This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Lost in the leadership results, what the number of votes for Trudeau mean in a practical sense. I admit some confusion with the "supporter" detractor logic. Have we missed the core reality here, namely that the overwhelming majority of this new class voted for Justin Trudeau, meaning they don't necessarily "melt away" as argued, their guy WON? You've signed on to support Justin, he wins the leadership, now you take leave, never to be heard from again? Perhaps with some of the losing campaigns we will see a one off participation, but there is an element of common sense that foresees continued involvement for people who signed on for Justin. Trudeau's overwhelming victory is good news for Liberals moving forward, in a very practical sense.
People have long argued that the Liberals need to close the fundraising gap to really compete, by extension requiring flight organizational might. The Liberals have made considerable progress on the fundraising front of late- generally outpacing the Official Opposition- but are clearly not in the league of the Conservative juggernaut. One of Trudeau's great attributes is his ability to "pack them in", he already was our chief fundraising draw, which will now only intensify. All those new Trudeau supporters are fair game, all have the potential to be mined, to become donors, volunteers, part of the new base. In addition, in many respects the process has just begun, as the party apparatus adapts to a new leader, the potentialities are great, a fact few reasonable people would dispute. The bottom line is this, in terms of probabilities, this Trudeau Liberal era will be better equipped to take on the Conservative machine than any manifestation since the 2006 defeat.
Yesterday, a commentary from one of the press gallery journalists that the Trudeau scrum was the biggest of recent memory. Within that reality, this debate about "saviours", Liberals putting star power ahead of practical considerations. There is a truth within this observation, but also true Liberals would be complete and utter fools to not appreciate said "star power". The media criticism is a peculiar one, since it is within that realm that the "hype" resides, it wasn't Liberals fawning all over Trudeau in the foyer yesterday, it was the assembled press. These types of media expressions are nothing more than a recognition that out there in the remote hinterland this Trudeau character brings with him a fascination, he "sells". Again, keeping it real, party operatives spend all day conjuring up ways to get attention for their brand, to ignore the upside with Trudeau requires leave of all political sense. The attention brings risk, but also incredible opportunity, which is all you can ask for in politics.
Stephen Harper was elected Prime Minister of Canada on a platform that consisted of FIVE pandering policy positions. Jack Layton rode a orange wave, armed with nothing more than personality. Liberals have played the deep policy game in the past-we've been burned bad-learning the messenger, the packaged delivery, supersedes the content. With this learned reality in mind, it is important to remember Trudeau and his team WILL develop a platform, one that will appeal, ultimately left to the leader to sell. It is here that the gamble is evident, can Trudeau deliver the message we craft, can he credibly convince Canadians that he can lead the country in a positive direction? I would submit, there is nothing unique here, every opposition leader faces this challenge, until you win, an open question. However, it is also true that Trudeau brings some unique upside indicators that bode well moving forward, which need to be correctly incorporated to understand the true "odds".