Deborah Coyne readily admits she isn’t a professional politician. It’s not that she hasn’t tried, though. “It’s all luck and timing,” the 57-year-old federal Liberal party leadership candidate told the Citizen’s editorial board Monday. “I’ve had my share of bad luck, bad timing.”
Which is why you decided to jump into a leadership race that your lover's eldest son is likely going to win in a cakewalk. And they say Canadian politics is dull. Between Martha Hall Finlay's discussions of supply management, and Marc Garneau's confession that he loves to vacuum, there's no wonder that Canadians from coast to coast to coast sit in rap attention at the Liberal Party leadership race.
It is conceded that Deborah Coyne isn't a professional politician. She sees this as a selling point. So do a lot of other people, including the vast majority of Liberals who will not be voting for Ms Coyne. There is a sort of logic to this belief. Everyone hates professional politics, so the thing is not be one. Be an outsider bent on changing the system from within. Challenge the old boys network. Etc....
Thing is that while people hate professional politicians they keep voting for them. Micheal Ignatieff was not a professional politician. Stephen Harper is a professional politician. Lord Iggy was the consummate outsider. Indeed he'd been out of the country for thirty years before deciding he wanted to live in 24 Sussex Drive. Stephen Harper has lived the majority of his adult life in Ottawa. Recall who won the majority government and who lost his own riding.
In politics there is no substitute for professionalism.
That applied to Lord Iggy federally and applies to Rob Ford in Toronto. Try as he might to reform the city government, he keeps tripping over his feet. The MSM can then spend their days attacking Rob Ford for trivia, while the clock continues to tick down on his time in office. Every hour spent fighting Clayton Ruby's politically motivated lawfare is an hour not spent outsourcing municipal services. Mayor Ford is his own worst enemy. Just as Iggy was his own worst enemy. Deborah Coyne, in fairness, is too distant in the Liberal pack to be anyone's enemy, even her own. Certainly she is more qualified that Justin Trudeau to be Liberal leader. Then again so is the typical full-time drama school teacher.
If Deborah Coyne isn't a professional pol, neither is Justin Trudeau. The Dauphin does have a seat in the House of Commons, unlike many of the other leadership contenders, which technically makes him a professional pol. The Once and Future Grit leader also knows how to pander, distort and evade like a professional pol. Recall his declaration that he opposes the Northern Gateway pipeline but he doesn't oppose pipelines themselves. He is for pipelines in the abstract but not in this particular.
That's a clever evasion. It's Liberal evasion at its finest. Not quite up there with conscription if necessary but not necessarily conscription, but certainly a contender. He opposes the Northern Gateway so the tree huggers eyeing the NDP think again about Justin. He supports the idea of pipelines so the business minded Blue Liberals eyeing the Harper Tories have some reason to stick around. Justin Trudeau is splitting the difference while saying nothing in particular. Say what you will, the lad's a Liberal if nothing else.
But are these his words? Is this Justin qua Justin? Or just carefully memorized talking points? When Dalton McGuinty is lying and evading there is a sense that he himself is lying and evading, not some backroom spin doctor. There is sincerity in the Dalt's deceit. The outgoing Premier just can't help himself. For Justin you're just not sure. When let off the leash, this is how the Shiny Pony typically responds. When the man sounds semi-reasonable the natural inference is that someone else is providing the script.
Deborah Coyne may not be a professional politician, but Justin Trudeau is just an empty suit.