The Liberal Party of Canada and their team of air-headed opportunists were devastated to learn of the death of their acquaintance, Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
Mr. Nemtsov was shot dead Friday night in Moscow. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau released an official statement expressing his “deepest sympathies to Mr. Nemtsov’s loved ones and the People of Russia.” Why did Mr. Trudeau get so emotional about this?
Perhaps Trudeau identified with Mr. Nemtsov because he too represents the main rival to a strong headed Government Leader. Perhaps the motivated young Liberal agreed with the man who, in the eyes of the West, was the voice of reason in the Russian government. Or perhaps the two had become friends after meeting last month. In Trudeau’s official statement, he highlighted the “great shock and sadness” he felt after learning of the death of a man whom he had “met in Ottawa just a few months ago.” Trudeau, the darling boy wonder of Canadian politics, wanted to remind Canadians that he shared an “unwavering and passionate desire for a free and prosperous Russia” with the late Mr. Nemtsov. He too was a “staunch critic of Russian military aggression in Ukraine” and wanted to push for “democratic rule both at home and abroad.” The Liberal party wanted to take this opportunity to imply that they are Canada’s equivalent to the Russian opposition, that Trudeau was the Nemtsov to Harper’s Putin and that his acquaintance lost the chance to bring the kind of progress that Trudeau seeks to bring to Canada in the next election.
There is only one problem, unsurprisingly the Achilles heel of a Liberal Party more concerned with buzzwords than substance (unless that substance is marijuana): Justin Trudeau’s meeting was not with Boris Nemtsov at all. The doe-eyed face of the Liberals had met with Mikhail Kasyanov in Ottawa. The Liberals quickly, albeit not quickly enough, removed the statement and placed the blame on a “confused” staffer. The Liberals were in such a rush to grab headlines and underline the death of Mr. Nemtsov as a relatable and relevant issue in Canadian politics that they didn’t even fact check to make sure the Russian guy they met was the one who got shot. In the rush to spin the issue in their favour, they slipped up and gave us a glimpse of the shallow, foundationless party they are.
Nemtsov and Kasyanov did not particularly resemble one another, and it is not as though the two men are hard to research. Nemtsov was obviously the opposition leader, while Kasyanov was the Prime Minister of Russia from 2000 to 2004.
Tragically, Canada’s centre Party—the middle ground between the potential polarity of a two-party system and the debate over the well-grounded ideologies of the New Democrats and the Conservatives—is not about issues and all about perception.
In the words of Forrest Gump (who would make a great Liberal MP), the Liberals are “like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get.” This weekend, Bill Casey, who joined Eve Adams as an ex-Tory Liberal, said that the Liberal Party best represents his “values and priorities,” namely getting elected. Perhaps this is what a bored and disenfranchised electorate crave. The Party is polling well in an era where no one reads past the headlines. Everything is a political issue; if the Liberals get their way, the upcoming election shouldn’t be about anything more than likeability and relatability—even if that means lying about meeting an actual defender of the values their party supposedly holds dear.