Trudeau Takes A Page From Harper’s Playbook.

May 11

Canadian Liberal leader Justin Trudeau recently made headlines by saying that his party will reject any Liberal candidates for the 2015 federal election who were against abortion.

For most Liberal supporters this isn’t much of an issue. The party has long supported the right to abortion, even though a tiny faction of its MPs over the years were, or are, against it. This isn’t expected to be much of an issue in next year’s federal election.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau bans "right-to-life" Liberal candidates in next Canadian election.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau bans “right-to-life” Liberal candidates in next Canadian election.

While there are some in the Conservative Party and among its base who would prefer overturning some, or all, of Canada’s abortion laws, the party leadership, and especially Prime Minister Stephen Harper, aren’t foolish enough to reopen the abortion debate. Indeed, throughout Harper’s tenure as PM he’s repeatedly stated that point.

What’s troubling, however, about Trudeau’s decree is that it is exclusionary, refusing to allow a place within the Liberal Party for differing opinion. Refuse to toe the party line, and there’s no place for you.

That is a page straight from the Harper playbook. The PM is a notorious micromanager who brooks no criticism or differing opinions within his ranks. Those foolish enough to try usually find themselves ostracized within the party and ultimately forced out.

Previous Liberal leaders have expected obedience from within their ranks over the decades. Trudeau’s famous father Pierre was often dismissive of those who disagreed with him. Rarely, however, were they faced with such a draconian decree on an issue like that issued by Trudeau the Younger.

Trudeau claims he’s a different political animal than Harper, that he’s a different leader and would be a more compassionate PM than the current resident of 24 Sussex Drive. By declaring those potential Liberal candidates who choose right-to-life over right-to-choose need not apply, he’s quickly showing that he’s learned a thing or two from his rival.

It’ll be interesting to see how Trudeau’s “My Way or The Highway” stance plays out through next year’s election, and if indeed his party succeeds in unseating the Conservatives.

It might prove successful over the short term, but if there’s one lesson Trudeau should learn from the Harper government, it’s that inflexible thinking and an unwillingness to allow dissenting voices and differing opinions within your ranks ultimately leads to a lack of fresh ideas, original thinking and of the necessary debate within the rank and file to arrive at a consensus worthwhile for all.

Blind loyalty will only get them so far. If Trudeau is unwilling to entertain differing views within his ranks, he’s setting himself up for a fall as inevitable as Harper’s.

Trudeau will be promising a different way to govern Canada, but it appears how he’ll run that government won’t be dissimilar to the way the current party in charge conducts its business.


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