Friday, March 06, 2020

History of leadership: removing Justin Trudeau?

In The Tyee, journalist Michael Harris observes that Justin Trudeau's recent performance disappoints just about everybody these days. On environment policy, indigenous policy, and economic development policy, he says enough to infuriate the lock-'em-up-build-that-pipeline mob (aka the Conservative Party base), but he does too little to earn or hold support from his progressive constituency, or environmentalists, or First Nations.

But then Harris predicts that the Liberal Party may remove Trudeau before the next election.
When the next election rolls around, both the Conservative and Green parties will have new leaders. Even NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is newish.
No one should be surprised if the Liberal party follows suit. The case for dumping Justin Trudeau before the Liberals face the electorate again gets stronger by the day.
Well. If we had a functioning parliamentary democracy, maybe. In a parliament where the principle held that leaders are constantly accountable to the people's elected representatives, it would be normal for there to be some discussions in the government caucus by members concerned with saving their seats, followed by a swift, smooth shift in leadership by vote of the caucus.  

This is Canada. It doesn't work like that. Paul Martin did prove it is possible to remove a sitting prime minister from the leadership. But it takes years, costs millions, and pretty much destroys the electoral credibility of the party involved in the process for a decade or so.

But if, say, Christa Freeland resigns from cabinet to spend more time with her family, one of those party membership vote-buying orgies may be about to erupt in the Liberal Party. Could be settled by, oh, sometime after the next election.

Image: Greg Perry for The Tyee     
Follow @CmedMoore