You may have already heard about the Canadian Liberal Party’s system of alternating English leaders with French leaders. I’ve even mentioned it in an earlier post. But the math may have changed since confederation, 145 years ago.
You see, the country used to be more French. But recent stats show that those of French descent, Quebeckers, or those who speak French at home in Canada are all slightly under 25% of the total population. So alternating leaders between English and French seems a bit unfair (although French speakers are much more likely to also speak the other official language, English, than vice versa).
The Liberal Party could make it so that every fourth leader is, say, of French descent. That would be reasonable, too. Perhaps this might not be so palatable if the French leader only leads for a year and the three anglos lead for twenty years apiece. This is quite possible given Canada’s style of politics.
But there is an alternative in Justin Trudeau. True, his father was obviously French but his mother, Margaret was of mixed heritage, largely all English speaking groups. There is a touch of French in her heritage but it is small.
So Justin Trudeau is roughly half of French descent and half a mix of the Rest of Canada (ROC). Since the previous full leader of the Liberal Party was ROC Michael Ignatieff (I’m not including Bob Rae because he is only a rebuilder and will never represent the party at the polls), the swing to Justin Trudeau would lead to the perfect math for the country.
It could also be a stealth decision. Justin Trudeau is in Quebec, speaks French and can claim that heritage. Still we in the ROC know he is as much one of us. Coronate the man, already, Liberal Party, the numbers seem to add up fine. The Liberals seem to want the coronation, this post only helps with that rationale.
The only other way the numbers would add up would be if Canada’s only governing parties were to be the Liberals and the Conservatives. Then the Liberals could keep alternating English and French and the Conservatives would have to never have a French leader. At this point, I fear the Conservatives would only be too happy to oblige with that condition, as they have done so far in their short history.
But this is only speculation and ignores things like the strength of the New Democratic Party.
[I just did a quick perusal of Conservative (pre 1942), Progressive Conservative(1942-2003), Conservative (Again! 2003 till now) leaders and even the Reform and Canadian Alliance leaders and looked at each candidate’s names. This is purely unscientific, but every last name seemed to be a non French name except for Jean Charest ,1993-1998 leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. And Charest ruled the weaker of the two conservative parties at the time – the Reform Party being stronger. I’m too lazy to do a further check, but I checked the Reform -Canadian Alliance leaders and Peter MacKay(the last PC leader) and found their ethnicities only indicating that they are white, whereas Margaret Trudeau’s is given in great detail. Are the right wing contenders whitewashing(literally!) things?]