During his time involved in federal politics, Justin Trudeau has made it clear that he is a proud feminist. That stance has informed everything from the gender balance in his cabinet to policies like increasing paid leave for victims of family violence and the iconic new national childcare program.

But if he wants to cement his legacy as Canada’s openly feminist first prime minister, he will have to do something much more dramatic: resign.

It’s no secret that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is well-positioned to take Trudeau’s job when it’s time for her proverbial walk in the snow. But it is the timing of that walk that will determine whether it truly positions the next Liberal Party of Canada leader for success or sets them up for the same kind of failure that Kim Campbell experienced in 1993. And whether Canada’s second female prime minister is Forced to use the failures of a male predecessor the way the former did, it will mean that Trudeau’s fine words on feminism were about brand more than faith.

You don’t have to hand over the job to Freeland, though. There are many other talented and capable women in your cabinet who could take on the top job, from Defense Minister Anita Anand to Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, as well as those who used to be in your cabinet, like Catherine McKenna. But when he resigns, he should make it clear that his successor cannot be another man in what has been, for the Liberal Party of Canada, an unbroken line.

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The idea of ​​a leadership career that excluded men was sure to provoke howls of outrage and outrage from certain Postmedia columnists and conservative politicians, but the Liberal Party has a long-standing convention of alternation between leaders of English and French Canada, which remains intact to this day. Given that history, it would not be very difficult for Trudeau to start a new convention of alternation between male and female leaders.

But that convention will only stand if it puts her successor, and the party’s first female leader, in a winning position. And the longer you wait to pass the baton, the more likely the person you are giving it to will stumble.

Canada’s COVID-19 response bill is set to expire in the next few years, and the prospect of having to raise taxes is rarely a political winner (after all, it was the GST that helped sink the party of Campbell in 1993). And after three electoral victories in a row, the accumulated weight of more than six years of scandals and smaller controversies can begin to drag a government down.

Yes, Trudeau has proven that he is one of the greatest activists in Canadian political history, and it is very possible that he may win another when he arrives. That’s even more likely if the Conservative Party of Canada continues to self-destruct over things like vaccination policies and climate change, and if it continues to prioritize the needs of Alberta’s oil and gas industry over the rest of the country.

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But counting on your opponent to fail is a dangerous strategy, one that led to Stephen Harper’s defeat in 2015.

Instead, Trudeau needs to focus all his energy right now on preparing his successor to win the majority government he failed. She should use the control she has over the Liberal Party of Canada to clearly define the terms of her next leadership race and ensure that the eventual winner is her first elected female leader. And it should campaign harder than ever on your behalf where it matters most.

Opinion: If Justin Trudeau wants to cement his feminist credibility, he should step aside and pass the baton on to a woman. @maxfawcett writes for @natobserver. #feminist #cdnpoli #leadership

Then, and only then, will he be able to call himself Canada’s first feminist prime minister.


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