At first glance it looks like Justin Trudeau’s recent policy announcement of a list of items that he would implement if he becomes Prime Minister was based on the wisdom of a former adviser and campaign strategist for Pierre Trudeau. Keith Davey would always argue that “It is when the Liberal Party shifts to the right that we lose elections” and that “the Liberal Party wins elections when it is most liberal.”
Certainly Justin’s policy announcement has attempted to move his party into the left wing space occupied by the NDP. Whether or not this move will stop the Liberal’s downward slide in the polls is hard to say at this point. With Mulcair and the NDP continuing to rise in the polls, one could be forgiven if they saw Trudeau’s announcement as anything but a desperate move to remain relevant as the “Anyone But Harper” vote seems to be coalescing around Mulcair.
As with any set of policy announcements, there are good and bad ideas, most of which will likely never see the light of day once the campaign officially kicks off. Campaigns are usually defined by leadership issues and one or two key policy items that the public will focus on. Most of Trudeau’s policy announcements will end up being buried in some Red Book that few people will bother reading and like previous Red Books will never be implemented even if the Liberals are elected with a majority which is highly unlikely.
There are lots of nice feel good items in Trudeau’s release; they will appeal to lots of different people right across the political spectrum. For example:
- reforming parliamentary committees
- reforming Question Period
- more open government
- gender parity in cabinet
- more free votes for MPs
- changes to the first past the post voting system
- amendments to the Liberal supported Bill C-51
- restoring home mail delivery
The list goes on and on.
Perhaps Trudeau should also have listened to these other words of Keith Davey, when he suggested that during an election you shouldn’t be “foolishly attempting to be all things to all people.”
The next week or so will tell us if Trudeau’s feel good release will give him the bump in the polls that he so desperately needs. Clearly the campaign has begun; it’s going to be a fun ride.