Credits: QMI Agency file photo
Justin Trudeau predictably launched his leadership campaign speaking in high tones about diversity, compassion, love of country, courage, hard work, togetherness, building, balance and trust.
In keeping with retro theme, he said, "To millions and millions of Canadians, their government has become irrelevant, remote from their daily lives, let alone their hopes and dreams."
What an odd thing to say about a federal government that is only slightly less omnipresent than God.
As it is, the federal government leaves its 5% fingerprint on every purchase.
It is there at every stage of life and it won't take no for an answer.
It helps fund your health care when you are born. It funds your retirement.
It even funds your hopey, dreamy education and about a billion different training programs.
It funds your EI even when employers can't find workers.
It delivers your mail. It owns a TV network and reads you the news at night. It advertises. It blankets your business in regulations and red tape. And that's under a Conservative government that has actually cut and reformed significant chunks of government.
No, the federal government isn't remote or irrelevant at all.
In fact, it's pretty much living in the spare bedroom and eating all the leftovers while leaving dishes in the sink.
That's the problem for the Liberals. They believe their old 1990s rhetoric to the point that they promise to tackle problems that don't exist. And Trudeau, who is supposed to be all about change, is setting up to fix the same non-existent problem.
On the trust thing, he made sure to distinguish between the "nebulous trust to govern competently" and the kind of trust that he would earn from you. In his speech he told the audience that he wants the public to trust him in the way you trust the friend who keeps a spare key to your house.
This is another problem that doesn't need fixing. If he was taking a shot at Stephen Harper, then Trudeau needs to understand that any politician who governs competently is already exceeding expectations.
If you have earned the "trust to govern competently," then you are doing all that is being asked of you.
I don't need my prime minister to keep the key to my house, which is a little weird. What I want from my prime minister are modest, effective government programs, safe streets, secure borders, a clean environment, low taxes and economic opportunity. That's it and that's enough.
So, my advice to aspiring young politicians is to put a little less energy into telling us how much you care and a whole lot more energy into studying the issues that matter and proposing solutions.
It's predictable that Trudeau might quote Goethe as he did at the launch of his campaign. But if I was a Liberal, I would be much more excited if he could quote Statistics Canada GDP numbers or explain how the economy creates jobs.
The world has changed a lot since the great recession of 2008 and the Liberal wipeout of 2011. So far the Liberals aren't showing any signs that they have changed with it.