Now that the hullabaloo has died down over Justin Trudeau's hypothetical remarks about possibly supporting Quebec separating from Canada if Stephen Harper remains as PM, maybe one should have another look at this young man.
Judging from his reaction during an interview on Radio Canada in Quebec, it seems clear he was indulging in anti-conservative rhetoric, and went a bit overboard.
Justin's like that -- blurts things out. But he's as Canadian as any of us.
In apologizing (sort of) for his silly speculation that the Harper government may ban abortion and gay marriages -- "and we are going backward in 10,000 different ways" -- he is being a partisan nincompoop.
He is conjuring up a straw man to persuade others to oppose Conservatives. Harper may be against certain things Justin is for, but he ain't likely to change existing laws.
One wonders what some of the "10,000 different ways" we are being taken backward as a country and a people? C'mon Justin rhyme off a few. Can't, can you?!
I've not written much about Justin over the years (as I did about his father). Partly this is because I have a visceral skepticism about the guy that I didn't harbour about his father. His dad's policies were questionable for Canada, but in person Pierre was charismatic.
Justin also doesn't compare himself with his dad, whom he correctly calls an "intellectual," while describing himself as "less intellectual."
For heaven's sake!
To paraphrase Justin, that's a bit like me saying: "Jose Batista is a great baseball player. Me, I'm a bit less as ballplayer -- but I have strong opinions about baseball."
Justin no more deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as his dad's achievements than I warrant comparison with Jose Batista. (Hmm. On second thought, maybe if Alex Anthopoulous would give me a chance . . . )
You wanna know the difference between Justin and Pierre? As far as substance is concerned, Justin is more his mother's son than his father's son.
Justin has given no evidence of his father's panache, his daring, his ideological motivations, his courage, and his curious sympathy for tyrants. When Pierre was younger than Justin, he not only dodged the war against Hitler, but rode a motorcycle around Montreal while wearing a German helmet, as if mocking those who did join up.
Before being elected to Parliament, Pierre was excessively sympathetic with Josef Stalin's Soviet Union and Communist China, traveling to both as a guest (head of a delegation of Canadian communists to Moscow in the early 1950s). In China he praised the wisdom of Mao Zedong, who executed some 60 million of his countrymen.
None of that colourful background is in Justin's resume.
He says he has no interest in leading the Liberal party "at this time." There are those who hope he leads the party at no time -- just as there are those who want him to go for the leadership right now.
To Pierre Trudeau's credit, he imposed the War Measures Act at a crucial time of separatist rebellion in Quebec that stabilized a panicky country. But he also sought to destroy the Canadian military, didn't see Soviet imperialism and subversion as a threat, cosied up to Castro, and brought home the Constitution which only he wanted at the time.
Pierre Trudeau relished controversy; Justin Trudeau dreads it.
Remember, he's his mother's son.
However you look at Canada's 15th prime minister, it's hard not to see Pierre Elliott Trudeau as a politician cut from a very different cloth. While much of his globe-trotting, playboy image was doubtless driven by the media -- Trudeau was actually a workaholic and sleepless intellectual -- the man certainly had his moments. Luckily, the news wasn't delivered quite so relentlessly in 1971 as it is these days - or Trudeau wouldn't have heard the end of it when he told an opposition member to <a href="http://quotes4all.net/pierre elliott trudeau.html">"F-- Off".</a> Well, actually he mouthed it. And although the TV tape clearly captured his salty salute, Trudeau was allowed to tell reporters he had actually said 'Fuddle Duddle'. And that was that.
Outspoken doesn't seem to quite cut it when describing NDP MP Pat Martin. The man speaks out a lot. And every now and then, he brings the thunder. Like last November, when he treated his 1,400 Twitter followers to a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/17/pat-martin-twitter-swearing_n_1099126.html">smorgasbord of swearage.</a> "This is a f---ing disgrace... closure again. And on the Budget! There's not a democracy in the world that would tolerate this jackboot s---." And the cherry on top? Telling one of his followers, "F-- you."
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae took a page from Pat Martin's profanity playbook on Wednesday -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/14/bob-rae-twitter-bs-young-liberals_n_1149155.html?1323898891">and took it to Twitter.</a> A tweet about a feud between liberals Zach Paikin and Max Naylor may have caught him before breakfast. "What bullshit is this?" he tweeted back. Sure, the word likely ceased offending most people decades ago. In fact, we don't even bother covering most of the letters with asterisks. But hey, it does incorporate the s-word - which we still cover with asterisks.
Unlike his father, Justin Trudeau didn't merely mouth the words. In fact, he let them ring out from the rafters at the House of Commons on December 14. 'You piece of sh---' The recipient? Environment Minister Peter Kent. You know, Canada's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/elizabeth-may/canada-kyoto-protocol-withdrawal_b_1145648.html">public face of Kyoto withdrawal.</a> Also unlike his father, young Trudeau probably knew the Fuddle Duddle Defence wouldn't cut it. So within minutes of uttering the words, he owned up to them. "I lost my temper and used language that was most decidedly unparliamentary and for that I unreservedly apologize and withdraw my remark," Trudeau said at the end of question period.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/10/tony-clement-jackass-twitter_n_1196261.html">Treasury Board President Tony Clement was forced to apologize after calling 15-year-old Keith Pettinger a "Jack ass"</a> in a private Twitter message. Clement sent the message after the teen criticized the spelling in one of the minister's tweets.