Garneau: new star in the Liberal firmament

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Up against Justin Trudeau for the top job

Will the star shine long?

Justin Trudeau finally has a rival of size for the leadership of the Liberal Party April 14.

Garneau was our first Canadian astronaut in space. Now he wants the top job. He made it public this week. It took him two months to decide.

Garneau has the merit of having won his last election in Westmount / Ville-Marie which is more than most of his fellow Quebec Liberals managed.

It wasn't easy. Westmount is a hotbed of NDP strength at McGill and Concordia universities.

Garneau, 63, has impressive credentials. He was on three space missions and then ran the Canadian Space Agency from 2001 to 2005. They remember him as a competent administrator.

But Garneau is rejected by many of his peers, jealous and afraid that he would place them in cabinet if the Liberals return to power.

Last week he inherited the job of Natural Resources critic from the David McGuinty, who had to resign because he couldn't keep it shut when he should have.

Garneau sees himself as a quieter, safer and more secure version of his main rival Trudeau.

His biggest shortcoming is that he lacks charisma; he has trouble turning on crowds. This guy is not another Trudeau. Garneau travels at the same speed as Stephen Harper. But then again, Harper the turtle made it into 24 Sussex Drive.

Garneau has been dubbed the Liberals "shooting star". Most shooting stars end up as "falling stars."

Garneau's astronaut past is the source of much amusement in the media.

A cartoon shows Garneau in his spaceship talking into a microphone.

Through the porthole window we can see the smiling face of Justin Trudeau.

Garneau shouts into his microphone:

"Houston, we have a problem!"


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