The PM has changed his look. But it’s a policy change that’s needed – by Rex Murphy (National Post – January 29, 2020)

The No. 1 priority now is not global warming. It is national cohesion. To repair the rift within Confederation, the Liberals must nullify what has been the central component of their public policy to date

The weight of external events, some pathetically trivial, some potentially or already quite grave — Harry and Meghan, the coronavirus, the impeachment tap dance, the Iranian crisis — has pushed many of our own Canadian concerns to the back page for a while.

The October election gave us a divided result and especially demonstrated that there is a huge fracture between the sentiments and politics of West and East. Alberta and Saskatchewan almost set up a blockade against the Liberals. The rest of the country — I’m being very general here — gave Justin Trudeau’s shaken leadership a tepid second chance.

He’s still there as PM, but not with the élan that greeted his first term by any means. I am determined not to offer observations of any kind on the new beard, but I will note that there has been a change in his presence and manner since the election.

There is less energy in his public persona, and there was a notable “stay away” period after the vote. (I’m not picking on the vacations, just noting that after so key an election, and with all its attendant issues, he seemed to almost completely remove himself for an extended period.)

Did the trimming to a minority shake the prime minister’s confidence? Did it impose a serious introspection on the ideas and approach of his first term? The bubbly, cheery, spotlight-seeking and superficial “sunny days” of Term 1 are certainly not the mode, so far, of Term 2.

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