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Pierre Trudeau

2012-04-23-Trudeaubook.jpgIn advance of the awarding of the annual $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing this Wednesday, HuffPost Canada will be running excerpts from the five finalists. Ron Graham's book documents the constitutional conference of November 1, 1981, as "the culmination of more than five decades of political wrangling, one last attempt to renew the constitution with the consent of the provinces."
You wanna know the difference between Justin and Pierre? As far as substance is concerned, Justin has given no evidence of his father's panache, his daring, his ideological motivations, his courage, and his curious sympathy for tyrants. Pierre Trudeau relished controversy; Justin Trudeau dreads it.
As a candidate, there was nothing that perplexed and infuriated me more than Liberals asking me: "Dan, what do we stand for?" Why in the world, I thought, would anyone join a political party if they had absolutely no clue what their membership even represents?
In our short history, Canada has become a globally respected voice and example in the world for peaceful change, tolerance, compromise, democracy, active multilateral engagement, and social justice. It therefore matters to me that our head of state is not--and can never be--a citizen of Canada.
The Liberal revolution gave us official multiculturalism, official bilingualism, increased interventionist government, socialized medicine and a whole host of other grand schemes. Then came Stephen Harper on the scene; a politician who understood the counter-revolutionary impulse.
Parliament has grown dysfunctional, with too little transparency. But while reform is desirable, the result may not be. Consider the "new" process for approving Supreme Court of Canada nominees. The only feisty moments occurred when an NDP MP challenged Moldaver over his inability to speak French.
Three subsequent important prime ministers -- Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper -- invested their energies cleaning up the wreckage left by Pierre Trudeau. Finally, nobody speculates any more about Canada defaulting on its debt, or splitting apart, or being isolated from all its major allies.
Once upon a time, policy-making was about finding the best ideas to solve a problem. Today, policy process is no longer about finding the best ideas. It is mainly about managing different interest groups, many of whom are in a position to derail a process they don't like.
Stephen Harper has made big gains in an annual poll of Canadians on who they think is the best prime minister since 1968