Trudeau’s glossy sheen doesn’t change Liberal realities – by Kelly McParland (National Post – November 22, 2012)

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I’m still having difficulty getting swept up in the excitement over the growing threat Justin Trudeau allegedly represents to the Conservative bastion of Stephen Harper.

The latest evidence is, allegedly, the brilliant tactical move Team Trudeau executed in suggesting China should be allowed to invest in Canada just like everyone else. This proves he’s not a lightweight, won’t be ruled by past orthodoxies, is capable of rational thought and isn’t about to get caught up with Thomas Mulcair in a tug-of-war for dominion over wishy-washy feel-good leftwing bromides. So we’re told. I just can’t swallow it, for some reason.

Maybe it’s because of people like David McGuinty, the Liberal MP from Ottawa (and brother of the outgoing Ontario Premier) who was viewed by some as a potential leadership candidate all on his own. Upset at the attitude of Tory MPs on the Commons natural resources committee, he let loose with a few typically Liberal insults about Conservatives, Alberta and Big Oil all being in cahoots.

“They are national legislators with a national responsibility, but they come across as very, very small-p provincial individuals who are jealously guarding one industrial sector, picking the fossil fuel business and the oil sands business specifically, as one that they’re going to fight to the death for,” he informed reporters on Tuesday.

Conservatives from Alberta are just “shills” for the oil industry, he said. “They really should go back to Alberta and run either for municipal council in a city that’s deeply affected by the oil sands business or go run for the Alberta legislature.”

Dopey? You bet. So dopey that it cost Mr McGuinty his job as energy critic, earned him a verbal lashing from interim leader Bob Rae and may lose the Liberals their rare chance at a federal riding in Calgary on Nov. 26, which was viewed as a close race until Mr. McGuinty opened his mouth.

Like Mr. Rae, he issued an abject apology on Wednesday.

“My words in no way reflect the views of my party or leader and I offer my apology to them, as well as to my colleagues from Alberta,” said Mr. McGuinty.

“I hold all parliamentarians in high esteem and I regret my choice of words, as I can understand the offence they have caused.”

But the ferocity with which Liberals denounced their colleague’s views fails to convince me that he isn’t voicing thoughts many eastern Liberals (practically the only kind) still harbour. That’s the way Liberals have always thought, and it’s been entirely acceptable within the party to do so. David’s brother Dalton thought the same way, and professed similar sentiments until a recent conversion to the idea that the oil industry is good for Ontario too, given the billions of dollars in business it represents for the province.

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