A Home Run from Justin Trudeau

Posted October 22, 2015 on 11:17 pm | In the category Canada, Politics | by Mackenzie Brothers

Why it seems just yesterday that Canada’s premier Prime Minister of the Twentieth Century, Pierre Trudeau,  managed to produce two sons on different Christmas Days and the country watched the first of them, Justin, turn into an adventurous young man (just like his Dad) who would travel widely, live for quite awhile in beautiful Vancouver, where he taught English and theatre at a local school, and enter politics as an MP from a francophone riding in Montréal.  He certainly went far beyond what was expected of him in  his first campaign as the leader of the Liberal Party, which in the last decade has been declared dead in the water by many political experts, as it slipped into third place in the last election, and seemed to be following middle-of the r0ad liberal parties in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia  and elsewhere into oblivion, squeezed out in the face of competition between right wing and left wing parties with more profiled platforms.  In the last election, Michael Ignatieff, surely the most prominent intellectual running for headhonchoship of a country lately proved completely incapable of putting his  ideas across to the general public, and the Liberal Party was reduced in Quebec to a small rump representation in anglophone parts of Montreal and in British Columbia to two Vancouver ridings.  Times were tough.

Enter Justin, who, as it turned out, at the very least has a way with a crowd that hasn’t been seen in Canada since the days of Pierre, although some would suggest that Brian Mulroney, who was asked by Nancy Reagan to give the eulogy for Ronald (imagine that these days when the President of the United States has spent 7 hours in 7 years in his neighbouring largest trading partner. This time the Liberals sent a young man with a big old name out into the ring.  He was mocked and branded by the ruling Conservatives as a lightweight who should try again in a decade or two.  When he responded by challenging the largest Conservative politician in Ottawa, an aboriginal Senator, to a boxing match, he was warned to not risk his body on such a dangerous mission and then promptly knocked the Senator out in the first round.  When the Conservatives cleverly said that they’d consider him to have overachieved if he showed up at the first national debate in long pants, he kept his short pants on long enough  to lead a bevy of reporters up the classic Grouse Grind mountain challenge in Vancouver, leaving almost all of them gasping for breath in his wake.  Youth and athleticism does, as it turns out, have its charms.  In the debate, he proved to be at least the equal of his two perfectly intelligent rivals, one from the right and one from the left.  In short he had the opportunity to display in the longest campaign in Canadian history (8 weeks!, as Amurcans might note as they suffer through the torture of 2 year-long campaigns)  that he not only had the physical stamina of his father, who could throw a canoe up on his shoulders and paddle through whitewater rapids in his sixties.  He also seemed to have   at least a reasonable percentage of the brain power of Dad.  The jury is still out on this, but many have pointed out that  Papa  had the smarts to fill his cabinet with the best experts in the most important areas of national concern, something which  the outgoing Prime Minister failed to do in spades.   In his first conversation with Obama, Trudeau informed Obama  that Canada would recall its fighter jets from the US-led mission in Iraq and Syria, so he is listening to a different drummer than the outgoing regime was.

So the next months will be very interesting as the second-largest  country in the world is fronted by a young very attractive leader who will at the very least put a new tone on relations with his own people and other heads of state, and Canadians are hoping that that new tone will distinguish Canada’s return to its long-held former position as a reliable, independent, tolerant and sensible middle power.



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