Even better, you’re the leader of a political party. The leader of the main opposition party, even. And yet, most Canadians wouldn’t know you if they tripped over you in the tool aisle of the local Canadian Tire.
What to do?
Especially when the Prime Minister—your target—is blessed with a famous name and the considerable advantages of incumbency. How do you shift his spotlight your way?
Short of lighting yourself on fire or dancing nude in the streets—or doing both together, I suppose—there isn’t much any opposition leader can do to up their profile in between election cycles. No, the life of an opposition leader is an endless cycle of low-impact rubber chicken dinners, bingo hall grip and grins, and sessions spent asking the Prime Minister questions he never ever answers.
So Andrew Scheer should count himself blessed that Justin Trudeau has lit himself on fire—an exquisitely engineered fire—over SNC-Lavalin. After all, it’s not every day a sitting Prime Minister cripples himself to the point where even Jagmeet Singh risks becoming competitive.
With Canadians now tuning into politics en masse, SNC is the chance for Scheer to demonstrate he has the royal jelly. When Mike Duffy started giving Stephen Harper nightmares, it was Thomas Mulcair who checked into the public’s imagination, keeping the issue alive with his prosecutorial performances in the House of Commons. And while Mulcair didn’t end up taking the big prize, he did put an afterthought party into pole position by the start of the election.
That is the size of the opportunity now before Scheer.