Due to circumstances beyond our control, election year is on. According to the most recent poll aggregation from CBC as of press time, the governing Liberals are still in the lead at 36.6 percent, with the Conservatives too close behind for comfort at 33.9 percent. More importantly, 62 percent of Canadians would choose Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over Opposition leader Andrew Scheer as their children’s babysitter.
It’s easy to laugh at this and other questions from a December 30 poll conducted by Abacus Data. At first glance, the ability to cook a good meal or choose a good movie has little to do with one’s qualifications for the PMO. Of course, so does this election; only two major party leaders, the Green Party’s Elizabeth May (as executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada) and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh (as a founding partner of a criminal defence practice), have had any management experience before entering politics. But as poll co-author Bruce Anderson rightly notes, “As voters think about their choices in an election, the personalities of the leaders often carry disproportionate weight.”
In that spirit, I have come up with some additional “Who would you trust to . . . ?” questions that reveal more than you, the poll respondent, may realize about how you assess a party leader’s temperament, compassion, knowledge, and usefulness. To avoid annoying May, who was rather chippy about not being included in the Abacus poll, I have added her as well as People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier to the list of choices.
. . . buy the least useless Christmas presents?
Answer: Scheer. If we are to believe him when he says Canadian households are best equipped to make their own spending choices, he would have the good sense to stick with envelopes of cash, or Amazon gift cards at worst.
. . . be most helpful during a wild night of cross-border barhopping?
Answer: Trudeau. He used to be a snowboarding instructor. He knows better than the others what can go down.
. . . be the least annoying seatmate on a lengthy voyage taken by rail, bus, or plane?
Answer: Singh. Nobody knows what he has to say most of the time, anyway.
. . . make the most qualified operator of a hot dog cart?
Answer: Scheer. Asking who would make the best CEO in the original poll was giving all five leaders way too much credit, given their above-noted scant history of management. Let’s start with something a little easier.
. . . take care of your puppy?
Answer: May. While it’s doubtful that any Canadian party leader has as much disdain for dogs as some others, she is the only one who would be willing and able to exercise the discipline that comes with caring for a puppy, as well as the tenderness. When I picture Trudeau, Scheer, Singh, and Bernier trying to do the same thing, I see a lot of fumbling and second-guessing. And that’s for my puppy, who is as good-natured as you could dream of. Put them up against an irritable Pomeranian and let the hilarity ensue.
. . . survive spinning class without collapsing into a pathetic, sweat-soaked heap?
Answer: Bernier, who successfully ran a 13-hour ultra marathon in September 2013. He puts us all to shame, really.
. . . be a good Airbnb guest?
Answer: Bernier. His talent for suiting up likely also extends to making sure he’s fully packed and keeping the unit in general good order. That said, May is most likely to replenish the water bottles and take out the properly sorted refuse. But those are smaller courtesies.
. . . sit through a particularly dull church service without visibly yawning or checking their phone?
Answer: Trudeau, only because he’s sat through more dull assemblies than the others and hasn’t been noted for obvious rudeness. It’s a talent.
. . . make vegetables that your kids might actually enjoy eating?
Answer: Singh. Most of the others are probably content to boil a package of frozen peas and carrots. But he likely knows his way around a spice rack best. (Note to self: Bell peppers with garam masala. Try that.)
. . . perform “Bombs Over Baghdad” in its entirety at karaoke without tripping over their own tongue once?
Answer: Well, I’m willing to find out if they are.
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