Common Ground is an auto biographical work written by the new Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau published a year before winning the election for the post. In the book Justin provides an open and honest view into his personal life and political values. I would strongly recommend this book to any Canadian interested in politics. Justin is a brilliant politician who was able to rejuvenate the Liberal party of Canada. The insights he provides are well worth the read. Justin’s charisma carries over in the written word.
The first half of the book deals with Justin’s personal life growing up as the son of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the challenges that brought. He tells about the stress politics has brought on his family growing up, his parents failed marriage, and the death of his brother. I have seen him on TV and YouTube ads and thought of him as a good looking, smooth talking politician with a pedigree. The foray into his personal past serves as a reminder that everyone faces similar challenges in life and that we all have a lot in common, despite our different backgrounds.
The second half deals with his entry into politics as an MP for Papineau and the dying Liberal party. He describes his approach to politics and how his view differs from that of his father. He claims his father was impersonal to his approach to politics, focusing more on speeches than shaking hands and kissing babies. Justin however uses what he terms “retail politics” he goes and and engages with people face to face so he can find out what are important issues that people have and care about. He says he was inspired by his grand father on his mothers side James Sinclair for this approach. Justin has a strong desire not to be seen as following in his dad’s foot steps.
Justin in his campaign has made some big promises and only time will tell if he is able to deliver on them. He was able to take the Liberal party from 36 seats, the lowest it has ever been, to 184 seats to form a Liberal majority. There is no denying his political aptitude, no matter how you may view him.
For the most part I agree with his vision and think he was the best candidate out of the options given. I remain optimistic about the direction he will take Canada. However I am not entirely convinced he can live up to his words and promises. It seems he takes stances that will win him the most votes on issues. He has talked to a lot of Canadians and is a smart politician so he knows what he has to say to be popular. Some of this results in harsh criticism from his opposition, which he handles well. I think its smart of him to bring attention to how he is criticized for his stances to help improve his appearance. For example his stance on legalizing weed is something the majority of Canadians agree with him on. The people who disagree with him on this are committed conservatives who he has no chance of winning over. In the book he doesn’t say “I am for legalizing weed because it will help me win votes” which is true. Instead he relates about his dead brother being charged for possession shortly before his death influencing his stance, that he will stand on this issue even, if its an unpopular opinion. The only people who are criticizing him on this he has no chance of winning over though. I believe he sincerely wants weed to be legalized, it just so happens to be a good stance for the political party to take. In the book he tries to look like he stands up for his beliefs despite criticism with this issue. I guess that’s how politics is played though.
My concern is if he can deliver on what he says. I hope he does while not taxing the already stressed economy.
I would strongly recommend reading Common Ground to learn more about Canada’s leader and Canadian politics, regardless of your view of Justin Trudeau. I hope he proves to be a good leader with Canada’s interest in mind and that he will create positive change in this country during this troubling times. That said I can see why people are skeptical about him. With the falling price of oil and the loonie he has come to power in a difficult time. I wish him the best in these trying times.