For me, the most telling moment of the 2015 federal election came at a Justin Trudeau rally on a bright, sunny, mid-August day in Regina.
While doing what he does so very well – cradling babies and posing for selfies – our tousle-mopped prime-minister-to-be explained that, if elected, his Liberals would “invest in the middle class so that we can grow the economy not from the top down … but from the heart outwards.”
As economic theory, that’s gibberish. Twitterlectuals (people whose political thinking is 140 characters deep) may love it, but it made me wonder whether the Liberal leader was capable of wrapping his mind around even the most basic concepts.
But at least it was positive gibberish in a campaign marked by unrelenting negativity from the Tories and NDP.
For those Canadians who are becoming disillusioned with the Liberals’ inability to make even a start on their campaign promises, that whistle stop in the Saskatchewan capital can now be seen as a sign that Trudeau’s promises were so airy they were never going to happen.
Take the Trudeau pledge that a lot of analysts believe turned the 2015 election in the Liberals’ favour: Trudeau’s claim that three small deficits – no more than $10 billion each – spent wisely by Ottawa would unleash a torrent of economic activity.
Really!? Since when has government ever been able to invest more wisely to spur economic growth than entrepreneurs and investors?
And since when has $10 billion (one-half of one per cent) been enough in a $2 trillion economy to kick start any kind of boom? That’s priming a pump with an eyedropper.