How long can a rising star keep rising? In the case of federal Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau it appeared, until late last week, that his upward trajectory would never end.
Almost single handedly the youthful politician with the legendary brand name brought his party back from the brink of extinction.
Then Sun Media dug up a two-year old TV interview in which Trudeau blamed the country’s problems on Albertans controlling the “socio-democratic” agenda.
Hungry, we’re sure, for some dirt on the Liberal’s shining knight, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives seized upon the interview, broadcast in 2010 on the French-language television station Tele-Quebec, and used it as fodder to attack Trudeau and his party.
The attacks were most intense in Calgary, where a federal byelection became more competitive than expected.
Senior Conservative MPs also called for Trudeau to resign or be fired as the Liberal party critic for post-secondary education, youth and amateur sport.
Trudeau did what politicians do when caught in situations like this, he put a positive a spin on things, insisting he was really just making a clumsy attack on Harper, who rose to power as an MP in Calgary.
How much damage has been done remains to be seen. But there’s plenty of material in the interview for opponents both inside and outside of his party to seize upon.
That includes remarks to the effect that Canada would be better served if there were more Quebecers than Albertans in charge, with Trudeau adding that the great prime ministers of the 20th century came from Quebec.
Fellow Liberal leadership candidate Alex Burton, who happens to herald from Vancouver, is taking advantage of Trudeau's predicament, playing up the fact that he himself is from Western Canada. It won’t give him the edge of the race, but it’s something.
The point is, this is just the beginning. No one likes to see a star shine too brightly in politics, especially in Canada. And the brighter a star gets, the more effort is made to find material to attack with.
If Trudeau is smart, he’ll circle the wagons and watch what he says in the weeks and months ahead.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.