Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I do hate to invoke the Trude, but...

Michael Ignatieff said it best - "there was one Pierre Trudeau." Of course, he has an interest in downplaying any Trudeau comparisons. He's been compared to the late great Rt. Hon. P.E.T., and if you're looking to meet or exceed expectations, no comparison could be more fatal. Nevertheless, he has a point.

But if I may be permitted to indulge myself, I'd like to make a simple comparison to answer a certain group of naysayers.

In 1965, Pierre Trudeau was a New Democrat. In fact, he had condemned Lester Pearson in the past as the "false prophet of peace" (strong words). But he switched parties, and in the same year ran and won as a Liberal. He was made a key minister in the Pearson cabinet, and in 1968, only 3 years after joining the Liberal Party, won the leadership.

In 2003, Scott Brison was a Progressive Conservative. In fact, he roundly condemned Paul Martin as being tired, old, etc. (You know the language.) But he switched parties, and in the same year joined the Liberal caucus, followed by an election win in 2004, and a key spot in the Martin cabinet. In December of 2006, three years after becoming a Liberal, he will be on the ballot for the leadership of the party.

Am I suggesting he'll win? Well, he has a shot. But my point is a simple one that you've probably already picked up - if Trudeau could do it, why not Brison? If you think it was a good thing Trudeau jumped ship and ran for the leadership, how could you not think the same about someone who has done pretty much the exact same thing? I mean heck, Trudeau only won one election as a Liberal before his leadership run; Brison's won two.

Just some food for thought.


At 4/26/2006 1:31 a.m., Blogger Steve said...

First of all, Trudeau was not involved in electoral politics, and he was flirting with the NDP yes. Brison was so involved that not only had he been a vociferous critic within the hOuse of commons, he ran for the leadership of the party! Trudeau was never even an elected memeber let alone strong enough within the party to make a run for leader. And then within 3 years again for another party.
Brison also left when he had no choice, ie. his party was no longer in existence. This is not a particularly satisfactory change of heart, it is saying he has great differences with the Alliance's more right wing social values. That is good, but it doesn't show any great difference with the PCs. The NDP still existed and Trudeau was not forced to leave. Indeed he had much difficulty with them. And there is the party (PC) that battled the Liberals all through history including Trudeau's time. He speaks of how he supported the party of Stanfield, and of Clark. WHile yes from our vantage point they are a more appealing conservative party than the reform version we have now, but to write off the differnces is to write off our party's history, most substantially the Trudeau era. So it is not really useful comparison.

And aside from abstract comparisons, Brison's statements of that nature show that in battles Liberals fought he sided with the Conservatives. So while "switching" can be usefuly observed it is not just seperate from reality. The party of stanfield and clark was the party of a community of communities, the antithesis of what Liberal values were supposed to mean. If not the antithesis than what did Liberalism under Trudeau mean? And so this comparison really weakens Brison's stance. And where one shifted from is not irrelevant either.

At 4/26/2006 2:02 a.m., Anonymous drzaius said...

Interesting comparison. I agree with much of what Steve said, and add - Trudeau had an excellent handle on the two national languages; Brison, not so much.
The only message Trudeau sent on his blackberry was 'fuddle-duddle'...
Trudeau was the perfect opposite of Pearson - young, dashing and a passionate speaker. Brison appears to be closer to Martin's style of politician than any other candidate.

At 4/26/2006 2:11 a.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

What I'm reading is that it's okay for some people to switch parties, but not others... based entirely on how much you like them. :/

At 4/26/2006 2:31 p.m., Anonymous Manitoba Liberal said...

Trudeau was not an elected NDP member, who also ran for NDP leadership and failed.

Brison is an oppurtunistic politcal whore that left the conservative party less out of conviction and more so because Peter McKay was going to be the former PC offical with the highest standing in the new party.

Brison can try to duck and dodge from his previous comments as a libertarian conservative concerning private health care, but it won't do him much good.

Brison has no chance to win the Liberal Leadership, he's running out of ego and a hope it will gurantee him a cabinet position in the next Liberal government.

He should follow Belinda's lead and drop out and leave the race to Liberals.


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