Up until this past week Justin Trudeau has been regarded as soft.
Dealing with Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott has forced him to begin the growth process into a role his father played well: decisive political leader.
The past two months have been rough for Justin. The decision to expel Wilson-Raybould and Philpott is one that was applauded by many — including those that are an untapped demographic of conservative voters. If he continues down this path he could emerge as the winner in the SNC-Lavalin controversy and, more broadly, in the fall of 2019.
Justin found a snake in the grass as he tried saving over 9,000 jobs in Quebec. He created a reasonable avenue to deal with SNC-Lavalin through the Canadianized deferred prosecution agreement. While smaller in comparison to the decisions of Pierre, Justin did what needed to be done: expel Wilson-Raybould and Philpott.
To keep the momentum going, Justin needs to capitalize on this opportunity by targeting voter demographics that were isolated because of his historically left platforms. These are the moderate conservative first-time college-educated voters who are concerned about economic growth and the group of undecided (but typically conservative) voters you could sway from the Conservatives.
Here’s how you start:
- 1) Get rid of the goofiness — ask yourself if your father would take that selfie and if the answer is “no” then don’t do it.
- 2) Focus on what voters vote on: the economy. 3) Campaign on your father’s motto: “reason before passion.”
- 4) Scrap Charter-violating Bills C-51 and 75 put forward by Wilson-Raybould (this in particular will win over the criminal defence bar).
- 5) Don’t bite at Conservative bait — repeated commentary to the media about SNC-Lavalin contributed to the length of time it spent in the news and helped Wilson-Raybould by what some considered to be waiving privilege.
- 6) Lastly, pick your battles — and chose ones that you have a chance of winning (ahem — not China).
The real question is whether he will continue on this path. Will this experience add much-needed ruthlessness to his new way of doing politics? That’s the hope — not for a complete 180 into Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte territory; however, something that resembles a modern Pierre Trudeau.
Let the Raybould-Wilson camp of supporters cannibalize themselves. Trudeau could exit a winner if he holds back from engaging in debates about whether he is a feminist. His new way of doing politics should be his platform to transform him into a political leader.
Originally published in the Lawyer’s Daily April 11th, 2019: https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/11580/justin-finally-takes-chapter-from-dad-s-how-to-politic-book-laurelly-dale