New Brunswick Premier-designate Brian Gallant, grabbed from his campaign website. Below: Cranky old National Post opinion thingy Kelly McParland, age undetermined; Justin Trudeau, 42, getting off an airplane with some old guy, 62; Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair, 59.

As the present now will later be past

The order is rapidly fadin’

And the first one now will later be last

For the times they are a-changin’ …

— Bob Dylan (age 73)

If anyone has the right to be bitter about bright young Liberal leaders with good looks, great hair and supposedly thin resumes like those of New Brunswick premier-elect Brian Gallant and You-Know-Who, I guess it ought to be the not-quite-sixty-something Thomas Mulcair.

The highly accomplished Mr. Mulcair, after all – who is credited by no less an authority than former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (age 75) with being the best Opposition leader in Canada since John Diefenbaker, which is no mean praise for those of us old enough to remember The Chief – is seemingly being eclipsed by this trend as much as any politician.

But Mr. Mulcair, who will be 60 in exactly one month, just keeps beavering away in the hope and expectation that hard work, persistence and a razor-sharp inquisitorial style in Question Period will pay off in the end.

Maybe it’s because he used to be a Liberal and therefore knows something us non-former-Grits do not. More likely it’s just that you’ve got to be an optimist to be a New Democrat, as we Alberta Knee-Dippers have been proving all the way back to the Calgary Manifesto of 1932.

Instead, it seems that it is the Conservatives, still enjoying the perquisites of power, who are reacting with fury, hatred, panic and vitriol to the phenomenon of appealing young Liberal leaders doing well at the polls and the polling stations. The Liberal they’re most infuriated with, of course, despite yesterday’s foot stomping and breath holding about Mr. Gallant’s election victory, is federal Leader Justin Trudeau (who will be 43 on Christmas Day).

Consider the bitter screed in yesterday’s National Post, the publication founded by permanent Canadian resident Conrad Black (age 70), by columnist and commentary editor Kelly McParland. (I could find no age for Mr. McParland – perhaps that’s information he guards closely, as is his right – but judging from his on-line photographs he must be almost as old a wheeze as me. Either that, or he really should make some lifestyle changes.)

Regardless, Mr. McParland’s diatribe sounded for all the world like that of an angry old man infuriated that the same old obfuscatory Tory tricks are not working any more. He raged against New Brunswick and Ontario voters’ lack of seriousness – read willingness to vote Conservative. (“Canadians want to quit worrying and be happy.”)

He screeched at them for their coolness toward Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the old sourpuss (seemingly 65 although only 55) of 24 Sussex Drive. (“They don’t want to hear about restraint or challenges or the need to persevere. They want a vacation. They want to be young again.”)

And Mr. Gallant’s relatively young age, seemingly, almost moved him to a paroxysm of frustration. (“You don’t know whether to shake his hand or buy him a new scooter.”)

Sticking loyally to the Harper PMO’s main talking point, Mr. McParland assailed the resumes of both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Gallant: “At 32, Brian Gallant, the premier-elect, could be Justin Trudeau’s younger brother. To say his resume is ‘slim’ would be an understatement. He spent a short stint as a lawyer in Moncton, but otherwise has been running for office since he was 24.”

OK, let’s make just one point about that: Other than being on Reach for the Top and being a professional politician since the age of 26, unless you also count being a member of the Young Liberals’ Club in high school, Prime Minister Harper’s resume makes Mr. Gallant’s seem hefty.

He got a job in the mailroom at his dad’s company in 1978, for crying out loud. How long he stuck around seems to have been excised from his online resumes. After that, he got a couple of economics degrees from the University of Calgary’s Political Creation Science Department, best known as the market fundamentalist Canadian equivalent of Oral Roberts University. And when he wasn’t running for office, he worked as an agitator for extremist market fundamentalist Astro-Turf groups. That’s it!

This is not to say that Mr. Harper’s political accomplishments are either inconsequential or came easily. Of course not.

But for the life of me, I cannot see how they are any different from the political accomplishments of successful young politicians like Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Gallant – who will be the youngest premier in Canadian history, by a month, when he is sworn into office.

By contrast to the PM, Mr. Gallant managed to get through law school, which I would suggest is considerably more of an accomplishment than getting a “Calgary School” BA and MA from ideological friends and fellow travellers in the faculty.

By contrast to both, Mr. Trudeau, who has Bachelors degrees in literature and education from two different universities, has worked as a teacher, for heaven’s sake, which is as real a job as you can get. If the Conservative Party wishes to demean him as a “drama teacher,” he can be confident that most Canadians don’t seem to be buying it, and for good reason.

That’s the Conservative way, though, isn’t it? If you can’t get anywhere with the facts, make up new facts. And if that doesn’t work, start spewing hatred and abuse.

Speaking of which, at least Mr. McParland’s sour whinging sounds pretty level-headed compared to commentator, if that’s the word, Ezra Levant’s increasingly bizarre and obsessive rants on the so-called Sun News Network on the topic of Mr. Trudeau’s parents. It’s actually kind of sad to see someone come unstuck in public as Mr. Levant, circa 42, appears to be doing.

Meanwhile, if cranky old Canadians like Mr. McParland and some of the other columnists he supervises at the National Pest just can’t stand the idea of a politician who looks young and has nice hair, they should think about voting for Mr. Mulcair. He may be old and cranky too, but he’s also smart, accomplished and better spoken than any other federal party leader.

One way or another, eventually the Pest’s opinion providers are going to have to reconcile themselves to the fact that the times, they are a-changin’.

They certainly shouldn’t be fooled into thinking Mr. Harper’s resume is weighty enough not to float away on the first gentle puff of breeze.

It’s as thin as a single sheet of paper! The man hasn’t held a real job since he left the mailroom in 1979 or whenever the heck it was!

This post by David Climenhaga (age 62) is also found on

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  1. “He spent a short stint as a lawyer in Moncton, but otherwise has been running for office since he was 24.”

    That’s a line equally applicable to a significant percentage of Harper’s caucus.

  2. “That’s the Conservative way though, isn’t it? If you can’t get anywhere with the facts, make up new facts.” Okay, here’s one. Stephen Harper, like Richard Nixon, was 42 years old the day he was born.

  3. Even that mail room/office boy job that Harper had held, apparently someone (Papa Harper?) had pulled strings to land him that job. In contrast, there does not appear to be any report in the public domain that suggest that either Gallant or Justin Trudeau had got into law school, or teaching college, respectively, through someone pulling strings for them.

    Here is an excerpt taken from the article listed below referring to the mail room job that Harper had landed: ““I was virtually told to hire him,” Glenfield had told Staples three years earlier, “but I did. And he was a very troubled boy when he came ….”

    The above excerpt was taken from this:

    You’d think that Harper’s supporters would be the last to accuse others of having a thin resume, but perhaps they know that most Cons supporters are ignorant and would not be aware of Harper’s thin resume before he became PM.

  4. Isn’t that guy with Justin Trudeau in the picture the new Con nominee for the Calgary Bow River riding? (I’m kidding.)

    That EzRant the other day was his best ever. Is the guy really only 42? Shows what years of circulating toxic hate for anyone who is “not you” can do to someone. It eats you up from inside.

    As CuJoyYC pointed out, the qualifications of a large part of Harper’s acolytes are exceedingly thin. A little trip through their (overly edited by boys in short pants on the taxpayer’s dime) Wiki profiles has someone who spent any time at any university as “having attended” that august institution, failing to mention that they never completed any degree there. They used to call them drop-outs. Hmmm…why am I suddenly reminded of Jason Kenney?

    Times they are a-changin’? Roll on, young people (not the boys in short pants). Roll on, qualified and experienced people. We need more than people who can just clap like trained seals whenever the buzzer sounds.

  5. Query: What difference does it make? Given NB as a province continually elects either PC or Lib and both parties continual to figuratively insert red hot objects into the rectums of the electorate, who G.A.S.? Both parties and the N.effingD.effingP. are in totally in favor or fracking (aka: eff our children and grand kids) beyond the favouritism of who gets the graft, why does it matter? Oh, stupid me. The graft.

  6. “University of Calgary’s Political Creation Science Department, best known as the market fundamentalist Canadian equivalent of Oral Roberts University”
    Hah! Well put!

  7. Personally, I wouldn’t care if Gallant was 12 years old or 100 for that matter.

    Can he do the job? We’ll see. I know he’s wise enough to support a moratorium on fracking. And, more to the point, he’s not a Harpercon. That’s good enough for me.

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