02/22/2012 10:18 EST | Updated 04/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Justin Trudeau: Why He's His Mother's Son

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.

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