Justin Trudeau’s cargo shorts overshadow Liberal Party success story

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

I woke up this morning and turned on my computer to see what the #cdnpoli world was talking about: Israeli attacks on Syria? Ontario's budget? The B.C. election?

Nope. They were talking about Justin Trudeau's cargo shorts.

On Monday morning the new Liberal leader made an important announcement, via YouTube, about his party's impressive fundraising numbers. Oddly, everyone seems to be paying attention to his choice of clothing.

The National Post's headline was: "Justin Trudeau dons his best T-shirt and cargo shorts to announce Liberals easily pass $1-million in donations."

On his website, Liberal insider and Sun News political analyst Warren Kinsella wrote this:

Dude, yellow shorts? Seriously?

Sigh. If nothing else, I predict the 2015 election campaign will hang more on visuals more than any other in our nation’s proud history.

(Oh, and advisors? Advise. Don’t enable.)

Blogger BigCityLib's wife offered this — very good — analysis:

You want to counter the whole idea that Justin is the son of wealth. So you put him in his backyard or someone else's back yard dressed like a common person. You want him to look like the guy you could invite over to a BBQ, and contrast him with Stephen Harper in an ugly suit. That way you pull in NDP votes and the votes of guys who want the PM to look like "someone normal".

And then there was the Twittersphere:

Unfortunately, people don't seem to be paying attention to the significance of the fundraising tallies.

The Liberals, as Trudeau says in the video, have raised over $1 million in just two weeks. To put that into perspective, QMI Agency recently reported that the Liberals only raised $1.7 million during the first three months of 2013 compared to the Conservatives' $4.5 million. (The NDP raised $1.6 million).

[ Related: Justin Trudeau's "honeymoon with Canadians" could last a very long time ]

Whether they can keep up this pace remains to be seen. But, for the first time in years, the Liberals have the cash to counter Conservative attack ads and to even go on the offensive heading into the 2015 election.

Clearly, the new leader has endeared himself to Liberal supporters. Moreover, the strategy of getting Trudeau out of the Ottawa bubble to engage with people across the country is working. These are impressive numbers for the federal party who just 20 months ago were written off.

But alas, it seems all anyone wants to talk about is Trudeau's shorts.

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