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Mac Headrick on Trudeau's recent senate decision columnist Mac Headrick can be read weekly by clicking here . To learn more about Mac, click here .
0 columnist Mac Headrick can be read weekly by clicking here.

To learn more about Mac, click here.


Trudeau's Senate Decision - Canadian Politics 101

With great knowledge also comes the obligation to share and help educate those less blessed.

No, the above is not some saying from a brilliant historical scholar. I actually just made it up.

I had to start today’s column somewhere.

Consider the following as a brief university quality course: Politics 101 - Professor Mac at your service. 

This past Wednesday, Justin Trudeau kicked 32 Liberal Senators out of the Liberal caucus.

This decision is a perfect example of typical Canadian politics in action. 

Now before I go any further I believe it is necessary to provide an extensive background about Canada’s political structure.

Normally this would be the material of a university political course. I am able to accomplish this in three sentences.

Are you ready?

I assume you have paper and pen in hand. 

There are those who stand for the right spectrum of political thought; they are Conservatives.

Some Canadians stand for the left spectrum of political philosophy; they are referred to as NDP supporters.

Then there are Canadians who stand for nothing; and these people are known as Liberals. 

Now before you dismiss the above analysis take a moment to reflect upon the advantages of standing for nothing.

Successful political parties have to be flexible.

Not that this has to do without any boundaries or specific beliefs.

But at some point you would have to outline policy or things you stand for.

That is easy to do… just steal ideas from your opponents, change them slightly, and present them as your own.

Now supporting the Conservative or NDP party’s is hard work.

You have to believe and support your point of view.

Frankly, it takes a lot of effort.

To support the Liberal Party well, you just have to believe in their message.

Immediately below I am going to present the Liberal campaign in the next federal election. 

“Canada is a great country; we feel your pain; we will solve all your problems; now time for a group hug”. 

Keep in mind the concept of “nothingness” and stealing of ideas while I break down Justin Trudeau’s expulsion of 32 Liberal Senators from the Liberal caucus.

At the start of the day this past Wednesday there were 32 Liberal Senators.

At the end of the day they had been replaced by 32 Senate Liberals. This idea had been proposed by the NDP back in October 2013.

The 32 Senate Liberals still are card carrying members of the Liberal Party.

They still keep their annual 130,000 dollar salary and benefits.

They publicly announced they would still support the Liberal Party. 

Well what has changed?

Do you remember the shock and amazement before Christmas when the Senate actually held meetings on a Friday?

Senators normally do not work Fridays.

They also take all the breaks elected Parliamentarians do.

Guess what?

Now they don’t have to show up on Wednesdays. Justin Trudeau accomplished something I didn’t think possible.

The Canadian Senate has always been a place were party supporters go to do little at a 90 – 100 million dollars a year.

Now the Liberal Senators…oh, excuse me, the Senate Liberals will have less to do. 

Justin Trudeau’s decision is all about taking an idea and turning it into nothing.

Now I could end my column here but I would be remiss in not explaining why Trudeau’s expulsion of the Liberal Senators was a very smart move.

In Canadian politics you can do nothing but benefit greatly if you create the impression of significant accomplishment.

Listed below are the four major benefits of Justin Trudeau’s political move.

1. The Senate scandal has dominated Canadian politics for the past year. The Liberal leader has been missing in action in parliament for two reasons. First, the Liberal Senators though not as vilified as the Conservative Senators haven’t escaped entirely. Also there is a reason the Liberal Party prefers their leader not to be in the House of Commons. You do not want Justin debating in the same room as Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair. Having a nice smile and wavy hair isn’t enough to sustain a leader in an unscripted environment as question period. On Wednesday Justin Trudeau became a player in the Senate debate. What did he actually accomplish? It doesn’t matter he is now a potential leader of substance to his followers.

2. There is a Senate audit of Liberal Senators, oh excuse me, and make that Senate Liberals to be released in the near future. What do you believe the results will show? It doesn’t matter now. If the report is bad news, well the Liberal leader has taken decisive action. How can any bad behaviour of Liberal Senators reflect badly on the elected Liberal Party when Liberal Senators do not exist?

3. Finally, as I stated above, supporting the Conservatives or the NDP takes far too much intellectual effort. I know there are many Liberal supporters out there that desperately want to believe in Justin Trudeau. They feel a little embarrassed because at the same they wish to present themselves as intelligent, substantial political thinkers. This dilemma has been solved. Justin Trudeau is no longer a political “lite”. He is now a decisive leader, not afraid to make tough decisions. Remember, think perception not reality.

4. The significance of Trudeau’s decision has special meaning in the province of Quebec. The day after the last federal election I wrote how fortunate the NDP were that the Conservatives got a majority. The NDP had at least four years to try to hang onto their seats. Quebec elected NDP candidates that, for example, did not show up in their respective riding during the campaign. They traveled to Las Vegas to party instead. They elected a teenager whose life experience at the time was working at McDonalds and having a part time job at a golf course. My point is Quebec didn’t like the Conservatives or the Liberal leadership then, thus they supported the NDP. How safe do you think the majority of the NDP seats in Quebec are? Justin Trudeau, Quebec’s favourite son traveled to Ottawa as a boy. Perhaps he has now become a man.

As I see it this past Wednesday’s announcement was all about nothing. That doesn’t matter in Canadian politics. This event was a perfect example of Canadian political reality. Perception matters more than substance. It also gave Liberal supporters a reason to believe.


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