under a water advisory for 17 of those years!  So, the fact that the PM was visiting was newsworthy.

Good on Mr. Trudeau for visiting. The problem, however, is that Canadians, who paid the bill for the PM’s travel, are not going to find out the reason for the visit until a U.S. media outlet is ready to share their documentary.

Specifically, Akin says that Kate Purchase, the Director of Communications in the Trudeau PMO, advised all the Canadian media, including APTN, that they could not record the visit in any format because VICE Media, a New York based operation, was using the visit to prepare a documentary.

Meaning, Mr. Trudeau was more concerned about his media image and message control than he was about either the Shoal Lake drinking water problem or communicating to Canadians in real time.

The crux of the matter is that the Canadian media, the same media that constantly decried former PM Harper’s message control, is now seeing that the more these things change, the more they stay the same.

So much for sunny ways. So much for transparency. So much for doing things differently.

One hopes that the lack of media access at these two events at least removes the glossy shine on Mr. Trudeau’s halo.