John Baglow is at the Liberal Convention so that you don't have to be. He will be reporting on all substantive happenings throughout the weekend, like which way Justin's hair is wafting.
Oh, come on. In a move reminiscent of the cringing 'fifties, when the U.S. set the standards to which we Canadians timorously aspired, the Liberal Convention was opened by an American -- Lawrence "Larry" Summers, the Harvard mensch who thinks that women are genetically unsuited to maths and science. (He hasn't divulged how he explains the relative absence of Blacks in tenured positions in those disciplines, but we have every right to speculate.)
His presentation was in the form of a mock interview by Chrystia Freeland, newly-minted Liberal MP from Toronto-Centre. She gushed and fawned appropriately -- "the smartest person I've ever met" -- as he held forth in maddeningly condescending fashion on the role of government in the economy. Almost needless to say, he put in a plug for the Keystone pipeline, although it's only fair to note that the applause for that was a little subdued.
We can't have employees without employers, he said. We need -- and this is a real quotation, I promise -- "aggressive, thrusting entrepreneurs." The more millionaires the better, he said. But of course, everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed. And we need "middle-class based economic growth." (The working class, these days, isn't even talked about in hushed whispers.)
After this, Justin Trudeau was, frankly, an anti-climax. One expects that a keynote speech will at least set a few broad policy themes. But it was just one bromide after another: Diversity makes us strong. Beat back fear with hope. Give everyone a chance to succeed. The middle class is in trouble. Canadians are tired of the politics of fear and division. Let's have faith in each other.
"When is he going to talk policy," I grumbled. A very pleasant young man from the Sun said, "He won't." Apparently the entire speech has gone out live in rehearsal a few hours before. "He's going to call his wife now," said my companion. And JT did.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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