Seeing as the House of Commons is dark this week, and chaos in Ottawa has been unleashed — think SNC-Lavalin and the overflowing toilet that has become — the prime minister flew off to B.C. to presumably ensure NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh does not win the Feb. 25 byelection in Burnaby South.
First and foremost, however, it got Justin Trudeau out of Dodge where the Liberals are taking a justifiable beating over the Lavalin affair.
But so much for the once-upon-a-time tradition of easing the way for an opposition leader to win a seat by letting him contest his chosen riding virtually unopposed.
Still, would it not be better off, for the Liberals in particular, to see Singh elected in this byelection? After all, he is never in the moment he is supposed to be in and is prone to making one gaffe after another by saying all the wrong things at the most inopportune times.
Trudeau either has no love for Singh whatsoever, or he’s afraid of him, although the second reason seems a little too much like fiction.
Why would a narcissistic leader such as Trudeau, still Canada’s political darling, fear he’d be out-charmed or out-thought by the man in the colourful turbans and bespoke suits?
Under Singh’s “leadership,” the NDP is plummeting in the polls, particularly in once-friendly Quebec.
While Trudeau spent Monday making an affordable housing announcement — Stop the presses! Affordable housing? In Vancouver? — his real trip was to team up with Liberal byelection candidate Richard T. Lee in Burnaby South to help knock off Singh.
“Justin Trudeau and I are the only team that has a positive plan to strengthen the middle class, invest in new affordable housing and public transit, protect a healthy environment and offer real to Burnaby South families,” Lee said in a PMO-provided statement.
“I will be a committed, local champion on Justin Trudeau’s team in Parliament, and will never stop working hard to make life better for the families in Burnaby South.”
Back in Ottawa, meanwhile, the opposition and media have their bone to chew on.
That’s where Trudeau should be — in Ottawa, not running and all but hiding.