Grits need to buy some time until the Next One arrives

30May10

Justin Trudeau might very well be the next Chosen One within the Liberal Party of Canada.

His surname alone makes longtime Liberals swoon at the prospect of ending a particularly embarrassing stretch of uninspiring and downright dismal leadership from the likes of Paul Martin, Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff.

Yes, Justin Trudeau has the name and pedigree Liberals have been waiting for. All eyes have been on the young successor to father Pierre’s legacy since he was a young man in his 20s. Many Grits have high hopes for the young heir apparent.

But Trudeau’s promise won’t mean much if he can’t deliver, and until he shows he’s ready to assume the party mantle — which is a long way off yet for the rookie MP — the party must find a way to keep its head above water.

Angelo Persichilli argued these points in Friday’s Toronto Star. The Liberals, he said, need to stop focusing on the past and future and look at their current situation. Right now, things are as bad for the Grits as they’ve ever been in the history of this country. Saddled with a woefully uninspiring leader in Ignatieff, financially reeling from years of declining donations after the exodus of Chretien and other high-profile “stars” and still getting drubbed in national polls despite the Harper government’s continually awe-inspiring gaffes, the Liberals need to find a way to keep their engine running until Trudeau or another young successor can assume control.

How good are their chances of doing this? If Ignatieff’s embarrassingly low poll support is any indication, not so good.

The Grits either face the very real prospect of having to combine forces with the NDP and Bloq in a temporary coalition, which would buy them some time, or get the knives out for their leader. The party stands zero chance of beating Harper and the Tories on its own as long as Ignatieff is at the wheel.

Perhaps it’s time to visit the coalition idea that Bob Rae has been proposing. It could be just what the Liberals need to carry them through until a true leader emerges. And, yes, that may be Justin Trudeau.

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