An open letter to Justin Trudeau
Dear Prime Minister:
You and your staff may have seen the story in the Globe and Mail Wednesday morning about a number of Liberal MPs and others who have their eye on your job. Now you know how Erin O’Toole feels. The list of your hopeful successors is lengthy and is said to include Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, man-of-the-world and my personal favourite Mark Carney, former Quebec MP Frank Bayliss and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. The piece, written by Robert Fife, who usually gets things right, is careful to keep most of his sources not only unnamed but also reduced to the lowly status of “not authorized to speak” about matters they are speaking about.
Freeland is given the most play. Some of the signs she is interested in your job include a noticeable uptick in the number of people who are getting their calls returned as if Freeland used to be above the fray and now wants to curry favour. Freeland is also said to be the subject of a coming biography by Catherine Tsalikis whose book is to be published by the House of Anansi in 2023. Note, as well, that the author calls Freeland the “most powerful woman in Canadian politics.” Oh, by the way, Freeland has not yet agreed to sit still for interviews by Taslikis. I congratulate the publicist who got this bit of promotion in the paper, two years ahead of the scheduled release, even when there is nothing yet to say.
I may be wrong, but this story smells like one of those pieces that began with a conversation about an idea for a book in the very early stages that became the jumping off point to secure interviews mostly with unnamed sources. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the premise is thin, to say the least.
Still, I can imagine the consternation in the PMO this morning. If people’s merits in Ottawa are based on phone calls returned, am I safe in saying, Prime Minister, that no one on this list will be regarded in the same manner as they were earlier in the week. What, you must be asking, happened to loyalty after your stunning election victory in September that was not quite what was wanted at Rideau Gate or wherever it is that you are living today.
And what about Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne? I know they aren’t supposed to say much, being more grandiose than grand, but it was so irrelevant that Robert Fife could have written it.