Tone deaf Trudeau would benefit from Goodale’s guid­ance

Toronto Star - - INSIGHT - CHARLES PAS­CAL CON­TRIB­U­TOR Charles E. Pas­cal is a pro­fes­sor at OISE/Univer­sity of Toronto and a for­mer On­tario deputy min­is­ter.

The elec­tion night speeches of­fered up by the party lead­ers on Mon­day and early Tues­day have left some in­deli­ble im­pres­sions. Two lead­ers seemed more than a touch delu­sional.

Green party Leader El­iz­a­beth May has done well for so long, but time’s up. Con­ser­va­tive leader Andrew Scheer’s speech was a des­per­ate cam­paign to hold on to his job. But is the main is­sue a badly con­structed and run cam­paign? Did the cam­paign re­veal is­sues of ba­sic char­ac­ter? Stay tuned.

While the NDP’s Jag­meet Singh ran well against ini­tial ex­pec­ta­tions, his spir­ited cam­paign ac­tu­ally jacked up the ex­pec­ta­tions for some­thing bet­ter than what oc­curred.

A vic­tim of strate­gic vot­ing, I had no prob­lem with his joy­ful be­hav­iour from the podium. He just en­joyed him­self for too long.

Scheer came to the res­cue with a rudely in­ter­rupt­ing speech, only to be pre-empted by Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau.

While Trudeau’s in­ter­rup­tion lacked ci­vil­ity, it was his speech that re­mains with me to­day as one of the most tone deaf elec­tion night speeches I have ever heard. It was a proxy for what I can only de­scribe as “ar­ro­gant su­per­fi­cial­ity.”

With some big-is­sues man­age­ment chal­lenges dur­ing his first term, along with re­cur­ring smaller but an­noy­ing mis­steps, such as ac­cept­ing a gratis con­flict-laden Christ­mas va­ca­tion from the Aga Khan, it is painfully ob­vi­ous that Trudeau needs sea­soned and ob­jec­tive coach­ing to ei­ther be­come a more ef­fec­tive leader, or at least act like one.

Man­ag­ing in the con­text of a mi­nor­ity government, Trudeau will re­quire a skill set that in­cludes hu­mil­ity, flex­i­bil­ity and emo­tional in­tel­li­gence. He clearly needs some up­front and re­cur­ring coach­ing and guid­ance.

For ini­tial un­der­stand­ing of how to man­age a mi­nor­ity sit­u­a­tion, he should make his way to Main Street, Bramp­ton, and take notes at the feet of for­mer On­tario premier Wil­liam G. Davis, who was a close friend of the prime min­is­ter’s late fa­ther.

But Trudeau also needs some­one in close who can both coach on lead­er­ship but also play the role of shut­tle diplo­mat on a daily ba­sis given the trans­ac­tional na­ture of de­vel­op­ing and main­tain­ing open and ef­fec­tive re­la­tion­ships with the op­po­si­tion and within his own cau­cus.

Given this, and given the chal­lenges of the West, Saskatchew­an’s Ralph Goodale, hav­ing lost his seat in the elec­tion, would make a su­perb principal sec­re­tary. Well liked across party lines, and skills de­vel­oped as a for­mer op­po­si­tion house leader, he would fit the bill.

Trudeau’s suc­cess go­ing for­ward re­quires an in­ner cir­cle that en­sures it has the tal­ent and trust to both coach the leader and de­velop ef­fec­tive re­la­tion­ships within his government and across the aisle. The sta­tus quo will not suf­fice. Mak­ing a choice that would be too “com­fort­able” will not suf­fice. The prime min­is­ter could do a lot worse than Goodale.

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