Justin Trudeau: reflections on a grown man

Does anybody recognize the “Canada of Stephen Harper” Trudeau ranted against so excitingly?

If you enjoy seeing somebody injure themselves trying to occupy two positions at once, have a look at Josée Legault. The Montreal Gazette columnist and former PQ strategist was largely responsible for viralizing Justin Trudeau’s weekend remarks on separatism; transcribing his remarks on her blog, she accurately noted how unthinkable Trudeau’s position would have been to his late father, and how surprising they were coming from any Liberal. Yet when the story blew up in English Canada a couple days later, Legault took umbrage. Those hysterical Anglos had distorted the story.

Mardi matin, l’histoire s’était rendue jusque dans les médias canadiens-anglais. [Tuesday morning, the story made it into the English-Canadian media.] Mais de manière plutôt déformée, voire caricaturée. [But in a rather deformed, even caricatured manner.]

D’où les hauts cris poussés à Ottawa et à travers le Canada à l’effet que le fils de Pierre Trudeau, tout à coup, serait tenté de devenir, un jour, qui sait, un méchant «séparatiste»… [Hence the outcry in Ottawa and across Canada to the effect that the son of Pierre Trudeau, all of a sudden, could be tempted to become, one day, who knows, a naughty “separatist”...]

Legault goes on to gripe about the “honesty” of this characterization. In fact, it is perfectly honest and in perfect concord with what Trudeau said, and Legault was correct to recognize it as news in the first place, even if she does not now like the result (perhaps because she has lost ownership of the scoop).

Justin Trudeau did say he was willing to contemplate separation under real-world circumstances. “One day, who knows?” is more or less exactly what he told the interviewer. This is a legitimate surprise. And while I believe that a forty-year-old man is entitled to his own opinions—not that any Quebecois baby boomer can stand to think of Justin as a person entering the era of back pain and prostate problems—the contrast with his father’s extreme anti-sovereigntist position really is worth remarking upon, if only because Justin’s surname is the source of much of his influence.

The news that Trudeau is like most other Quebecers in regarding separation as a negotiating position, to be adopted or discarded according to circumstances, really is arriving suddenly. Moreover, Trudeau’s conditional advocacy of separation really is in strong contrast to the Liberal party’s stance. Problematically so, one would think.

In contemplating Justin Trudeau’s inherent predicament, my attitude flips back and forth from contempt to sympathy, almost from second to second. He is at best an intellectual middleweight, and often speaks nonsense when he steers into deep political waters. But he seems to be somewhat aware of this, so much so that he seems a little frightened of being promoted beyond his capacities as a consequence of his DNA. He has repeatedly disavowed any intention of seeking the leadership of his party. He seems to sincerely prefer family life and tending to his pet issues. He has an ideology, but he doesn’t have a grand structured vision for the country. (Obviously!) He may be just about the only member of Canada’s parliament who doesn’t secretly harbour a perverted, narcissistic dream of being Prime Minister. Just yesterday he noted that “[My father] was an intellectual; me, I’m a bit less intellectual.” Why is it that Canada cannot take the poor man at his word?

And yet, as sane and worthy of imitation as he seems in these respects, does anybody recognize the “Canada of Stephen Harper” Trudeau ranted against so excitingly today in front of a scrum in Centre Block? Harper’s party has not only accepted the legal fact of same-sex marriage, but has promised to shore it up against the disrepair in which the prior Liberal regime left it. The pro-life agitators in the Conservative caucus are a few barely-detectable grains of pepper amidst a kilogram of salt; on the whole, they are little more numerous and noisy than the pro-lifers in the pre-2011 Liberal caucus (who were, in one of history’s petty ironies, disproportionately victims of Conservative gains in non-metro Ontario).

As a fairly radical social liberal, I am strongly in favour of vigilance against backbench-led attacks on reproductive rights and gay marriage. (As someone once said, the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.) But let’s be realistic. Justin Trudeau, when he is finished speaking for the “millions” of Canadians who supposedly don’t recognize Stephen Harper’s Canada, may like to know that there are millions more outside Quebec who think like me and who (unlike me) voted Conservative anyway. These people are potential Liberal voters—indeed, the most important, hypothetically attainable ones. Trudeau’s sci-fi invective against the imagined Conservatives of Counter-Earth does not seem like the smartest way of winning the real ones over.

Which is another reason Bob Rae might not be terribly pleased with Trudeau’s theatrics. (“C’est pire qu’un crime, c’est une faute.”) Rae’s statement that Trudeau “will always be” a “strong believer in a united Canada” stands in direct, genuine contradiction to the remarks Trudeau made in his radio interview, and Trudeau hasn’t retracted those remarks, either: all he has really done is to bitch about the attention being paid to them. Oddly, even though it is almost universally agreed that Rae will soon drop the “interim” tag from his leadership like a trapped newt shedding its tail, nobody seems to think that this potential conflict is the essence of the story. It’s Justin vs. Pierre, as opposed to Trudeau vs. Rae, or, indeed, Trudeau vs. the deepest, most implacable traditions and beliefs of his chosen political party.

Those in the business of turning politics into drama instinctively prefer to concentrate on the atavistic spectacle of father vs. son, even when the father is long gone. This won’t change in Justin Trudeau’s lifetime, or in the lifetime of our civilization, so if he sounded somewhat berserk yesterday, the man (and he is a man, for God’s sake) does have his reasons.

Justin Trudeau: reflections on a grown man

  1. This is a brilliant blog post.  Once again, Cosh nails it.

    Justin Trudeau, for all his charisma, good looks and pedigree, is a gaffe-prone mediocrity.  The fact that more than a few desperate Liberals still view him as a viable future leadership candidate only reveals how destitute their party has become.

    To call Trudeau an “intellectual middleweight” is to be overly generous.  He’s in his forties, yet his public statements recall the arrogance, naïveté, and misdirected passion of a churlish, ignorant  teenager.

    As someone said yesterday, “You can take the substitute drama teacher out of the classroom, but…”

    • As a small ‘c’ conservative who supports the Conservative party of Stephen Harper; I hope Trudeau does become the next Liberal leader.

    •  It’s funny how he says things like “yes I said that but of course you guys must know what I really mean”.  And then he spends a gawd-awful amount of time trying to explain what he really means, and it makes no sense.

      • He made perfect sense on power and politics last night. This was clearly a calculated move. It was meant to shock and displace. I’m not sure how that isn’t obvious.

        • Shock who?

      • Unlike Vic Toews who just denies he said things…

    • Couldn’t agree less.

      I find it surprising in fact that so many people have missed what JT’s actually doing here.

      It should be fairly obvious to just about anyone that he did quite a bit more than the simplistic analysis offered by Cosh suggests. A more careful analysis makes clear that he was being far more manipulative.
       
      1) He’s claimed the “war” over french was won, by the french. (So he strokes their ego and tries to convince them that french is now “safe”.)
       
      2) He’s pointed out how secure Quebec’s rights as a province have become, and that the “Quebec nation” has been recognized officially. (Again, strokes the ego and convinces them that this old rationale is no longer apt.)
       
      3) He’s gone on to claim empathy with Quebecers concerning the large differences in “values” between the CPC and “mainstream” Quebecers, going to so far as to saying he understands why they might see separation as valid in THAT case. (Here he claims agreement in such a way as to “validate” separation, but in a context that he can then manpulate with his own alternatives. The old “I’m like you brother” and the answer to your problem is “X”.)
       
      Frankly I see this as a brilliant bit of politicking, and I’m somewhat amused that so many have missed what’s going on here. It’s a classic reframing of an issue, and the shock of it is part of the calculation to get attention in a way Quebecers will note, but the ROC can essentially ignore since he isn’t the leader.
       
      With Quebec and Ontario, the Liberals can rule. Justin is just one player laying the ground work, and he doesn’t need to be leader to do it.
       
      In fact I think everyone’s underestimating the amount of effort and thought that Rae and company have been putting into their strategies of late.

      • What a pile of windbaggery that is. Sure, he’s just thinking on a higher plane than some of us, so it wasn’t as obvious to us as it was to you. Whatever.

        He stepped in it is what he did. And spent the rest of the week back-pedaling. 

    • It seems to me that it’s personal to him, he just doesn’t like Harper at all.

      • Lots of people don’t like Harper at all. 

  2. A 40-year old temper tantrum? I’m going to take my ball home because I don’t like the game? Is that what you’re suggesting.

    What’s fascinating are his later comments about how Canada needs Quebec to balance Harper’s vision.  As if to indicate that its Canada vs. Quebec.

    While I can accept the temper tantrum theory for the first outburst, I must question the second where he’s supposed to be ‘more rationale’ but still arrives in a place where it’s only natural for Quebec to want to be treated differently.

    • Does Quebec have an equal need of English Canada for “balance”? Maybe someone should ask.

      • No, it only needst the ROC for transfer payments.

      •  For sure.  Luongo, Brodeur, Lecavalier, Bergeron, etc are enough to field a decent Quebec team, but certainly not enough to win (not sure if they’d allow a non pur-laine like Luongo on the Quebec national team, but I digress). 

        To field a winning team, they need the rest of Canada.

        An interesting discovery as I was googling… the best French-Canadian hockey player today is not a Quebecer – Claude Giroux.

    • More and more, it tends to be Canadians vs. the CPC.

  3. Smart, witty, and accurate. Maybe Mr. Cosh would consider a change of jobs? Canadians could use some good people in Ottawa. There is not many there, now.

    •  SCTV is off the air.

  4. Who isn’t ‘medocre?’

    Colby?

  5. I am a canadian living abroad for 20 years, Because of the Tar sands project, -for me absolutely not acceptable- and Harpers non-critical support of the usa, I am really HAPPY  to hear Trudeau’s ‘pseudo-threat.’ 

    • You should stay were you are living then my friend. Perhaps you could invite the young Trudeau to live with you since he is so unhappy living in this country.

    • Obama increased US thermal coal exports to Asia 77% last year. US EIA official data.  Look it up.

      • Impossible.  Obama is all good.  Harper is all bad.

        Yikes, I’m almost out of kool aid.

      • I didn’t know he nationalized the coal industry?

    •  You might want to come back to Canada to get a more realistic perspective on things.  I think you have lost touch.

      • don’t encourage him

    • “psuedo-threat”….how true….Are Quebecers willing to give up their $7.00/day daycare program and all the other social program goodies that the ”absolutely non acceptable ‘Tar sands project’” in Alberta affords them?   No wonder JT made his ‘terms for leaving” so unlikely to occur…he knows there are no plans to change the laws for same-sex marriage or abortion – he might lack intelligence but he isn’t stupid enough not to recognize that Quebec needs a rich province to pay its bills.

      • A rich province to pay its bills and kick in the teeth from time to time.  JT’s attitude reminds me of how some adolescents regard their parents.

  6. “(As someone once said, the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation)”

    Do gay marriage and abortions take place in bedrooms now? And why doesn’t the person who is murdered after abortion have reproductive rights? If the State has no place in our bedrooms, why can’t murderous mothers eliminate their children at any time, why do we give them only 9 months to decide if they can be bothered to be parents or not? Women take their sweet blessed time to decide things, surely limiting them to 9 months is unfair to females. 

    Trudeau represents exactly what is wrong with Liberalism and why only a few nitwits vote for them now. It is all about Trudeau and his neurosis that have nothing to do with reality. Majority of people in each riding across Canada preferred Conservative candidate – hard to understand I agree – and Canada is one of most tolerant places on earth. Cons supporters are not bad people regardless if you agree with their politics or not. 

    Liberals and their disdain for Canada is apparent – do any Libs actually like the country or are we all inadequate oiks?

    Trudeau is obviously a Hungry Ghost who does not have a pleasant future ahead of him.

    • Regarding the bedrooms of the nation, Trudeau said this at a time when two consenting adults could be jailed for homosexual acts and prescribing “the pill” as  oral contraceptives was illegal, except for regulating the menstrual cycle. You’re fantasizing when you put it in other contexts. 

      Unless you really do think we should criminalize contraception and start throwing gays in jail.

      • He might.  Some Republicans want to.  Maybe he should go join them in their fantasy world.

  7. Who talks like Trudeau…work to his dying breath…only an effete, narcissistic socialist, born with a silver spoon in his mouth that’s who. Better known as a spoiled brat.
    Trudeau is delusional and is busy erecting straw men to battle. He proved himself to be anything but intellectual and he should be embarassed about his performance in front of the press scrum yesterday. In fact the reporters were laughing as he departed. If this is really who the Liberal party wants leading them they can have him and expect to stay as the third party in the House.

    • Nothing like a little red meat to attract the devotees, h. They taught you well.

      • It is not about me. it is about what this spoiled brat said. He is a closet Separatist regardless of what he says. He has no use for the rest of Canada and he exposed himself with his usual arrogance.
        This guy hasn’t got a brain in his head. He is an elitist born to wealth and who really has no idea what it is to struggle to earn a living based on his own personal experience.

        In your heart of hearts you cannot be happy with what he said. What responsibile politician says if I don’t get my way I am going to pick up my ball and go home. What would you say if an Alberta politician said that. 

        • Now adding cheese and bacon – nobody does the faux outrage like you do, h. 

          • Gee Jan maybe you should take a break from that vegan diet.  You seem obsessed with animal proteins and dairy…what is your iron level?

          • Maybe you should take a break from offering up medical advice on the web.  And I prefer real meat, not that ourtage-in-a-can h serves up. 

  8. Say this for the dauphin – his scrum yesterday was a well-executed bit of theatre. Backtracking without seeming to do so is a skill; granted, when you break it down he was saying “I only contemplated giving up on Canada because I love it so much!” but in a political sense, it probably worked. A mediocrity, yes, but they can be quicker to recognize their mistakes (out of force of habit).

    • “Who talks like Trudeau…work to his dying breath …. “ 

      “…. his scrum yesterday was a well-executed bit of theatre.”

      Tweet from pdmcleod yesterday ~ 

      “A high-ranking government official” on J. Trudeau’s passionate speech: “You can take the substitute drama teacher out of the classroom…”

  9. A typical tempest in a teapot!  But I share Justin’s feelings.  I am a Quebecer – and Harper’s Canada is not my Canada.  This twisted version of quasi-religious social conservatism – with its narrow, anti-intellectual, mean-spirited, parochial ignorance is not my cup of tea.  But, like Justin – and millions of others – I will do my best to lance this festering pustule and chuck Harper and his fellow troglodytes onto the dung-heap of history.

    • There doesn’t see to be any Canada that would suit Quebecers. Only Canadian money counts for you.

      • Quebecers are looking for something more substantial to them than money, otherwise the billions Harper gave them might have gained him some support.  Trudueau is on to something in that Quebecers might just support a united Canada if it provided them with a society consistent with their social democratic principles.  Harper reminds them of the old days under Maurice Duplessie, where the church in concert with government acted like despots. 

    • Please, oh please, for once actually specify the so-called “quasi-religious social conservatism” that the PM is so deviously implementing?  Has gay marriage been repealed? No. Has unrestricted access to abortion been repealed? Again, no.  Has capital punishment been reinstated? No.  Just drop all this nonsense about the “scary hidden agenda” of PM Harper. It isn’t true and never has been. His words and deeds have repeatedly shown that his focus is on economic issues, not social issues.  You guys on the Left only bring up the social conservatism scare mongering because your preferred parties are bereft of a credible alternative to the current government’s approach that is shared by a wide cross-section of the Canadian public.  Last point: Quebec, a minority, is the one whose values (such as they are) are out of step with the Canadian majority, not vice-versa,. 

      • Meanwhile a private member’s bill on abortion is being introduced in the House of Commons, another MP is talking about preventing same sex marriage, internet surveilance is being dressed up as The Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act, mandatory sentencing has been found to be fundamentally unfair, outrageous, abhorrent and intolerable.  One doesn’t need to look to far to find the nasty quasi-religious social conservatism in Harper’s government. 

        • I wasn’t aware that a private member’s bill meant an automatic passing of a new law.   Now Harper said he would shore-up the same-sex marriage laws and would not repeal abortion laws…if these laws are not changed by Harper and remain on the books, are you going to admit you are wrong?  As for your claims of “nasty quasi-religious social conservatism”….goodness…isn’t much of the population of Quebec Roman Catholic….a church which preaches against abortion and same-sex unions?   You really should check out the other blog on here about the treatment of gay students and teachers in Catholic schools…not exactly enlightened…hey weren’t Chretien and Trudeau both Catholics?

          • Your comment is so lacking in logic it is hard to know where to start.  The examples above were illustrations of the nasty quasi-religious social conservatism – with its narrow, anti-intellectual, mean-spirited, parochial ignorance prevalent in the CPC caucus.  Thanks for the opportunity to repeat that. 

            Of course a private member bill does not mean a law has been passed into law, but that is exactly how the move to abolish the long gun registry got started.  Based on that past practice and Harper’s tendency to do exactly opposite to what he campaigned on, we can certainly expect more here. 

            The last census that had accurate information from the long form survey, showed that a very small proportion of Quebecers continue to identify themselves as Roman Catholics and an even smaller proportion ever attend religions services.  Perhaps you have heard of the Quiet Revolution about four or five decades ago when the majority of Quebecers rejected government and church sponsored religious conservatism of the Harper variety and replaced it with secular education and social democratic ideas.  One of the driving forces for this was the complete rejection by Quebecers of the church’s position on the role and rights of women, sexual orientation, marriage, abortion, contraception,etc.  Both Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien were very active in Quebec’s Quiet Revolution and both were very clear that their connection with the Roman Catholic church did not cloud their public policy decisions and they proved it in the legislation they promoted.  The small proportion of Quebecers that do strongly identify with the Roman Catholic Church and its social policy positions, are the ones who support Harper. 

          • I’m sorry your logic is all over the map on this one….you claim “Harper has a tendency to do the opposite of what he campaigned on” and then you bring up that the long-gun registry started as a private member bill….but Harper did campaign that he would get rid of the long-gun registry so yes, it was totally expected that the private member’s bill proposing to get rid of the long-gun registry would be passed into law.
            I have done my own research on the internet…just by googling how many Roman Catholics live in Quebec.  One of the sites was a Province of Quebec tourism site, another site was a national encylopedia and another was a christian organization.  According to these sites, between 75% (City of Montreal) and 90% of Quebecers “identify” themselves as Roman Catholics. This information was last updated in 2009.  While it is true that Quebec Catholics have very low church attendance – the lowest in the country – they still continue to self-identify as Catholics.
            To suggest that Trudeau and Chretien would never let their personal beliefs interfere with “their” work as politicians but everybody else is suspect (because you don’t vote for them) is disengenuous.   Goodness knows Harper, Chretien and Trudeau all made election promises and broke them after being elected so you cannot exactly judge one different than the other based on that.

          • Your comment is so lacking in logic it is hard to know where to start.  The examples above were illustrations of the nasty quasi-religious social conservatism – with its narrow, anti-intellectual, mean-spirited, parochial ignorance prevalent in the CPC caucus.  Thanks for the opportunity to repeat that.  Of course a private member bill does not mean a law has been passed into law, but that is exactly how the move to abolish the long gun registry got started.  Based on that past practice and Harper’s tendency to do exactly opposite to what he campaigned on, we can certainly expect more here.  The last census that had accurate information from the long form survey, showed that a very small proportion of Quebecers continue to identify themselves as Roman Catholics and an even smaller proportion ever attend religions services.  Perhaps you have heard of the Quiet Revolution about four or five decades ago when the majority of Quebecers rejected government and church sponsored religious conservatism of the Harper variety and replaced it with secular education and social democratic ideas.  One of the driving forces for this was the complete rejection by Quebecers of the church’s position on the role and rights of women, sexual orientation, marriage, abortion, contraception,etc.  Both Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien were very active in Quebec’s Quiet Revolution and both were very clear that their connection with the Roman Catholic church did not cloud their public policy decisions and they proved it in the legislation they promoted.  The small proportion of Quebecers that do strongly identify with the Roman Catholic Church and its social policy positions, are the ones who support Harper.

          • Haven’t you noticed the lack of large Catholic families – they’re using birth control?  It’s only the third world countries that get suckered into believing they have to follow the church’s rules to the letter.

          • Oh, they might be using birth control, Jan but they aren’t getting abortions.  If you don’t believe me, just poll the Catholic bloggers on here.

          • And priests are all celibate.  Please,  I grew up amongst Catholics.

          • Jan, what people do in private and what they support in public are two different things.  Church-attending Catholics are not going to go against the church and start publically speaking out  in favor of abortion….just the same as the priest is going to stand up at the pulpit and announce that he is getting a “little somthin’ somethin’.

          • There’s lots of dissention in the church – I don’t know how you could not know about it.

          • Hahaha…I love this Jan.  So you believe that the Catholics don’t believe anything that is preached in their faith but the born-again Christians wouldn’t dare eat any forbidden fruit…and this is all based on the behavior of Jerry Falwell, Rev. Baker and the examples of other stellar television evangelists??

          • It boils down to zealotry which I would say is far more present amongst Evangelicals than traditional Catholics.  My devout Catholic mother always said it’s the converts to Catholicism that are the crazies who want to embrace any tradition they can get their hands on with a zeal that those born to the religion don’t possess.   Newt Gingrich is a perfect exmple of this.

  10. You guys know he’s a politician in Quebec, right?  Meaning, his votes don’t come from outside Quebec.  And while I don’t live in Quebec and don’t speak French, I imagine this is playing there much better than its playing here.  Colby actually alludes to it, particularly because now the ROC is against him and all that. 

    The thing about being a mediocre intelligence, (and I agree with that, btw) sometimes that allows you to do something clever without anyone noticing.

  11. Trudeau, the younger, is smarter than he looks, although he is certainly not exceptionally intelligent, which whether you liked him or not, his father was.  I think this was a trial balloon.  For him to run for the Liberal leadership and win, he has to have an unassailable political base.  It means he needs Quebec to beat Rae, and he needs to steal Quebec from the NDP.  Then he has unassailable control over the so-called progressive forces in the country.

    Because of Harper’s success in his non-provocation strategy with Quebec, Quebec is sort of in a potentially nascent post-sovereigntist phase (i.e. Legault’s new party, as an example of this), where Quebecers don’t care about sovereignty at the moment.  

    I think Justin sees the utterly vapid NDP leadership field, and says to himself, if I can obfuscate on sovereignty a bit, Quebec might align behind me as a champion, which cuts off Bob Rae and the NDP in a single stroke. 

    He is saying to the Quebec elites who are being dealt out of the Canadian game by the rising West-Ontario alliance…you need me to get Quebec back into the game.  We need each other.

    So what he said was seems silly from the perspective of where he comes from, the son of Pierre Trudeau, but it is a Machievellian political move worthy of his father and of Harper.  

    He knows he has no chance on the current political playing field.  He has no unassailable political base like Harper does.  He has to change the field.  He needs a personal rapprochement with Quebec intellectual and political elite.  He needs to obfuscate on sovereignty (which is not particularly dangerous in Harper’s nascent post-sovereignty Quebec) and do the Layton sovereignty 2-step dance in Quebec.  Make Quebec his base.  Then he has a chance.

    If its a bit clumsy, so much the better.  Nobody, namely Rae and the NDP, will catch on until it is too late.

    • i.e. “playing the fool” for awhile can be a very effective political tool.

    • I enjoyed your analysis – do you think Trudeau sees himself as Layton type figure? Quebecers apparently vote for person/leader, and not party, so Trudeau makes himself popular and then tries to get people to forget their disdain for his party?

      • No.  I don’t think he sees himself as a Layton-like figure…i.e. likeable.  

        Quebecers and the Quebec intelligentsia are strategic voters.  Trudeau’s thinking, I speculate, is that they need each other.  i.e. His appeal to Quebec, and to the establishment is necessity.  They need each other, and there is no other choice.  

        “We find ourselves, because of Harper, potentially in a post-sovereignist era.  Let us bury the hostile rhetoric on that issue.  I’ll (Justin)  eat a little public crow on the sovereignty issue to prove my bona fides and I’ll stop saying really nasty things about you guys like my father would have. So please support me.  Rae is not really a choice.  Mulcair has no chance outside Quebec.  It is me.  There is only me, whether you like me or not. Time to bury the hatchet”

        (Ignatieff used the Quebec nation issue in 2006 to become the choice of Quebec).

        • Mulcair v Trudeau in Quebec, who wins?

          I am not convinced Mulcair is hopeless compared to Trudeau outside Que – not that I would vote for either party, but I think Mulcair has more gravitas and appears to be more of a leader. Trudeau is whiny beyotch and I am astonished that he’s popular anywhere outside his own household.

          •  >>Trudeau is whiny beyotch<<

            What does "beyotch" mean, or was that a typo?

        •  ”Ignatieff used the Quebec nation issue in 2006 to become the choice of Quebec”
          So how’s that working out for Ignatieff these days?

    • Wouldn’t the best way to exploit a post-sovereigntist period be to not talk about sovereignty? 

    • Very useful analysis.  Thanks a lot for the contribution.  It seems to me that a logical extension of this would be that if Justin Trudeau can solidify the support of progressives in Quebec, it is reasonable to assume that a great many progressive thinking people elsewhere (maybe even people who consider themselves Progressive Conservatives) would also support him in an effort to get rid of Harper.  This leaves no need for the Liberals and NDP to go through the long and painful process of formally uniting, but does unite the progressive elements of the electorate.  What with big bother internet surveilance, over the top military procurement, stupid on crime policies, introducing the abortion issue, talk of cutting OAS, bringing Communist Chinese government owned corporations iside our most strategic economic engine, and above all a VERY questionable economic management record, there are a good many people in western Canada who must be looking for another place to put their vote next election. 

  12. You can always tell when Cons have taken a solid hit. We get days of hysterics and apoplexy from them.

    My fave today…so far…is an item about ‘political theorists, political scientists and political philosophers’   psychoanalyzing Justin! Hilarious.

    • Yes, we’re all slowly getting back to our feet and dusting ourselves off after Trudeau the Lesser’s broadside.  Could there be a more devastating blow to Harper and his supporters that Justin threatening to leave?

      As for psychoanalysis, I always find incestuous fawning a strange phenomenon.

      • Well, your collective reaction shows exactly that.  LOL
         
        It’s complete with misquotes, name-calling and snapping.
         
        The psychoanalysis btw was from your team.

        • Too obtuse again I see.  Or perhaps it’s just Tone/Trudeaufness on your part.

          If you had any discernment about “our team”, what would have struck you as highly significant wasn’t the “misquotes, name-calling and snapping”, but the unabashed cheerleading for The Son.  I assure you I – and a very large number of my fellow right wing travelers – would like nothing better than for JT to figure prominently in the future of the Lieberal party.  Please please please beg him to run for leader.

          • Maybe the ‘unabashed cheering’ for what he said should give you pause.

            In fact if you’d read the comments here yesterday, you’d know lots of people want out of Harper’s Canada.

            As to Trudeau,  I’ve never met him and won’t, since I’m not a Liberal…..so cease the boasting.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • It would help a great deal if you read threads before replying to them.

            We were talking about Ontario and Quebec leaving Canada….and returning to the original Canada.

            And none of us are ‘lefties’ or socialists.

          • I’m equally enthused about what he said, as reflected in yesterday’s exchange.  As for people wanting out, it is a reflection of the strength of the typical proggies convictions than they rarely seem to put their money where their mouth is:

            http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/leave.asp 

          • I have no idea what ‘proggies’ are supposed to be….or why you think a Snopes item is the last word in separatism. 

            Alberta has a separatist party.  So does BC I believe. Certainly Quebec does.

            No reason why Ontario can’t have one.

          • Oh cute, “Lieberal”. Like nobody has ever said THAT before.  I suppose I should reply with “CONservative” or some other trite drivel.  You know you’ve won when the opposition can’t even come up with an original comeback but has to rely on worn-out sophisms that they probably still laugh at themselves.  Sorry, am I feeding the Troll?  I’ll stop now.

          • You’re right – you’ve won.  Carry on.

  13. I am quite struck by how all of the people with mediocre intelligence are so eager to comment on Justin’s ” mediocre intelligence.”  Really, he is not a paragon (few MP’s are), but I think he can hold his own against most MP’s.  There are a few intellectual stars in Parliament, but they are few.  One of Justin’s problems is that everyone watches his every move.  He cannot have his missteps forgotten like the rest.  I don’t actually like him, but I think people should get off his case.  He has indicated he has no plans to run for the leadership and he is a perfectly competent MP for his riding. 

    • Most of the time I respect JT and have no problem with him whatsoever.  But I lose respect for anyone who goes into that lame fear-mongering mode re abortion and gay marriage, when there’s zero evidence that either of those things are in serious danger in this country.

  14. Canadians now find it perfectly acceptable that their prime minister views the unity of this country secondary to his vision of ‘smaller government’.  Justin Trudeau’s comments are totally in line with the Harperian vision for the future of Canada. 

    • Yes, because it’s a well-known fact that Quebeckers are clamoring for a larger and stronger federal government, in particular, one that occupies an ever-greater role in provincial jurisdictions!

    • No, they’re not. PM Harper has never done anything that has jeopardized Canadian unity, unlike the treasonous and disgraceful musings of the petulant and conditional Canadian, Justin Trudeau. While I disagreed with virtually all of his father’s policies, it’s undeniable that he was a loyal Canadian and an ardent defender of national unity. Thank  God for his dad that the elder Trudeau is not around to witness the embarassing incident that Jr’s ill-conceived words have caused.

      •  Umm, Terry, I was been sarcastic.

  15. J Trudeau is clearly a Liberal first and a Canadian second.  Or a Quebecer first and a Canadian second.  Although, like some have pointed out about Peggy Nash, it would be interesting to hear his opinion about Quebec’s flirtation with medicare user fees.  Sometimes the “balancing” from Quebec may be going in the wrong direction.

    But for the most part, so as long as the ROC of Canada is willing to implements his Quebecer and Liberal policies, he’s all for Canada.  But if the hillbilly rednecks and Queen lovers get their way, he’s high-tailing it out of Canada.

    Anyway, it’s obvious, as Colby points out, that his criticisms often make little sense.  He seems to be trying to create bogeymen where none exist.

  16. Aside from underselling the damage the Harper conservatives could and have done to Canada, I find extremely little to quibble about in this piece. Except, perhaps, comments about his intelligence.  He was a lifelong teacher who got into politics and public affairs later in life than very many.  Often we mistake intelligence for expertise; he could, for example, be a gifted schoolteacher who is now pursuing a career with a different knowledge set.  Trudeau was obviously an exceptional legal mind, but law is a job which dovetails nicely with lawmaking.  

    • The Harper Conservatives haven’t done any “damage” to Canada. If anything, they’ve endeavoured to repair the damage to Canada’s social fabric that was wrought by decades of social engineering and political correctness under Liberal regimes. As for your comment about Jr’s intelligence, if this little controversy has revealed anything of note, it’s that Jr’s intellect pales in comparison to his famour dad’s.  Me thinks he inherited a substantially larger share of his erratic mother’s denes than his father’s.

      • Surplus gone before the recession, biggest deficit in history since.

        Our PM speaking to international forums where everybody else walks out when he gets up on the stand.

        Massive increase in the power of the PMO, massive decrease in the transparancy of government at every other level.

        No damage indeed.

        • Thwim, you forget Harper’s increasing share of the popular vote in 4 consecutive elections, a clear sign of the growing impatience of Canadians with the devious underhandedness of the Conservatives and their desire to have the Liberals back as the governing party.

          • Orson? Is that you? I only ask because putting words in other people’s mouths is his shtick.

            Now, if you’d kindly point out where I said he’s unpopular, you might have a point. As it is however, I expect you’re pointless.

      • U MAD!

  17. The other Machivellian thing Justin Trudeau has done, other than this attempt at a rapprochement with Quebec and the Quebec establishment, is letting Bob Rae and everyone in the Canadian establishment think and believe that Bob Rae is inevitable and the frontrunner and the choice of the Liberal establishment.

    Play the fool, Play the dumb blonde.  Move along, nothing to see here.

  18. JT should be ashamed of himself; the only good thing to come out of this fiasco is that now we really know he is wholly unsuited to lead anyhting ..never mind a national party.

  19. Whatever he said there are a few things about the current Canada of Harper that are different.  First, the total control and secrecy of government by the PMO.  Second, the total attack on privacy and civil liberities encompassed in Bill C-30.  Third, Militarism – at the expense of programs for women, children, new immigrants and services for veterans returning from Afghanistan.  Fourth, the desire for the punitive state envisioned by the omnibus crime bill all in the face of declining crime.  Fifth, it’s now okay to use “evidence” gathered through torture (but the torture is still outsourced at least — maybe). Harper has expressed a desire to change Canada from a progressive nation to a conservative one so that his party becomes the natural governing party.  He can’t do that without a little climate change denial, deregulation of pipelines and authoritarian posturing (e.g., I will only answer 5 questions a day from the media.  Protesters must be restained behind fences far from where I am speaking.  I will not answer questions that are not prescreened and pre-selected).

    • What the hell are you talking about? Chretien was far worse than Harper and that is evident by the fact that in the whole sponsorship scandal seemingly no one knew anything in the PMO. They all knew, especially Jean, and they all lied or forgot or could not remember to escape responsibility.
      As for the military..years of neglect by the liberals have left the cons. no choice but to spend what is needed. Most NATO countries spend 2% of their GDP on defence, we complain if we spend 1%…so get over it.
      Climate change, yes it is happening, but it is not man made. The science is clear except to lefties like you.Media access? perhaps you want what Chretien did and have a prime minister choking a citizen just like Chretien?
      Look, the cons. make mistakes, but they are a far better choice than anything else on the hill right now, so suck it up buttercup.

  20. Great article Colby. Justin comments absurd but comments from this thread for the MOST part idiotic.

  21. He’s making a hell of a case should he decide to leave for Quebec Provincial politics. Think about it. Any non-PQ leader in Quebec must avoid the stain of being Ottawa’s “Yes Man” in Quebec’s quest for autonomy.
    Some of Quebec’s Liberal Premier’s have given ROC more grief than some of the Pequists.

  22. Justin Trudeau…a man with a destiny…just like the Old Man in many ways….a marvel when answering questions from reporters..An obvious love for humanity stems from him…He is certainly more credible than Steven Harper…Will he be PM someday?…It’s up to him…He has the touch that his father had….The next election will see the removal of Harper, since he lost his trust among the pensioners….It’ll be between the NDP and the Liberals….Trudeau has no leader to compete with in his class, but the party platforms of the NDP and the Liberals will be the main consideration, among voters…Harpers days are numbered. 

  23. My kids kindergarten teacher is so much smarter than Justin and a loyal Canadian.She should run against this twit who we pay $13000 a month plus expenses plus a generous pension after he has served six years. A guy who could not make it teaching 5 year old kids. Obviously they were too smart for him.If this is the kind of standard the Liberals feel will put them back in power they are blowing smoke.

  24. Josee Legault was an insurrectionist sh. disturber when she appeared on CTV’s Question Period years ago…very little has changed.

    Trudeau the younger on the other hand can be goaded into explosive rebuttals as witnessed in December and when pressed during interviews, reveals a lacking of discipline demanded not only for those aspiring to be party leader, but prime minister.

  25. Josee Legault has flown her insurrectionist colours for eons…the same tripe was fed to viewers when she appeared weekly as an opinion/analyst on CTV’s Question Period in the late ’90s.

    Justin Trudeau on the other hand has proved to all he can be not only goaded into a expletive filled outburst, but can maneuvered easily into revealing his light-weight intellectual status as seen in scrums and political talk programs…not the credentials necessary for party leader OR prime minister.

  26.  Enough is enough; we just don’t care about Quebec, their crooked corrupt, slimy politicians, their racist anti-English language laws (bills 22, 178, 101…), the phony expensive bilingual BS, their hockey team…

     
    We live outside Quebec for a reason. Its an intolerant, racist, xenophobic province and has been for decades. It’s a welfare province that we’ve been subsidizing for decades now, we are just sick and tired of hearing about the province period.

     
    Do us all a favour and focus on news outside kebec, you know things that really matter to Canadians.

     
    Just shut up Justin Turdo, just like your father, you are a disgrace, get back to Kebec and shut up goofball.

  27. The only different between the Liberals and the Parti Québécois is where they think the borders should end. The rest is blanc bonnet, bonnet blanc. As a conservative could ask, is the question of independence merely a right/left paradigm? A utopia else said, of the country you live in having to conform with your strict world view. There’s worst of course. Take Scotland, the land of Enlightenment brightest prodigies, who made much of what we call the modern Liberal Democracy. Now, most of the working population of Scotland is in the public sector. There’s barely any private sector, except for high-grade booze and fried mars bars really. So they come to the conclusion, as they have become a dependency of the south of England wealth, that it would be high time now to declare independence? I mean, Quebec in 1980 was at a booming period of its history. It was not one of the poor provinces then, it was one of the rich, it was a manufacturing and job-creating behemoth. Now the table have turned. We’ve dug ourselves a hole out of which we merely pretend to crawl out of. So the question would be, let’s assume Quebec become a country. The next election comes and we elect some right-wing government. Will the social-democrat utoposts want to get right back in Canada if it just happen to have a left-wing government at that time. I mean, are the borders a mere pretext to have a government that fits your political standing? That’s not a question I ask out of nowhere, there is and always were a right-wing quebec nationalist element. One who understand that, nationalism, overall, is a thing of the Right, that it was always seen as such, even in its most perverse and radical forms which is Fascism. But Conservatism is, by nature, nationalistic. Where Liberalism usually is preaching the “going beyond the idea of Nation” and toward a borderless utopic multicultural patchwork. So Quebec nationalism have been taken over by the Left and that is very difficult to dismiss. It’s also supported as such by basically all our medias. So Quebec sovereignty doesn’t seem to be as much about independence, as it is about a Utopia, a system of the people we are supposed to be. So Justin Trudeau fit within this framing of the question. Rather a Liberal Quebec than a Conservative Canada and rather a Liberal Canada than a Conservative Quebec.Guess we can remake the map every elections, depending on who win. If the Conservative wins, Quebec is out of Canada for 4 years. If the Liberals get back in power, Quebec return to the Confederation for the next four.

  28. I would argue that the pro-life agitators are like a few grains of salt (salt of the earth) amongst a kilo of pepper.  No, I don’t recognize the Harper’s Canada as JT sees it -unfortunately.

  29. I wish that this boob & his NDP leader, would spend more time surveying the wishes of Northern Indian bands, & others in the Quebec Hinterlands, as to who wants to form a separate french speaking colony in the midst of English speaking North America. This would sharply reduce the boundaries of Quebec now.
    I suspect that they would form a tiny Rorschach inkblot of their present ill-deserved status.

  30. This comment was deleted.

    • Speak English dammit!

  31. Mr. Cosh, I don’t get your point to demonize Mr. Trudeau, the son, don’t forget Mr. Cosh that que M. Justin Trudeau a 50% des gênes de sa mère Margaret , née Sinclair, et que ne vous attendez pas à ce que M. Justin Trudeau, même s’il respecte profondément son père, aie les mêmes positions que son père sur tous les sujets. Ce serait que d’aliéner M, Trudeau, le fils, que de constamment comparer ses opinions à celles de son père et de juger qui était le meilleur. Tous les deux ont le caractère de leaders et M. Justin Trudeau tracera sa voie comme il l’entend ! So there is no use to try to diminish Mr. Trudeau, the son, as you do in your article, unless Mr. Trudeau with his say has just broken your own narcissistic dream of seeing another french character  breaking sugar as usual on the french canadians back of Québec from his stand in Ottawa, if not Toronto, Calgary or Halifax or any other places hostile to french canadian in Québec and who are willing to break this country if they are not recognized as equal and respected in their own language, avez-vous compris M. Cosh ? Did I spoke white enough, to us an old 1968 expression ! It is exactly this fascist attitude that break the heart of many canadian liberals in spirits and if Mr. Harper wants to bring Canada into a fascist era, some canadian will rise as natives, frenchies, englishs, muslims, polishs, pakistanians and all those liberal at heart and one day we will kick Mr. Harper and his fascist followers out of office and bring back a peaceful Canada to this little earth on wich we all live and share ! 

    • I am not bilingual but I had an easier time with the french tah the english. If I understood anything it’s you don’t understand what a democracy is. Name calling does not aid democratic debate. In a democracy we are allowed to disagree. That does not mean we should be disagreeable.

  32. Slow day in the news department when the aging poster boy of Quebec causes a mention on the back pages. Even Bob Rae ventured onto the carpet as a supporter. Poor Bob still has to realize that after all of the billions given to Quebec by the Liberals there is still a hard headed separation movement. The Liberals, with Ontario’s blessing, have supported Quebec like a parent supporting a whining autistic child. Now that the money supply has been drasticly reduced (see the Drummond report) the child’s rewards may be reduced to a swift kick in the pants.

  33. Mr. or Mrs Happily retired, If there is one thing you should understand in democracy is that you call things and people by their name or you are playing the game of hide and seek wich is not democracy.  If you find disagreable the mentionning of name during a debate, get off the … as one says.  We are not children and this country need to be governed by others things than children fears of thinking that Québec is only a sucker of a partner !  Mr. Harper paid millions last campain to treat and call Mr. Ignatief a tourist. Demonizing people is the tribute of children. Adults are able to listen to children lament and redirect it with the proper word.  Et si mon anglais n’est pas assez compréhensible pour vous, faites un effort de compréhension et tel un médecin de famille que le pharmacien  n’est pas capable de comprendre sa prescription, écrivez moi au p.cliffordblais@videotron.ca !

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