Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Trudeau the Younger

If there is any one person in politics I genuinely do not envy, it's Justin Trudeau, the most politically active son of the late Pierre-Elliot Trudeau. He catches breaks from no one. The anglophones who support him decry him as using his father's legacy to advance his career, which he'd be stupid not to do, and of not having any notable accomplishments or antecedent political positions of note, which is altogether false. The thirty-five year old politician (I'm assured that 35 is pre-pubescent in politician years) has been a successful lobbyist for the better part of a decade, even managing to pry a few million dollars from a conservative government's tightly clenched purse for a social program benefiting kids and cultural exchange.

What's worse than the grudging support of anglophones and different ethnic/immigrated groups is the outright hostility of francophone nationalists. Trudeau might be able to recapture Papineau for the liberals, but he stands not a chance of success off the island, where the Trudeau name is synonymous with pleasant words like "scum" and "gonorrhea." Here, the long memory of the francophones and the skewed historical education system they've implemented is to blame. The october crisis of 1970 is remembered not as it should be - a martial response to a province's quiet support of a terrorist organization operating within Canadian territory - but rather as a massive infringement on the rights of francophones by an english Canada which hates, reviles and despises the french because of their moral, intellectual and cultural superiority. (I don't make this stuff up) Justin Trudeau's father, having been the prime minister to call on the War Measures act in the first place, is seen as the source of all the evil which has been visited upon the french since.

They are fucking twisted sometimes. What this means, though, for Trudeau the younger is that he will have to walk a while yet before he can hope to step out of his father's shadow, which has led to a misunderstanding; this has little or nothing to do with Justin having accomplished little and far more to do with the long shadow cast by his father. In both the positive and negative lights of history, P.-E.T. stands as a monolithic figure in Canadian politics, and expecting his son to stand as tall and accomplish as much in what has been a relatively short career is patently unrealistic. That he seems competent, has actual charisma and seems to genuinely care about the people he represents should be enough and I wish him well in his career.

I do not fully endorse him, he is still young and still has time to surprise us all, one way or the other, but I do urge patience and suggest that he deserves at least one half of a chance.

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