Op-Ed: With Garneau out of the picture, what now for the Liberal Party?

Ottawa: Marc Garneau announced his withdrawal from the Liberal Party (LPC) leadership race yesterday and by all indications created a virtual coronation of Justin Trudeau, who is well ahead of the remainder of the field. What is the road ahead for the LPC?

Former astronaut and member of parliament (MP), Marc Garneau, counted the numbers and came to the conclusion that his chances with the Trudeau factor were virtually zero. Polls indicated that Justin Trudeau garnered 72 per cent support, well ahead of himself at15 per cent, Joyce. Murray at 7.4 per cent and former Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay at 5.2 per cent. Based on these numbers the conclusion has to be that Trudeau’s election as the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is virtually guaranteed.

This article was published by The Digital Journal on March 14th, 2013.  To see this article and other related articles on The Digital Journal website, please click here

Recent polls have also indicated that with Trudeau as a leader the LPC is destined to win the next election with the LPC enjoying 39 per cent support, the Conservative Party 32 per cent and the New Democrats with 20 per cent. The Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party are tied at 5 per cent. How realistic are those polls two years ahead of a federal election? While the answer to that question has to be a qualified no, there is no doubt that the polls have influenced the outcome of the LPC leadership race. Justin Trudeau is resonating with youth voters and is primarily running on name recognition of his famous father Pierre Trudeau, a popular Canadian prime minister, who led he country from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984. Marc Garneau openly questioned Trudeau’s policies asking the front runner to provide some substance.

Garneau attacked Trudeau for being short on experience, content and the qualities require of a political leader. Despite this, during yesterday’s announcement, Garneu has thrown his support behind Truedeau. Should all of Gareau’s supporters in fact move to the Trudeau camp, this would give Trudeau, according to Garneu’s polls an 87 per cent advantage. which leaves the remaining candidates out in the cold. When a reporter asked Mr. Garneau whether he had changed his mind about Mr. Trudeau’s shortcomings, the response was a less-than-ringing endorsement: “It’s very clear Justin Trudeau is the favourite among the voters. I’m just conceding the reality of the situation.” So in other words Garneau probably hasn’t changed his mind on Trudeau, but is looking after his political future. A Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would surely give him a cabinet post.

Trudeau is currently on vacation and send a message of thanks to Garneu. After all the coronation is complete. There seems to be an old fashioned family feud developing within the LPC. While Marc Garneau shrugs criticism aside, he now says that Trudeau has risen to the occasion and has shown some leadership qualities. Joyce Murray is not in agreement about the poll results at all. According to the Globe and Mail Murray says that the race is still wide open and that the results came from an unreliable robo call poll.

The Liberal Party may be fooling itself, the Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP) says it has been snubbed by Trudeau. Trudeau, who has the support of youth, is apparently the only candidate not attending CARP’s leadership forum, which is being held on March 20. Susan Eng, CARP’s VP says: It’s a sense of entitlement. You might think you will run away with the leadership but, you know what? You are still the third party,” she said. “And if you want to become government again, you are going to need our people and do you really want to blow us off?

The bottom line is that the LPC should not count their chickens before they’re hatched. Polls without an actual election campaign give you a picture of the current situation in the country. An election campaign can change everything. It is doubtful that the country will undergo another Trudeaumania period.

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