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Christie Blatchford from the National Post recently published a very interesting article titled, “After the way Trudeau treated them, why do they even still want to be Liberals?”
In her article Blatchford details how the Liberal party may have broken the “Reform Act —brought forward by Conservative MP Michael Chong two years before—on how to deal with expulsions.”
Towards the end of her article, she highlights the awkward scenario which would exist as a result of two whistleblowers remaining in the government that they publicly spoke out against.
“What then—they’d be back in the Liberal caucus, in the warm Liberal embrace? How would that in any way (aside from the principle) be a victory, I wonder, to get back to work for a prime minister whose idea of the rule of law is setting the rules and laying down the law?”
Her conclusion is what piqued my interest most. Why do Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott want to remain in the Liberal caucus so badly especially after calling out the Watergate-like actions taken?
Most likely because they are both, at the end of the day, Liberals who would hate to see a Conservative Prime Minister.
According to comments made to the Province newspaper, the Greens and the NDP have already made friendly inquiries towards Jody Wilson-Raybould, obviously without result, while she has also stated that she would not join the Conservatives, noting “I don’t identify with the Conservatives’ ideology.”
With an anti-Conservative stance, and so far a seeming lack of interest in joining the NDP or Greens, it leaves the two with limited options.
They could run as independent “Liberals” and hope to win their seats, or face a decisive battle waged from within the movement to push Justin Trudeau out of the Liberal Party before the election, and I suppose the last choice would be to give up and go home to take on other positions.
I highly doubt that either of these individuals would simply pack up and leave.
Instead, with the CBC poll tracker now projecting a 66% likelihood the Conservatives win the most seats, it may actually be better for Liberals and progressives for someone else to lead the party, especially given the relative weakness of the NDP in terms of popular support and finances. Heck, Jagmeet Singh is now an MP and I still can’t think of one memorable action taken during the SNC-Lavalin affair.
With some polls noting that a majority of Canadians are paying attention to the SNC-Lavalin affair, and of that majority, 67% believe Jody Wilson-Raybould over the Prime Minister, the die-hard Liberal whistleblowers could be a part of that replacement team.
Now I get it, the Liberal party today without Trudeau sounds like milk without cereal. The Prime Minister revived the shell of a party in 2015, and today represents his party much the same as Trump, synonymously. The PM’s brand, though, is what has taken a direct hit as a result of this campaign. According to a Global News article citing an Ipsos poll, “six months ahead of an October election, polls suggest the 47-year-old politician with the broad smile and a penchant for colourful socks could become the first prime minister to lose power after a single majority mandate since the 1930s.”
His image as a feminist, a progressive, and an authentic liberal has been damaged.
Those are the exact factors the Liberal coalition could salvage with Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Still, that run wouldn’t guarantee victory. Neither Jody Wilson-Raybould nor Jane Philipot are Quebecers.
A leader from outside Quebec is serious to any Liberal coalition, and that problem may be even more serious in this situation. For the most part, the Liberal party under Trudeau seem to have put themselves in a direct corner where any potential leadership change would involve someone who stood by Trudeau, Jane Philpott, or Jody Wilson-Raybould. That is a tough spot to be in.
Nonetheless, the principled stance taken by the whistleblowers combined with some parts of the Liberal party could re-energize the progressive-Liberal coalition enough to see them hit the finish line by eating a significant portion of the NDP support in places like Ontario, B.C., and even Quebec.
With so much to lose if Trudeau is allowed to lead the party into an election, perhaps it is time the party and the prime minister part ways.
What do you think? Should the Liberals and Trudeau part ways? Join the conversation by commenting below!