Flatlining on Front Street

If Justin Trudeau’s speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto today was any indication of his oratorical capacity, he’s going to flounder and fail in the fall election. Usually politicians are pumped, even passionate, on such important occasions. He was deadly; the speech was a dud. Trudeau was purportedly there to elaborate on his fairness for the middle class message that he launched last week. If there was any fresh meat, it must have been lost in the morass.

The words were workmanlike. There were no applause lines. I’d hate to be a television producer looking for a news clip. The closest he got was when he said, “I stand for success.” The rest was muted and milquetoast. There was no peroration calling for action or anything else.

This speech date would have been set up at least a week, maybe ten days ago, plenty of time for a good speechwriter to have crafted phrases that were far more memorable. Is there no one on Trudeau’s staff who can read a draft and say, “This isn’t good enough. Make it better.” Or what about the candidate? Why didn’t he demand higher-octane material? Campaigns don’t survive on half measures.

The 450-member audience was hushed throughout. At first I thought maybe they were listening carefully. Then I concluded they were stunned by the boredom of it all. The dozen candidates from the Greater Toronto Area who attended must have wondered what they’d signed up for.

They say all a politician needs is good health and a good speech. Well, he looked fine even with his formerly abundant locks shorn, but the speech wasn’t worthy of a high school valedictorian.


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