And Now, A Word From Our Friends in Canada

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 24 2013 11:12 AM

And Now, A Word From Our Friends in Canada

It's not like American politics has become boring and thrill-seekers need to look north, but the current political scene in Canada is actually interesting. In the last general election, the once-dominant Liberal Party of Canada got shoved into third place, losing most of its strength in English-speaking Canada and watching Quebec fall to the left-wing New Democratic Party. (This was more hilarious than most Americans know. A late surge toward the NDP in Quebec allowed candidates who'd only been put on the ballot as placeholders -- including a woman who neither spoke strong French or was in Quebec at that moment -- to win seats*.) This month Justin Trudeau, the marquee handsome son of former PM Pierre Trudeau, won the Liberal Party's leadership by a landslide.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

The ruling Conservative Party was ready. Before he remade himself into a thoughtful, short-haired leadership contender, Trudeau was a minor celebrity, then a celebrity MP, famous for all the wrong things, like calling a minister a "piece of shit" during a parliamentary debate (he apologized immediately) and lending his physique to charity events that look silly on video. William Shatner even appeared on This Hour Has 22 Minutes to give Trudeau advice on how to act less pretentious. The Tories welcomed Trudeau to the leadership with goofy, popular ads reminiscent of the old "celebrity" attack on Barack Obama. Trudeau responded:

Advertisement

Because I lack real hobbies I was immediately reminded of this 1988 ad, which seemed like a good idea at the time.

The difference? Snap polls have suggested that Trudeau would lead the Liberals to a comeback if the election were held today. The Tories have two years to Dukakisize him; or to hope that he does it to himself.

*I've amended the line here, a reference to Ruth Ellen Brosseau, who famously traveled to Vegas during the campaign and admitted that she was working on her French. I originally said she didn't live in Canada at that moment -- she was merely traveling.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 4:59 PM China’s Not the Problem With Carbon Emissions. We Are.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.