This week we arrive at the party that won the third most seats in the 2011 federal election: the Liberal Party of Canada.
Of all the parties, the PoSitics treatment may be most necessary for the Liberals. The Conservative war machine has spent millions of dollars trying to trivialize Justin Trudeau – to convince us he’s vapid, not ready for the job, and nothing more that a Zoolander-esque male model with “nice hair.”
This is extremely unfair to the Liberals, who have released a substantial platform for social change that many pundits claim actually positions them to the left of the NDP. They are a party of ideas, of real vision for the future of the country.
Granted, you can’t entirely blame the Conservatives for obsessing over Trudeau’s mop. It is fantastic hair. Such body. Such sheen.
But let’s not get carried away with ourselves. We’re not here to talk about what’s on Justin’s head—we’re here to talk about what’s inside it. Let’s take a sober, respectful look at what the Liberals have to offer students.
The Liberals have promised massive amounts of social infrastructure investment – $20 billion over ten years.
They’ve promised to create 120,000 new jobs for young Canadians, earmarking 13 times more money for their plan than the NDP have in their youth employment plan.
They are promising to invest $50 million in post-secondary funding for Indigenous students and to provide free post-secondary tuition for veterans.
They’ve committed to invest in public transit and affordable housing. They’ve promised to create a “Prime Minister’s Youth Advisory Council” to increase youth involvement in government, and they’ve promised to build gender-based analysis into cabinet decision-making.
They’ve promised to repeal anti-democratic laws that disproportionately target students such as the Fair Voting Act and to un-muzzle our academic researchers.
Clearly the Liberals are about a lot more than Trudeau’s hypnotic hair. Sure, maybe election law reform isn’t quite as enthralling as staring at Justin’s tresses. And yes, Justin’s hair is almost preternatural in its ability to perfectly frame his face, whether he’s sporting a sharp short style or the classic flowing locks.
What I think we can all agree on, though, is that Justin’s hair is a national treasure, and no matter what party wins the next election, drafting legislation to preserve it should a day-one priority.
We were talking about the platform, right?
At the Sept. 28 all-candidates debate on student issues, Halifax Liberal candidate Andy Fillmore promised us that despite the already substantial Liberal commitments to youth, there were still big announcements coming soon —presumably some major platform pledges on post-secondary education.
I have no idea what those promises might be, but if they are half as amazing as Justin Trudeau’s glorious head of luscious, full-bodied hair, I think we’re due for yet more compelling reasons to consider voting Liberal.
Now, a platform this stuffed full of pledges is bound to raise some questions. We can’t just accept everything we see at face value – we need to dig deeper if we want to get to substance of what the Liberals have to offer.
For example, we all know how it looks, but what do you think Justin’s hair feels like?
In my mind, it is exquisitely soft to the touch, like a cashmere-swaddled golden retriever puppy.
Okay – this isn’t working out the way I’d hoped. Maybe it’s time I level with you.
The thing is, it’s a lot easier to focus on Justin’s Apollonian locks than on the policy issues at stake.
It’s not just that policy debates are less exciting either. This goes deeper. Three weeks into this PoSitics project, I’m starting to have … questions.
Have you ever felt like maybe the major parties don’t actually care all that much about students? Like they don’t see us as anything more than information to plug into their vast databases — faceless profiles to be ranked in order of our likelihood to mark an X in their box, and to be pandered to or ignored as big data dictates?
These thoughts are keeping me up at night. I’ve taken on the ambitious goal of hunting down the mythical positive in politics so that I can fill you all with enthusiasm to exercise your civic rights – but what if I have it all wrong?
What if this entire elections process is nothing but a garish spectacle to placate the masses, no more real or meaningful than the Undertaker’s legendary Wrestlemania streak? Am I just the sweaty guy in the John Cena t-shirt shouting that “it’s still real to me”?
Think about it. We throw such passion into online flame wars about the desperate need to “STOP HARPER!!!!” or “FEAR THE BEARD!!!”, but does any of it even matter? Does real change ever happen, or will we inevitably wake up on October 20th servants to the same masters who have ruled us every other day we’ve walked this earth?
Is there even any meaning to our fleeting existences? Or are we simply flailing clumps of innumerable subatomic particles, cursed by our own improbable self-awareness?
When treading these dark waters and staring down into the fathomless depths of the abyss, I can’t help but scan the horizon for even the smallest small islands of positivity on which to take refuge.
Justin probably isn’t the prophesized savior the Liberals have been waiting for since the departure of Chretien. And yes, he’s as much of a scripted, carefully designed product as the rest of his opponents.
He has nice hair though – and if even the Conservatives can agree with that one simple scrap of positive truth about this election, that’s good enough for me.
(Post Script: Hey gang! I was a little…tired when I wrote this article, and it looks like I forgot to remind you to “Rock the Vote” at the advance polls on Campus October 5-8. Remember, EVERY vote makes a difference! Go get ‘em, Tigers!)
John Hillman is the Gazette's Opinions Editor. John is a second-year law student, but he has been at Dalhousie for much longer than that. Recently discovered cave paintings indicate he was first observed lurching around campus by Halifax’s original human settlers some time during the late Pleistocene epoch. He started writing for the Gazette back when you were in elementary school, but he unexpectedly went off the grid a half-decade ago to concentrate on helping found Punditry.ca, a DSU-focused political blog. Where exactly was he hiding between the years 2009-2013? Certain individuals would prefer he not comment. Why has he returned? Not because of a top-secret Illuminati indoctrination project known only as the Omega Initiative, that’s for sure.
You can email John at email@example.com.