The turmoil of one party is the moment of opportunity for another. This is axiomatic in democratic politics. Currently in Ontario the long-simmering tribulations of the Liberals, not at all surprising after holding government for a decade and a half, are basically a gold-leafed invitation to the Conservatives to form the next government.
They likely will, too, even after the superb clown car crash they managed to stage just weeks ago — the bumbling, precipitant, messy ejection of leader Patrick Brown. There followed the unparalleled comedy of his resigning and not resigning, running for his own leadership and not running, and finally the determination by the party he had just led that they wouldn’t have him, even as a candidate. And I haven’t even mentioned that during this typhoon of lunacy and mischief, a gentleman by the name of Doug Ford simply walked in, promised to cancel the carbon tax and took over the party.
The turmoil of one party is the moment of opportunity for another. Well, almost always. These days the federal Liberals are in a deep trough of their own excavation. The world’s most glamorous social-justice warrior has most definitely stepped off one of the longest political honeymoons in many a year. His inspired coinage of “peoplekind” earned him a wavelet of scornful chuckles, even from such dedicated vendors of progressivism as the tame comics of American late-night TV. About the Indian odyssey, with its assassin on the invitation list and the immortal free-form Bhangra shuffle, now in YouTube eternity, no more, without tears, can be said. But these were mere follies, dips into bad form and worse English.
Then comes the pipeline war, the two NDP provinces, B.C. and Alberta, glaring at each other across the Rockies, threatening each other’s liquid assets — wine and oil — followed by the great Sunday night bombshell from Kinder Morgan. The time for dancing was done. Suddenly there was a call for substantive national leadership. Justin Trudeau was facing a challenge that set clearly in focus the abiding question of his leadership: Was it just image? Was there anything beyond the smooth glamour and sweet nothings?